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[3Ds Max] Japanese Temple Game Level

Hi everyone,

I'm currently in my last semester at college, and we were told to create a single-camera-shot from our own "game level." We had complete creative control of the theme/style/etc. The assignment wasn't to complete a real game level -- in other words, things you don't see from the camera didn't have to be textured/finalized. Instead, we were to create more a sample type of level that would be in our hypothetical original title.

Here's what I have at the moment:


Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you! I'd love a pair of fresh eyes to take a look at this.


  • MattQ86
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    MattQ86 polycounter lvl 12
    Good work. Congrats on reaching the end of the long and brutal war of attrition that is finishing an art degree.

    I'm not really an environment guy so the best I can offer is this: Those fireworks are a part of the skybox texture right? I kind of feel like you might be better served making them a particle effect of some kind (maybe with light sources parented) as right now they look sot of dull and faded in comparison with the rest of the scene. Also, if you get a chance look into porting these assets into UDK.
  • burtonyang
    Nice work on your scene. Okay, first of all, that black background is totally killing it for me, there's no such thing as a black sky; at least use a color and you can make it really dark. Your textures make everything look really new, unless that's what you want, but it would be more interesting if you break it up more. Your lanterns don't look correctly lit either. Your light sources make the scene look awkward also.

    Here's some lighting reference with what I had in mind. You can totally use the lights to shape and frame your scene.

  • LMP
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    LMP polycounter
    the silhouette of the edge of your roof is very flat. I think you need to define the roof shingles more, at least at the edge.
  • bretonvictoria
    First of all, thank you to everyone who provided feedback! It's greatly appreciated.
    burtonyang wrote: »
    Here's some lighting reference with what I had in mind. You can totally use the lights to shape and frame your scene.

    Thanks! How would you go about achieving something like that? Do you have any suggestions? At the moment, I just have self-illumination on the lanterns. Should I add a light (omni, perhaps) inside of each lantern...?
  • haiddasalami
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    haiddasalami polycounter lvl 11
    Make them emissive and turn on use emissive in the static mesh properties. (under static mesh actor -> lightmass -> Use emissive for static lighting) then play around with the numbers there.
  • Baddcog
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    Baddcog polycounter lvl 9
    I agree the lighting looks weird. Of course in a 3d enviro you're always gonna have 'bad angles'. But for a static shot you can achieve a 'perfect angle'.

    Right now it's really bright and suggests daytime, but your skybox suggests night time. Also, seems like the light is coming from right behind the player, which makes it almost impossible to see any shadows at all, thus flat. The only ones you can see are under that far roofline.

    If you want nighttime soften the shadows. Add some stone 'pagoda lamps'. maybe at bottom of stairs to light them up. Put some windows in the front of temple to cast light out and add brighter spots. Add more blue to diffuse (for shadow color), and maybe have moonlight coming from right of player (maybe even have a tint of blue to moonlight, I know that's not entirely realistic, but it'll make it feel cooler). then stairs would cast visible shadow.

    Problem is there isn't much else that will cast shadows. Can't see ground where a lot of shadows would fall.

    The texture is mis-aligned at corners. Adding some wood pillars there would cover it up and give more shape/depth.

    the stairs aren't complete at the bottom of screenie.

    looks like the door has a railing in front of it. hard to see, I'd close the door with a white paper door, it would give more detail/contrast.

    The bottom roof line isn't consistant with the top 2, and they are very flat.

    I think the tree on the right just looks like filler. For composition it could be better. Maybe only half the leaves visible so you can see depth and whatever is in the back more. Make the ground visible with stone paths, etc...
    Maybe put a few small trees up against the temple wall to break it up.

    Put a door on the right side wall, it's all windows now and looks a bit plain.
    Not trying to be too critical here but I've been working on a tf2 oriental theme map for 2 months now and have been looking at every single possible shot of japanese/chinese anything I can find. they are very ornate in every detail.
    Everything they build, design, plant is very thought out for asthetics.

    That makes it hard to do for a game level when you have polycounts, player movement, goals, etc... in play. And if you were making this as a game level then things like flat roofs would be acceptable imo.
    But if it's a showcase/concept piece. Maybe something to be used to advertise the game, get people interested I think you really need to push details more and not worry about polycount.

    But you also didn't say if there were limits imposed by your teacher.
  • burtonyang
    Make them emissive and turn on use emissive in the static mesh properties. (under static mesh actor -> lightmass -> Use emissive for static lighting) then play around with the numbers there.

    I don't think he's using UDK, but to get that kind of effect in 3ds Max for your lanterns you should check out this thread; it should answer your question. However, I do recommend having your scene in a game engine though such as UDK.

  • bretonvictoria
    Here's an update. Is it better than before? More believable? Suggestions are still appreciated.

  • Darkmaster
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    Darkmaster polycounter lvl 11
    Kind of what everyone is saying, the lighting could really go way farther here. I think that it is just reading really flat, and the illusion of depth is being lost as a result. When I saw this scene I thought about Ninja Gaiden, and how they can take asian culture and really push the stylization while still keeping some things believable. For reference, see if you could look at the first level of NG2, because there would be a lot of good stuff to draw from! I think that you have an opportunity to really crank up the lighting and create a really cool atmosphere as well as add some elements to break up the monotony of the scene. I get if you want to make this a realistic interpretation of asian architecture, but this is a solid enough base to really push the envelope and get some awesome style! Keep at it, and I look forward to seeing some progress!
  • burtonyang
    It's definitely better, but those lanterns should light the scene stronger since your ground is still dark blue when the lanterns are right above it. I also don't understand the lighting on the bottom side of the roof tops on the left side of the building.
  • pangarang
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    pangarang polycounter lvl 11
    Everyone's giving you great technical feedback, so I'm going to focus less on that but the overall cultural and period authenticity of the scene - not sure if that's what you're looking for but take the critique as you will.

    Could you show us some reference images you were using when making this piece? It looks like the central structure is a pagoda, but in Asian architecture, pagodas are rarely enclosed (if ever) in a building compound. Your enclosing walls suggest a castle or the home of a noble or royalty, while the central structure suggests a religious structure.

    Secondly, I suspect you are getting your Asians mixed up. To my knowledge, Japanese lantern festivals (assuming that's what's going on here) do not traditionally incorporate fireworks - which is more so a characteristic of Chinese festivals. The general scene reminds me strongly of Disney's Mulan.

    Anyway, that's a long winded way of saying "lets see some references."
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