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The Bi-Monthly ENVIRONMENT ART Challenge | January - February (70)

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alytlebird interpolator
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! We survived 2020 and made it to 2021! That means it's time to get started on our first challenge of the year, for January & February 2021!

Remember if you don't finish in the time allotted, just keep plugging away and post when your work is finished. There's always some good progress that falls off the radar - we want to see your work! So keep going and finish those pieces!

Without further ado, here are our official options for Challenge 70:


- ENVIRONMENTS -

HARD SURFACE ENVIRONMENT:
Fantasy Kitchen - Belgariad
Artist: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/lxNeya

STYLIZED ENVIRONMENT:

Artist: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/WXlGQ

- PROPS -

HARD SURFACE PROP:

Artist: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/d8yLnQ

STYLIZED PROP:

Artist: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/KaXl1r


No Wildcard concept this cycle!


Please read all the rules before starting:

-Try to post one critique for every post that you make. This will make for a better learning environment and help us all grow as artists.

-Try your best and finish as much as you can in the time frame provided.

-Post what you are working on in this thread so that way it's a more centralized place for advice and critique. We don't need to have 1000 disjointed threads littering the forums. 

-It is recommended to use a game engine to present your work. Unreal Engine and CryEngine are very common engines that can be used but feel free to use any alternatives that you want. (Marmoset Toolbag is allowed as well)

-If you want to change up your chosen concept a bit, then feel free! Interpret these concepts to your liking, especially if your aim is to add storytelling elements.


And here are some recommendations:

-When you are just starting out making a scene, it can seem complicated or imposing, so take the time to break it down. 

-Think about how you can re-use assets, re-use textures, break it down as simple as possible and plan it out. A lot of people will break it down in their own way when they start out their challenge. Gather some reference images as well for different parts of the scene, maybe gather some refs and make it your own.

-Take your time planning and blocking out, it will set you up for success later on.

-We strongly encourage you to go and look at other games and see how they make their assets as well as get concept art to give it your own feel.


All that matters is that you learn while being able to effectively critique others, as well as accept critiques on your own work. Remember to have fun!

Good luck! :)

Replies

  • miriuk
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    miriuk triangle
    Nice concepts, as this is my first one I will do the stylised environment 
  • alytlebird
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    alytlebird interpolator
    miriuk said:
    Nice concepts, as this is my first one I will do the stylised environment 
    Glad to have you on board! Keep in mind, the challenge hasn't actually started yet; we're in a voting period where people can suggest different concepts for the various categories. If you like a concept or want to suggest a different concept, you can post a picture of that concept and that will be counted as a vote. We will use whatever concepts have the most votes by the time I post the official Challenge thread on January 1st.
  • Pinkfox
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    Pinkfox polycounter lvl 3
    I really enjoy the concepts you've picked out for this time around!

    The stylized prop doesn't seem quite as exciting as the others so I'd propose something with a slightly more interesting form, but I'll probably do the hard surface prop this go around so definitely disregard my suggest if anyone who plans to do the stylized prop speaks up. :P


  • Decordova360
  • alytlebird
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    alytlebird interpolator
    Hey everyone, welcome to 2021!

    I've retooled this thread to serve as the official challenge thread for this cycle! Only one concept changed from the original suggestions (the stylized prop, big thanks to @Pinkfox for that).

    Looking forward to seeing what everyone makes over the next couple months :)
  • miriuk
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    miriuk triangle
    I'll start this one today, anyone will do the same? Why when we click on challenges go to olds challenges, #68.?


  • icegodofhungary
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    icegodofhungary interpolator
    I need to do something to build confidence. I've gotten stuck on other projects because I feel like every decision is the wrong decision. So I need to work on something with actual concept art that I can lean on and not improvise too much. I'll take Faldor's Kitchen. Been working on the graybox since mid morning.


    Treating it as a little world-building vignette level in some first person game. The player is meant to go through this little area inside a larger manor (if you look at the artist's page there's an exterior shot of the house this is in). So I have two paths through. One comes in a door, wraps around the perimeter of the room crossing in front of the fire place and out the other door. The other cuts straight across the room. So you can take a scenic path and look at the enviro as you play. Or you can just rush straight through to so you can kill more dudes or turn in a quest or something.

    I've tried to consider composition in 3D space as the player moves through. Arranging furniture and props to push the player and the eye through the two paths. The fire place will be a major visual point of interest in the room so I've tried to keep that in mind as well.

    Got some references too and will add more as I get into modeling and texturing stuff.


  • Pinkfox
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    Pinkfox polycounter lvl 3
    I'll be starting on the Steam Carbine a little later this month but I'm excited to see where everyone goes with this challenge!

    @miriuk It's likely that it has to be manually updated and the people that have the ability to change it just haven't thought about that particular button at the moment. It is stickied in the "3D Art Showcase & Critique" section so it should be easy to find there in the future.
  • Saaamoth
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    Saaamoth polycounter lvl 5
    Nice concepts! I'm very tempted to go with the hard surface one too
  • NikkitaRacquel
    This is my first time looking at any Polycount challenge. I'm keen to have a go but I'm just curious why everyone doesn't choose their own concepts instead of choosing from a set list. I also agree with a previous comment in that the stylized prop is a bit lackluster compared to all the other choices.
  • alytlebird
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    alytlebird interpolator
    This is my first time looking at any Polycount challenge. I'm keen to have a go but I'm just curious why everyone doesn't choose their own concepts instead of choosing from a set list. I also agree with a previous comment in that the stylized prop is a bit lackluster compared to all the other choices.
    Welcome, we're glad to have you!

    The main reason we have this format is because working from the same pool of concepts allows people to learn from each other by discussing their varying approaches to different elements of each concept. This also isn't a structured competition, no winners or prizes, just a challenge to improve our skills as artists, so the format supports that goal.

    As far as the stylized prop concept, if you have any suggestions for concept art we could use in future Challenges, we have a voting thread that goes up a week before each new Challenge cycle where participants can post concepts they're interested in, and then everyone can vote on what they'd like to make. If you're around in late February, our next voting thread will be up and you can post there! Or if you have some other concept ideas you'd like to suggest now, feel free to PM me. :)
  • kwagner
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    kwagner polycounter lvl 3
    I need to do something to build confidence. I've gotten stuck on other projects because I feel like every decision is the wrong decision. So I need to work on something with actual concept art that I can lean on and not improvise too much. I'll take Faldor's Kitchen. Been working on the graybox since mid morning. 
    The best advise I got, for me having that issue, was "don't get it perfect, just get it done" and then "you can edit a bad book but not an empty page." Even if one part just isn't coming together the way you want, go focus on another area of the scene. Your blockout looks solid so far!
  • SomeAB
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    SomeAB node
    I think I will go with the stylized house.

  • Saaamoth
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    Saaamoth polycounter lvl 5
    @icegodofhungary Looks very good so far  :)
  • PacoCasares
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    PacoCasares polycounter lvl 8
    @icegodofhungary That is looking like a great start! Fantastic Blockout! I wished I did that haha.

    I have decided to do something very simple and straight-forward. I want to practice doing stylized hand painting in PBR with extremely basic sculpting with the aim of finishing it for a class demonstration. Because I do not have a lot of time in my hands, I wanted to make a safe bet to start to make something incredibly easy. 

    Currently, I am aiming to do blocking, the Next post I aim to have the models fully blocked out and ready to take into Zbrush. I plan to practice on the blocks/sphere first to try my best to get my stylized approach as close as possible to the concept while backing it up with some reference.


  • saturated_hat
    @icegodofhungary Looks great, I see that you also changed the corner by the door.
    Is that UE4? I like your rafters, they are wonderful.
  • PastyPict
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    PastyPict triangle
    I've chosen the hard surface environment Faldor's Farm Kitchen. Just done a quick and dirt greybox. Helped me realise proportion issues with modular wall segments a head of time, so I glad I didn't skip this step. The next thing I'll do with either be a ground material or model and texture the chimney since it's more or less the centre piece, or I might model the walls first so I can solve that proportion issue.




  • jaker3278
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    jaker3278 polycounter lvl 7
    I have chosen Faldor's Farm Kitchen but i am going to augment the design to be a full house so i can put it in my game. Here's what i have so far an apothecary table and the beginnings of the house. 



  • Pinkfox
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    Pinkfox polycounter lvl 3
    Was finally able to get the high poly for the steam carbine done. Got to hand it to @Saaamoth, you're extremely fast at modeling! It took me a few days to get everything together for it.



    I did make some modifications in a few places, mostly personal preference things that I felt would make more sense or the removal of bits that didn't seem to serve a purpose. I did notice however that the concept has the bolt handle on the left side while every real-world example I found has a right sided bolt handle. So I flipped some stuff around to match more with how it appeared a person would use a more traditional bolt action rifle.

    Anyway, from here I'll be working to get the low poly together and plug it into Substance Painter! :D
  • MikeKhine
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    MikeKhine polygon
    Hello everyone!
    It's My first challenge and I'm excited to start.
    I'll go with Stylized Environment. Have a nice day everyone)

  • jaker3278
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    jaker3278 polycounter lvl 7
    Near the end of day two on the Kitchen. 

  • jaker3278
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    jaker3278 polycounter lvl 7
    Kind of getting there with this mini project, its made for my game in called Hereford 1642 you can see more here at www.hereford1642.co.uk its downloadable now to explore. 


  • ellis_3d
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    ellis_3d triangle
    Hey everyone! I'm a little late to the party  but Its my first time doing one of these challenges and I can't wait to get started. I've decide to go with the Stylized Environment, it's something that I've wanted to get better at for while now! No time like the present!
  • Saaamoth
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    Saaamoth polycounter lvl 5
    Hey @Pinkfox that is coming along very nicely ! The choice of flipping the handle on the side is interesting, I tried to figure a way of having the gun function like a normal bolt action rifle but there's not a lot of space to pull the mechanism back. I'm still building the high poly right now, hope to finish it next week-end.

  • Pinkfox
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    Pinkfox polycounter lvl 3
    @Saaamoth Yeah, the bolt issue is definitely the biggest oddity in the concept thanks to those tubes. I ended up adding a little splitter in the cavity below the end of the bolt to separate the tubes. It would still clip the tiniest bit (can see it a bit in the middle shot) and probably still be a pain to use in reality but I felt it was good enough that it wouldn't be noticeable.


  • Mazzletov
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    Mazzletov triangle
    Very nice approach. I am also trying the environment piece but really struggling with the lighting. I can't get the atmospheric lighting inside. It is still dark with strong sunlight coming trough the windows. How will you approach the lighting for this piece?
  • icegodofhungary
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    icegodofhungary interpolator
    Mazzletov said:
    Very nice approach. I am also trying the environment piece but really struggling with the lighting. I can't get the atmospheric lighting inside. It is still dark with strong sunlight coming trough the windows. How will you approach the lighting for this piece?

    I'm using Unreal. First I turned off the fire place lights and had only the default skylight and directional light (sun) from the FPS template. That way I could adjust my sunlight coming in the windows as much as possible before adding any more light. You have to play with the indirect lighting strength setting of your lights. You also need to make sure you have more than one bounce in your lightmass settings tab. I usually do 20 indirect lighting bounces and 10 skylight bounces. Once you get past 4 or 5 bounces, adding more doesn't cost you any significant bake time. But you need those extra bounces to make sure light is getting into the dark places.

    So then I kept increasing the brightness of the directional light that simulates the sun. I also slowly increased the influence it has on indirect light. This starts to kill the realism of an outdoors scene, but it's needed for this indoor scene. Then I also did the same for the skylight though you'll get diminishing returns on that really quick since most of that light will never bounce its way into your room.

    The next step was adding light portal volumes to the windows and to the openings of each wing of the kitchen. These volumes propagate light further than it would bounce naturally. They're made almost exactly for this kind of scenario, where you need light to get into a dark area.

    Then after getting the sun as high as I could without it looking bad, I focused on the fireplace lights. These are by no means final but I did the same process. I slowly cranked up the brightness and the indirect lighting strength. I did it just enough to illuminate what is needed. It's okay to have dark places in your scene. Contrast is good. You just need enough light to see and to look natural. My fireplace lights are actually too bright and I'm going to have to re-work everything again once I get the room filled with props and do my final bakes.

    Then I finally ended up adding rectangular lights at all the windows and colored it a very pale blue to match the light from outside. I then did the same thing of increasing the brightness and indirect light strength. When I got to a point that looked realistic I stopped. It would be very easy to over-do these and end up with something very unnatural looking. I only added them as a last resort since I took the sunlight as far as I could.

    It's definitely not an easy scene to light. In real life this room would be pretty dark. You could try to compensate with the candles in the scene, on the table and in the chandelier. Even though they're not lit in the concept, it's okay to add stuff like that if needed. That's something I might try later on if I can't get the brightness to work out properly.

    You also have to think in terms of light hierarchy. People usually only use the lights they need. So in this kitchen, the main source of light would be daylight since it's medieval times. So that should be the most influential/strongest light in your scene. You should try to light as much as you can only with the daylight from the windows. Then you add supplemental light as you need it. So the fireplace is supplemental because it's not nearly as bright as direct daylight. But it's bright enough to cast some good light if it's a roaring fire. Then the third tier of lighting would be stuff like the candles. Things that only give off very local light that you can use to draw attention to certain areas.
  • ellis_3d
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    ellis_3d triangle
    Hey Gang! I just finished doing my basic block out and a little bit of lighting to see how it looking in unreal. I'm happy with it so far. Going to start to doing some high poly work. Let me know what you guys think!
  • PatSaenzG
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    PatSaenzG triangle
    New year, new challenge. I decided to go for the stylized prop (the Cauldron) since I wanted to practice that along with making PBR hand painted textures. The modeling along with UVing is done, depending on feed back I'll proceed with texturing in Substance Painter. 

    Front 



    Side



    Back



    UVs

  • Mazzletov
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    Mazzletov triangle
    Mazzletov said:
    Very nice approach. I am also trying the environment piece but really struggling with the lighting. I can't get the atmospheric lighting inside. It is still dark with strong sunlight coming trough the windows. How will you approach the lighting for this piece?

    I'm using Unreal. First I turned off the fire place lights and had only the default skylight and directional light (sun) from the FPS template. That way I could adjust my sunlight coming in the windows as much as possible before adding any more light. You have to play with the indirect lighting strength setting of your lights. You also need to make sure you have more than one bounce in your lightmass settings tab. I usually do 20 indirect lighting bounces and 10 skylight bounces. Once you get past 4 or 5 bounces, adding more doesn't cost you any significant bake time. But you need those extra bounces to make sure light is getting into the dark places.

    So then I kept increasing the brightness of the directional light that simulates the sun. I also slowly increased the influence it has on indirect light. This starts to kill the realism of an outdoors scene, but it's needed for this indoor scene. Then I also did the same for the skylight though you'll get diminishing returns on that really quick since most of that light will never bounce its way into your room.

    The next step was adding light portal volumes to the windows and to the openings of each wing of the kitchen. These volumes propagate light further than it would bounce naturally. They're made almost exactly for this kind of scenario, where you need light to get into a dark area.

    Then after getting the sun as high as I could without it looking bad, I focused on the fireplace lights. These are by no means final but I did the same process. I slowly cranked up the brightness and the indirect lighting strength. I did it just enough to illuminate what is needed. It's okay to have dark places in your scene. Contrast is good. You just need enough light to see and to look natural. My fireplace lights are actually too bright and I'm going to have to re-work everything again once I get the room filled with props and do my final bakes.

    Then I finally ended up adding rectangular lights at all the windows and colored it a very pale blue to match the light from outside. I then did the same thing of increasing the brightness and indirect light strength. When I got to a point that looked realistic I stopped. It would be very easy to over-do these and end up with something very unnatural looking. I only added them as a last resort since I took the sunlight as far as I could.

    It's definitely not an easy scene to light. In real life this room would be pretty dark. You could try to compensate with the candles in the scene, on the table and in the chandelier. Even though they're not lit in the concept, it's okay to add stuff like that if needed. That's something I might try later on if I can't get the brightness to work out properly.

    You also have to think in terms of light hierarchy. People usually only use the lights they need. So in this kitchen, the main source of light would be daylight since it's medieval times. So that should be the most influential/strongest light in your scene. You should try to light as much as you can only with the daylight from the windows. Then you add supplemental light as you need it. So the fireplace is supplemental because it's not nearly as bright as direct daylight. But it's bright enough to cast some good light if it's a roaring fire. Then the third tier of lighting would be stuff like the candles. Things that only give off very local light that you can use to draw attention to certain areas.
    Thank you. I will try this when I get home. I created the blockout and some basic textures but can't get the lighting to interacht properly! Will update :)
  • Pinkfox
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    Pinkfox polycounter lvl 3
    @PatSaenzG One thing I might recommend before you move on is making sure your UV islands are rotated relative to each other. For example I'm guessing those big curved pieces are the cauldron body. If you end up apply a tiling material that has a direction to it you've then got one part that's appearing vertical while the other appears horizontal and they won't match up. There are a couple places I neglected that myself on the Steam Carbine and it can be pretty annoying.

    @ellis_3d Excited to see where you go with it! :D

    @icegodofhungary Looking very nice so far! I especially like how you've captured the trusses so well, really sells the look.
  • ellis_3d
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    ellis_3d triangle
    icegodofhungary  You are killing that environment!! Smart move with the modular pieces! Your lighting is also looking really good even at this stage! Keep it up!
  • Pinkfox
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    Pinkfox polycounter lvl 3
    Got the materials to a point where I'm happy with them. Just need to get the lighting in place to actually present it properly and I'll be calling this one done!


    There are a few places for improvement that stand out as I'm getting to the end. I feel I worked some of the areas in the material to the point they ended up feeling softer than they should be, but just something I'll have to keep in mind in the future. I also think I ended up removing too much from the stock and made it feel a bit plain back there but I didn't notice until UVs had already been done and I didn't want to backpedal so far to fix that. Just my thoughts on what I could work on, happy to hear from others, too! :D
  • Mazzletov
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    Mazzletov triangle
    I tried @icegodofhungary his advise on lighting. It helped a lot to increase the indirect light bounces and increased their intensity! 

    The current blockout.



    This evening I quickly textured some props to get a feeling on what style I will use for texturing. Not sure yet if I will go realistic or stylized. Anyone got advice on this topic?

     
    I am feeling quite overwhelmed as I have never done a large project.
  • Potatomaru
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    Potatomaru polycounter lvl 4
    is it okay for me to use some of this art as a reference for a personal project?
  • GarethTheDestro
    I'm late to the party so sorry if I missed this somewhere, but is the deadline the end of Jan or the end of Feb?
  • alytlebird
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    alytlebird interpolator
    is it okay for me to use some of this art as a reference for a personal project?
    We don't own or have exclusive rights to any of the concept art used in these challenges, so you won't be stepping on our toes if you use it for your own work!
    I'm late to the party so sorry if I missed this somewhere, but is the deadline the end of Jan or the end of Feb?
    This challenge cycle will end on February 28th, but everyone is more than welcome to continue posting updates if they work on their projects beyond that point. :)
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