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Building an environment - Evil Genius hidden forest base

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  • seforin
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    seforin polycounter lvl 12
    yeah setting up a blend texure is rather easy once you understand the basics

    heres a trick

    to get some extra depth out of a texture if you made 1 version of your normal be your plain version (keeping teh same texture) but have a 2nd version that is like more of a noise/deepend version you can get some intrestion light effects at only the cost of maybe a small tilebale nrm texture.

    Just a thought.


    Is there a way in unreal to make copies of meshes similar to max like mirrored/symmetry meshes I know you can just change there pivots and just make copies around and such and I know you can make prefab groups of meshes you made grouped together but I was curious of a mirror / symettry type work existed?
  • DennisGlowacki
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    DennisGlowacki polycounter lvl 7
    Yep you can mirror. Just scale -1 on any axis or right click the static mesh and choose transform --> Mirror X/Y/Z Axis.
  • Matroskin
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    Matroskin polycounter lvl 11
    looking great :)

    I like that it all is kinda realistic, but from close look u got some stylized texture work on that.

    But don't u find the rocks being a bit too bright/white? Just to me they look now kinda like burned white plastic. Maybe just some darker grayish tone would fix that ;)
  • Joseph Silverman
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    Joseph Silverman polycounter lvl 14
    This is looking slick, dude. I dig how you've broken down the trees and really solidly communicated them in the textures. Style is tight!
  • UGBLS
    Very nice!
    Some suggestions:
    • If you are planning on having it foggy and sunny over the fog, make the sky brighter and uniform.
    • Brighten the birch leaves and burst the bark open at the bottom of the trunk.
    • Add lichen and moss on the rocks.
    • Add rough crevices and bumps on the smooth rocks.
    • Replace the flowers with less cartoonish/distracting ones.
    paintover
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Good advice about the moss. The stuff about flowers I don't know, as I like what they add and this isn't a photo-real scene (re: style, hopefully). As for the lighting, as I've said a few times now my lighting is to be ignored for now as its just me dropping in 1 light to light the scene while I work and does not represent the scene's lighting for the beauty.
  • DrunkShaman
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    DrunkShaman polycounter lvl 10
    Have nothing to say but....wow!!! My crits just die whenever I come to Mr. Adam's thread.

    Amazing work!!!!!!!
  • UGBLS
    adam wrote: »
    The stuff about flowers I don't know, as I like what they add and this isn't a photo-real scene (re: style, hopefully).

    To me they look too generic, perhaps start with a real species (if it isn't already) to stylize, like how the trees are done.

    Picture of flowers. Picture of flowers. Picture of flowers. Picture of flowers. Picture of flowers.
    :-)
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
  • Target_Renegade
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    Target_Renegade polycounter lvl 11
    Its looks really good, not sure what the style is though, maybe its a new one. It looks rotoscoped at the minute half real, half surreal (a scanner darkly?) . Composition has nice depth on the last one, interested to see what happens next man.
  • Joopson
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    Joopson Polycount Sponsor
    This is such an inspirational piece! Keep it up, it is awesome. It reminds me of Oblivion a bit, though a bit more creative looking. awesome.
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    I've updated the breakdown image of the Hemlock's to show the Hemlock's shape in its entirety.
  • cycloverid
    You're a machine adam... what a cool project.

    I kinda feel like your hemlocks should have a little more bend in them to keep with that really organic look you have going on elsewhere. Just nitpicking of course!
  • cgmodeler
    Loved the style, it'll be great to see the uv's for the trees also. Keep up the good work.
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Making a note here for myself to redo the leaves on the Birch tree, they suck!
  • Will Faucher
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    Will Faucher polycounter lvl 10
    Hey, I asked this question previously in this thread but I think it was ignored because it was right before you posted your update. And I know you said you wanted us to post our questions here instead of PMing you. So here I go again.


    For your environment, did you model the actual environment first? (Rocks, cliffs, bushes, grass, trees, etc) , move on to texturing all those, and then proceed to modelling the props? Or is there no particular order to follow?
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Prophecies - I didn't model the actual environment first. Everything in this thread shows exactly what I've done up until now: Planned and sketched. Then began the art push with the environments landscape before attacking the HQ related art set. I started with the rocks first, as I wanted to nail the modulated texture blend shader right away. Hopefully this helps.


    Update time :)

    All 3 tree's are done, first pass: hemlock, birch and conifer. There's a couple more I want to do, but I'd like to focus on smaller ground props for now.

    forestbase_styletests_trees01.png

    Particularly pieces for around the river bed:
    • Smaller rocks
    • fallen logs
    From there I'll do a couple more tree shapes using the textures I have now.

    It's a bit late so I am going to cut this short, but there's a concern I have for this environments stats that I hope I can help with over the weekend. I'll likely post about it in Technical Talk and link to that here.

    Alright alright, blah-blah! The goods (with notes!):
    Unmarked version here.
    forestbase_styletests_overall02_small_edit.png
  • bbob
    This is looking better and better, keep it up!

    EDIT: Got a better look at the trees, especially the leaves now. And I have to say, the hemlock is absolutely pimpin, but both the birch and the conifer looks pretty bland, especially the conifer.

    An idea could be to add some value variation in the leaves in the upper spectrum of the scale, and also bending the planes a bit, or make more intersecting planes, in order to let it catch the light a lot more.
  • Mistry10
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    Mistry10 polycounter lvl 8
    this is great !
    i love the colour scheme you hav going on in your scene
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    I"m pretty positive you can orientate your grass planes and what not to the viewers camera, but if its currently a Foliage Layer... I don't know if it has the option too.

    Not much help... i know :(

    Looking great though adam.
  • brandoom
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    brandoom polycounter lvl 10
    Nice trees Adam, mind posting some wires? I think an upcoming project for myself will be some foliage stuff.

    This is coming along quite nicely :)
  • DarthNater
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    DarthNater polycounter lvl 10
    Lilly-pads would be bad ass in the water :)

    This is looking really awesome. I'm learning a lot from this so keep being so detailed :P
  • Will Faucher
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    Will Faucher polycounter lvl 10
    DarthNater wrote: »
    Lilly-pads would be bad ass in the water :)

    This is looking really awesome. I'm learning a lot from this so keep being so detailed :P
    He said it's a riverbed. Lilypads only grow in ponds or where there is little to no current.
  • DarthNater
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    DarthNater polycounter lvl 10
    Prophecies wrote: »
    He said it's a riverbed. Lilypads only grow in ponds or where there is little to no current.

    So the lilypads in the river I fish shouldn't be there? WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!
  • Clockwork
    You're such a tease with these low resolution shots :(
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Haha, I love the idea of Lilypads! My environment will have a larger body of water they'd first perfectly in. Great idea!

    Sorry about the lower resolution shots. There ARE larger ones out there if you're sneaky enough to figure it out (its not hard). I'm showing small ones because right now I have no AA on my Viewport so scaling them to half res is a great way of getting some AA while teasing you guys.
  • Clockwork
    Aha, I figured it out! Hehe. Great stuff. This is the most interesting thread here now, but more tips and tricks!
  • Will Faucher
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    Will Faucher polycounter lvl 10
    DarthNater wrote: »
    So the lilypads in the river I fish shouldn't be there? WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!

    Depends on the river I guess, they probably grow where there isn't much current am I correct? Otherwise the roots would just rip right out. Lilypad roots don't fare well with current.
  • Jeremy Lindstrom
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    Jeremy Lindstrom polycounter lvl 14
    you can't spell daam without adam.
  • DarthNater
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    DarthNater polycounter lvl 10
    Prophecies wrote: »
    Depends on the river I guess, they probably grow where there isn't much current am I correct? Otherwise the roots would just rip right out. Lilypad roots don't fare well with current.

    Yeah they are in a deep spot on an outside bend (the water hardly moves).

    Glad I could give you an idea adam :p
  • Will Faucher
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    Will Faucher polycounter lvl 10
    If you really want to make your water seem authentic, if you have a large low-current body of water, then there's gotta be some algae!
  • Michael Knubben
    Hey Adam, just a quick question (haven't had time to go through most of the thread yet), but have you considered pointing the vertex normals on that grass upwards? Then they'll light as the surface underneath does, and blend in much better. If you make the bottom normals point slightly outwards you'll also get some soft shadows in there, which should make the crossing planes look relatively nice. I'm not sure if that's a standard thing to do on grass, but to me it seems like it would work very nicely. (only tried it on tree-leaves so far, so let me know whether that works out for you)
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Hmm! I'm not even sure how I would do this for Unreal???
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 15
    I think he's talkin 'bout using the edit normal modifier in Max.
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    WEEK 6 UPDATE

    Oh hi!

    So I am thinking of doing 1 high-res image per week, as a "Weekly Update" shot while the rest I show are lower-resolution, to enforce them as WIP's only. I tend to not like showing high-res images because a lot of people don't read threads and just skip to the images so we'll see how this goes.

    So, here's my Week 6 update: I'm nearly ready to move on to the Headquarter related assets (read: all evil genius HQ stuff! Woo!). I've even started to get the fences in the game, which you won't see in the shot below.

    Before I move on, though, I'd like to have 1 more tree type and 1 more bush type for the forest. Hopefully which will re-use as many textures as I have.

    NOTE
    : The lighting and atmosphere are THROW AWAY work and are not "as intended" for the final environment.

    forestbase_styletests_week6.jpg
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Oh ya.. I may do a treatment for the riverbed much like how I did my cliff faces. I really REALLY get distracted by how low poly the river side looks using the UDK terrain tools. I can't go any more dense with the tessellation so I may cook up some model to line the bed with.

    Oh yah, for anyone wondering: My entire little scene here right now is weighting in at 220,000 triangles. There's a lot more happening here than just the one shot above. No idea how I am going to pull this off so it runs smooth in video!

    Unreal pros: Any optimization tricks besides LOD's for models?
  • Rurouni Strife
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    Rurouni Strife polycounter lvl 10
    Hey Adam, everything looks great. Is the water WIP too? It really stands out vs the rest of the fantastic scene. Obviously, I'd want you to keep the water in style with the rest of the scene but as of now it looks too flat. Nice reflections though.

    Unreal 3's website says environments can hit up to 1.5 million triangles, so I'm really interested to see how much optimization you have to do to make your environment run at roughly 30 fps. And thanks again for this awesome thread, you've helped me so much!
  • erik!
    So cool adam! Don't know where you're getting your leaf textures from, but I just found these bad boys. Also posted this in the Reference thread

    http://duncanmcampbell.com/trees/?orderby=latin_name
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Ugh, the Conifers main branch line is horrible, much too thick! Making a note here to adjust it.

    Rurouni - Interesting! I didn't know this :D Thank you!
    erik! - BOOKMARKED! Thank you :)
  • seforin
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    seforin polycounter lvl 12
    hmm adam, not to knock it but right now that water is really lacking.

    I believe having a nice overlay of ripples into more points of it and more of a darkish blue tint (not so see through but more opaq')

    A nice simple set of instructions with a paramter node and a few tiling Tex cordinates based of that lerped together will create a rather nice effect.

    If you get stuck message me in a week or 2 when im done moving and I can show/explain easier what I mean.


    I still see some points in those rocks where its looking streched but I also see you are covering it up with the 2nd normal map noise I suggested with a vertex blend

    I suggest going further and making the Green channel or something in the master vector node hold a 2nd texture and that normal map ( a 2nd stone to blend it with)

    I also suggest for that to hold 1 tileable spec that fits that rock overall shape , so it blends the textures easier as well.


    The ground, yet again same thing as the rocks, have texture blending can really sell this more, atleast for a 2ndary normal base....I suggest the edges of that water stream//meets land part you make a vertex blend of textures with dirt water/mud meets land.

    All some ideas tossing your way.


    When im all up and running I can run some tests in UDK and show you what I mean if your confused by any of this
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher high dynamic range
    you could set up a couple streaming volumes so it loads things in and out of memory duruing a flythough. they added a new screening effect for things streaming in to get rid of popping too.
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Pixel: WHAT!? Links! Must.. read.. about.. this..

    Seforin,

    The water is straight out of Unreal and scaled larger on a plane I've made and is only temporary, I forgot to mention that. I have bigger plans for the water that I'm not ready to address yet that goes well beyond fancy material techniques.

    Your suggestion was never applied to this beyond replacing my 2nd texture with grass. I've always (read: since the beginning) been blending multiple textures on my rocks , and using separate normal maps on top of those. These blends are also modulated and not a typical 0%-100% gradient blend. The rock models are still the same rocks I had back when I said they were first pass and I'd be fixing any seams and stretched UV's on another pass at a later time (once everything else gets the same attention). If, when its all said and done, I feel like I need a 3rd texture to blend to (so a 2nd rock texture) I'll cook one up. For now though, I'm more concerned about the seams, stretches, and large triangles that are noticeable.

    The terrain has 4 textures blending as it is already but I haven't blended any of them close to the river side as I wasn't sure if I was going to keep that there or not. Even once I get it in there it won't be as noticeable as you're suggesting as the tessellation of my terrain mesh is fairly dense already. I may try one more level of tessellation, but I'm not holding my breathe.

    Here are some images for your amusement:

    forestbase_forum_blendnetwork.jpg


    forestbase_forum_blendsample.jpg

    forestbase_forum_blendmore.jpg
  • Joshua Stubbles
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    Joshua Stubbles polycounter lvl 15
    I'm loving where it's going right now. Since issues with lighting are moot, the only things I can see that stick out are a few texture seams on the rocks and some real jagged geometry on the rock edges. (forgive me if those issues have previously been addressed, I haven't read all 8 pages).

    Several of the rock walls have large texture seams on them (notably on the right side of the screen, three quarters up as well as on the right side of the hemlock trunk, across from the red flower). Not a huge issue but once I saw them, my eyes gravitated towards them.

    The sharp edged rocks could very well be fixed with lighting, so it's not entirely relevant. But there are a few edges of the rocks which are either silhouetted against fog, or catching bright lighting, which show the obvious low poly nature of the geometry. Totally understandable for poly constraints and such, just figured I'd point it out. It's certainly one of those things that lighting can affect the visual outcome of.

    The progress has been tremendous though. It's been nice to see the steady stream of updates on the scene.
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    Yeah the rocks I Just need to flatout adjust and bring in those sharper points that are creating that profile silhouette. It's driving me nuts how "low poly" it can make it all feel.

    So yeah.. I guess then before moving on to the headquarters stuff I am going to..
    1. Adjust the mud part of the blend to be in the river AND wet, then fiddle with the blend on the terrain some more.
    2. Adjust rock models so seams are less apparent.
    3. Adjust cliff face models so huge points in the silhouette are not seen.
    4. Update the conifer tree truck & branches, they're god awful ugly.
    5. Look in to better ways of lighting the leaves on my trees.
    Unreal Experts: Any tips for lighting foliage/foliage material setup for better lighting results? My current setup can REALLY show off that these are just simple criss-crossing quads. This is 'OK' but not great.

    EDIT: Unreal Experts Question 2: Is there anything I need to do to tell UDK to update the materials used on my terrain? I swear the adjustments I'm making aren't showing up right away and are only triggered by something.. I just don't know whats doing it :(

    EDIT #2 Unreal Experts Question 3: Do normal maps even work on terrain? Or is this part of my problem with #2 where I am not getting my changes to show up? AAaaaargh FACE PUNCH.

    I posted these questions over in Technical Talk.
  • seforin
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    seforin polycounter lvl 12
    adam: not to be annoying but could you post a zoom in of just the nodes so I can read the names easier? I was going to do a draw over of a suggested node setup I did recently but I cant tell which nodes are which at the small size


    sorry about the confusion about your rocks/water. Im glad your clarified that more.
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 15
    This is what I followed to do my blends. Chris also worked with me on any questions/trouble I had. From there I made my own adjustments (re: softer edges, no faked drop shadow, etc.)
  • Vrav
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    Vrav polycounter lvl 11
    This is some sweet stuff adam, definitely makes me want to paddle down the river in a tiny boat... like gollum.
    Love watching it all pull together. Distant trees look really cool in you week6 shot... mmm, minty.
  • Diwan
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    Diwan polycounter lvl 10
    Man those tree's are legit. Did you make the hi poly in zbrush or are they speedtrees? Keep it up man, this is a total drool thread.
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher high dynamic range
    here are some links on level streaming.

    http://udn.epicgames.com/Three/LevelStreamingHowTo.html

    http://udn.epicgames.com/Three/LevelStreamingVolumes.html

    and this is from the release notes on the feb build of the UDK
    • Screen door fades
      • New screen door dissolve effect for fading primitives (SM3+ only)
      • Actors can fade in/out based on their MaxDrawDistance
        • Static meshes, ProcBuildings, Skeletal Meshes and SpeedTrees are supported
      • Static Mesh LODs can and Massive LODs can cross-dissolve between each other
      • To enable this feature:
        • Set 'bAllowScreenDoorFade' to True in [Engine.Engine] .ini file
        • Set 'bUsedWithScreenDoorFade' on materials that should fade
    hope this comes in handy.breaking things up into various level files is super handy too in a multi person project as they can act as layers, like a lighting and fx level file, props, and level geo etc, anyone not familiar with it should check it out.

    Cheers
  • Clockwork
    adam wrote: »
    This is what I followed to do my blends. Chris also worked with me on any questions/trouble I had. From there I made my own adjustments (re: softer edges, no faked drop shadow, etc.)

    Is there any way in UDK to paint on BSP? Or will fancy materials and decals be the only way for breaking up tiling?
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