the Ensign Tavern

polycounter lvl 9
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PatJS polycounter lvl 9
Surprise! It's not a fantasy tavern, but a 50's American tavern. The building itself is based on one that used to exist in Portland, Oregon, but they tore it down and replaced it with a parking lot in 1955 as part of an "urban renewal" project :poly127:

It was originally a bank, built in 1881, which is why it has that semi-baroque architecture. They knocked out the bottom floor and put in the glass-fronted stuff you see in my model at a later date. Also, it is what is known as "cast-iron architecture", because the columns, arches, keystones, cornice pieces and pediments are all made out of cast iron.

Anyways, here it is:
WIP1.jpg
WIP1Tex.jpg

Critiques are very welcome! I've avoided photo sourced textures, with the exception of the sidewalk and the 7up sign, so I'm especially interested in critiques of my texture. Also, does anybody know what the deal is with using logos of real companies in portfolio pieces? Will I need to create a faux coca-cola logo for this thing, or can I leave it as is?

e: changed image links

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  • P442
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    P442 polycounter lvl 8
    no image for me
  • Delerium
    Very nice work! Maybe break up the repetition of the folded blinds in one or two more of the windows and make them going half way down /up all the way. I would leave the logos as they are if it's just for a portfolio piece.
    And maybe ad a sign post/light post in the street ?
  • SaferDan
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    SaferDan polycounter lvl 9
    That is really pretty, awesome design in terms of modular pieces :)

    Well done :)
  • PatJS
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    PatJS polycounter lvl 9
    I added some variation to the windows. Since I didn't have any extra UV space to play with, I ended up splitting up some of the window planes. I found that I could hide most of the seams behind the middle bar in the frame, since it's actual geometry.
    WIP2.jpg
  • Huntard
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    Huntard polycounter lvl 9
    This is looking Great! I just wish there was a little more color in the piece. I know this is based off a real building but it does look a little too monochromatic. Great Work keep it up!
  • Goat Justice
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    Goat Justice polycounter lvl 9
    Very nicely done! I agree that the textures especially on the upper parts could use a bit more color. The modeling of the piece is excellent though.
  • roosterMAP
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    roosterMAP polycounter lvl 9
    love the detail. I know you know the texture's not finished. Since its industrial area there should be black stuff in the hard to reach/scrub areas. It'll also make stuff look less white.

    once again, very good detail!
  • DDuckworth
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    DDuckworth polycounter lvl 6
    This is the kind of work I live for, I could really use some help understanding how your modular pieces work, especially on the corner pieces and the reuse of the same maps. Awesome work! Bravo!
  • PatJS
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    PatJS polycounter lvl 9
    Thanks guys! I'm working to add more color. I'm finding that it's kind of a balance between looking interesting and drowning out the forms. I'll post the latest iteration in a while, but for now I'm going to address DDuckworth's request.

    DDuckworth, I'm really new to this too, this is my second building so I can't claim to be an expert. There needs to be a lot of planning. I made sure that there was dirt on the top and bottom of the plain section, so that I could detail corners and edges, but also have mostly unsullied portions as well for areas that needed it. Also, for stuff that really needed to tile, like the trim, I made sure to have some padding on either side of the UV islands so that I didn't get ugly white lines when the engine swapped out mip maps. This could have been avoided if I had done four separate 512x512 textures, but I opted to see if I could put them all on one 1024x1024. Because the UV islands were right on the left edge of the texture, you can see where I put more padding on the right hand side of the texture where the image wraps around.

    As for modular stuff, the most important thing is to have a grid/module size. In this case, my unit size was 9 feet. I have a few pieces that are larger, but they are all the same width (12 feet). These pieces are the ones nearest the corners. As for the corner pieces, they are the same as the regular pieces, just curved. Reusing textures is easy when you have something like this building, because it's basically just trim and molding, with the occasional uniquely unwrapped detail (pillar capitals, etc).

    This first picture illustrates how useful that generic texture in the top right quadrant is. I've recolored that section magenta for this picture:

    quadrantexplain.jpg

    Here are some chunks from the corner of the second and third floor, as well as the roof.
    coupleofchunks.jpg

    Because I couldn't fit stuff like the trim around an arch into texture space, I've modeled it in and unwrapped it onto a straight line of trim.
  • alexk
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    alexk polycounter lvl 11
    Great work. My nit pick is that all the cool details are concentrated on the upper floors. If I was a player walking around, I'd see more of the ground floors which, right now, is almost all flat. I know this is based off a real building, but I feel like wanting to just delete the entire bottom floor, and use your modular peices to create a ground floor, and make a fancy front door to tie it together.
  • rustim
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    rustim polycounter lvl 8
    I'm working on texturing a similar piece atm, so it is interesting to see your approach. I really like your detail work on the top half of the building, it's very convincing. I agree though that the texture could do with a slightly more colour variation to help pick out the details even more. Perhaps some yellow/orange tinge to warm it up a bit.
  • DDuckworth
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    DDuckworth polycounter lvl 6
    Very very nice Pat, I really appreciate you going through all that for me, I think I should be able to pull something off like this now. I hope :)
  • PatJS
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    PatJS polycounter lvl 9
    alexk: I agree with you that the bottom is kind of boring. The building I'm basing this off of is actually quite a bit longer in either direction than what I made, and it had several businesses in it. I think I'll include those and see what happens. If that fails, I'll probably do what you said and create a matching ground floor.

    rustim: I've mostly been messing with brown to grime stuff up, I didn't even think to do more subtle variations. I'll give your suggestion a shot!

    DDuckworth: No problem!
  • PatJS
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    PatJS polycounter lvl 9
    Finally got some time to work on this. I've added another tenant in the block, which has another protruding sign, some pipes, and an entrance alcove to break up the flatness of the side of the building. I added wire supports and electrical cables to the signs, and added more color to the upper levels of the building. Also, I added another pipe on the other side of the building, as well as a roll-up service entrance door. These are all in my original reference, so I'm not really sure why I didn't have them in the first place :poly142:
    wip3j.jpg
    wip3b.jpg
    wip3tex.jpg
    Again, the textures are shown here at half resolution. I'm pretty confident about the diner textures, but I definitely need to do some more work on the roll up door.
  • BlvdNights
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    BlvdNights polycounter lvl 8
    cat_its_beautiful.jpg
  • Ikuru
    Really nice work on this one...
    U shouldnt worry about the logos for portfolios.
    Its not like your stealing someones art. Just depicting stuff like it is presented in life and that is not a crime.
    Any good advice on any modular vids or tutorials?
  • MatthewS
    It looks good and I only have a few little things that I think would help.

    1st is that with 18k tris you can put a little bit of a bevel on the corner of the first two floors, just to soften it up. With all of the easy flowing curves in the rest of the building that sharp break in the smoothing is really jarring...

    the next involves your specular.

    On the coca-cola sign you have some grunge in your diffuse, but there isn't much contrast in your specular to show that it is there, this makes it look really clean compared to the rest of the sign.

    Also on the windows your specular seems a little dim and it doesn't show the large amount of glare that occurs when a light source shines on glass with a dark background like you have. This can be rectified with a reflection map or some cube mapping. Because of the darkness behind the windows I can't really tell if you have a lot of grunge on them or not. If you do then your specular is probably fine, if not, you should play around with the contrast between the glass and the wood(?) framing to really show the difference in the materials.


    Also wth is in the bottom half of the rectangular third floor windows?

    good work overall, looking forward to updates.
  • PatJS
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    PatJS polycounter lvl 9
    Ikuru: honestly, I don't have a lot of experience with modular stuff, but I would say that the grid is king, so make sure you stick to some regular grid, or easy fractions of it. Also, sometimes you can use geometry instead of texture space to get more complex details. For example, I took a straight piece of trim texture and bent it in an arch for the arches, which saved me loads of texture space that I used for other details that needed to be unique, such as pillar capitals. As for good resources, check out the UDK wiki; also, I know there's a pdf for older UT games whose principles still apply. I'll look around for it and post a link.

    Another thing I did is to try to use the plain wall texture as creatively as possible. I have some pretty heavy stains on the top, and some grimy grunge on the bottom, so for small chunks of stuff I would lay their UVs strategically according to what level of grime I wanted. For instance, the inside of the arches is just the bottom of the wall, sideways, such that the (grimy) bottom of the tiling texture is in the corner, meeting the window. It gave me a nice accumulated dirt look without requiring me to use more texture space. I've also reused bits of trim here and there on small strips of stuff, like the trim around the opening of the arch, which is just the bottom part of the trim that separates the first and second floors.

    MatthewS: good idea with the bevel, I'll do that. I have done some grime on the windows and the coca-cola sign, but you are correct that it looks too clean so I'll go and dirty that up some more. I've been really struggling with the windows this whole time, so it's nice to get some advice for that. I'll up the spec for sure. As for the bottom half of the windows, it is some sort of flat panel behind the window. I'm not sure what it is, but it was in the reference and I liked the way it looked just because it was more interesting than a regular plain window. Do you think it looks bad? Does the depth need exaggeration? Thank you for all of your feedback man, I really appreciate it!
  • System
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    System admin
    Looks really nice!

    A small suggestion - instead of the huge single block, try to break up the pavement slabs into 4 sections or more. This will make the building look bigger and not like a minature.
  • Alberto Rdrgz
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    Alberto Rdrgz polycounter lvl 9
    This came out Really nice man! also, i second the suggestions by mathews and gcmp!
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 14
    Keep going! Think about stuff happening above the shops. (These are HUGE images, you should be able to pull tons of ideas from them.)

    http://www.shorpy.com/node/8024?size=_original
    http://www.shorpy.com/node/8536?size=_original
    http://www.shorpy.com/node/9146?size=_original (love this one)
    http://www.shorpy.com/node/9513?size=_original
    http://www.shorpy.com/node/9492?size=_original
  • wi_2
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    wi_2 polycounter lvl 10
    nice work, clean and to the point :)
  • MeintevdS
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    MeintevdS keyframe
    Wow that really looks awesome. From what I can tell you really seem to have used you textures well.

    @adam:
    Those pictures are awesome, and so high res too.
  • paulsvoboda
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    paulsvoboda polycounter lvl 8
    This looks fantastic man! Great job.
    The building itself already has a lot of personality and I think you have a number of opportunities to add even more. Those pictures Adam gave you are great, the first picture in particular. Can't wait to see what you come up with.
  • Ikuru
    Thanks for the good advive PatJS. :)

    I downloaded, this movie, and found it very helpful when it comes to modular building... He basically mention the stuff u just did and then he builds like legos having the same grid ratio in PS and later in MAX. Although the vid is MAX and UDK, it will not be too hard to translate the process in to Maya, its more understanding the process of it than anything else...
    Heres the Link...
    http://www.polycount.com/2010/12/17/udk-modular-building-workflow/#more-4608
    BTW, U never baked any AO for this?
    /D
  • PatJS
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    PatJS polycounter lvl 9
    Oh yeah, I was thinking about buying that video. And no, I did bake AO, but only for the unique chunks in the top right section of the main texture sheet. The AO is mostly real-time SSAO, and the baked AO is for details that aren't modeled (such as filigree, pillar capitals, etc.)
  • PatJS
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    PatJS polycounter lvl 9
    Alright, now that Christmas is done with I've had some time to work on this again! I improved the hard corner on the lower floors and corner pillar, upped the spec and grime on the windows, and split the sidewalk tiles.

    adam, thank you very much for those photos, they are incredible! I've gone through several different iterations with different signs, window text, and other stuff, and this is what I've come up with so far. I'm certain that it's better, but I'm not sure that it's everything I can do. The Oregon Trade Ass'n sign is a placeholder because I haven't thought up a better business yet. Also, The fire escape floor isn't actually opaque, but the holes are small enough that they get mipped out at the distance I took the screenshots.
    signs1w.jpg
    signs2y.jpg
    signs3.jpg
    The new signs take up 174 tris, and the fire escape is 684 tris, and uses loads of alpha planes. It could have fewer tris, but I fit the texture onto the same 512 sheet as the new signs, and I did quite a bit of tiling with the texture.

    On another note, Marmoset is showing wireframes from the hidden side of my model, making the wireframe look wierd. Does anyone know how to fix this?
  • AlecMoody
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    AlecMoody sublime tool
  • Ikuru
    Nice update dude. One thing that cought my eye is the top floor corner windows. Are they bending a bit? and if they are would that be so in real life?
  • Builder_Anthony
    The shades seem almost identical to the concrete wall.Kind of makes it hard to tell them apart.
  • Ikuru
    I´m trying to lern this modular stuff as we speak. I was wondering how do you model the arched windows etc without distorting your UV´s, or did you reproject the uv after? Anyone plz, thnx!
  • Seaseme
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    Seaseme polycounter lvl 8
    Ikuru wrote: »
    I´m trying to lern this modular stuff as we speak. I was wondering how do you model the arched windows etc without distorting your UV´s, or did you reproject the uv after? Anyone plz, thnx!



    From page 1:

    Ikuru: honestly, I don't have a lot of experience with modular stuff, but I would say that the grid is king, so make sure you stick to some regular grid, or easy fractions of it. Also, sometimes you can use geometry instead of texture space to get more complex details. For example, I took a straight piece of trim texture and bent it in an arch for the arches, which saved me loads of texture space that I used for other details that needed to be unique, such as pillar capitals. As for good resources, check out the UDK wiki; also, I know there's a pdf for older UT games whose principles still apply. I'll look around for it and post a link.
  • PatJS
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    PatJS polycounter lvl 9
    Builder Anthony: That's a good point, I'll fiddle around with it to keep the contrast stronger. It seems like they disappear into the building when the specular highlight is stronger, such as with lower perspectives or the right sun angle.

    Ikuru: Here's a chunk and its UV map:
    uvexplain.jpg

    The portions of the map which are covered by the 3d model are just uniquely unwrapped stuff like pillar capitals, which are straight-foward.

    Notice how I used portions which were originally meant for inter-floor trim as general trim. I was able to do this because those small chunks were basically identical to the trim that was supposed to be there. The stuff in the top left is positioned to properly use the grime (top = drippy, bottom = blotchy, middle = cleaner). You can see the long flat interior portion on the far side is sideways, near the bottom of the top left quadrant, to suggest dirt build-up in the corners.

    Edit: here's the PDF I was talking about. Sorry for the delay, I completely forgot!
    http://udn.epicgames.com/Three/rsrc/Three/ModularLevelDesign/ModularLevelDesign.pdf
  • Ikuru
    thanks allot for all the help u guys! Turns out my problem was ticking in a little box in tool settings saying "preserve UVs", thats what you get for beeing a noob at this modular building stuff. So thanx again! :)
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