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[UE4] Scribe's Table

polycounter lvl 6
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Ali_Youssef polycounter lvl 6
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Howdy poly-extruders !

I'm doing a cheeky micro-environment to focus on my modeling, since I've been slacking on that side for a while now.
The idea is to get good enough detail for macro-shot-esque angles, with a clear enough image with all the assets placed and shown together.
I also want them to be quite flexible and have them easily-reusable in later environments if that is ever needed.

Anyway, here is the blockout

Haven't done much other than that yet, decided to start showing work here as early as possible to avoid late feedback.

Would love any ideas or suggestions !
Thanks a bunch


  • Ali_Youssef
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    Ali_Youssef polycounter lvl 6
    Hello again, got a quick little update

    I done-did the books which you can see in this updated main shot

    And some close-ups

    p.s. those are not entirely done yet, so feedback would certainly be both implemented and appreciated

    Since there are a lot of them, and they are quite important to this scene (obviously), I've spent a bit of time and effort trying to make the books quite reusable without losing the quality of the textures.
    So I've split the material into a base texture set, and a content texture set (on a second UV channel). The latter would of course be replaceable, and allow packing multiple pages to be used via the flipbook node.

    the drawing is a royalty-free image I found online, since I can't draw for shit

    The base texture set also allows dynamic colouring, to generate multiple variations of the book covers, blended via a mask (nothing fancy here).
    It was a bit difficult to keep the dirt and edge weathering consistent since the cover could be darker or lighter than these effects, and I didn't want to rebuild the SP stack in the shader, but I think I got away with it with a minimal quality loss.

    And finally of course, the cover also allows overlaying a 'content texture set', which includes a normal map for "carved" (or protruded) cover designs.

    This one is just a proof of concept for the shader; I still have to make a couple of cover variations.

    Let me know what you think !
    And definitely let me know if I'm talking way too much about books.

    Cheerio !
  • sarasumm
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    sarasumm polycounter lvl 4
    Looks good so far! I'd suggest adding more cracks/weathering to your shader to make the books feel older and more individual.

    The cracks along the leather spine and the scratched off pieces can really help to seel that look. Maybe also some embossing along with the stitching and decorative pieces. 
  • Ali_Youssef
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    Ali_Youssef polycounter lvl 6
    @sarasumm Thank you for the great suggestion ! (and sorry for taking this long to respond)

    I've added a damage parameter with varying intensity, to have control on how old the books look

    This solved an issue I hadn't prepared for, which is how similar all books looked. So another parameter to set the variations apart is more than welcome !

    As for an update for the scene, I've added a book stand and some candles. Not much; haven't had too much time unfortunately.

  • Joopson
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    Joopson quad damage
    One minor thing, when building wooden objects, pay close attention to grain direction, because it informs the construction, and can add a lot to believability. In most cases, the grain should follow along the longest dimension of a piece. So, for example, a picture frame; on the sides, the grain should travel up and down; and on the top and bottom it should travel side to side.

    Grain is what gives wood its strength, and also its longest dimension. Here's a photo of an oak framed panel (from a piece of furniture by the woodworker Peter Follansbee, who's amazing), and I've marked some black lines to show the grain direction.

    You can see, even on the panel, the grain is following the longest dimension.

    With your writing desk, you have marquetry, which presents its own unique grain direction challenges; as it's made out of many smaller pieces of wood, each with their own grain direction. I think overall the texturing looks good, but with such a small close-up scene, attention to detail is really important for making it look great. Excited to see more! Good stuff.

  • Ali_Youssef
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    Ali_Youssef polycounter lvl 6
    @Joopson you are so right, that I feel slight shame I haven't given this a thought
    It's a problem I've always had with wood but never noticed !
    I've already split the wood into planks/pieces, which is something I've also ignored for way too long (used to have one large carved blob), and I can already imagine how much this will resolve
    Thank you so much, I will definitely fix this asap
  • birb
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    birb interpolator
    Nice candle!

    You can increase the books realism by adding two new details to them:


    Joints are the cover grooves found a couple of millimetres from they meet the spine. Hardcover books, specially thick old ones, rarely lack joints or the stress caused by opening them would cause the covers to quickly detach from the spine.

    Backing arc in opened books

    Your open books have a curved spine and a flat backing. Spines sometimes remain convex when opening books (others they become concave or get flattened). The backing though is flexible, always curving in an arc to accommodate the new text block disposition. This is why they exist.
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