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Alex Bush - Final Year Work Thread - University of Hertfordshire

TheDawnfury
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TheDawnfury polycounter lvl 3
Update 1 - Showing my Final Year (WIP) Work in Progress Post -

Hello Viewers,

Hope everyone is safe and well during the difficult times.

Here is some university work I have been doing in the last two months of the course so far. I wanted to see what constructive feedback I receive from it. I am planning on doing Search For a Star - Environment Art category this year and Polycount is a great place to see where I am in terms of skill level/ resolving constructive feedback. 







This is some 'Work in Progress" practical work I have done so far. I have been creating a lot of documentation pages but I have been working hard on the research and documentation side. Documentation will have a bibliography and credits page, to credit the industry artists/video games I am inspired to. Would be good to hear what people think of the work in general.

Thanks for viewing my work update today, will show more work soon.

Kind regards,

Alex


Replies

  • teodar23
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    teodar23 sublime tool
    Hey Alex,
    Here's my 2 cents regarding the modeling of the lighthouse. First off, get lots of references. Maybe you dont find that exact lighthouse but try to find references of similar objects.
    The process of taking a base model made in max or maya and putting in zbrush for sculpting is not necessary all the time. If you have a hard surface object like a lighthouse you could do the object just in maya. If you want to sculpt some fine detail into it, sure bring it in z and chip away. My point is, do the steps if they make sense. Materials need to convey what they are. Its not enough to just reproduce the colors it needs to look like that particular material. For that you need to deviate a bit from the refs sometimes. Add a crack, some grime or leakage that tells me this is a wall, metal or glass.
  • TheDawnfury
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    TheDawnfury polycounter lvl 3
    @teodar23

    Thank you for the constructive feedback. Really appreciate it!

    I do agree with what you are saying. Getting lots of references is definitely a good starting point because I have tried multiple attempts at the lighthouse and it's not easy to get the realistic quality I wanted. 

    I gave sculpting a go on the lighthouse and that doesn't seem to work very well, Autodesk Maya would make sense without needing Zbrush, since it's focused more on hard surface modelling.

    I will see if I can improve the texturing on the lighthouse as well, in another update.

    Once again, thank you for responding to my forum and hope you have a great day!

    Kind regards,


    Alex
  • JamesBrisnehan
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    JamesBrisnehan polycounter
    These are pretty good pieces, but I see a few things that could be improved on:

    The lighthouse and the Vita seem to have some issues with smoothing groups (hard edges in odd places). There should really only be hard edges on your model, where they appear in your reference, or along UV seams (if you're doing high-res to normal map baking which you should for the Vita)

    Your vita has some proportion issues. I would suggest grabbing a picture of one form google, loading it into Maya as in image plane, turn Xray view mode and compare the two with an orthographic camera. Also, the model looks a bit too low-res for a 'hero prop'. Those curves need more edges.

    The fruit cart is a little too straight and organized compared to the reference, and looks unrealistically pristine because of it. I'd recommend randomizing the size of the fruit more, and stack them a little more unevenly. The wicker baskets are a very different size and shape than the reference, and don't appear have a normal or roughness map. They look extremely flat. Also you missed some fun details like pineapples scattered around, and some branches sticking out of the lemon section, that help add a bit of chaos and interest in the ref.. One last thing, I think more variation and break-up for the roughness map is needed for all of the materials of the cart. There is this very even reflection across the cart and all of the boxes, that make the whole thing look kind of flat.

    The environment around the lighthouse is a little boring if I'm being honest. I'm sorry if I sound harsh, but you said that you wish to be an environment artist, and in this piece, it's the environment that needs the most work. It needs more variation, break up, detail, landscaping, foliage models, and more realistic (or more stylized) lighting to really bring it to life (and grab the interest of the studio recruiters).

    It seems strange to me that you went out of your way to create a whole presentation about your favorite lighting artists, but as far as I can tell, you didn't emulate their styles and techniques in your own work. In those little thumbnails of their work, I can see they like super moody, high contrast lighting that adds depth the composition of the level, leads the viewers eye around the scene, and helps tell the story of the environment. Ashley also seems to enjoy playing with the contrast between blue and red-orange lights.
    Your lighting set-up (for the lighthouse) by comparison looks like a simple white directional light, and a simple light blue sky light, and way too much bloom effect. 
    Again, I'm not trying to sound mean, in fact a lot of environment artists struggle with lighting in their early years, and even some professional environment artists will say that lighting is still one of their biggest weaknesses. However, lighting has one of the biggest impact on 3D art, and can really bring a piece to life when done right. I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't just tell us, show us how much you love lighting artists.

    If it helps, check out the website 80Level or the GDC Youtube Channel to search for good tips and tricks on lighting.

    And good luck with the rest of your studies. I'm rootin' for ya!  :)
  • TheDawnfury
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    TheDawnfury polycounter lvl 3
    @JamesBrisnehan

    Hey James,

    Thank you for the constructive feedback and support! Really appreciate it and taking the time to help a student out!

    I do agree with the constructive feedback you have provided, it's fair and it makes a lot of sense on where I need to improve. 

    I have just been focusing on improving the PS Vita model for today. I did start a new PS Vita model from scratch, Managed to make the edges more curved this time. Still work in progress but trying my best to act on the constructive feedback I have on my work.

    Left PS Vita Model = New, Improved Version - Right PS Vita Model - Old Version - Front


    Back View -

    I have got a long way to go but I am going to be working over Christmas to get this showreel work done by the 8th January 2021.

    Kind Regards,

    Alex
  • ImsumDave
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    ImsumDave polycounter lvl 10
    That is an improvement on the shapes of your PS Vita model Alex. I do see issues with edge flow and spacing on the back.

    When I first started on my journey of learning 3d modeling, on my own using online resources, I had a lot of missteps. But that is part of learning, especially without guidance. One doesn't know what they don't know. That is to say that a newcomer to any subject does not know the breadth of that subject. Like walking along a trail with many branching paths while looking through a telescope, missing paths because you can't see them. Or if it's dark souls because it's hidden in a painting guarded by ninjas.

    I don't like to make too many assumptions. I don't know what your classes are supposed to cover and when, or what the assignment requirements were for these pieces. I will say that one big hole in my knowledge when I was starting was of subdivision modeling. Subdiv is core to polygonal hard surface modeling. Looking at you PS Vita model (first one) and lighthouse I think I see an indication of lack of knowledge of subdiv modeling. Most obviously, the faceted low poly shading of your PS Vita. And secondly that, although possible in zbrush, the larger forms added to your lighthouse in zbrush would be easily done in Maya (doorway/window trim and window lattice) [Side note: I think your normal map y channel needs to be inverted for your lighthouse marmoset render to look correct]. 

    I am not a Maya user. Looking into Maya it looks quite scary and strange and I think I will stay in my 3ds Max castle or Blender hostel for now. However from rough research it looks like Maya in some instances calls in-viewport subdivision "smoothing/smooth mesh". Here is a video that quickly covers basic subdiv modeling information for maya; specifically in-viewport smoothing, (smoothing/shading) control loops, and edge creases. Here is video you may want to check out that covers some useful modeling techniques.

    When learning 3D modeling Google is your friend. Look into creases, control loops, and just general hard surface tutorials on youtube if you decide to go down the subd path.

    Now with all that said, subd modeling might be beyond what is covered in your program atm or not a requirement for these pieces. In which case it seems you might get better shading results with your PS Vita by utilizing the harden and soften edge options in maya. Info here. Video here.
  • ImsumDave
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    ImsumDave polycounter lvl 10
    To further add to what James said about comparing to reference, specifically when it comes to the vita. It can help to watch unboxing videos to get a better look at the various surfaces at different angles. Of course having an actual vita in hand helps even further. 

    It can also be helpful to do an edge flow paint-over of a reference image before starting to model, to get a sense of how you want to construct it before diving in. Here is an example. 

    I was curious about the "Search For a Star Challenge" you mentioned so I took a look at the related website. Looking at past entries, it seems the majority are interior spaces. The few that are exteriors have a narrow focus: single small hero item (treasure chest), or an enclosed alley with shops. Is your lighthouse environment intended to be your future entry to the competition?
  • TheDawnfury
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    TheDawnfury polycounter lvl 3
    @ImsumDave

    Hey Dave,

    Thank you for the constructive feedback and helping a student out with their university work. Really appreciate it! 

    Sorry for not responding so quickly on a Sunday, forgot to check my Polycount forum.

    Lighthouse environment is a future entry into the Search For a Star environment art competition. I am only focusing on a small area of the lighthouse, within the 30 x 30 x 30 measurement in Unreal Engine 4. That's why it's just a small environment at the moment. I have put a stone fence to make sure I am not going over the limit. I wanted to challenge myself to do an exterior environment for Search For a Star.

    I do agree with the constructive feedback, you have provided above. All the information I definitely agree with what you have said and hope to resolve it soon into a new week. 

    I was just trying to improve my texturing for yesterday to see whether improving the hard surface modelling makes a difference and it definitely would push the quality further.

    (WIP) Marmoset Toolbag 3 (Texturing Ability) -



    Texturing is where I got up to yesterday and hope to keep improving my PS Vita until the university assignment deadline.

    Once again, thank you for the constructive feedback and taking the time to write constructive feedback on my work.

    Kind Regards,

    Alex

  • ImsumDave
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    ImsumDave polycounter lvl 10
    @TheDawnfury

    No problem.

    Can you provide the requirements of your assignment for which the PS Vita is being created? I can't accurately judge your work without that information.

    My assumption is that it is to create a high-quality close-camera game-ready hero prop. Typical approach for an item like the PS Vita would be to make a Subd modeled high poly, then retopologize and create a low poly game resolution model. Next edit your UV layout to efficiently use you texture area while maintaining appropriate texel density (all polygons have equal-ish texture pixel resolution). After that, bake your maps (normal map, etc.) and start your texturing process.

    Currently, it appears that you have jumped right to the low poly and texturing without creating a highpoly. Correct me if I am wrong. Also, You did not indicate what your knowledge of subd hard surface modeling is.

    As for your textures, I think they could use some improvement. Right now it reads as having hot coco mix dashed randomly across the surface. The back touch pad looks like it was placed on rough surface and force was applied to it leaving scuffs. If you're going for a grungy well used look, you need to think about how dirt, grime and scratches accumulate. Flat surfaces such as the back, where it will be most likely to be set down should have many fine scratches and scuffs. Any semi sharp exposed edge will have the material wear away (paint, anodization, become rougher/duller). Any crack, valley, or crevice will accumulate dirt and grime. The glossy surfaces like the front and back will have finger prints and skin oils smudged all over, unless recently cleaned.
  • TheDawnfury
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    TheDawnfury polycounter lvl 3
    @ImsumDave

    Here you go, I have screenshot the requirements for games art pathway. I do agree with your constructive feedback, I wanted to tell a story with the damage/wear but I pushed it too far. I am better off going back to basics and stick with the pipeline ( High Poly - Sculpting - Low Poly/Retopology - Texture - Rendering - Game Engine) and resolve the constructive feedback I have already


    That is the university requirement for games art, three Artstation links with detailed breakdowns of the assets. I am focusing on just getting the props to the highest quality. My lighthouse environment art is my final major project. I am just focusing on assets for now in my showreel. 

    Kind regards,

    Alex
  • ImsumDave
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    ImsumDave polycounter lvl 10
    @TheDawnfury

    Thanks for that info Alex. I will say that it is a bit vague. There is a lot of flexibility in those requirements. I was looking more for polygon count limit, shading type, texture size constraints, etcetera.

    So if I'm understanding correctly, you must create a portfolio showcase via artstation consisting of 3 items. One of those items is the PS Vita, another is the fruit cart, and the last one is not known, shown, or decided as of yet?

    Given this info, I'm assuming your PS Vita model as shown so far is your low-poly game-res model. With that in mind, I have a few crits. When it comes to polygon count you need focus on silhouette, which is made up of the boundary edges/polygons that outline the shape of your model from the most likely viewing angles. Your silhouette along the curves on the side outline need more polys/loops. Any flat area like the majority of the front or back can be stripped of polygons to the bare minimum. To avoid poor shading propagating from those flat areas to adjacent non-planar faces you should use weighted normals, smoothing groups(hard edges), and/or control loops. [side note: if you use hard edges in you low poly you should have a seam in you UVs at the same location]
    Here is an anvil I'm working on as an example of some of what I'm saying.



    The area that contains the buttons and joysticks can be created using floating geometry in the high poly. You have done something akin to that in your current model. Look into floaters to add details without fussing with overly complex edge flow if you make a high poly. You can use the same concept in the low poly to capture that high poly detail via the normal map while maintaining a good silhouette.
  • TheDawnfury
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    TheDawnfury polycounter lvl 3
    Update #2 - (Constructive Feedback Resolved) - PS Vita Games Asset - 1 Week left on Showreel Assignment -

    Please Note - If you do give me constructive feedback, there is no guarantee I will be able to resolve it but I will do the best I can to squeeze some time to get it fixed either during the assignment or afterward.

    Hello viewers,

    Here is my improvement on the PS Vita games assets using the constructive feedback from Polycount and the university website (3Dhit). I have managed to make some components have more polys and rounded in terms of the silhouette (buttons and PS Vita games casing).

    PS Vita Games Asset (Artstation Link) - https://www.artstation.com/artwork/NxJvz1



    I have managed to add smaller details by using alphas which I have put into Substance Painter. I am hoping to work on improving my fruit cart and lighthouse asset before next Tuesday, to ensure the quality is consistent throughout my work. If I have a chance again, I will go back to my PS Vita and try to improve it eventually, Due to time restraints on my university assignment, I have to eventually hand it in at some point. At least I have managed to resolve some constructive feedback on Polycount and very grateful for the polycount users that have helped me out. Let's continue this positive direction in the next update. 

    Thank you for the support on Polycount and I will do another update on this forum soon. Stay safe and well during the difficult times ahead!

    Kind Regards,


    Alex
  • TheDawnfury
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    TheDawnfury polycounter lvl 3
    Update #3 - Improvement to Portland Bill Lighthouse - Games Asset

    Here are some screenshots of my renders in Marmoset Toolbag 3, been working on improving my lighthouse prop -






    Hope you guys like my games asset and feel free to leave feedback down below!

    Kind Regards,

    Alex
  • TheDawnfury
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    TheDawnfury polycounter lvl 3
    Update #4 - (House of Visions - Game Title) - Portland Bill Lighthouse - Environment (WIP) -

    Hello Viewers,

    Here is some Unreal Engine 4 work-in-progress shots of my environment art for the Portland Bill Lighthouse. I only have seven weeks to improve my environment art and make it into a cinematic, game trailer or game demo level. I am feeling time pressured because the environment I have is either too large for a solo project or the quality is just lacking in every asset I have at the moment. I think if I don't have any animation, game mechanics or some kind of interaction with this environment, then I will easily time out. This is why I am showing my progress now, just I so that I can decide whether to make it smaller in size. My environment art is created from scratch and has no third-party or downloaded assets at all. The only thing that needs changing is the landscape material, other than that I made from the ground up on my own including the landscape sculpting in Unreal Engine 4.








    Reference Board to Support the idea - 




    Thanks for viewing my short update on my Polycount forum. Still a long way to go but need to find ways to make it a manageable project.

    Kind Regards,

    Alex
  • TheDawnfury
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    TheDawnfury polycounter lvl 3
    Update #5 - Beta Submission - House of Visions - Cinematic Trailer - (Work in Progress) -

    Hello viewers,

    Here is my outdoor environment I am currently doing for university. It's work in progress but hopefully, I will be able to make more progress on it soon. 

    https://vimeo.com/527802491



    Thanks for viewing my short update, feel free to watch the Vimeo video, that's where the environment art can be viewed for cinematic trailer.

    Kind Regards,

    Alex
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