[UE4] Hallway Complex

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griffitii polycounter lvl 2
Hi all,

I haven't posted in here in a while because I a) created a new account to better match my other media outlet names, and b) I've mainly been posting work updates in Discord. I thought it would be good for me to get additional feedback on my project through Polycount (hence this thread) and to engage more with the community here too.

I've always found it difficult to work at home but over the last couple of years I've used Twitch to stream while I have been working. This has been a great way for me to commit to creating artwork in my spare time and I've managed to produce some good portfolio pieces by sticking to a stream schedule. I stream twice a week (for a couple of hours each) so expect frequent updates to this thread. If you're interested in seeing how I work and communicating your feedback with me live then please head over to my Twitch (or Youtube) channel and chat to me through that. I stream Mondays and Thursdays at 7:30pm GMT.

https://www.twitch.tv/griffitii
https://www.youtube.com/griffitii

Thanks for looking in!

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  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Had a bit more time this evening so started to refine the HIGH model and add in more details. I also refined the texture a bit more too. It looks to be working quite well. Some UVs will need adjusting once the model is complete and baked but it's definitely going in the right direction!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Finished of the high res mesh (with floaters) and texture pass for Trim Sheet A. This is at a good first pass stage so next stream I'll work up Trim B and adjust the UVs on the meshes to better fit them. Once done, it shouldn't be too long before we get all the pieces made and populate the level with them!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Started on Trim Sheet B this evening and got 2/3's of it in. Created a smart material of Trim A and applied that to B in Painter. As I'm using the same colours in the ID map the right material is applied to the right place. Win! Tweaked the UE4 material too.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Finished Trim Sheet B modelling and texturing. With both sheets complete I went through the existing mesh variants and adjusted the UVs to better match the new textures.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Worked out a good sized bevel to use on the edges of the walkways. This is a small but powerful addition as the bevel helps the light bend around the surface, picks up light as highlights and makes the environment feel less game-y. Don't forget to update your hard and soft edges afterwards!


  • Ged
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    Ged interpolator
    latest trim sheet is working well, the level could of course do with some other material variation to break up all themetal and trim detail.
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    @Ged Thanks. Yeah I'll definitely need a few more variations of these textures and some additional materials to break it all up. Adding edge wear will help make it look more worn too. Once more kit meshes have been created and added to the main scene I'll get a better idea of what I need. A set dress pass will also help break things up and add detail/story. Just wish I had a bit more time to work on it!  
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Big leap in this one! Modelled up one variant for the steps. Just having these modelled in makes the whole environment feel more like a real place. It has highlighted that I could done with more texture variants of the Trim sheets but that can wait until I'm further along. I also updated the main background wall mesh with it's first variation. All I'm saying is thank god for Blueprints and my variation script!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Had some free time today so did a bit of offline work, namely doing tidy up on the trim textures. Basically the model pass I'd done already (mainly on Trim A) wasn't locked to quadrants so correcting UVs proved more fiddly than it needed to be. I did a pass on Trim B to keep continuity and created Trim C as a sheet with loads of smaller parts to had more variation. I also created the other ramp mesh and a thinner straight section. Although not much has changed visually, spending the time checking the Trims and UVs now will save me a lot of time in the future!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Updated more meshes with VarA base versions. Realised that my straight pieces were all misaligned in Modo so fixed them.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Had a bit of time yesterday so continued with making parts offline. I also looked at how some of the BPs were assembled and replaced similar looking SM's with ones I already had. I'll show you what I mean in tonight's stream!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Created the B and D Corner variants this evening. These are the rounded corners so getting all the trims aligned took a bit longer to match up.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Started with progress: got some more parts made up and in. Ended with some failure: turns out that the dock BPs all have different pivot points so when I went to update them it knocked all of them out of whack. Not the end of the world but a definite thing to avoid in the future!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    A boring update this time. Finished sorting out the dock BPs after they all got accidentally offset (oops!) Did some work on the randomisation script to include new SMs. Updated the size of the BG Wall Piece as it wasn't a whole integer (1m) and detailed all sides of it.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Made a fair amount of progress this evening: Sorted out a big z-fighting issue on some of the BG wall pieces and updated the script so that I can randomise the detail on them. I also created the straight platform and underwall sections. I've left enough space in them to add some serious pipe work so looking forward to that!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    I had some spare time today so decided to continue with the project offline for about 5 hours. Managed to get a few more parts made and updated in the scene. I updated all SM lightmap UVs and created some pipes to fill the large cavity sections (I think it helps add a bit more detail to the scene). With the baked light the scene runs at 25 fps in the worst spot (top-left image) so I'm pretty happy with it so far as nothing is optimised yet. It's really beginning to come together now!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Created the girder sections from parts I already had. Next stream we'll be doing the last of the VarA kit parts and that will be the base complete! I can't tell you how much the workflow has sped up thanks to using trim sheets and sticking to a fixed scale. It's taken me one 40 hour week (counting all my updates for this stage of production) to get the level looking how it does!


  • DeathstrokeFTW
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    DeathstrokeFTW polycounter lvl 4
    This is amazing work!
  • Auldbenkenobi
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    Auldbenkenobi polycounter lvl 7
    Is this being textured entirely with Trims?
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    @DeathstrokeFTW thanks! We're not across the line let though. Next up is a pass on set dressing and lighting.

    @Auldbenkenobi The scene is currently using 7 materials: 3 trims (used on practically every part of the kit), and 4 tiling placeholder materials (generic bare metal, painted metal, rubber and water). 
  • Auldbenkenobi
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    Auldbenkenobi polycounter lvl 7
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Because the environment is so vast I'm trying to use techniques that speed up production. There might be some individually baked assets in the future but if I can get away with as many things as possible using the same trim materials then I will!
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Concentrated on the BG elements towards the top of the level this evening. They were UV'ed already so it was just a matter of scaling and re-positioning the UVs and moving meshes to get rid of any z-fighting. I also finished the other WallBG detail elements and got these in. Now a lot of the z-fighting throughout the level has been resolved.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Added an inverse dock corner and tidied up some z-fighthing meshes. Added a mesh surround to the whole piece to stop light leaking in and holes seeing out. Demoed Trim sheet 101 in a 15 minute chunk and played about with different camera angles to present the scene. There's a lot of scope for some very distinct looking areas.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Added more railing parts to the kit. Changed the base component to flow from one mesh into the next and it helps link the walkways together. Needs mesh variation though.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Found some cool lighting ref and started to block it out. Got a ways to go yet but it was good to try and match a concept. Big fog alterations in this one!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    I've just finished a month of blocking out environments for #Blocktober so this project has been on hold until today. Before diving straight back in I took the time to look at the state of the environment, what I want to add in and what I still have to do. I can't emphasise enough how useful doing this is. Having it written out and not in your mind helps you see the work you have left to do and if it's even possible!


  • ChrisFraser
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    ChrisFraser polygon
    I just read through this whole project. Awesome work. Seriously putting some time in here!
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks Chris. I'm hoping to have it done by the end of the year. Going through what's left is going to make staying focused easier for this last stretch!
  • Evren01
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    Evren01 triangle
    Everything looks awesome.
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks @Evren01! Let me know if you have any feedback.
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Played around with the trim textures this evening. Added subtle colour tints to the Albedo and mixed up the Roughness values to get the textures to pop a bit more. I experimented with adding a "New" and "Old" version of a trim but the results were too noticeable and I think having more mesh variations (changing UVs/materials) will have a more impactful effect.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Modelled the walkway supports. Matched the UVs to the existing trim sheet textures. I think I'll be able to use these assets to add further break up to the walls too.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Updated the tunnel assets this evening. Made some more use out of the new support legs so will have to create some variations of these to help break up areas throughout the scene.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Created a few new support variants from the walkway support asset. I'm using them to break up areas of noticeable tiling textures. I also (very crudely) blocked out some windows to test if I should have any.. I think the answer is yes and they make the whole level feel more like a place. I hooked them up to the script so I can quickly randomise which one is used.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
     After having a brief hiatus I'm back on it. I added multiple BPs with muliple windows around the surround of the scene and used the script to randomise them. Added a randomisation to the material so that some are on and some are off. Made the sky darker and it's made the scene pop a lot more and makes it feel more oppressive and moody.


  • Oxlander
    Wow just read through everything, you've made quite some progress, great work!! I can't give much feedback because you seem more experienced than I am, however the one thing that stood out to me was in the last post with the change in lighting. I agree that going for darker sky adds to the mood, but unless you're increasing the building lights, I feel that it makes the whole scene look a bit too grey and monotonous. Other than that great work! The title should probably change from hallway to something else because now this is much grander than one hallway! 😆
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    @Oxlander thanks for you comment and feedback! I agree that the whole scene is a bit too samey now. Once I do a proper pass on the lighting it'll (hopefully) look better. Before that I need to get a few more additional assets in to better sell the scene as a lived in place.

    Yeah the title is probably a bit misleading now, any thoughts on a new one? I imagine the level to be in the first act of a game, probably as a mini hub or through point that you return/pass through frequently. Water is a feature in the area perhaps "Hydro Substation 04, Lower Deck" or similar would work...
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Added two new railings in and fixed intersecting meshes around the scene. Did a very rough lighting pass to brighten the place up a bit.


  • Carabiner
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    Carabiner polycounter lvl 6
    Hey so, I think what you're doing is very technically well done and has solid level design principles behind it. Visually though, this is very very noisy in terms of the high amount of detail that's basically everywhere in the space. Have you considered adding in more areas of rest? The lighting isn't helping with this either because it has lots of bright hotspots. Taken together, these two things are making the whole environment feel chaotic and lacking in a strong composition/direction.
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    @Carabiner Thanks for your feedback. I agree, it is quite noisy at the moment. The lighting is also very temporary (I'm using point lights which is creating these hot spots in all directions). Once I've created some light fittings and placed them around the scene this will help guide the lighting more. Doing this will help create the areas of rest as some areas will be less lit than others. If it's still too noisy I'll introduce a blanker trim sheet and create some mesh variations that use it.
  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Added light fittings and set them up with the script on a few BPs. I need to look into how I can create an variable array with BPs (if you can) and I'm going to have a look at lighting the scene using Emissive materials only. Edit: I've brightened the image as my previous one was quite dark!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Experimented with using emissive lighting as static lighting this evening and got mixed results: in some areas it definitely worked but the light falloff was sudden (see highlighted red areas). The Emissive properties also had to be set per mesh which causes a problem with the SM generator as not all SMs are present in the BP (the script cycles through an array of SMs and I'm not sure how to access the emissive properties of the SM in the widget BP nor have I found a way to create an array of BPs in case I wanted to for go the emissive lighting and have Static lights in the BPs themselves). Hope that makes sense...!


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    A bit of success with the BP lighting array but not enough to solve the issue. I think the best solution going forward will be to keep all the lighting in the scene and out of BPs. This will mean that the light sources won't be dynamic (like the other meshes) but will mean that the time I would invest to find a solution can be spent creating more variation and set dress elements. I can then light to set camera angles instead. I spent the rest of the stream blocking in some additional longer pipes around the level.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Made a simple pipe kit and BPs to match then went around the level replacing the blocked versions from the last stream. Hooked them all up to the script so that the variations change at the click of a button. (I increased the contrast in the left picture so you could see them better!)


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Continued the pipe layout and added some into the upper regions of the level. 


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Had a bit more time on this today. Sorted out the lightmap UVs and densities of them. Added in some free content water and started blocking out more of the lighting. It's still looking a bit flat so I'll need to add some colour in somewhere. 


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    When it rains it pours! Added some walkway covers to help in the downpours. Gradually getting that 'lived in' feeling now.


  • griffitii
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    griffitii polycounter lvl 2
    Added remaining covers to BPs and updated the script. Now the ramps have covers.


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