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The Bi-Monthly ENVIRONMENT ART Challenge | September - October (68)

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  • samA
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    samA triangle
    @dyceus the watertank looks really good though I think there's some shading issues with the jar encasement that may want checking.
    Also the box trimsheet is awesome!

    Here's my progress with the water tank project up to now. Not sure what to do with it from here so if anyone has any changes or suggestions let me know! 




  • alytlebird
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    alytlebird greentooth
    samA said:
    @dyceus the watertank looks really good though I think there's some shading issues with the jar encasement that may want checking.
    Also the box trimsheet is awesome!

    Here's my progress with the water tank project up to now. Not sure what to do with it from here so if anyone has any changes or suggestions let me know! 

    *snip*
    Something you could try to push it the extra mile is working on usage-wear, as right now you have very uniform grunge and wear layers. Think about what areas of the machine would be touched and worn down over time, how each material responds to that wear and tear (brass becomes more polished as it wears down, while iron/steel becomes scuffed) and also how the imperfections of the machine internals would lead to more external wear, i.e. leaks at pipe joints, cracks in the rubber tubing, etc. Also consider changing not just the material to show this wear, but also the geometry; have the edges of the handle be a bit softer in places where people interact with it. Anything you can do to break up the uniformity of the prop and tell a story of how it gets used will translate very well into the final piece. :)
  • samA
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    samA triangle
    @alytlebird Thanks your comments, I agree with everything you've said. So much extra detail that I hadn't even considered. Texturings not my strongest area so definitely need to work on that! :)

  • dyceus
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    dyceus triangle
    @samA thanks for bringing the shading issue up.  I have to clean up that piece of the water pump for sure, there are a few issues with it that I've noticed.  I agree with adding some uneven wear to yours as well as some grime and drips to make it feel used.

    Finished up my box trim sheet and modeled some box variants with it applied.  Threw a few into my scene to quickly get a feel for them as well.  I used the trim on the boxes in a way that gave them variation on each side for reusability when rotated.  I think I need one small box and one that is open without the flaps attached to have a set that will fill the scene up with all the types I see.




  • hasgan
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    hasgan polycounter lvl 3
    @dyceus wow that looks really good cardboard material :o
    love those duzctape too
  • Zorina
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    Zorina polycounter lvl 2
    Hi all, I wanted to try doing this challenge for the first time as well. It's really interesting seeing all the different ways everyone is tackling their projects!

    I went with the lighthouse as I like the vibe of the concept piece and I've been wanting to try something larger than what I'm used to.

  • Pinkfox
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    Pinkfox polycounter lvl 3
    Finished up my personal project a couple days ago so I've been putting some time into this finally! Doing the wildcard one, it'd be kind of weird if I didn't being the one who suggested it...

    I've been working on putting together how to do the tanks. The biggest thing I've been trying to work out is how to avoid a massive amount of overdraw from the translucency of all the tanks while still being able to have adjustable water levels. I used the method for generating a water level from the blog I posted early on in this thread as a starting point and then played around with how it could be applied to different geometry to achieve the effects I was hoping for.

    So far I think it's good, though it definitely needs additional refinement and there are a few caveats I'm hoping to alleviate by the end like having to set the water level in two places since the bounding boxes they're based on are different.

    It does avoid the overdraw issue I was concerned about and I managed to scrape back a bit of performance by using the unlit shading model where I could. I still need to test filling a space with them and see if this method tanks performance in any way but I'm hoping that avoiding the overdraw issue as much as possible offsets it enough to be viable.


  • FabioFrosaA
    Here is my progress so far:


    I have many doubts about UV unwrapping.

            1- Should  I try to keep the number of UV islands as low as possible?

            2- Should (almost) every  <90º edge be a seam?

           3- Should I organize the Uvs by making each part a block or should I prioritize occupying the most empty spaces of the map? Also, what should be the margin between the islands?  I've seen that while some margins work with high res textures it breaks when zoomed out in engine, so I had to increase the margin.

           4-  When there is a curved UV island should I make it straight/retanguar? Like with the UV of the side part of a wheel cut in half. It makes the UVs look nicer and seems to save space but I start to get some stretching.

            5- I am thinking about making a single UV map for the whole wagon, so in engine I will use a single material for it. Is that right?

    This is my first challenge, I'm an amateur trying to go pro.I have  a lot to learn to bridge that gap and Polycount has been a great place find those things. It is great to follow others progress and solutions for the challenge.
  • Pinkfox
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    Pinkfox polycounter lvl 3
    @FabioFrosaA If I were doing it I'd approach it using two materials and a few material instances. Though I do think you could probably get away with a single trim sheet for the whole thing if you planned it out really well.

    • The first material would be a tiling texture for the wood planks used on roof, the yellow wall, the red wall under the window, the space above the door, and the planks on the door.
    • The second material would be a trim sheet containing the metal for the smoke exhaust, wood beams (think like the 4 sides of a wood beam with the edges lightened, see the first picture here http://wiki.polycount.com/wiki/ModularMountAndBlade for an example of what I mean), and the decals used (the flowery stencils and triangles used on it)

    The material instances would just be used to tint the materials to the color you need them. If you use a texture for the base color of the wood planks I'd recommend using the alpha channel of it as a mask so you can direct your tint to allow for some paint cracks to show the original color like it has in the concept art.

    Polygon Academy on YouTube has a great series on trim sheets if you've never used them. Should help answer some questions regarding the UVs if you choose to take this approach but I'd definitely love to hear what others think would be the best approach!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DipfrjCgYW8
  • FabioFrosaA
    @Pinkfox Thanks a lot for all of this information. I did not know about Polygon Academy and from a quick look it really seems like its going to answer a bunch of other questions I have.

    I'll do what you said and create two materials. I also didn't know you could use different instances of the same material, that's nice.
  • Pinkfox
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    Pinkfox polycounter lvl 3
    @FabioFrosaA Don't be afraid to experiment to find what works for you. There is no one solution that's perfect and there may be a better approach out there. :D
  • b_beauchamp
    @dyceus Your cardboard material looks incredible. Well done!

    @FabioFrosaA said:
            1- Should  I try to keep the number of UV islands as low as possible?

            2- Should (almost) every  <90º edge be a seam?

           3- Should I organize the Uvs by making each part a block or should I prioritize occupying the most empty spaces of the map? Also, what should be the margin between the islands?  I've seen that while some margins work with high res textures it breaks when zoomed out in engine, so I had to increase the margin.

           4-  When there is a curved UV island should I make it straight/retanguar? Like with the UV of the side part of a wheel cut in half. It makes the UVs look nicer and seems to save space but I start to get some stretching.

            5- I am thinking about making a single UV map for the whole wagon, so in engine I will use a single material for it. Is that right?
    @Pinkfox already gave a lot of great advice, but I'll try to help as well.  :)  I'm also an amateur, so take my advice with a lump of salt.  

    1- In general, fewer islands is better, but don't force a low number of islands. Fewer islands are easier to work with and leave less UV seams, but if there's stretching then its better to make cuts. Sometimes, like with trim sheets, you need to make extra cuts to guide where the textures will go.

    2- Seams don't need to be at certain angles, if there's lots of stretching then that can indicate a good place to make a cut. You can also consider the visibility of the seam and where your textures will go.

    3- I try to fill in most of the map space with minimal margins if I'm doing a unique unwrap. I've never had any issues with textures breaking in engine, could it be an issue with the LODs? 

    4- It's better to straighten UV islands, but if there's a lot of stretching then sometimes you have to compromise or make more cuts. 

    5- I think using a trim sheet or two with material instances like @Pinkfox said is a good idea for your project. Whatever you chose, I would use at least two materials on your mesh to organize where your textures go.

    For my scene I've been working on adding a lot of the smaller props. I added a new drawer chest variation, a table, some medicine jars, and a set of four cardboard boxes to mix with the ones from Quixel. I also made some more labels and used the foliage tool to scatter them across the floor. 



  • Pinkfox
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    Pinkfox polycounter lvl 3
    Got the blockout done finally. Trying to stay close to the concept art but not freaking out if things don't quite line up perfectly.


    Going to focus on getting the tanks and specimens done next since those are the obvious heavy lift of the scene. After that the rest of it should be pretty easy to fill out.
  • FabioFrosaA
    @b_beauchamp thanks for the tips!

    I haven't had a lot of time to make progress and i've just tried some different approach for the texture creation, from substance designer, blender nodes and quixel mixer. It is my first time trying Quixel Mixer and it looks awesome.

    @Pinkfox
    I realized I didn't understand the part you tell me to use the decals for the wood on the second material. As I wouldn't have seperate UV maps, how to place the decals in a way that the rest of the mesh UV does not overlap with other parts? I am not sure if I can explain my doubt.

    Just to show my progress, though these are more like experiments.

    the first one is from blender nodes, the others from Mixer.



  • Pinkfox
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    Pinkfox polycounter lvl 3
    @FabioFrosaA You'd essentially be using geometry that floats just above the surface of the mesh. In Blender a simple way to do this can be to duplicate your mesh, use a displace modifier with something like 0.01 in strength (this fixes the Z fighting problem), apply that modifier, and then cut out the areas you want the decals to be. If you UV unwrap those floating geometry pieces you can then align the separate UV islands to whichever decal they should be.


    That article has a great example of what I mean if you scroll down to the "Modeling" section of it. The second picture in that section shows the model with the normal decals on top. In addition, the "Materials" section of the article you can see what their decal material looks like to get an idea of how it works. Basically it's a bunch of shapes that have an alpha channel to cut them out so you can overlay them onto another piece and have them blend nicely.
  • nikosbn
    Hello everyone,

    This is my first time posting in PL and in general (trying to overcome the bubble effect of being afraid of showcasing your work ^^). You all did amazing work and i cant wait to see your final results. I chose the Siena concept cause i really wanted to learn modularity in both modeling and texturing and also because i really love that concept. The only change is that i decided to do have a more stylized approach. All the materials were made in Substance Designer (Tileables and trims).

    For the plaster, i will probably use a height based shader with vertex paint. For the wood, i created a trim sheet with damage alphas in order to tint the color inside the engine because of all the variations i need. If anyone wants i can showcase the shader as well as the way i set up the substance designer nodes.


    I will also try to make a better breakdown in my next update. I will also try to provide some feedback if i can :)

  • samA
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    samA triangle
    I've made some more progress and gone back to add some more wear and grunge to the model. Not sure if I'm a 100% happy with it yet but I think it looks better than before. I also put it into unreal to render it in realtime since I was using cycles which slowed progress down with rendering.










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