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[Finished] [UE4] World of Warcraft Inspired Environment

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This is a project that i've been working on for the past few months. My goal is to make this small environment scene in the current World of Warcraft style, mainly its supposed to look like a scene that belongs in the Tiragarde Sound region in the game! I wanted the building to be a bakery, so thats why ive added some four bags, a table with bread, etc. Any critiques or comments are always super helpful, thank you!

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  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    Also here are some close ups of the props I made
  • ThisisVictoriaZ
  • ThisisVictoriaZ
  • JamesBrisnehan
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    JamesBrisnehan polycounter
    You're going for this kind of look right? (see below) Then I think you should try to get a more diffused, lower contrast lighting. Right now it looks like you just have a directional light and no sky light, giving you super dark, very sharp shadows. Definitely add a sky light. Most of the images of this Tiragarde Sound level I found on google seem to be primarily lit by a sky light. The shadows cast by their directional light are only a little bit darker than the areas in full light. You could also soften the shadows of your directional light to help as well. 
    If I remember right, the World of Warcraft style has a lot of gradients and ambient occlusion in the textures. Adding those into your textures could help you achieve the softer look for the lighting. It also looks like WOW is using the texturing technique where brighter parts are less saturated, and darker ares of the texture have more saturated color. I'm sure there are some good tutorials out there on how to mimic the WOW texturing style if you need them.
    One last thing, It looks like the Tiragarde Sound level has a pretty strict color pallet. If you you stick to the same color pallet it would help your scene look like part of the city.

    You have a good start, you just need some more polishing to achieve the look and feel of the WOW art style.


  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    @JamesBrisnehan thank you for the feedback! I defiantly need to watch more tutorials for building lighting in UE4, this is my first big project in this engine. I do have gradients and AO baked into the textures, using substance painter, so ill probably need to make those more obvious. Also thank you for reminding me of the color pallet! 
  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    Update: 
    Ive tweaked colors to match more properly the color pallet of Tirigarde Sound, I've also played with the lighting to make softer shadows and I have a sky light.


  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    Fixed some light maps, added barrels to the foreground, made some slight adjustments to the stone oven texture, and made the roof more curvy to emphasize the Warcraft style  =)=)=)



  • Zimzelen
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    Zimzelen triangle
    Props and models look good and well with the style, only thing bothering me is the bright saturated grass in contrast to the more muted colors of everything else. I think desaturating the grass and maybe adding an extra grass texture to to mix up the ground would add a lot. Some extra foliage would also add to it.
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis high dynamic range
    Yo, here's some ideas;

    - Decrease the tiling of the ground materials. Make grass falloff more sharp.
    - There should be something behind the trees. Maybe mountains?
    - I think you need to start making your props in ZBrush if you want that WoW feel.
  • mpej429
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    mpej429 polycounter lvl 6
    Keep it up, this is going in the right direction.
  • RobinK
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    RobinK polycounter lvl 7
    I haven't played WOW in a long time but looking at screenshots from the area you mentioned here's what I'd change to make it fit better:
    1. The terrain is generally too flat. WOW has a lot of rolling hills everywhere, I don't remember a lot of flat areas at all.
    2. You ground textures are too saturated, but tbh I think they need a lot more work as they're basically just noise textures without any actual grass or dirt detailing.
    3. Make the oven a lot more prominent. This is the thing that'll separate this from all the other building functionality wise so it needs to be pushed much further to become one of the main elements, so maybe scale it up 2 or 3 times. Here's an example from Settlers:
    4. Make the sign bigger and make the bread look more appealing. Could potentially exchange it for a big pretzel to make the silhouette more interesting.
    5. Your trees are way too sparse looking. It's way too obvious that you're just using alpha-cards for the leaves, you need more of them with different orientations so they become more voluminious.
    6. Your ground foliage needs more work, it looks like some of it might be using phototextures or it's clashing for other reasons. Also looks like there's no bleed/dilation on your textures so they have this white outline around them. Might also need custom normals as well if you haven't sat that up already in order to blend better with the ground.
    7. Like someone else mentioned the shadows are still too strong.
    8. Why are there two roofs above the door?

  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    Thank you all for all of the suggestions and critiques! I have alot to do with this scene. I've been working on it for a long time,  I think it might be best for me to take these critiques and knowledge from what I learned, and start on a new environment? 
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis high dynamic range
    Might be a good idea. If you're going for another WoW environment, really study references. Pay extra extra attention to Silhouette. I know I've said it 10 times, but pick up ZBrush. Post every prop and texture you made here in a separate post.


    Get on the Slack chat room. There are loads of us there who can guide you in real time. My art quality improved just by joining a community.
  • DynamoSteel
    Thank you all for all of the suggestions and critiques! I have alot to do with this scene. I've been working on it for a long time,  I think it might be best for me to take these critiques and knowledge from what I learned, and start on a new environment? 
    I don't think you should. I think the best thing you can do is finish the scene and adjust it based on the feedback. Having a finished product and seeing the progression is imo really really good motivation for the next project. Having that discipline to see it through to a ship-ready state will help. 
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis high dynamic range
    I would like to change my answer to agree with dynamo hahaha. You could probably keep pushing this project and push it further. Just check out the references I posted above.
  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    Lmao alright thank you @Ashervisalis @DynamoSteel I will be studying the references and pushing this project to be the best it can be! Will definatly keep posting any updates on this thread 
  • DynamoSteel
    @ThisisVictoriaZ
    Awesome! Can't wait to see the progress. Already in the latest screens it looks miles better than the first!
  • ThisisVictoriaZ
  • ThisisVictoriaZ


    Ive made a new tree branch/leaves texture which will hopefully help the leaves to not look so bulky, and also closer match the style of my reference! 
  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    I remade two of the tree meshes, and also repainted both of their leaf textures. I decreased the saturation of all grass textures also, and I created some mountains in the background of the trees.


  • DynamoSteel
    Nice! The leaves themselves look a lot better, and the green-leaved ones look more voluminous but the yellow-green trees look very thin. It stands out a lot with the foreground tree on the right, looks like there's a leaf card with its side facing the camera.

    Looks like a long string coming from the tree, and that whole left side of it looks to have almost no leaves on it. Very odd looking gap.


  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    @DynamoSteel thanks for pointing that out, I didnt notice that at all. I'll make some adjustments so they dont look so weird and barren
  • DynamoSteel
  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    Added one more new type of tree, made one more new leaf texture for the short trees, and fixed the lighting/shadow issue!! Next up will probably be to make a new and more prominent oven, and to bring the props into zbrush!


  • ThisisVictoriaZ

    Ive added a second grass texture to add dimension to the ground. I also re-textured about half of the props, bringing them into zbrush and making highpoly models, then baking and painting in substance painter!! Also god rays because they make everything look cool



  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    Fixed the oven and sign textures 


  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis high dynamic range
    Hey, god rays are where small amounts of light are piercing through, like a dense canopy or small window. Your god rays are harming the image, I'd get rid of them. Make the transition of the grass / dirt on the path sharper by upping the landscape resolution. Sculpt some pebbles and rocks and sprinkle them around the edge of the pathway. Might want to start messing with colour correction/post processing now; find some reference images and try to give the colour a cool tone!
  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    Yeah I noticed the god rays were way too bright, I've been trying to play around with the settings in unreal but I think you're right I may have to get rid of them. And yes, next on my to do list is to make some small stones and pebbles for the dirt portion, and I'll look into changing landscape resolution while I'm at it. Thanks for the feedback! 
  • allmighty_thunder
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    allmighty_thunder polycounter lvl 10
    I think if add some mountains in the far background that will help the overall composition of the scene.
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis high dynamic range
    Everything in your image is in the midground. Get some trees up close! I didn't paint any mountains in, but I want to see them close and breaking up a third of the blue sky! light a fire in that furnace. Change the time of day to dusk and bring out some stars. Move the barrels to the house, they shouldn't be near the road. Use those fences to guide your viewer's eye to the house. Adjust contrast and colour in post processing. My coworker pointed out you have varying texel density; I would fix that.


  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    @Ashervisalis This is so helpful thank you for taking the time to lay this out visually!!!! Im going to work on this today and make these changes so ill update this thread again when I do that. Also ill take alook at the maya file about the textel density
  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    So here ive rearranged the scene, added more stuff to the forground and midground, touched up that places where the textel density was weird. After reviewing my references all of them are daytime scenes so I wanted to keep my scene a daytime scene as well. I added the bg mountains and some little rocks on the walkway also. I did some color correction in photoshop as well!

  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    I really like how this one turned out, I tried to match the colors in my scene with the colors of some of my references a bit closer


  • DynamoSteel
    I haven't hopped in lately as I have been very busy, but just wanted to say I hope you can step back, take a look at the first scene you posted here and this latest one side by side and look at just how much better it looks! 
  • Dreyzie
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    Dreyzie polycounter lvl 3
    I haven't hopped in lately as I have been very busy, but just wanted to say I hope you can step back, take a look at the first scene you posted here and this latest one side by side and look at just how much better it looks! 
    Agreed. The scene has improved tremendously since the beginning of the thread. I'm especially liking the trees. They match the WoW style very well and look like they would fit right in with Silverpine Forest. 

    One thing I would touch up on is the dirt path leading to the building. It has some obvious tiling and I think needs a bit more variation to help break it up. Maybe you can blend a cobblestone texture on top of the dirt to hide the repetition. Something like in this screenshot for example


  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    @DynamoSteel Thank you so much! It wouldnt have been possible without all of the kind people who have commented to help me out!

    @Dreyzie I totally agree. I actually tried to make a path similar to that but it did not turn out well, I think after watching some tutorials I will attempt it again. Do you know any good tutorials on how to make good stylized ground textures?
  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    Ive added a stone path! Pretty happy with this so far, my deadline for this project is this 31st (friday.) Not sure what else to add tho...


  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis high dynamic range
    Maybe paint a stone material onto the mountain cliffs. I would decrease the tiling factor on the ground grass and dirt textures so as to make the textures bigger. Also, up the resolution of the ground plane to get sharper transitions where different materials are being painted.
  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    @Ashervisalis ok, I'll look into how to do that in ue4
  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    I made the textures for the terrain tile less, and I uped the resolution of the terrain! Also tried out some different post processing stuff 

  • cbates540
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    cbates540 polycounter lvl 5
    Seeing your progression on this project is very inspiring and gives me hope for my own projects. If you are finishing it up, I agree the mountains could use a stone material and maybe look for a few more easy details you could add? The main area looks fantastic but the mountains look a bit forgotten/rushed.

    I also see you're going for a cooler tone in the image, but its looking a bit too brightly blue over everything, if that makes sense. I'd decrease the amount you're adding in post and remember that less is more.
  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    @cbates540 Thank you thats so nice!! And I was think about adding a rocky materials similar to alot of these mountains https://www.artstation.com/artwork/noZbX 

    Also ill tone down the blue for sure, now that im looking at it its defiantly a lot
  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    I added wood planks to the path, stone paths on the mountains (even though you can barely see them), as well as some extra trees and bushes on the mountains as well. I tried to make the rocky texture and failed horribly, if I cant get it right by tomorrow ill just have to do without it. Also I made a version where I toned down the blue but the blue version looks a lot more like a fantasy scene if the makes sense? Ill upload the comparison!


  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    with and without blue overtones in post


  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis high dynamic range
    Without blue overtones looks better :) Your garden area looks  a little busy. You could control that by reducing the number of colours for the plants. Right now there is green, yellow, red, blue stuff. If you adjusted the colour of either the red or the blue plants, in order to reduce the number of colours in that area, it would help tone down the business. I would also reduce the light from the lantern. It's broad daylight, and the lantern is still making a glow on the ground. It keeps drawing my eye in when it probably shouldn't.
  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    Ok, I'll go without the blue then! And I actually just added in the blue plants, so I can easily take them back out if it's making the scene look too clustered and busy. 
  • ThisisVictoriaZ
    Here is the final piece! Its much less blue, I took away most of the purple flowers in the garden area but I left some by the roadside, and lowers the size of the lantern light so it does shine on the ground anymore. I added a fire in the oven, and smoke coming out of all the chimneys. I couldn't get any rock textures for the mountains that I was happy with, but thats ok.
    Im so happy with how this piece turned out thank you to everyone who helped me reach this point!!! (especially @Ashervisalis for commenting so frequently)
    On to the next!


  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis high dynamic range
    Looking forward to your next piece! Good job :)
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