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~UPDATED~ Japanese Inspired Bakery Diorama [Complete]

Hey all, 

This is the second project of my Masters degree in Game Art (the time frame of which is 6 weeks). 

I am currently working on a Japanese Bakery focusing on a more rustic decor inspired by Studio Ghibli, Tokyo Storefronts (By Mateusz Urbanowicz), among other things (see below! :D

It is set in modern day during the early afternoon. 

This will be a thread of my progress and I welcome constructive criticism as this will be helpful for me! 

(First Blockout) 

Here I was just trying to get the right composition for all the props within the diorama. 

It will just be the corner part of the bakery, focusing on the cookery / counter area. 

(Second Blockout) 

Here I removed the two shelves above the stove, placed an alcove, and started placing more props around the scene. 

(Third Blockout) 

I'm pretty happy with the composition so far so I haven't changed this so much. 

Along the way I have been placing my scene in Unreal and have completed a light pass. 

(Unreal Light Pass Test 1 for blockout 2)

(to be continued) 


  • FinelyAtomized
    Good Afternoon All! 

    I'm back to update you all on the progress of my Japanese Bakery Diorama and can confirm that it is complete! Hooray! 

    Below I'll post some more progress screenshots and the final outcome of the project. 

    Thank you very much for checking this out. 

    As always, any constructive criticism is welcome :) 

    Hope you're all staying safe during these uncertain times


    These are the blockout stages of my project. One mistake that I made was completing all of the blockout in Maya rather than importing all meshes into UE4 so that I could conduct lighting passes and not waste time placing objects within the scene that would later be exported out and placed individually. 

    During the time frame of completing this project the Final Fantasy 7 Remake was released which really inspired some of my lighting and prop choices. I took the time to screenshot my favourite parts of the kitchens used using PS4 for reference. 

    When looking at my diorama, you may be able to tell that the oven and stovetop styles used here really inspired and helped inform some of the choices when picking reference to create props within my scene. For instance, for the oven used in my scene I used an older style wood burning oven. 

    (I have also posted on here RE the modelling of the oven: https://polycount.com/discussion/219102/maya-zbrush-modelling-advice#latest  )

    After finalising my blockout in Maya, I began to bring my meshes into UE4 and get started on the texturing process and lighting passes. 

    The original lighting for this scene was very warm and orange which I later changed to be quite cool toned as it was set in the mid afternoon. 

    For the alcove above the cooking area, it took me a few attempts of trial and error to finally settle on the right material for this. You will also see that the UVs for this are stretching and are restricted, so I went back into Maya and fixed this! 

    I settled on using a basic material created in UE4 and applied a normal map to create that more rustic and traditional bakery look which was inspired by my prior references. 


    For the lighting of this scene, I decided to use the window to my advantage and as the main source of light that the diorama would be receiving. I placed some fog within the scene and also some point lights so that the light coming from the window would be bounced which is more accurate to how light works within the real world. This created areas of light and dark within the scene and leads the eye around the back of the kitchen to the front and finally to the cakes! 

    For the stove, I actually used several decals and emissives to exaggerate heat coming from the appliance. 

    And now for the final outcome! 


  • mhofever
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    mhofever polycounter lvl 9
    I think the idea is quite cool but there are some things that are throwing me off a little so I've written some notes on how you could improve the scene.

    1.  My biggest take from this is that the texture's are looking quite flat. They don't seem to catch the lighting very well which results in them quite flat. As you mentioned making this look more rustic, might be worth gathering some rustic wood references and look at how they're catching the light with the roughness and bumps of the surface.


    The glass case can also use some roughness to it, possible some wipe marks to show it's been cleaned or some finger print mark made by an impatient customer who's drooling over the cakes.

    2. I'd probably keep the wood hue for the counters within a similar hue range. There's two noticeably different ones which feels a little disjointed. If you look at your FF7 Remake screens, they've done a good job of restricting to a palette of colours to harmonise the scene.

    There's a bit too much bloom at the window, I'd just get rid of the bloom as it doesn't add to the scene, instead it's just masking the detail of the area it's covering or just tone it done by 80-85%.

    Everything looks a little too clean, most notably the walls and wood beams. Nothing in real life is perfect, you'll always find some slight imperfection in even the most cleanest shops. 

    3. As mentioned before, imperfection is key to selling a scene like this. Even though this being a Japanese bakery, there's always going to be something that'll look like it's been handled by a person. Put yourself in the shoes of the baker who runs this. How would  you arrange the items? The bread on the shelves will not always be 100% lined up together, some of them will eventually slouched a little. 

    Show some of the cakes in display cut and sliced like they have been sold to someone. Show that there's some business that's going on in this bakery and not just desperately waiting for customers to buy those delicious cakes. And some bits of crumbs around the sliced cakes to help sell that more.

    4. Probably a repeat of the first point but there seems to be a lack of roughness and  normals to catch the light better, especially the cakes as you really want to make them look very scrumptious. 

    It also looks like you're using too many point lights in the scene, some of them might be causing the overall scene to look flat. I suggest focusing on your main light and tweaking that then later you can use some extra lights to support the scene, like having ones in the display casing. Start simple with lighting and dont overcomplicate it at the beginning, pretty much.

    The prologue to Luigi's Mansion 3 caught my eye when I was playing it the other day. The colour palette and lighting it uses feels positive and uplifting, maybe something you can inject into your scene to make it pop more.

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