Captain Nemo's office

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polycounter lvl 8
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danshewan polycounter lvl 8
So, I came across this excellent painting by Alex Broeckel of Captain Nemo's office inspired by Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and I thought it'd be fun to recreate it as an environment inside UDK.


captainnemosoffice9.jpg


The main things I want to accomplish with this project are to gain a more solid understanding of the normal mapping workflow (by including a lot of props in addition to the structural pieces), to tell a story with a scene instead of just presenting a collection of assets, and to get a handle on a true modular approach to environment creation.

So far, I've been working on high-poly versions of several props to get me into a regular production mindset before tackling the modular structural elements of the environment, and here's what I've got so far. I should mention that I'm not remaining entirely faithful to the concept, as I'm adding some more art deco / modernist elements.

Chandelier:

artdecochandelier.jpg


Desk and chair:


deskandchair.jpg


I'm still not wild about the chair's backrest compared to the seat, and I'll be adding the creases in the leather in ZBrush.

Captain Nemo's underwater rifle:


underwaterriflerender.jpg


I've got a rough layout of the office blocked out in Max that I'll be using as a guide to create the actual modular pieces which I'll share soon, once a few dimension / proportion issues have been sorted out.

Thanks in advance for any feedback, crits and suggestions.

Replies

  • Mark Dygert
    Looking ace so far, nice work! Love the subject matter too, I don't know how many times I've read it and as a kid I watched the Disney version a few hundred times, heh.

    You might want to exaggerate some of the smaller details so they are captured properly when baked. Little things like the rivets on the gun, and the folds and buttons on the chair padding.

    You might want to also run a piece of decorative trip around the top of the glass dome fin part(s). You probably don't want to model the tiny ribs into the low poly and the normal map won't fake the silhouette properly if they are missing. With a tiny bit of trim you get more detail and a flat edge allowing the normal map to be contained and work like it should.
  • OrganizedChaos
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    OrganizedChaos polycounter lvl 12
    Thats a really cool idea- I'm definitely following your progress here- I loved the book. Are you thinking about taking a kind of bioshock approach to it? I get that impression from the concept.
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks for the feedback, guys.

    I'm definitely going to revisit the high poly models before I start creating the low poly meshes - thanks for the tips, Vig. Once I've got a pretty decent asset collection assembled, I'll be going back and adjusting them to make sure they're ready for baking.

    A couple more props - wasn't sure about posting them, as they're geometrically pretty simple right now, and won't really look right until I get some textures on them.

    An art deco standard lamp:


    artdecostandardlamp.jpg



    Antique table-top globe (definitely needs some more detailing, especially on the metallic arm):


    antiqueglobe.jpg



    And yeah, Bioshock is definitely a major inspiration in terms of where I want to go with this scene. I know everyone ragged on it, but it's still one of my favorite titles and the environment work is just gorgeous.

    One of the things I thought would make this project so interesting is the potential for the scene to tell a story. Captain Nemo's state of mind is what I'll be focusing on, and I'm trying to emphasize a feeling of paranoia and isolation with the scene.

    I thought that fashioning the doors of the office after bank vaults would be a nice way to convey this, and here's what I've got for the door at the bottom of the stairs (which is obviously beyond the scope of the original concept, and apologies for the shadow map artificating):


    lowerofficedoor.jpg


    Anyways, thanks again for the feedback. It's been a fantastic project to research and work on, and later on I'll post up a rough scene layout in Max.
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    So I've roughed out a placement plan in Max in terms of how many / where each modular piece should be, and to make sure that everything is aligned to the grid. The red lines indicate the edges of each separate piece.


    modularrough.jpg


    I'm trying to bear in mind that, although it's a small, quite claustrophobic environment, it still needs to have enough breathing room for a player and to function in a gameplay sense (think Bioshock-style FPS). As such, I've taken some liberties with the room's dimensions, and added a small hallway leading from the bottom of the stairs to the main office door, indicated in green in the image below.


    layoutrough2.jpg


    The floor panel in blue indicates the placement of the hatch depicted in the concept, and I'm leaving the largest rear wall absent for now. I'm thinking of making the staircase a little more elegant than just some simple steps, so I'll be trimming the width of the stairs at either end as indicated in red to allow for a more ornate handrail, and to make approaching the stairs more visually appealing from the main office door.

    Not the most exciting update I know, but I'm finding that planning and detailing my approach in this way is really helping me get a handle on what I need to do to fit the scene together.

    This is also the first time I've attempted a truly modular environment piece, so if anyone has any insight, tips or things I should bear in mind, I'd love to hear them!
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    I've begun constructing some of the actual structural environment elements, and thought the stairs leading up to the actual office area would be a good place to start.

    Here's what I've got so far:


    staircase.jpg


    I think the next piece I'll be tackling is the large curved glass wall to the right of the large airlock, probably followed by the large airlock.
  • Tea Monster
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    Tea Monster polycounter lvl 10
    Looks like it will be epic!
  • Grey
    Danshewan, this art deco style combined with nemo sci-fi is going to rock, really liking your models too. Its going to look awesome, update often, Im really looking forward to seeing what you do with it. :D
  • Shogun3d
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    Shogun3d polycounter lvl 8
    Fantastic modeling. Looking forward to more.
  • SHEPEIRO
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    SHEPEIRO polycounter lvl 13
    looking good...nice idea too
  • ngs616
    That is an amazingly awesome concept.

    You are doing a great job so far. Keep it up!!
  • Barnstable
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks for all the positive feedback guys, I'm glad everyone seems to be digging the idea as much as I am!

    Not a terribly interesting day update-wise, just a couple of wall sections. I seem to be working my way around the office mezzanine level in an anti-clockwise direction, so next up will be the large vault-like door / airlock section.

    Porthole wall section:


    portholewallsection.jpg


    Observation window wall section:


    observationwallsection.jpg


    I think the wall sections will look much better when I've got the support struts in place, as well as a whole array of dials, controls, levers and pipes surrounding them to break up some of the larger surfaces. Obviously the observation windows will be looking out onto a small underwater scene, so this section will likely remain quite simple.

    Although it's not immediately apparent in the concept, I'm probably going to make the opposite wall (to the left of the viewer's perspective in the concept) curved as opposed to angular (as I've roughed it out in the Max screens above) for the sake of symmetry. I went over the original 1954 Disney film very carefully today, and symmetry is very prominent in the original Nautilus interior designs.

    Anyway, I'll shut up now and get on with making something a little more visually interesting. Thanks again for the encouraging feedback.
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Yuuppp, can't wait for this :)
  • SouthpawSid
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    SouthpawSid polycounter lvl 7
    these assets are looking great. can't wait to see when this thing get's put together in engine.
  • Tea Monster
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    Tea Monster polycounter lvl 10
    Classy stuff, rock and roll!
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    Here's what I've got so far for the main office level airlock:


    mainairlock.jpg


    Back to work....
  • SaferDan
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    SaferDan polycounter lvl 9
    this is going to look amazing :D I cant wait!

    Your modelling is awesome!
  • Mark Dygert
    Looking great, awesome progress!

    In other unrelated news... damn you google image search for providing awesome looking vault doors. I modeled something similar two weeks ago =P

    You know... it wouldn't take much to turn this into a TF2 Nautilus map... Just sayin...
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    Vig wrote: »
    In other unrelated news... damn you google image search for providing awesome looking vault doors. I modeled something similar two weeks ago =P

    Haha, yeah, that particular vault seems pretty prominent in the results, doesn't it? I like what you did with it in your map, though. The reason I opted for that particular door (aside from its internet ubiquity) was the main handles still resemble a ship's wheel and I thought it'd be a subtle way to reinforce the nautical theme.

    When I'm done with the project, I was thinking of packaging up all the reference images I've collected into a zip file and making them available on Dropbox or something - there's a lot of really unique architectural and interior pieces, in addition to some high-quality scans of the original Disney blueprints for the Nautilus.

    Thanks again for everyone's encouraging feedback - next update will be Captain Nemo's deep-sea diving helmet....
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    Captain Nemo's diving helmet:


    nemohelmetfront.jpg


    nemohelmetrear.jpg


    A couple of minor issues to fix, but I'll be revisiting each asset prior to baking to make sure everything's ironed out.

    Since the rifle and the helmet are intended to be player-collectible items, here's the helmet mounted as it will appear in the office:


    helmetstand.jpg


    Thanks again for everyone's feedback!
  • ENODMI
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    ENODMI polycounter lvl 9
    Just popping in to say COOL! No crits yet, solid work so far, keep it up!
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    So I assembled some of the assets into the layout file in Max I've been using to get an idea of how the scene will fit together and which elements still need to be produced, and it's become apparent I'm going to have to exaggerate the proportions of the room quite dramatically if this is going to work, both aesthetically and from a gameplay perspective.

    I should mention that the wall sections are not positioned finally, as I still have to create the supporting sections and struts.


    roughmaxlayout.jpg


    Although I wanted the scene to feel claustrophobic, right now it's just way too small of an area to work. Once I've expanded the room to be a bit more accommodating, it'll be easier to determine the dimensions of each modular element and to start figuring out specific section placement.

    Hopefully I'll have an update on the arched wall section over the stairs posted up a little later tonight - thanks again for everyone's kind words and feedback.
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    So after researching ways to build the side structural supports, I decided that I wanted the office level structure to be reminiscent of the ribcage of a large fish or sea creature, especially since the Nautilus was mistaken for a sea monster. Here's what I've got so far:


    maxlayout2.jpg


    Since I've yet to start any of the low-poly work, I'm still blocking out in Max to get an idea of scale etc. I've still yet to decide if I want to adhere to the concept by including the observation window wall section to the right of the main airlock - I'm debating whether or not to enclose the gaps between the walls and the central 'spine' pipe with glass paneling. I think this would look better approaching from the stairs, and could also create some interesting lighting possibilities. What do you guys think?

    A more generalized layout overview, with some walls hidden to make it easier to see:


    maxlayout3.jpg


    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts - thanks in advance.
  • Mark Dygert
    Fuck yea... looking great!

    Are the panels with the hand rails going to be glass windows that look out into the ocean?
    It could give you some chances to do some really cool caustic lighting inside and out.
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks, Vig!

    As for the glass panels, that's what I'm deciding right now. I was thinking that glass ceiling panels might be better for both lighting and general aesthetics, as opposed to sticking to the concept as it is right now.

    To be honest, I think I'll end up replacing the glass wall section to the right of the main airlock with an ordinary wall panel, and give the scene a vaulted glass ceiling - not only will it give me more potential for caustic lighting as its a wider glass area than a single wall section, but it should make the scene more symmetrical and also create some visual interest on the ceiling.
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    I decided to deviate from the concept and opt for a vaulted glass paneled ceiling, and I'm much happier with it than the previous layout.


    vaultedceiling.jpg


    So, all that's left to do is model some wall-candy, tidy up and finish some of the modular wall / floor / ceiling sections and finalize some proportions and then I'll be ready to start optimizing and unwrapping....

    Thanks for everyone's feedback so far, I appreciate everyone taking the time to comment - prepare for a deluge of questions in Technical Talk shortly!
  • ES_139
    just stopping by to say iv been following your thread from the beginning and its coming along really well. I like the direction you have taken with the rib style supports, looking forward to seeing this finished!
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    ES_139 wrote: »
    just stopping by to say iv been following your thread from the beginning and its coming along really well. I like the direction you have taken with the rib style supports, looking forward to seeing this finished!

    Thanks! It's been a fantastic project to research, and it's really made me think about and approach the workflow differently. It's also the first project where I've been thinking about lighting from the outset.

    Thanks again for everyone's input!
  • Wombatinahat
    Loving the progress on this! can't wait to see more :D
  • feanix
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    feanix polycounter lvl 7
    Which modeling package are you using, btw?
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    feanix wrote: »
    Which modeling package are you using, btw?

    3DS Max.
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    So, after the dawning realization that I've approached this scene in completely the wrong way, I've been tweaking object dimensions and modular section proportions to try and get everything aligned to my now-corrected grid spacing. Still working on neatening everything up...


    modularrough.jpg


    Still quite a way to go before I'll be ready to begin optimizing. Aside from plugging a few holes, I've still got some modeling to do for the wall panels and a collection of pipes, dials and meters to add some variety to each section.

    Right now, it feels like a poorly-thought out home improvement project - fix one thing, and two more problems present themselves. It's my own damn fault for not planning the scene as thoroughly as I should have, a valuable (if time-consuming) lesson in itself....
  • an aggressive napkin
    It looks great! I'd like to know where you got the idea/ reference because I am trying to build my own scene
    On a side note, Proportions are looking really great Now that you've fixed it up, granted they didn't look so bad before :P
  • Raider
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    Raider polycounter lvl 9
    That's badass man, can't believe i haven't seen this thread before.. no crits from me, keep going :D
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks - I posted an image of the original concept by Alex Broeckel in the first post of this thread, though I've departed from the concept and adapted the scene quite substantially. Bioshock's environments have also been a considerable influence on the scene, and I'm hoping to recreate an equally-atmospheric scene.
  • Mark Dygert
    Hawt! Glad you're getting the scale and snapping figured out. Once you get a work flow down you should be good to go. It seems like everyone is doomed to knock skulls with grid and snaps heh. I like the idea for the overhead lighting, that will give you a bunch more options for lighting.
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    Vig wrote: »
    Hawt! Glad you're getting the scale and snapping figured out. Once you get a work flow down you should be good to go. It seems like everyone is doomed to knock skulls with grid and snaps heh. I like the idea for the overhead lighting, that will give you a bunch more options for lighting.

    Thanks, Vig, and yeah - I've already learned a lot in terms of how to approach a scene like this, and had I planned it a little more thoroughly beforehand, I would've been further ahead by now. As Rens said, mistakes are awesome!

    And yeah, I'm much happier with the vaulted glass paneled ceiling - thinking about lighting even before I've finished the modeling stage has really influenced the final designs, and it's been fun to deviate from the concept as much as I have.

    One thing I'm still undecided about is whether or not to include the portholes. On one hand, it'd break up the symmetry of the scene (as the opposite walls will feature two of the player-collectible props, the rifle and diving helmet) and offer a glimpse out into the ocean from an eye-level perspective, but on the other hand I'm not sure if it's too busy or a bit much in addition to the large glass ceiling.


    portholes.jpg


    What do you guys think?
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    So, after a two-week hiatus due to technology conspiring against me (though not as spectacularly as Lee's Amazing Incendiary Motherboard, admittedly), I've just about got all my scene files back, and am back to work.

    I decided to place the portholes along the corridor leading to the stairs, to not only break up the wall sections but to also offer some more interesting lighting than just the point lights from the light fixtures that will line the left wall, but also to reinforce the sense of being on an underwater vessel.


    corridorportholes.jpg

    Right now, I'm finishing off the high poly modeling on the floor and wall sections, then finally moving onto optimizing and texturing.

    Not much of an update, but I'm pretty happy with the corridor floor section and am moving onto the various wall sections.


    floorpanel.jpg


    So far, one of the biggest challenges has been mixing the art deco and modernist elements with the more industrial, manufactured elements that define the environment as a submarine overall. Once I've got everything into UDK, I may have to go back and adjust things to ensure everything looks cohesive, but I think I'm on the right track.

    Updates will likely be less frequent, as one of the main objectives with this scene was to become more familiar with normal mapping and texturing, which I desperately need to improve my skills in, so expect lots of questions!

    Thanks again for everyone's feedback and input.
  • linkov
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    linkov polycounter lvl 9
    some noob question. isn't it simplier to create blockout for whole scene, then highpoly models for each _unique_ proxy-model in your blockout, bake them and only then build whole scene from lowpoly geometry? right now it looks kinda like a waste of system resources. :poly122:
  • Laughing_Bun
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    Laughing_Bun polycounter lvl 12
    linkov thats exactly what you should do. I don't know why everyone builds an entire high poly scene, it's just a waste of time.
  • Dani
    Looking great, just make sure you don't bite of more then you can chew, meaning you have some awsome high poly stuff in there but you haven't shown any lowpoly/unwrapping/texturing stuff so you might hit a wall when you realise the amount of work left:poly124:.

    Can't wait to see some colour:)
  • andybozo
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    andybozo polycounter lvl 7
    hey nice work! i dont post often but id just like to congratulate you on your nice work :thumbup:. looks very bioshock to me, which is a good thing for sure. it'd be great to do a nice skybox/ background work to be seen out the windows.

    ill definately be fallowing your progress :)
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks, Andy - it's coming along slowly....

    And yeah, I've been planning on including an exterior underwater environment all along - I'm thinking of a water volume that surrounds the scene, perhaps with some bubbles, small fish and appropriate lighting.

    First things first, however....back to work!
  • LlamaJuice
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    LlamaJuice polycounter lvl 9
    Awesome scene is awesome, really awesome work so far... enough that I don't have any crits. I'm really looking forward to seeing this in the UDK with some awesome lighting!
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks, man - I appreciate that.

    I've started optimizing and unwrapping, but texturing is going to take a while - I really want to do the concept justice, so I'm taking my time. Personally, I can't wait to get to the lighting, either, but the textures are going to really sell a lot of the scene, so I've got to give them the love they deserve.

    Thanks again for everyone's feedback and encouragement.
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    Okay, okay, just a few more pieces, then I promise I'll start posting textures....

    Some bits and pieces to break up the walls:


    teslaz.jpg


    pipearray.jpg


    gaugesl.jpg


    Right, just a few more bits to finish off, then begins the unwrapping and texturing.

    As always, thanks in advance.
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    Something was bothering me about the main vault-style airlock, and I decided it looked too much like a bank vault and didn't really fit with the rest of the scene, so I decided to ditch it in favor of an energy core-type feature. I'm planning on using an emissive map to add some glow to the curved, recessed slots on the main circular cover, as well as the six bulb-type protrusions on the circular panel on the right.


    powercore.jpg


    So, other than reworking some of the models, I've started texturing some of the simpler structural elements like the corridor wall panels. This is what I've got so far.


    walldiffuse.jpg


    It's not hard to see that I'm much more comfortable modeling than texturing, but I'm determined to improve and do them justice, so apologies for the less-than-exciting choice of a first diffuse to post.

    The thing I'm struggling with in terms of these pieces is achieving a balance of visual interest versus the reality of the surface properties. I didn't want to overdo the scratches or surface damage, but I wanted it to be a little more interesting than simply idiot-smooth. In terms of general color palette, I'm trying to match this reference from the original Disney movie:


    hallwaydetail2.jpg


    Anyways, I'm not happy with the floor panel I posted earlier in the thread either, so I'm off to redo that, then move on to some more texturing.

    As ever, thanks in advance for any feedback.
  • SHEPEIRO
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    SHEPEIRO polycounter lvl 13
    two things for your panel texture... get a nice few rust patches and water stains/leaks and start adding them around the panel joins and below the rivets ends... also use leveled versions of your AO to add grime and general dirt into the corners...
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    SHEPEIRO wrote: »
    two things for your panel texture... get a nice few rust patches and water stains/leaks and start adding them around the panel joins and below the rivets ends... also use leveled versions of your AO to add grime and general dirt into the corners...

    Thanks for the tips, Shep.

    I initially had considered adding some leaking elements to the texture, but I hesitated because of the likelihood of that surface being rusted. This is what I meant when I mentioned visual interest versus the reality of how that surface would look. I didn't want everything to be overly filthy or damaged (as this seems to be a common mistake), but I definitely need to add something to the texture as it is right now.

    I'll favor aesthetics over the 'reality' of the surface and try adding some leaks and rust, see how it looks. It's definitely been an interesting problem, trying to make an otherwise pretty boring surface both interesting and believable.
  • Ark
    Damn, can't believe i missed this thread.
    Looking awesome dan, love the concept and this is really coming along really nice.
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