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Looking for feedback on first pass Beach scene

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Daniel_Mallett polycounter lvl 4
Hey...whoever comes across this. First, I hope you're well and are staying safe. I am trying to stretch myself a bit and work on a scene with a lot more organic elements. The concept I'm working off of is a Chris Karbach concept of which I"m taking a bit of creative license on the building shapes. I found some buildings from the Batak tribe that I thought would lend interesting shapes to this and try to pay respect to their culture as much as possible. While the concept is more stylized I wanted to ere a bit further on the side of realism. 

What I've got so far are some bones of the scene. and getting close to a first pass done. I want to really push the story elements in each part of the scene such as making the house to the left feel a bit more lived in and personal. There the boat is I want it to say a bit about this daily ritual he/she embarks on. 

I'm not feeling the greatest about the communal building in the back I don't mind the shapes, but I'm having a bit of a tough time making it feel....hmm, that's the word...authentic?  (I'm going to be putting on thatch alphas on both buildings in later passes to make the thatch feel full and lush, right now as I said these are the bones of them.) I don't like the support structure I've got so far, it's pretty temp. Most of the Batak tribes' houses and raised up in case of flooding and tsunamis, so I wanted to make sure it was elevated and the building above protected. 

I feel the scene has a decent composition, but the lighting is barely in a first pass. I'm, to be honest not sure how to approach it, I have a few concepts to go with the lighting, but I'm having a tough time getting it to look anywhere close.  Honestly, I'm a little lost there as I haven't lit many exterior scenes. 

The palm trees placements were also just little tests to see how well they were picked up, there is going to be a lot more greenery placed. 

So yeah, any critiques are welcomed. I'm really trying to push myself with this so please don't hold back, but also be kind. :)


  • JamesBrisnehan
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    JamesBrisnehan polycounter
    One thing that looks weird to me about the big building in the back, is the scale of the wood paneling. To be 'authentic' the planks should be no wider than the trees on the island instead of what looks to be 4-7 ft wide. Keeping the proportion of details realistic would help.

    So it looks like you are going for the lighting of #5 right? Your Directional light could stand to be brighter, and I think your shadows/sky light could be a little darker and cooler. Then maybe turn up the indirect lighting intensity for both lights (if you're using baked lighting) to get some stronger and more interesting bounces. Also I think the atmospheric fog could be a little thicker and a little closer to the sky's color and saturation.
    If you're very new to lighting in Unreal, here are some of my favorite tutorials:
    - https://www.tomlooman.com/lighting-with-unreal-engine-jerome/

    Also the sky looks a little on the toon-y side compared to the rest of the scene. It reminds me of LoZ: Windwaker. You could try an HRD sky image if you end up going in a more realistic direction. There are even free options. https://hdri-skies.com/
  • Daniel_Mallett
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    Daniel_Mallett polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks, I appreciate the feedback. I think you're right, it's probably the scale of the structure that's bugging me. I'll reduce them. I guess I was trying to go for readability, but it doing that came off as unrealistic.

    *Edit: yes I am going for the lighting of #5

    I'll take a look at those settings, but this is all great feedback. Truthfully the first time I've ever gotten any on here, I'd practically given up on it. I really appreciate it and thanks. Next posting I'll have fixed those. I'm working on the house by the water at the moment and getting some more trim textures to create more authenticity to the Batak houses. They have a lot of that going on. some houses have masks as accents, some have the lizard, and others have some little wooden "Boob" like decor, which I think I"m going to add as they do add some interesting shapes. 

    I want to now start tackling section by section. I sometimes find myself overwhelmed when looking at it as a whole, so I'm trying to tackle each of the areas, trying to improve the story in each one. (Still wanting to find a few more personal props to add yet)

    I think I still want to push myself with doing my own sky. I've done the Tyler smith tutorial, but I still have more refining to do on the clouds. I'd call them the first pass as well. They don't have much depth or rim to them, but it will be added in as well. 

    Again, thanks a ton. :)
  • JamesBrisnehan
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    JamesBrisnehan polycounter
    (Ha ha, I just noticed a weird auto-correct in my post. 'Wind Waker' got changed to 'wandmaker')

    Sorry you didn't get feedback on your previous projects, glad I could help out a little on this one though. I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out.
  • teodar23
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    teodar23 interpolator
    Looks nice overall.
    The roof model is used quite a bit in the scene and becomes a bit too repetitive. Maybe make a variant of it which is different, maybe in construction or damaged. Speaking of repetitiveness the roof texture is a bit too noticeable especially on the smaller scaled down roofs.
    Also, there is some intersecting geometry that never looks good, like the smaller roofs on the left intersect with the hut.
    The cliff could use some variation since its the same texture from top to bottom. If you look at real cliffs you will notice a lot of variation between the top and the bottom with different nuances from strata and some vegetation that lives on the side of the cliff. I know the scene is stylised but adding real touches to it will go a long way. Also, look into creating a material that blends sand or moss on the mesh based on its normals.
    The beach on the left is like a flat splotch of color with no variation.

    I would suggest increasing the suns intensity to suggest that heat that would be felt if you would actually be there.
    And yes, as mentioned before, the sky ruins the scene a bit, especially at the horison line.
  • Daniel_Mallett
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    Daniel_Mallett polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks for the Feedback, Teodar.

    Regarding the roofs and the intersecting Geo, There will be a lot of "Thatch alphas" that will be placed on them to add variation, make them more lush and such. The texture currently on them is what is there for underneath so when you see through the alphas you'll still be seeing a thatch texture. 

    I do like the idea of one being under construction, I have shots of what these buildings frames are like, and how they are constructed.

    Good call on the sand. I'll for sure be breaking that up. Im going to be making some more plants to be breaking that up, also with a bit of washed-up seaweed, and blended wet sand too since the water would lap on the shoreline. 
    Hottentot plants I think would make for some nice additions and pop of colour too. 

    House references. I would want to keep them cohesive, it also will limit the number of props I have to make, I could just make a mask and change the colour of the trim textures from red to blues, or yellows. (Maybe not yellows will blend in with the sand too much)

    I will for sure address the lighting and clouds as well, too as I know they need to be worked on more, they were just a first pass, but I'm looking at varying them up, adding more of a rim and darkened areas to them, and also put them amongst the cliffs.  Speaking of the cliffs they will be getting macro decals to add more red and orange striations to them to add break up. These rocks may also get turfed. I like two of them, but the other two are shit and I'm already working on more in Zbrush. 

    Thank you for all the lovely feedback. There is plenty to think about and I'm glad you brought some new things onto my radar that I didn't think of before. Cheers. 

  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis high dynamic range
    I think the scene looks really nice so far! I think the roof material could be worked on a bit. Maybe have some vertex painting for darker dirtier areas? Also maybe some hair cards to make some strands of hay stick out? Its a bit weird that there are palm trees in the distance in such a sparse area. Would look nice if that area had a lot of vegetation in it as well.
  • Daniel_Mallett
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    Daniel_Mallett polycounter lvl 4
    For sure. Thanks, Ashervisalis. I'm getting happier with this as a first pass, but it's still shy of that yet still.  I've talked about adding in some thatch alpha cards all over the roofs to thicken up everything and break up the repetitiveness and hide seams. But yeah, absolutely a good call on that.   The vegetation will also be much thicker in the distance. and the palm trees, like the hostas, will have some subsurface going on too. :)  I should have done that before posting, but I was curious about getting some feedback.  A few more varieties will be added as well because there is a significant lack of other colour break up. 

    I appreciate the feedback from people, it's getting me more pumped about it. Sometimes you get to a point where you feel lost staring at a piece. :) I'll keep posting as I have updates. 

    Thanks you a ton
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