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Art test post mortem

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Completed!

Well, after much amazing feedback and some work, I am happy to announce that I am done with this piece. There are no doubt things that could be improved, there always will be, but I believe that the work now reflects my current skill level and I hit a point of diminishing results in terms of how much time I put in vs the difference it makes. I think I've gone quite a long way from the bland mid way screenshots I started this thread with, and even further considering the original piece (it was god awful..).

This was my first post on Polycount and you people are the most welcoming and helpful buch out there, kudos to you!

More on my Artstation



Hello everyone! 

I've recently started seriously working towards a career as an Env artist, I am self taught so did not have much in terms of school/work experience in this field. With that came a couple of art tests (that I failed). This one was the 1st I took (studio asked to remain anonymous). I had 3 days, and managed to scrape the lower images together. Since the studio does not give feedback, I had a critical think about what I think went wrong, and decided to continue working on it to hopefully turn it into a worthy portfolio piece. I think I'm at a point where feedback is crucial, as I'm starting to slow down with progress. Save for the sand bags and rocky cliffs, I've made all the models, textures mostly from quixel with some adjustments in mixer/painter

Your thoughts on the scene would be much appreciated. Of things that I yet need to add would be a few dry bushes here and there, and some dried grass on the roof and scattered around. A few wooden crates to make the storage area more interesting.

Things I've changed since the original submission:
- Picked ONE camera angle to frame the scene
- Changed the lighting, colour, added backdrop (originally it was super flat as it was not a criteria)
- reworked the area behind the house to create a bit of a point of interest
- re-built the house and made it modular
- Eliminated several tiling texture sets for 1 trim
- Packed all my decals to RGB textures/trims
- reworked the snow material/teselation

These are the "old" shots, that were submitted for the test: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1WIpVOE6SeP2PXfk2ELu_tXJt5GiBcuMI?usp=sharing


Replies

  • teodar23
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    teodar23 interpolator
    Hey,
    So the modeling looks ok, nothing bad nor amazing. The camouflage net looks a bit odd, meaning it should be draped on the underlying wooden thing.
    There is some repetition in the roof texture and the snow blend is way too sharp - unrealistic.
    I would add some more fog to the scene or some particle system that mimics fog.
    Also, i would suggest using a hdri instead of the stock unreal sky material.
    Keep going, its a good start.
  • Joseph_Bramlett
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    Joseph_Bramlett polycounter lvl 2
    Im surprised you went with the first image as your more polished render. The bottom Left image has the most interesting information going on with the dock and stuff. Ide maybe work on making  composition that keeps that in the frame. 
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis high dynamic range
    The grass on the roof looks quite bad. I would suggest taking another shot at it. The amount, even distribution, and the material look odd. I've not seen anything like it before in real life, it kind of looks like a hair cut. I do like the materials you've used around the set.
  • Aionard
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    Aionard triangle
    Thank you all for your feedback! that's plenty to look into! 

    Roof is still in progress indeed, and will be covered with some wiltered grass (which is for sure not going to be the spiky bad haircut from old shots ;) ). I am terrible at vegetation, and it does show -_- 

    I do like the dock side of the render, so I will work on adding that into the mix, I just thought it lacked atmosphere since It was a wide shot with blow out light to show all the textures and models etc.

    Any suggestions about draping the camo net in a relistic way? Blender's cloth sim wasn't amazing so far
  • tysiu
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    tysiu keyframe
    Any suggestions about draping the camo net in a relistic way? Blender's cloth sim wasn't amazing so far
    Increase vertex mass in the cloth simulation or play with settings and subdivision levels and it should work better.
  • birb
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    birb greentooth
    I like the materials and your color choices. I also prefer the docks, it looks like a fun place to wander into, but I do like the atmosphere of the new version because the cabin no longer looks like a lonely prop dropped into the middle of a blank map. Though creating a wider background to place that area into might have fallen outside the scope for the art test it really adds to the scene.

    So, the critique I got might not fall exactly into the tasks pertaining the position, but it doesn't hurt to keep these things in mind since it's not possible to fully decouple them from props creation and composition anyway.

    What's the story behind it?
    You don't need to create anything elaborated, just take what you hinted at and run with it. There are bullet holes on the wall followed by blood then... a perfectly upright cup. If it belonged to the same owner of the blood it'd not be unreasonable for it to be fallen on its side given the direction of the shots and blood splatter.

    It'd change the narrative from "someone was killed here" to "someone was ambushed and killed here", all using the same props. Borrowing a bit from writing, a scene serving more than one function—a scene that imparts more information—is superior to a scene that hits all checkboxes mechanically.

    Want to take it a step further?

    What was this person doing before being killed? Was he a fisherman? Was he waiting or keeping watch? Was that person the only one on the scene? If you add something like a book or an old newspaper (if the place isn't too far from civilization) you'll communicate that this person was on a break or waiting for something. Add a turned chair under the second set of bullet holes and you imply someone else was here. Add some fishing gear and you build onto the narrative that this was originally a cabin for fishermen overtaken by the bad guys, or maybe a hideout posing as a cabin for fishermen.


    The second critique is color grading and working the lights a bit more to sell your work.

    I threw way too many things into the bucket here, be picky about which ones apply to a given scene.

    - Be careful with areas that are too dark. They make for a poor experience for players, and throwing a sharp light isn't as helpful as using a wider, more diffuse light because the sharp one will up the contrast, making the nearby darker areas even darker and harder to read. Ideally you'll take care of the blacks with the scene lighting, as doing it after the fact tends to flatten everything and look like crap.



    - Use lights with different temperatures and hues if you can, grouping by types. The light on the crates doesn't need to be the same color of the ones on the cabin since they're likely not the same type of lights. You may also use a more interesting sky light or discreet ghost lights with a different hue to bring colors out (take this one with a huge grain of salt, I don't have enough experience to know the full performance impact of doing this). Thing is, flat lighting results in an artificial environment. Lighting that shifts in hue adds depth to it, even when you use hues that aren't obviously present in the scene (but are through the addition of lights as blue + yellow = green) because it'll be perceived as bounced lighting.

    - The hue of the ambient light might not match the exact hue of the sky. In situations like the top picture you have direct lighting shining on the atmosphere that doesn't reach the ground, making vast parts of it slightly redder/yellow than the ground fill light. Again this may be the difference between a more artificial and natural looking scene. Taking care with the fill lights, making them noticeable in the shadows implies the existence of air between the viewer and the object being seen, grounding it in the setting. It can also make it too moody and fuzzy when heavy handed like below, so you'll have to decide how much artistic liberty you'll be taking here.



    That's it. Huh, this turned out longer than intended, but I hope it helps, maybe? :o

  • Aionard
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    Aionard triangle
    Holy mackerel @birb you did go above and beyond O.O I absolutely love the points you made, and I was actually playing around with a cold/blue fill light on the house today, made it pop so much more just like you pointed out in your critique. The B&W breakdown is hugely helpful as well, and I do have to implement it into my workflow. This is tons of information and work for me to go digest and implement, thank you so much! 
  • F3NR1R
    Hey @Aionard
    excuse me for going off topic, but I am curious now. Did you put your job hunt on pause until you feel more confident taking art tests; or did you eventually got a position?
  • Aionard
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    Aionard triangle
    @F3NR1R I am constantly searching and applying, this is just a piece that was an art test that I failed, but I thought I did get some good work done, so I thought I'd keep working on it to make it to the best standard I can and then add it to my  portfolio. Just keep going :) 
  • Aionard
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    Aionard triangle
    So since my last update, I've been made redundant and had plenty of time to work on this, fleshed out the tent to what I think is it's final form (also added another angle of presentation), added some bits to my bridge angle. I am really delaying moving into trees and bushes since I have no clue how to make them well, but I think it's starting to be really apparent that's what will tie a lot if it together....
  • Aionard
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    Aionard triangle
    Some Further light tweaks, light geo changes, and addition of trees later, I think I'm starting to see the end of it. I also recalibrated my monitor since my gamma was a bit off. I feel the middle of the area is very empty and unaccommodated, but then again I  am afraid of overloading it, so I might have to take a step back to look for inspiration.


  • Joseph_Bramlett
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    Joseph_Bramlett polycounter lvl 2
    Its coming along really nicely. You mentioned your composition is feeling off/ empty. You might want to look at some traditional landscape paintings and see how they fill the space. Ide recommend looking up American Landscape paintings specifically as they deal with a similar type of scene and have some simple but effective rules of thumb for how to compose a scene. This includes breaking your image into a  clear foreground , mid ground, back grounds. Typically with the foreground being land dominant, the mid ground being a body of water and the background being a mountain. If you do a google search of American Landscape paintings maybe throw in the word snow or artic as well and that can give you some more direct results. 
  • Aionard
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    Aionard triangle
    @Joseph_Bramlett
    Thanks! I did have the one and only Bob Ross in mind, making this, specifically the episode where he was trying to prove winter scenes don't have to be all blue and cold :) 
  • CybranM
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    CybranM greentooth
    the improvement is showing, that last pick is nice :smile:
  • teodar23
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    teodar23 interpolator
    I would darken the color of the fog a bit because it looks like its being lit by something when in fact its a low light scenario.
    Maybe add some depth fade to the water in order to remove that sharp transition.
    Other than that, its looking pretty good.
  • Aionard
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    Aionard triangle
    @teodar23
     Thanks man, I've tweaked the light to where the fog being illuminated makes sense, maybe just not very obvious in this shot alone. I'll be posting the finished shots soon enough, I don't think I can improve it in any significant way at my current level
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