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UE4 - Environment practice | looking for critique

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This is me practicing on making environments on a super small scale. This is my 3rd environment ever done in Unreal.

This is my first time writing a post on polycount and I'm a little awkward to ask your thoughts, realizing that very little has been done in this scene, but if someone could express their opinion, I will be extremely grateful for your valuable experience :) 

The goal was to make personal road/ground textures and personally I love how it turned out, hope they not that bad. Also, I wanted to do something close to the playing area as a part of the "some" level.
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I felt that something had to be done, before this, there were tests with speed tree, vertex painting, POM, Tessellation, Pixel depth offset, custom scattering volume, physics-based mesh placement (loved it!), UE4 fundamental classes and many more, but this is not about that, I'm sorry.

So I took one reference from Pinterest (then forgot about the preparation one of few stages (as you can see, I didn’t do any other preparations) where it was necessary to highlight all the main types of vegetation, and instead of downloading 15-20 types, I could stop at 3-5 types of foliage)



reference photo and the result that went in a completely different direction.





- Road/Ground textures were made in Quixel Mixer using a few of 2K Megascans surfaces textures and combined together. 
- Foliage/rocks/cliffs/decals/scatter from Megascans. 

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  • teodar23
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    teodar23 polycounter
    First off, i am in no shape or form an experienced artist, I'm just someone that is (like you) trying to get better at this and maybe get a job in the industry. But, over the years i noticed some things that i think could help you in your endeavor.

    Let's break down the disclaimer that you started with:
    1. You state that this is a practice scene yet you consider that to be good enough for critique. I think you should ask for feedback on stuff that is "your best" or portfolio material that is of the highest quality in your opinion, not something that you put together to test or practice something. That way, if you do get feedback on it, you know where you're at and also let others see where you're at.
    2. You "love how it turned out, hope they not that bad". So subconsciously you realize that it might not be that good. If you were to do an average on those 2 opinions it turns out that it is ok-ish. Try to think really critical about your work and remember that an artist is never satisfied with his stuff:

    3. You realize that little has been done on your side and i presume you are referring to the usage of assets from quixel or marketplace.
    Using third party assets is ok for an environment artist as long as a)you credit the authors and b) you don't rely entirely on them. They are good to test out some things like lighting, PP and overall mood or to tell a story through the environment. Your scene doesn't relay much in terms of story, composition or interesting artistic choices.
    4. You talk about tests that were done previously that have nothing to do with this scene. Those would have been cool to see incorporated in this scene and show that you are able to use all of those "tools" that you mentioned.
    5. Your scene and the reference pic have no resemblance other than they're both somewhere in nature. Nobody, especially recruiters, will see that as something positive. Set a goal, plan on how to get to it and follow it.

    But wait, there's more:

    1. There's a huge difference in texel density on those rocks. That immediately stands out and brings down the whole immersion.
    2. The barrier model is identical in all 3 instances and its noticeable even if you rotate or partially hide them; use some decals if you don't have the luxury of having model variations. Also, realistically, placing just one would have sufficed for such a small road. Think about real world occurrence and decisions.
    3. The ground texture scale seems off. That red rock looks like crumbled brick or some debris from the nearby rocks and its just too large compared to everything else.

    I know this has been quite brutal but feedback that is less than 100% honest is worse than no feedback at all. I hope this doesn't discourage you from asking for c&c in the future.

    This will seem like i am trying to make up for the above brutal-ness but i kinda like the scene, really!
  • zdmit
    @teodar23 Those words were exactly what I wanted, can't appreciate it enough! 

    I really appreciate your first breakdown, glad you took attention to it! I assume this was obvious from the side view but little surprising for me. 

    1. Texel density. Gotcha! 
    2. Yes, totally forgot about adding decals on those barriers. Realized it only after publishing this, thank you for mention it!
    3. Texture scale/scale of the brick(rock), also noticeable pixel depth offset, thank you for noticing it! 

    - "Set a goal, plan on how to get to it and follow it." - the more I immerse in this area the more realize how much the planning stage means ✌️

    Once again, super thankful for your thoughts, will write down the conclusions made after your words! 
    ____
    Also, I like some of your work on artstation! Are you currently working on something? 
    Wishing you the best!
  • teodar23
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    teodar23 polycounter
    Hey man,
    I hope it helps!
    I am working on a bunch of stuff like a half life 2 map remake in ue4, trying to finish polycount's nov-dec challenge, doing some gun accesories and practicing substance designer. All that after hours and of course progress is very slow...
  • zdmit
    teodar23 

    Hey! Yes, it was really helpful, gave an idea of some things so again, thank you!
    Oh wow, that's awesome! Would love to see finished half life 2 map 👍

    In my opinion, no matter how slow progress is, it is still progress. And ultimately, if you really want to be where you plan (I think you want it a lot), you will find ways and solutions!
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