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[WIP] Medieval Castle - University Final Major Project

mwoods94
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mwoods94 triangle
Hey guys!

I'm a university student and currently onto the second week of development for my final major project, I'm hoping to use this thread to gather feedback and improve my art and create a successful portfolio piece. All critque is welcome! No matter how harsh :) 

So I'd like to start with the general idea of the project. By combining two concept arts that I think are fantastic, I can visualise an epic exterior environment that is within the walls of a huge castle, with a looming and gracious keep in the background towering over everything. Giving that fantasy esence. References: (https://www.artstation.com/artwork/rRGkG5) and (https://www.artstation.com/artwork/Pk5o4).

Again i'd like to state that this concept was the combination of two pieces of art that was already created. This is just to provide me with a visual aid.

This then led to the blockout of the castle.

The various modular components that I will need.


Feedback from my tutors have told me to try and make it look less modern, removing the fencing and modernised fantasy buildings and focus on creating something more medieval and used. This is something that I will address once I've finished the modular components to the buildings.
Below shows my progress with the modular houses, something I hadn't done before and I'm still getting my heads around how to create it truely modular. 




There's a lot of problems with the modularity, I got carried away trying to match the high poly, that i completely overlooked how each piece should be merging together. I don't like how it looks like small pieces of logs thrown together, ignoring physics. I think I might have to re-do the walls which messes up my schedule, what do you think? restart certain areas or move on and edit later?

Thanks in advance! :) 

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  • mwoods94
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    mwoods94 triangle

    Little update, completed a door asset with the wall to go along with it, made some changes to the sizes of things. Still not happy with how the pieces are fitting together, I'm thinking perhaps 2 tileable textures and very simple geometry wouldve been better than unique assets/materials that have baked down information

    Here's pics





  • mwoods94
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    mwoods94 triangle
    Update time! Created some beams that can be used to disguise any bad intersections within my modular assets and it seems to work quite well!




    As well as some floor boards for any overhanging sections: 
    And I've finally began working on the rooftop elements! By learning from my mistakes, I've created an two assets that piece together perfectly whilst also keeping the historic value of how these buildings were constructed.



    Next step is to sort out the roofing tiles! Update should be within the next couple days :) Any feedback is welcome! 
  • Vizimir
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    Vizimir polygon
    Hello,

    some feedback from me on modular elements:

    - I don't know if i understand correctly but are you using one unique material for each modular piece? better approach would be to make one tilable material for white plaster and one  trim sheet for all wooden elements, it would seva on performance of the scene and you can make the horizontal elements to join nicely and get rid of these seams.

    - windows look a bit too small for me, escpecially on height, also usually in this type of architecture widnows (and doors) are pasted between two columns not cutting one column in half


    - materials, I don't like the green moss on wooden elements, usually these elements were painted with dark paint(with tar in medival times https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar ), with moss on it the whole building should be in rather bad condition, also plaster could be more rough 

    - overall concept look good, but for environment creation I would stick with one architecture style for houses, and change only colors slightly from buidling to building, right now the scope of whole scene is pretty big so I would focus on reducing amount of work on each independant house.

    Keep it coming!


  • mwoods94
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    mwoods94 triangle
    Vizimir said:
    Hello,

    some feedback from me on modular elements:

    - I don't know if i understand correctly but are you using one unique material for each modular piece? better approach would be to make one tilable material for white plaster and one  trim sheet for all wooden elements, it would seva on performance of the scene and you can make the horizontal elements to join nicely and get rid of these seams.


    Yeah currently its a unique material per asset with baked information, which is the source of a lot of problems and why the pieces don't fit together (as I've modelled according to the high poly too) and I've come to realise that two tileable materials would've been a lot better. I'll take a look at pushing the wood further and experiment a little :) 

    Thanks!
  • mwoods94
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    mwoods94 triangle
    Think it's about time to update this thread! So far I haven't implemented the feedback due to trying to get everything else done, hopefully I can make corrections in the near future. So far I've created an asset pack that will allow me to build the environment up fully.


    Here's some closer shots of the buildings, I still need to create a master material for the walls and I am going to add more damage and grime to the surfaces of the wattle and daub to enhance the medieval aesthetic! Also I need to create more buildings to add variety to the scenes.






    Next up is the castle walls! I've implemented them into a spline so I can create the outer walls properly. There's three types, two are basically the same but different sizes which will create the middle and outer wall sections, whilst the smaller wall is for the interior districts.



    And finally I've been playing around with lighting! By using a skybox called "Goodsky" on the marketplace, I've tried to create two different scenes - morning and day time, the day time scene is quite underlit so I need to correct that




    Please feel free to leave any constructive feedback! :) 
  • teodar23
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    teodar23 greentooth
    Looks good overall.
    But i would try to remove some of that repetition especially texture tiling.
    The lighting is quite dark, i think you should increase both the skylight and the sun contribution.
  • mwoods94
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    mwoods94 triangle
    teodar23 said:
    Looks good overall.
    But i would try to remove some of that repetition especially texture tiling.
    The lighting is quite dark, i think you should increase both the skylight and the sun contribution.
    Thanks! Yeah I have a lot of work to do on the materials :) Just trying to get some more of the other elements further along the pipeline to get a better scope of the whole project before I can start refining properly. Yeah I'm fairly new to lighting and still getting a grip of what the different settings do, I'll play around with the skylight and sun contribution as you said and post up later :) 
  • mwoods94
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    mwoods94 triangle
    Update! I've been playing around with making the house textures better and I think I've been quite successful in doing so! 





    Next up, Ive decided I wanted to try and change the landscape to make the composition better, so here's a before and after of the landscape


    Before:

    After: 

    Something went wrong with the lighting in the newer landscape, so I'll be fixing that to match the previous lighting.

    Also I wanted to recreate this sort of medieval roadway sections-roads-European-Pierre-Tresaguet
    But i'm not sure how to go about it? You can see in the picture above that I've tried to do a landscape spline but it hasn't worked exactly. I used the landscape master material for the texture, should I create a seperate material for the spline? As I can't actually paint onto it with either mesh paint or landscape painter.

    All feedback is welcome! 
  • mwoods94
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    mwoods94 triangle
    Quick update to the landscape:
    aa2c7b7bfa0b0d8551e4add46f0b560cjpg Starting to blend in the roadway
  • JamesBrisnehan
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    JamesBrisnehan interpolator
    I think the curvature in that diagram of the medieval road might have been exaggerated for clarity. I think it would look better if the slope was less extreme. More like these examples. Also while I was looking up these images, I noticed that the guy who invented the type of roads listed in your diagram wasn't born until 1716, which means that type of road is more of a colonial era style than medieval. And it's more of a between-cities kind of road than a city-center kind of road. 



    More often when I look at medieval in-town type streets, they are actually concave with gutter in the center leading. . . somewhere. There are storm drains in the photos, but I feel like that might be a more recent add-on. I don't know how modern the stonework and civil engineering is in the following images, but to me they look pretty authentic. Some research would probably be a good idea if you are going for historical accuracy. But if you are going for a more fantasy vibe for your scene, go with whatever you think looks cool. 



    Looking forward to seeing how this turns out.
  • teodar23
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    teodar23 greentooth
    Clear improvement in your textures, man!
    But you need to increase the contrast in that brick-to-plaster instance.

    About the lighting, im not a fan of the green tint, looks like something made by the Wachowski brothers. :)
  • mwoods94
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    mwoods94 triangle
    Sorry I havent been updating recently, been trying to get as much as I can done! 

    Based on feedback on the textures i further pushed the contrast in the masks, and added a green tone based on the ambient occlusion: 

    Think it makes a huge difference!

    Further environment development...Ive built more individual buildings that are unique and I heavily based them on source imagery of germanic structures





    Heres one of the generic towers from the background that I've started to re-develop into a unique tower, I plan to add wood trims along the side of it, a unique brick texture with weathering decals and stone bricks around the edge. 

    Atleast that's one side of the road done to an extent, next up is pushing individual asset development further and creating another cart model


    Slowly getting through the UVs before I create the high poly, updates will follow next week!...I need to catch up on my essay writing first  :/

    With a month left I'm slowly feeling the stress, any advice is welcome, especially about what I should really be focusing on now :)

    Thanks in advance!
  • Fabi_G
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    Fabi_G polycounter lvl 3
    Hi!

    One of the most important things will be lighting, so put enough resources there.

    If the look is going towards realistic, I would consider to source some scanned materials. When using UE4, you are free to use Megascans assets with it (sign in with Epic account). Introducing scanned attributes into your materials could save you time and add fidelity. They also have foliage atlases.

    Using trim sheets and tiling textures for environment modules and even props (carts) can save you lots of time, which you can then spend to make the overall scene more nice.

    Also it's not super clear to me what your final goal is. Should this be a scene one can explore? Or fixed camera?
    If exploration, maybe do some floor plan so you know what goes where (points of interest) and it doesn't feel empty in the end. 

    Make time calculations, that you can scale down/ adjust when it get's tight!
    Play/examine games with similar settings/environments (maybe "A Plague Tale").

    Much success!
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis insane polycounter
    Heck ya, keep going on this project. The lighting is kind of washing out the image right now. The town is reminding me a little of Solitude from Skyrim.
  • mwoods94
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    mwoods94 triangle
    How about something like this?

    I might do a few different experimentations with lighting and post them on here to see what you guys think :) 
    The environement will be used for some portfolio shots and a short 2 minute cinematic going through the environment. It wont be a playable environment 

  • mwoods94
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    mwoods94 triangle
    Heres something I've been playing around with: 


    This was without my lighting bake, just wanted to post this up quickly to see what people think :) 
    For whatever reason I cant get the atmospheric and height fog to work in "game view", any ideas? :/
  • teodar23
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    teodar23 greentooth
    That looks way too bright to be just the moonlight. About the fog, check your settings to be at least on high and also check your ppv settings.
  • JamesBrisnehan
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    JamesBrisnehan interpolator
    The moonlit idea is cool, just be sure to find and study good lighting reference. Perhaps there is a medieval/fantasy Movie or TV show with some good nighttime cinematography you could use as reference?
  • mwoods94
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    mwoods94 triangle
    Yeah Im having to play around with the lighting a lot to try and get a good balance between visuals and realism, like at night it should be extremely dark but at that point I wouldnt have anything to show. I was actually looking at the Witcher 3 for inspiration aswell as fine art. If the object is facing the directional light then it does give the brightness of my second picture, but if it isn't then I'd say it matches something similar to these pictures seen below.

    video games night evening The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt midnight darkness screenshot


    rwitcher - Have you tried walking around Novigrad at night Its incredible
    Gonna be tweaking some more so hopefully will have an update by tomorrow after rendering  :) 

  • JamesBrisnehan
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    JamesBrisnehan interpolator
    I think to get closer to the Witcher lighting reference try turning the directional light's intensity down to half of where you have it, increase the sky light intensity 2-3 times where it's at now, increase the saturation of the light color on both, and if you're doing baked lighting increase the indirect intensity on both lights to get some stronger bounce.
    That city in the Witcher seems to be lit primarily by the sky light, and the directional light torches/lanterns are just used to accent and highlight. One thing I've done in the past when trying to find the right intensity for a sky light is to turn off all of the other lights and do some test bakes with just the sky.
  • mwoods94
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    mwoods94 triangle
    So a little better development regarding the lighting, and using UE4 "Soul Cave" fog cards to fake clouds around the moon.


  • teodar23
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    teodar23 greentooth
    Looks good but the moon itself is very bright and the overall image is very contrasty. In real life your eye adapts to low light situation by "increasing" the whole scene brightness. So your ambient (skylight) should be increased OR increase exposure and lower directional light intensity.
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