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Building an environment - Evil Genius hidden forest base

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  • Sandro
    Awesomo. Lovely colors..

    Rock texture looks a bit smeared and stretchy here and there, but I'm sure you're aware of this. Moving on and fixing stuff based on it's importance/overall impact sounds like a nice idea.
  • metalliandy
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    metalliandy greentooth
    Looking good Adam!
    It would be sweet if you added some moss on the rocks so that the flowers have some nice contact colours where they hit the rock.

    Cant wait to see more :)
  • cholden
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    cholden polycounter lvl 13
    I look in this thread, but don't really comment.
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    lol chris, awesome ;)

    metalliandy, good suggestion and your avatar scares the hell out of me.

    As for getting a mesh shot of the bushes - no go. I have to wait until I get home as I was having licensing issues at work for Max 2009.. grr..

    Thanks everyone.
  • metalliandy
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    metalliandy greentooth
    adam wrote: »
    metalliandy, good suggestion and your avatar scares the hell out of me.
    haha...i was wondering if you would ever pick up on that :P
    Does this mean i have to pay you royalties or something now?

    There is a larger pic in the creepy guy avatar thread if you want to print off a copy ^^

    lol
  • jakelear
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    jakelear polycounter lvl 10
    Hey adam,
    Your planning is inspirational. I can definitely appreciate the thought and time that went into that.
    So far the stuff looks great. I eagerly anticipate your next update!
  • makecg
    cant wait to see more! looking sweet as hell
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Thanks guys.

    Ok, so someone asked about the bushes so I took a max screenshot to show the 2 meshes I have so far, and their texture sheet.

    The texture sheet is in progress (as I do more bushes I'll add to this texture).

    The bush (not the flower) may be a bit on the heavier side - it weighs in at 500 triangles - but its easily tunable, so I am not worried about that at this point. It's referenced to high hell (re: Unreal) and updating its tri count will be a breeze. I may even do it tonight!

    The goods:
    forestbase_forum_flora01.jpg
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Thankya very much Adam.

    Is there a specific reason why you flipped some faces... is it meant to fake shadows / create some contrast to help break everything up?

    Either way i find it really effective.

    Edit: eggs on mai face :P
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    They aren't flipped, just facing the other direction. :P
  • man_o_mule
    looking swank. keeping an eye on this one so i can apply some of these ideas to my own work.
  • mrturtlepaste
    This is really awesome so far, can't wait to see more. Thanks for taking your time to post like this and share your thought process. It is extremely helpful!
  • torontoanimator
    hi there! i was flipping through this thread and im really loving your rock sculpt. I was also sculpting something similar to this a while back, and im jsut wondering where the description for how you did it was. I noticed that you said you would give a brief description of the process, but i couldnt find one lol. Just curious because i never really learned ffd's in school and i really want to know how to sculpt rock like you :) thanks
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    There was no sculpting involved. I just had the texture applied to a plane and cut the geometry in to the plane based one the texture information. From there I used the FFD modifier to bend it a bunch of times.

    As for updates... I haven't any. I was hit really bad with Vertigo on Friday and haven't felt the same while sitting at a computer since, so its hard to want to do work when I'm at home.

    I am hoping to get started on the terrain assets (textures + grass + weeds, etc) tonight so MAYBE I'll have something up later on tonight. Fingers crossed.
  • Clockwork
    Hey Adam, the way you did your rock face, did you UV it, or was there no need for that, just slap the material right on?
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    The rock face's uv is exactly square, to the texture I applied to it.
  • EMC3D
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    EMC3D polycounter lvl 7
    Really nice to see this come together bit by bit. Adam, can i ask why some of that foliage on the texture map has those blobs of colour as its background?
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Yeah its so when the alpha bleeds over it doesn't sample the black pixels but rather a colour thats similar to the leaves. :)

    So.. my vertigo is going away and lastnight I was able to get working on the terrain textures and their style. I decided to start off with some mud/dirt for this.

    I like the end result, being a mix of 'style' and the original source I used. The good news is that if the technique works for the other textures, it should be a relatively fast process as this didn't take me more than 20 minutes to do.

    I made this image my desktop wallpaper, set to tile. It makes for a rather mute desktop - I like it!


    forestbase_styletests_textures01.jpg
  • LlamaJuice
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    LlamaJuice polycounter lvl 10
    Looking rather swell sir, keep at it!
  • EMC3D
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    EMC3D polycounter lvl 7
    adam wrote: »
    Yeah its so when the alpha bleeds over it doesn't sample the black pixels but rather a colour thats similar to the leaves. :)

    So.. my vertigo is going away and lastnight I was able to get working on the terrain textures and their style. I decided to start off with some mud/dirt for this.

    I like the end result, being a mix of 'style' and the original source I used. The good news is that if the technique works for the other textures, it should be a relatively fast process as this didn't take me more than 20 minutes to do.

    I made this image my desktop wallpaper, set to tile. It makes for a rather mute desktop - I like it!

    Thanks Adam, as an aspiring student for Environment Art you're an inspiration :). Liking the texture there, so pro it can act as a wallpaper and an ingame texture, woot.
  • SnowInChina
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    SnowInChina polycounter lvl 10
    oh my god, i love the owl turret <3
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    I have the grass done, for now. I won't show it in the engine until I have 3D grass and some tree's created and placed, but for now you can see the texture down below. I used the same method on it as I did with the mud/dirt.

    I really wish I could do advance blend methods with the terrain in Unreal instead of a straight gradient blend. While I am not too worried about this, because they won't be seen much once the vegetation is placed, its still something that would be nice to see.

    Question for UDK pro's: Does specular work on Terrain? I swear its not :( I've tried cranking up the light values of my lights and the specular multiplier just to see if its working at all, and its seemingly not.

    forestbase_styletests_textures02.jpg
  • ZacD
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    ZacD polycounter
  • 55joe
    wow man looks really nice. cant wait to see it together
  • Daniel Doerksen
    so what did u end up doing for it? looks like to layers one stylized one not and a difference mask?
    neat effect
  • SimonT
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    SimonT interpolator
    like this alot!
  • LlamaJuice
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    LlamaJuice polycounter lvl 10
    adam wrote: »
    Question for UDK pro's: Does specular work on Terrain? I swear its not :( I've tried cranking up the light values of my lights and the specular multiplier just to see if its working at all, and its seemingly not.


    Look in your terrain actor's properties in the lighting tab. I'm fairly certain that bEnableSpecular is off by default for some reason.

    Anyhow, since this method of making your textures is working out so well for you would you mind sharing what you're doing? The grass and dirt both look awesome, and I'm really excited to see this project progress.
  • metalliandy
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    metalliandy greentooth
    This is coming along nicely Adam :)
    I dont really have any crits at the moment.
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 15
    I hope he doesn't mind but I always refer people to Chris Arnold's work on WAR when it comes to terrain textures and blending, specifically the stuff for Hunter's Vale and Land of the Dead. The textures are made to work with each other, incorporating elements from the texture it blends into. It helps get rid of that straight blend look a bit.
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Justin_Meisse: Awesome links, thank you for sharing. My original iteration of the grass texture was the mud texture with some grass rather randomly placed. This revealed some of the original mud texture below, but didn't come off 'green' enough to me in Unreal. I do like what Christopher Arnold did with his stuff, so I may go back and try again. I am not TOO worried about these textures, though, as there is going to be a LOT of vegetation, props and shadows casting on to them.

    metalliandy: Ha, cool.

    LlamaJuice: Ok great, I will when I get home. Very lame it'd be off by default :\

    SimonT: Woo! Thank you.

    Daniel Doerkson: Something like that! I'll explain it below. It's very simple.

    55joe: Right on - me either! Thank you!

    OK, so for the 2 terrain textures I...

    1. Started with a photoof what I wanted then made sure it tiled.
    2. Duplicated that layer ontop of itself, no blending method.
    3. On the duplicated layer - the one on top - I ran 2 filters on it with varied settings.
      1. Drybrush
      2. Remove Noise
    4. On the original photo, I did a Remove Noise filter from it.
    5. I created a Black & White cloud layer, with its contrast turned up about 50%. From there I selected only the black from that Cloud layer and used it to mask the Duplicated photo layer, so that it would mix some of the filtered image with some of the original.
    6. The effect ended up being 2 things, which were exactly what I wanted for this and other textures going forward that I don't need to hand paint:
      1. I liked the results.
      2. It was fast to replicate.
    The mud is a bit different with the process, as I mixed a few photos together but the technique thereafter was the same.
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 15
    Hey, I like that terrain texture technique, I'm gonna have to steal that.
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Right on. Play with the Drybrush settings before running the Remove Noise filter. I find a bigger brush (but not huge) works really good for the results.
  • slipsius
    wow man, that is some nice scenery so far. keep it up! cant wait to see more!
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Let me recap what I am doing specifically right now: Trying to nail the art style and setup of the core elements of this environment. That is, nailing how I want to use rocks, vegetation, water and texture blends to dress an entire forest area. Once I nail that in a small area (seen below) I will use these techniques for the ENTIRE environment.

    At this point, what I am NOT worried about, is: Lighting and atmosphere, the 'Evil Genius' elements of this environment, animations, creatures/critters, and so on. The core environment will take up the majority of real-estate for this and I need to nail it now before I move on.

    OK, so... an update of sorts:I haven't been TOO busy on this for this past week. I'm still getting over some vertigo and have been pretty sleepy. That said, mainly I've finished 2 other textures for the terrain (now blending 4 textures) and a bunch of vegetation stuff for said terrain. This vegetation is mainly grass, weeds, etc. etc. I still might do 1 or 2 more pieces, but its nothing for me to get hung up on.

    The sky is a shitty chop job in Photoshop so I have more than a black sky when I show it.

    As well, the lighting isn't an indication of the final lighting or atmosphere. I was tinkering around with colours before I decided to hit the sack tonight and this is where I've left it (white with a tinge of orange).

    So, before I post a higher res shot then what I am about to post, i want to have the follow things placed AND complete:

    • At least 1 tree type of the 3 I plan on creating.
    • Rock models of a lower triangle count to litter the ground with. The ones I am currently using in the below picture are from the cliff face scaled down.
    • Cat-tail weeds for where the water hits the terrain
    • A proper water shader (not one I butchered from UDK)
    Until then check out the teaser below and let me know if you guys have any questions or comments about my processes up until this point.

    forestbase_styletests_tease01.jpg

    EDIT: Oh ya! Some of you have been sending me PM's asking me specific questions - which is great! - but I think they'd be better asked in here, publicly. Chances are someone else would like to know what you'd like to know and if I (or any of the other pro's around the boards) do my/our best to answer it here, then everyone who's interested wins.
  • bbob
    Holy carp! This is looking awesome! Why the low resolution?
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    I know you guys hate reading (haha) but it would do you no harm to read the posts I write* ;) Promise!



    *I know I know, wall of text. Blah blah BOO-HOO, READ! :D
  • bbob
    D'oh, missed that one line >_<
  • ZacD
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    ZacD polycounter
    I really like the rock texture, but I don't think it really sits well with the rest of the scene. It needs an earthier color (a little bit too bright too) and the material looks a little off, I did a lil paint-over, nothing drastic.

    http://i46.tinypic.com/28qr9zt.jpg
  • bbob
    I agree that the rocks look a little bit on the chalk side, but I dont really think that it hurts it. It rather makes the contrast bigger, which in my point of view is a good thing, now that you are going for a stylized look.
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Thanks guys! With coloured lighting,things mesh together better so at this point I'm not too worried. Once I've added some in, and if they're still to off from one another, I'll throw colour back in.
  • doeseph
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    doeseph polycounter lvl 7
    So how are you doing the sky in your image? Are you taking a render into photoshop and painting over the background color, or are you using a sky-box in Max? Or are you using a UDK sky texture?
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    I think I said I wouldn't post again until I had a few more things done, but whatever it's been a while since I posted.

    The cat-tails are done and in and I am currently working on a couple rock models. One of them are done, the other will be completed this weekend and HOPEFULLY I can finally get started on tree's and finally make this mofo look like a forest.

    forestbase_styletests_setup01.jpg
  • Ged
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    Ged interpolator
    those rocks look velvety like theres some wierd freznel going on, other than that Im loving it
  • Will Faucher
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    Will Faucher polycounter lvl 10
    Wow, that looks amazing. I'm still pretty new to environments, and I don't even know where to start to make the large rock faces like you have there. I've looked up tutorials and such, but most only show how to make rocks and such. Did you initially sculp those in zbrush/mudbox? Or is it 100% done in max?
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    If by velvetty you mean the smooth tender touch of velvet on your bare cheak after a sweaty romper with your favourite lady/man friend then yes. Velvet indeed. Rawr.

    That or its the fresnal I have.

    Prophecies - Check back a few pages, I show how I made those rocks :D
  • HAL
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    HAL polycounter lvl 8
    While I like the bright rocks in general and the fog and stuff you added to the last image, that fresnel stuff wasnt that present in the last image as in the new one, maybe take a look at what you've changed?
  • Will Faucher
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    Will Faucher polycounter lvl 10
    Yeah I did already. I understand how you used a ton of FFD modifiers but how did you match the geometry of the rock to the texture? I tried myself and the UVs deform with the geometry... and I can't find how to lock UVs.
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    In Max? UV's should be locked by default.

    HAL - I'm not of the opinion that it looks bad to have that fresnal on the rocks at this point. It's too early to make decisions like that. There's always been a fresnal on that, just to varying degree's of impact. ;)
  • Ged
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    Ged interpolator
    Prophecies wrote: »
    Yeah I did already. I understand how you used a ton of FFD modifiers but how did you match the geometry of the rock to the texture? I tried myself and the UVs deform with the geometry... and I can't find how to lock UVs.

    have you still got a uvunwrap modifier in the stack? if so collapse that and the uvs will be locked I had this problem recently.

    adam - Yeah its a little bit velvety like a lady friend lol but more like fresnel, theres probably a compromise somewhere there lookin forward to those trees :)
  • bbob
    Got a bit of a crit on the reed bits you added in the new picture. The green on the stem is very bright compared to all the other shrubbery.

    If you want a contrast, I suggest making the stems pale yellow instead, like this: http://www.sendler.co.uk/images/Newburgh/Town/large/reeds2.jpg
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