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Sketchbook: Stephanie Nieves

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  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5
    Found a little bit of free time today and continued working on my blockout. I'll give the tree a proper blockout model in Maya soon.


    Here's the full concept art below for comparison:

  • joshephkirley
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  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5
    Back from an unexpected hiatus! Had some major life changes occur over the past two months, which kinda put this project on hold until things got sorted out. But now my hands are free to art! It feels great to push some polygons once again, haha

    First thing I revisited was the wagon: I fleshed out more of its shape and added a few details. I then exported my building blockout from UE4 into Maya and I'm currently reconstructing the geo there while adjusting some proportional issues.

    Even though the Wild West Challenge has already been closed, I'd like to continue working on this project. I have a few ideas I'd like to add to make this a neat environment for Halloween. Hopefully I'll be able to complete this by October!




  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5
    Wanted to pop in for a small update: finally got the building modeled! Next up will be UVing everything, which shouldn't be too bad as I tried to keep pieces modular and symmetrical :)


  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5


    Still chipping away at this project! Assets got the UV treatment and I spent a moment messing with the Unreal scene. I've decided to start tackling the textures using Substance Designer. My goal will be to achieve a stylized look through procedurally generated textures as opposed to handpainting everything in Photoshop. I've laid out my UVs so that I could use repeated textures for the wood of the wagon, and for 90% of the building.

    Right now I'm refreshing my brain on using Designer since it's been a while, but I'm hoping to post more progress pictures soon!
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5
    It's been a minute, but I have returned!

    The artist in me recently woke up from a very deep sleep, and has been itching to create some new art. However, I've been curious about exploring the 2D side of things. I've recently began some courses from CGMA to see if I could take a stab at drawing out some ideas. I love making 3D worlds, but the bit I struggled with has been coming up with my own designs and concepts.

    So this Sketchbook will start having some of my drawings, and I'll be cross-posting with some of my assignments for additional feedback (hopefully!). And honestly, I think it would be a super cool challenge if I could draw out a 2D environment and then translate it into something in 3D.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5
    Currently working on a throne room scene, here are some thumbs and a rough draft of an idea:



  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5
    Learned alot about what happens when a vanishing point is too close to the edge; gives an interesting angle, but becomes quite challenging in figuring out how different shapes are supposed to look when foreshortened. Ellipses are still a little tricky to wrangle, but I think I'm beginning to understand how they properly deform.


  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5
    3-point perspective! 
    Edit: Was pointed out to me that I had my 3rd VP set up in the opposite direction of where it should be (it should be below the scene as we're looking down on the objects). Whoops!







  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5
    WIPs of a wide shot/pan scene. I'm attempting a Moebius-ish style for the final pass and I'm having a bit of fun with it.

  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5

    Made some slight revisions based on some nice feedback received the other day. Most of it was addressing the slightly confusing texture choices for the tops of the pillars, and the brick wall at the far back. Also revisited the hourglasses & their sand in order to give them better form.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5

    Some more practice with 3-point perspective
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5
    Some traditional texturing/cross-hatch exercises from a CGMA class.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5


    A preview of what my next portfolio project will be. 2021 is the year where I’m diving back into primarily 3D work, and I’ll be creating an environment based on an original concept piece I sketched up. My goal isn’t to match my drawing 1:1, but to utilize it as a jumping off point to help me develop the idea I had in my head. 

    I’m a bit rusty as it’s been a minute since I’ve completed a full personal project, and so this shall be my way of getting back up to speed. In addition, I’ve got a couple of learning goals I want to reach towards as I’m chipping away at this block: 

    Actually Learning Blender
    • This will be my first project utilizing Blender throughout the entire process. My go-to modeling/uv-ing software for the past several years has always been Maya, but I’ve been curious about fully learning Blender, as my brief time with it during previous projects have been positive. It’s also free, which would be nicer for my budget. :)
    Expanding Substance Skills
    • I’d also like to expand my skills within the Substance Suite, primarily Designer. This project will be somewhat stylized, and I’ve seen so many awesome results created procedurally from other artists. While painting away in Photoshop is fun, the efficiency and flexibility that Designer provides shows that it’s a powerful tool worth learning fully.

    Due to the amount of things that I’ll be spending time learning (and the fact that I still have a day job taking up most of my time), I kept the scope of the actual environment small. I realize there isn’t alot of mesh modularity present, but I’ll probably make up for it by focusing on trim sheets and modular textures.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Edit: In a way to organize my thoughts of the purpose and mood of this room and to get a better sense of direction, I’ve written up a short blurb of what kind of character this is for. It’s been helping me a bit in regards to figuring out the design:
    Duncan, the character this room is for, is an explorer/artifact recoverer for hire, with his previous life being a successful merc who was forced into early retirement and into hiding after a major business fallout with his long-term partner. The ship is a mid-tier compact cargo ship; usually built to hold small to medium loads and a very small team (about 3 people). This ship model is typically used in the industry for transportation of common non-organic supplies, so Duncan over the years has deeply modified it for extra defense, basic stealth, and added some luxury cosmetic touches (such as carpeting and wood paneling) to meet his tastes. Very few computer-based parts are factory, as alot of the technology here came from the previous career when Duncan did even more riskier jobs and required top-of-the-line surveillance and communication. 

    This area may be considered a mobile tech base, but because its location is a bedroom, it has only basic functions that communicate with the rest of the ship. Majority of official work and communication occurs in the central hub, so bedroom tech is limited and utilized mainly as occasional surveillance.

  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5


    This week I think I’ve reached a good point in my blockout to start texturing. I’ve created base meshes, and UVs have been laid out. I’ve contemplated on creating hi-res meshes to bake out, but I’m curious to see how much I can push with just Designer. 

    The room does feel a little small, yet I am conflicted on whether to scale everything up or not. References that I’ve been using for inspiration included submarine captain’s quarters and other various rooms, as the initial idea is that this bedroom is located on an industrial cargo ship that’s been refurbished for personal use. So I am aiming for a compact space. That being said, I’ll likely go back and fix the scaling of the bed, as it looks a little too large/long.


    Some more screenshots of additional angles:



  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5


    A good chunk of time has been spent reviewing a few Designer tutorials and articles, and so begins my creation of some of the base textures. Far from done, but I'm getting a feel of how I'd like these materials to look. The walnut wood is beginning to look kinda cool, though I will have to revisit it at some point to make another pass addressing some of the weird, abstract "knots". I'm thinking of introducing paneling on the flat wall to break up the repetition, as well.

    Also played around with the idea of using a decal for certain designs, such as the orange paint on the curved wall.



    Keep on, keeping on...
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5


    Been staring at Substance graphs for the past few weeks, lol. Still have a fair bit of work to go, but I’m liking how some parts are turning out. Been playing around with POM as well. The bedframe model is a fairly simple mesh where the little grooves, vents, and indents are currently being shaped by the heightmap I put together in Substance. Overall, I really dig the software, it just feels kinda alien to wrap my brain around creating shapes and such via nodes as opposed to normally using high res bakes. Obviously, larger shapes and silhouettes will forever be geometry-powered, but it's neat to have an alternative to floating geo and sculpts.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5


    Completed some work on the door, and readjusted several albedos as they were reading too dark in-engine.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5

    I spent the last couple of weeks playing around with Substance Painter, to get myself re-acquainted with the software. I modeled a small set of props based on some of my concepts, and used both Painter and Designer to texture them. I’ll spend some more time with it tomorrow adding a couple more decorative bits. 

    Screenshots are from UE4.



  • Scozzi
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    Scozzi polycounter lvl 10
    cant wait to see more. this is great!
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5

    Thanks, @Scozzi !


    Here’s a bit of an update regarding my next set of props: I’m currently working on a weapon display cabinet, with a style similar to the previous set of props since I’m imagining this to exist in the same world. It’s a little curvier in design than the previous large prop, to make it feel a little fancy.

    I realized half-way through making the first weapon that this might take a little longer since I’m literally creating three different weapons to place in the cabinet, but regardless I’m enjoying the process of coming up with fun shapes and trying to find that balance between simplicity and detail.

    Below are images of the high-rez models:




  • faerieMoonlight
  • Undertopian
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5

    It’s been a bit since the last update, so here are a couple of screenshots of what I’ve been up to.

    The images are from Marmoset; I’ve been playing around with the scene editor and lighting there. Originally, I wanted to show off this work in UE4, but I actually like how it’s looking in Marmoset, so I’ll stick to that for this little ensemble of pieces.

    I'm still working away at this gun cabinet thing; I’ve completed the game-res version of the model complete with UVs and an early pass of the texture. All three guns have been designed, baked, and UVd, and so I briefly went into Substance Painter and slapped on some quick smart materials to see how things are looking. Everything needs another pass or two to add some wear & tear, and some smaller details.

    At some point during the process, I was inspired for some reason to create additional assets such as a table, chairs, and a pendant light. No idea why, I guess I really wanted to keep on making more furniture, haha. I didn’t want to spend more time creating high-res models for these simple things, so I opted to completely use mid-res models and weighted normals. I’m aiming to lean primarily on my materials to add additional depth and details for them. The chair ended up being slightly over 11k tris, and the table at 12.7k tris, which I don’t think is too bad for these curvy things.

    Then I started making a wall piece and now I just want to make a whole modular set of the things. Which I may end up doing. I suppose I’ll end up with a small diorama. Or another room. :P We’ll see.

    I do like the idea of having a kit I can build stuff with, and it would be interesting to see if I can pull off making different rooms and connect them with a corridor or hub. I am planning on going back to my original room to continue working on it–mostly bringing the textures to a finished state. I’m making all of these assets as if they all live in the same starship interior, so hopefully everything can be combined together cohesively.

  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5

    *checks broken watch* Update time! Been a bit busy lately with the day job, but I managed to focus on polishing up some texture work in Painter for the three prop guns I made. Screenshots from Marmoset:


    This final weapon is a favorite of mine: since this was the last of the three I’ve worked on, it was a result of some lessons learned in texturing and design from the previous guns. (By this point I also just learned about Painter’s Anchor system…oh how I wish I knew about that earlier.)


  • killnpc
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    killnpc interpolator

    fun fun work, really cool.

  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5

    Thanks, @killnpc! I've been having a blast working on this stuff, whenever I can :)

  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 5

    Some more progress on the gun cabinet textures. Also included some additional WIP props, and played around with some pattern ideas on the cabinet itself.

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