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Northern Campsite

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wHromek triangle
Hello!
I wanted to get some feedback on my latest project before I add it to my portfolio. It's a small scene I made based off of my coursework to teach myself environment art. I created the models with Maya and ZBrush, the textures with Substance Designer and Painter (Rendered at 1K for quick iteration) and created the final render using Marmoset Toolbag:








This is my first real attempt at creating a full scene, so I'm sure I've got a long way to go. Any criticism is appreciated!

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  • JamesBrisnehan
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    JamesBrisnehan polycounter
    That's a cool idea for a scene. It could use some touch-ups though.

    The grey lighting is sucking all of the life out of the scene. I think your lights could use more color and more contrast. You could try out some different sky textures and light set-ups pretty quickly since you're using Marmoset. It might also be worth trying night or dusk/dawn lighting to compliment your campfire (as long as it's not too dark that you can't see anything).

    The normal maps are a bit too heavy on crate and logs. Wood texture usually as a pretty subtle normal, and more detail in the color and roughness channels.

    The Ground texture could be higher res to look better for that last close-up shot. Either tile it more or up-res the textures in Substance Designer. The ground texture could also use more contrast in the roughness channel. Maybe the high points could be more rough, and overlay a couple of grunges to break things up?
  • teodar23
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    teodar23 interpolator
    I like the idea and the presentation is not bad.
    The things that stick out the most are the walls and the fire.
    The walls are very thin, you should google some references for ruins. The transition from the 3d pieces of the walls and the plane that mimics a rock wall is very noticeable. You should make the individual 3d rocks less smooth and more like a parallelepiped, just like the rocks in the texture of the flat bit.
    The campfire doesnt have a visible flame. If it is put out why the strong specular light on the ground.
    Another thing that could be improved is the lighting. I think it would look better with the sun/moon light being a lot less intense and letting the scene be lit mostly by the fire. Maybe add a torch somewhere high but still close to the fire and that will help out with the spread of the light but not create 2 focal points.
    Keep it up
  • W78
    This scene has a lot of potential. 

    I agree that the lighting should be reworked a bit, like the others mentioned, relying more on the campfire/torchlight would really help establish an ambiance. (a bit of fog could be fun too) 

    Darkening the background would also bring in much needed contrast (maybe a dark blue to complement the orange of the campfire?)

    Another thing that catches my eye is that the feet of the dead soldiers are floating and noticeably symmetrical.

    Lovely work. :) 
  • valentin_baguirov
    Very nice. I like the mood established with  the desaturated textures.

    If you squint your eyes to blur out the detail, you will see (especially in the first shot) that the character is hard to dsitinguish. (in terms of values especially.)

    You could play with the values (foreground vs mid ground vs background), to the best of your ability to sell the mood of the scene better.

    Just my humble opinion and my 0.2 c.

    Hope this helps.
  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    Thank you for the feedback! I definitely need to rework the lighting for this scene. While I fix the texture/modeling issues you guys pointed out I created a few lighting setups to see which worked best:






    I think a darker setup works best, but I want to be careful that the scene isn't so dark that too much detail is lost. I also agree that the walls need to be redone, to fix the thickness and brick problems.
  • JamesBrisnehan
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    JamesBrisnehan polycounter
    I like night the best. It has a nice contrast between the sky's lighting and the fire.

    By the way, do you have GI (global illumination) and AO (ambient occlusion) enabled in your Marmoset scene's renderer settings? If so. maybe turn up the brightness and occlusion strength respectively to give the lighting more oomph. If not, try turning them on, it usually looks cool. 

    Also a little vignette and bloom might look nice.
  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    @JamesBrisnehan I actually didn't, enabling AO/GI really improved the renders! Once I fix some of my texture resolution/normal and roughness problems I'll make new renders of the scene to show you all.

    Here is another quick update as I work to fix the walls:

    It's an improvement, but I'm having some trouble keeping the polycount low with all the additional bricks. Here's an example of the reference I'm working from, even though my original basis for this texture was more similar to the brick pattern found in Georgian mountain villages. I wish I had the time to go back and remake the brick texture entirely, but I have to work with what I have for now. If anyone has advice, I'd be grateful to hear it.
  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    Here are some new renders of the scene, after I applied some of the suggestions offered:

  • scottycharly
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    scottycharly polycounter lvl 7
    This scene has improved a lot! I would add more scale and position variations to your grass. From the top, it looks to regular. The sleeping soldiers are important elements of your storytelling but are less interesting visually. They need more polish. With the new blue/orange lighting contrast you created, I can feel the cold of the night and the warmth of the fire! This is way better.
  • valentin_baguirov
    Nice, I like the suddle bloom from the fire!
  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    Thank you everyone! And @scottycharly I see what you mean about the dead soldiers. You're not the first one to mistake them for being asleep, which means I need to figure out a way to communicate that better while also making them more visually interesting. As a quick fix, I created a 'corpse' texture for my soldier basemesh:

    Then, I added it into my scene to see how it would look:


    I'm a little reluctant to add more than one 'character' mesh into the scene to avoid complicating it, but I think this works well. I'll see if I can make the covered soldiers more interesting and maybe tone down the amount of blood on the corpse texture. Let me know what you guys think.
  • JamesBrisnehan
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    JamesBrisnehan polycounter
    Perhaps placing something on top of their blankets would help signify death and mourning. A flower, a make-shift cross, a helmet or sword. 
    It might be a little 'on the nose' though. Your call.
  • teodar23
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    teodar23 interpolator
    Coming along nicely.
    The cloth over the dead soldiers could be a bit more detailed and to conform better to the shape of the body. Right now it looks kinda stiff like a thin sheet of metal.
  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    I decided that the bloody corpses were too gruesome for the mood I'm going for, so I removed them and went back to an earlier composition:

    I went back and upped the polycount a little on the blankets and redid their normal/height maps. I tried creating a better highpoly mesh with Maya's cloth physics simulation, but I couldn't get a result I liked. I'll have to experiment with it more for my next project.
  • scottycharly
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    scottycharly polycounter lvl 7
    Oh! So they are dead soldiers! In a day scene, some flys swarming around the body could have done the trick. The sword and helmet is a nice way to communicate your story. Maybe some blood stains on the blanket would add to it? Goos job anyway.
  • pixelpatron
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    pixelpatron greentooth
    Your silhouettes and composition are not doing this piece much for setting the mood I think you're trying to get. I'd suggest strongly at some distant mountains/forest or desolate landscape (depending on the vibe) and really work in a sky to set the overall tone. Plus an introduction of a sky will do wonders for your materials. 

    Sometimes less is more, (see below image) While a lot less assets (the background is probably geo, but you could composite something in photoshop if you needed to save time). Yet this piece gives more a sense of dread and atmosphere. Also a good demonstration of the strong silhouettes I was pointing out. Seeing those fallen soldiers with the helmets on swords being silhouetted by an epic foreboding skyline would be pretty epic. 

  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    Thanks @pixelpatron! I took your advice and decided to do another render and composite it with a stock image in photoshop:

    I had some trouble creating a good silhouette like you mentioned, so I moved around some of the sharpened logs to give an unobstructed view of the character.
  • pixelpatron
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    pixelpatron greentooth
    I defiantly like your new composition better but I think you're trying to make the fire the main light source for this scene instead of having it come from the sky....Make those silhouettes work for you...almost there....some good examples...






    Make that sky work for your scene, instead of against. You can still have the fire for some bounce light (secondary light source) but I wouldn't make it the main focus. 
  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    Here are my final adjustments: 


    Thank you to everyone who gave me critiques! I look forward to applying your advice on my next project. I've also posted this to my Artstation.

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