Cathedral Rocks - WIP

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gestoryscht polycounter lvl 3
Hi guys,

I want to share with you my current project called cathedral rocks. I am working with Lisa Graf on it in our free time.
Our goal is to create a mysterious and somehow spooky looking scenery, with the focus on lighting, landscape creation and sotrytelling. The whole bundle :D

Inspired by the painting by Albert Bierstadt we've created the first blockout. Actually it's still rough though, but I think you can see the overall concept.
Starting about gathering a lot of references of the yosemite valley, I started to block out the main shapes in Houdini. At work I got introduced to Houdini and I really like the heightfield tools of it. Before I worked with World Machine, and yes the results are pretty awesome, but it's really hard to artdirect the scene.



When I was happy with the main shapes, I went to Gaea, applied some basic erosion on it and placed some blockout cliffes on it to have even more control over the heightmap. Some more bake here and a bit of color creation in substance designer I've got pretty nice results.


That's the progress so far.
Now I am in Unreal and doing the second blockout stage. It's still super rough by now, but I really start to like it.
What do you think so far?



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  • gestoryscht
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    gestoryscht polycounter lvl 3
    Added some new elements and adjusted the lighting.
    Maybe the fog is a bit to strong, but I really like the mood so far.

  • TheGabmeister
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    TheGabmeister greentooth
    Looking great. I like the composition of the scene. Looking forward for more updates.
  • gestoryscht
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    gestoryscht polycounter lvl 3
    Thanks Gabemeister. I am glad you like it!
    ... and as always. When you find something that could be improved, please tell me :)

    Anyway - here is some progress. The blockout is almost done and we can go over to the detailing.


  • gestoryscht
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    gestoryscht polycounter lvl 3


    The first pass of the trees is done.
    Yes, Speedtree is somehow pretty easy but pretty hard to master when you want really nice trees.

    Anyway. Now I am happy with the overall look (just the upper part is a bit to empty by now), but now we can go forward and building up some assets.


  • gestoryscht
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    gestoryscht polycounter lvl 3
    Some free time ahead - vacation break :hushed:

    So I have time to build the first assets - from big to small. So I decided to make the rocks first.
    We plan to do two variations of the big sized rocks and two of the medium ones. This should be enough for this scene.



    ...and actually it works pretty good. Going now to the surface details ~




  • gestoryscht
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    gestoryscht polycounter lvl 3
    Working on the snow material and landscape material and sadly the performace drops pretty hard.
    It's caused by the displacement, but it shouldn't impact the performance so enormous ... hopefully I did something wrong or I need to update my 6 years old PC :/


  • Zeku
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    Zeku polycounter lvl 4
    I like the mood you are getting on your scene!! As someone who live in a place where never snows, I really love how your scene reminds me a northern town with few houses and a lot of tranquility. 
    Do you usually do a previous study of the vegetation related to the weather? 
  • gestoryscht
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    gestoryscht polycounter lvl 3
    Thanks :)
    By the weather - do you mean by the climate zones or really by the weather?
    Actually yes and in this example I did this very extensivly because I had a lot of northern scenes to do at work and with this project I want to bring this to an 'personal' end. In the last few months I studied northern climate zones a lot (actually you can't see this in here yet, but I did :D ) and this really helps to bring the scene coherently with your personal expectations.

    That said, I found for myself it's good to look on references, but don't rely on it completly.
    When you want to show kids playing a snowball fight, you could do a snapshot and rebuild it object by object ... or you go into yourself and think about what's so special about a snowball fight. It's cold. Your hands are getting numb but somehow you don't recognize it. A warm feeling of joy overcomes you. Build your scenes like that.

    Showing the unrealistic inner realism is more realistic then the objective realism.
    Sounds simple, but it's pretty hard to achieve - but thats why I am here. Learning it myself :D


  • gestoryscht
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    gestoryscht polycounter lvl 3
    I am back and this time with a major update.
    I had a lot to do this month, so I had less time to work on this project, but now we are getting to something.

    The forest will be added later, because it influenced the performace heavily. This weekend I want to bake some imposter trees, so I can place them to get the 'final' look.



    I post for now just the lighting pass, because the Lit Mode is actually pretty ugly.



    I went to my nearby forest (Buchholz in Wuppertal - famous for it's enormous biodiversity) and did some scans - as well some foliages. I am still a beginner, but the results are not that bad. We also decided to change the overall mood - getting rid of the snow and added ash. Most of the textures are still unfinished, but the overall direction is set.







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