Since finishing this project, I have considered making the proper breakdown this artwork deserves. That was a great experience in achieving the cinematic look and how I can work on strict time limits.
First of all, huge thanks to Gabriel Tan
for giving me the green light to do this projectyou are a rockstar, beautiful artwork
It started as a small-level art practice with just one idea to make something cool with Quixel Megascans library, but it eventually became more than that when I started to dive into the production. I gave myself around a couple of weeks. And more or less manage to stick with it. That is what I am proud of ^^*.
For this project, I mainly used: Blender, Zbrush, Marmoset Toolbag, UE4, Substance Painter, and Quixel Megascan.
on this day, I tried to keep everything structured in Miro by creating a mind map of stuff necessary to have and present on the artwork.
I have much of the stuff from Megascans that I tried to somehow combine with more or less the same style or look: decals, nature elements, and different props for set dressing. I also gather references from projects that represent the same type of problem as mine - for example, brick structures or lighting scenarios.
After that, that was time to start bocking the scene. Nothing special - modeling was made in blender based on the main reference.
This part was crucial because I needed to be sure that composition in 3d works as it works in 2d. It takes a lot of tinkering and moving stuff around. fun stuff.day2.
When trying to come up with some pipeline of how I wanted to make this map, I was thinking of using a landscape from Unreal as a base, but it was tough to handle, and it never gave me a unique look that I tried to recreate. So, I changed the landscape to a unique mesh and sculpted it in a blender with sculpting tools and stencils. This is what I come up with. After that, I create a simpler version and bake it in marmoset.
With my "finished" landscape mesh, I decided to start pooling everything in the engine to be able to see the proper picture. Made a fast master material with tesselation and camera-based fading effect for efficiency and 4 different material blends with vertex through height map. It's a bunch of materials as functions with a couple of parameters. The Megascan materials never work for me out of the box, so I need this ability to change textures on the fly as I paint on the terrain. Also, mesh patches helped a lot with adding thickness and randomness to the terrain.
I put some trees here and there and added a bunch of props to elevate the look of the terrain cause, for now, it looks boring. The next will be placing more trash and start working on architectural pieces. I used HDRi images with overcast lighting for the light source and placed a height fog for the atmosphere. Everything is super simple and fast at this stage.Then Foliage/trash and whistles were added ... I wanna have almost finished terrain before fully concentrating on architecture, and I turned on ray tracing. Rest in piece my trusty 1070 now 3080 will continue your duty.
This time was all about content. A lot of sculpting and texturing. I got a sculpt and finale textures for the lower part of the building. Decided to change materials from white bricks (like on the concept) to cobblestone. Also, I added platforms. Happy with the result!
Starting with base meshes that I made in the blender, then sculpting details in Zbrush. After that, I created Low poly meshes and baked everything in Marmoset. Texturing was done in substance painter. Nothing unusual in the pipeline.
- Starting with concrete slabs
- Stones walls
for them, I created a bunch of boulders and arranged them in the desired shape
- The next one is bricks and brick structures.
Same approach as for boulders.
- Main gate
Final rush! It was all about assembling, lighting, and polishing. For the lighting, I decided to go full cinematic look and try to make it as good as possible. Ray tracing helped to give money look and streamline the whole process. With a combination of Warm and Cool light + Fog Cards, I create a localized light area in the middle of the scene. Using a couple of bright lights in the center of the main gate and right behind to fake rim light. All of that is for creating a light shaft and focusing on the main focal point of the whole scene. Also, many decals for the final touch and a VFX, of course, such as particle dust, scattering fog, and to add some movement - wind.
Basically, on this point, it is done! This is the final look of this beautiful environment.
Thank you for reading. I hope it was informative and somehow can help you with your environment!
More screenshots and a full video breakdown you can find on my artstation