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"Nature" as a narrow niche of environtment 3d art? Need for advice...

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I'm a medium newbie in 3d art, just had my acquaintance with all the tools in Blender, also have some experience in Unity. Looking forward to becoming a 3d artist myself, but can't pick a specific category of work (wanna separate from the mass to decrease competion with colleagues).

My main option is environmetal art (as I understand, creating props and whole sceneries), but to specialize even more, I want to study nature part of this niche (trees, stones, rivers, water, fog, lighting, weather, also possibly related categories like plant pots, terraces, natural errosion of the buildings, I don't even know yet, but all related to nature).

I'm feeling very unconfident. Would there be a demand for such a specific artist? After all, almost any environment needs some foliage :)
Are there artists who already narrowed their work to this extent? Or better, those who already work as a "natural" environment artist?
How well paid is this niche? How fun is it to only work on nature theme? How and what to begin with if my goal is to master this specialization?

Thank you very much for help! I'm really lost x)

Replies

  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    There are definitely people who specialise in landscape and foliage work - 4-5% of the art team at my studio do that pretty much exclusively and pay is equivalent to any other environment artist afaik

    Being able to operate Speedtree effectively is a useful skill and will certainly be considered a plus when applying for work. This goes for worldmachine/gaea etc. 

    To get started - just start. 
    Grab speedtree, put things in unreal, sell some well optimised trees on the asset store to pay for your speedtree license, make some nice pictures for your portfolio and apply for some jobs :D
  • NinPhi
    poopipe said:
    Being able to operate Speedtree effectively is a useful skill and will certainly be considered a plus when applying for work. This goes for worldmachine/gaea etc.
    I've never heard of SpeedTree, thank you for the tip! What about stylized and mb un-realistic trees and nature props? Are they also possible to make in SpeedTree or I might need working on them "by hand" in 3d Max or Blender or Maya?

    Thank you for being responsive! :)
  • Tnnv
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    Tnnv triangle
    Hey! It happens that I have looked for information about nature and found that there are indeed "vegetation artists" who specialize in this.
    Here are some links I found there, I hope this helps:
    Vegetation artist: https://www.artstation.com/lamotterudy
    Vegetation talk:


  • NinPhi
    Tnnv said:
    Hey! It happens that I have looked for information about nature and found that there are indeed "vegetation artists" who specialize in this.

    Thank you a lot, Tnnv! I watched the whole presentation and it seems it's not an easy job in terms of balance (being productive, but also keeping performance on a decent level is not easy). Also a lot of terms and concepts there I don't yet understand, like baking, normals, but I'll get it with time :D
  • Tnnv
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    Tnnv triangle
    Glad you like it ) I think any area have it's specifics, some are unique, some are common. For sure, it may require some time to get the basics and even more to become good at it, but I think if you really like this area of environment art, you will eventually be there )

    Also, in my first link there are 2 articles - maybe they will give some insight too:
    https://80.lv/articles/tips-on-vegetation-creation-for-games/
    https://80.lv/articles/creating-large-open-levels-with-vegetation/
    Also there are plenty of complete tutorials on making tree on Youtube, the only problem that there are many different techniques, and afaik professionals usually use speedtree for that.
    Also, here is some good info about vegetation in UE4, but maybe you don't need it right now - 
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoG9TB1eL6dm9eNbLFueHBQ

    I think in different studios there are different approaches to vegetation, and it is still an area that require some tricks to look good as nature is too complex to transfer it to 3D (Though now, with photoscans and modern hardware it is easier). Somebody who is working in the industry can give you better advices )

    As for me, I'm using UE4 and at the moment there are several beautiful environment sets in the UE4 Marketplace available for free, so I'm just trying to figure out how things work to better use them in my projects.

    So I wish you luck with your studies!
  • Benjammin
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    Benjammin polycounter lvl 4
    My 2 cents:
    Specialize in things that you are passionate about, don't pick them based on perceived competition, and don't commit to a speciality before you're in the industry. IMO its better to go into a junior role with a broad skill base and find your thing. Good hunting!
  • oglu
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    oglu polycount lvl 666
    Little storry. I did rocks and mountains on my first game job and on my second and i ended up todo rocks for 5 years. Until now i find rocks really interesting and hard todo. Each sediment does have unique shapes and colors.


  • sacboi
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    sacboi polycount lvl 666
    Indeed, for me rock striration is especially difficult to get right. They're a common feature throughout the region of my birth which is also riddled with fault lines and situated atop a volcanic plateau, no less  : /
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J veteran polycounter
    lots of games have natural environments, and making believable and performant natural scenes is not easy to do. 

    For me the big difficulty is identifying a backstop so I don't go too far. Nature is infinitely complex - computer graphics will never come close to capturing natures complexity - so you have to be very strategic about what resources you use so that you can sell a scene while also managing time, memory, etc. 

    Good thing is humans don't pay attention to shit, so you can make an entire forest scene with like 3 trees and 2 grasses and they'll believe it. It would be a good idea to get some scenes made by professionals that you can review time to time, just to help keep perspective.

    I think the best part about making nature related art is you never run out of inspiration. You never get tired of the subject, the references. It's always beautiful. Go for a hike and take your camera, that is work time. How pleasant. How many space marines and assault rifles could you make before your soul withered away? Nature always replenishes/.
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