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Exterior Tavern Environment UE5 (WIP)

Dolgaror
polycounter lvl 8
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Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
Hello ! 
I decided to get back to Unreal engine after a few years. My goal with this project is to familiarize again with the Engine, and make a game ready environment in a fantasy universe. I imagine this environment as if it was made for a top down game. I also want to practice and get better at modular construction.
I'm currently at the blockout phase, still adjusting proportions, somes shapes and experimenting with modularity.
Do not hesitate to give critics and feedbacks, I would be happy to have fresh eyes on this work.
Thanks !



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  • Korbology
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    Korbology polycounter lvl 2
    Looking sick! I really like the detailing and composition. I'm guessing the Baldur's Gate bug got you as well? (͠≖ ͜ʖ͠≖)👌

    The one question/critique I have is about the seating area. It looks like the tavern is built on top of a porch that partially overhangs the outdoor seating, but the pillars don't look quite strong or plentiful enough to hold up that entire building. Also isn't that about where the cellars would go under an ordinary tavern? But maybe you already have something in the works to address this.

    Again, looking great!
  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    Hello Korbology !
    Thanks for your feedback. You are right, currently i've pretty much not work on this zone and this just a rough blockout. In fact beneath the terrace is supposed to be some kind of cave, directly dug into the mountain but this is not visible a at all at the moment. But I keep in mind the fact that I need to show that it support the weight of the tavern above.
    Thank you !
  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    This last days, I've mainly focused on creating the base assets for the modular pieces. Some of them will be sculpted and I plan to use a mix of trim / tiling textures with unique normal and AO overlay.

  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    I worked on the modular kit again, and started sculpting. There was some experimentation to see what works and what doesn't. And lastly I worked on materials, learning substance designer. Here are some renders of the wooden tiles for the roof.

  • ThisisVictoriaZ
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    ThisisVictoriaZ polycounter
    Nice renders and kit, looking forward to seeing more of this project!

  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
     Thanks ThisisVictoriaZ ! 
    A few update, things are starting to come together. This is still a little messy, colors and models are not finished at this point.
  • despair
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    despair polycounter lvl 6
    Dolgaror said:
    I worked on the modular kit again, and started sculpting. There was some experimentation to see what works and what doesn't. And lastly I worked on materials, learning substance designer. Here are some renders of the wooden tiles for the roof.

    great render and material there! I have a question about it if you'd like to share. How did you apply it in-engine? Did you use displacements or pixel offset on a plane geo? I can't tell from the render. Thanks in advance
  • ZacD
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    ZacD ngon master
    Looks like flat geo with modeled shingles on the trim/edges. UE5.3 did add support for nanite displacement which needs r.Nanite.AllowTessellation=1 and r.Nanite.Tessellation=1 set in DefaultEngine.ini. Fortnite uses displacement baked into the models for their buildings. 
  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    Hello ! I modeled a 2x2m plane based on a displaced high poly mesh. From a top view, I think this is interacting a little bit more with lighting and give a more interesting result. But this is still "placeholder" geometry, not the definitive one and I definitely have some things to tweak and adjust.

  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    Hello ! Some update on the project. I used assets packs for the rocks and some props.

  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    looking good to me but i wonder about the color of those rocks with the colors of the buildings. it feels a little mismatched, like not quite in harmony.

    is the chimney going to get a sculpted mesh at all? seeing the bricks like that makes it feel like its jenga blocks about to fall over to me. I dont know that you have to be architecturally sound here but it just jumps out to me. If it is cobblestone style like that where the blocks don't interlock I think some some chunky mortar would look nice.

    i'm looking forward to the deck and foundation i think its gonna look real nice
  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    Yes I think the same regarding the overall coherence of the colors. I tried to adjust this through post process but in the end I will rework directly some textures to get the desired look. Some vegetation will also be added.  The chimney will be sculpted, this is still a blocking mesh. Thank you for your feedback !
  • SenjiRyakketsu
    Looking forward to see final renders.
  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    An other view point this time. Still a lot to do but it progressively come to the look I want.
  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    A few progress ! I will now start working on the ground floor then rework textures and mesh to unify everything.




  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    Weekly update. I worked on the ground floor and cave, also added a bridge. Still some work both on texturing and modeling, especially on the silouhette. I will also finish and reworked the house textures.
    If you have an opinion or criticisms I would love to hear them.




  • ThisisVictoriaZ
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    ThisisVictoriaZ polycounter
    still loving this! The art style you chose is giving Baldurs Gate 3 vibes, which works very well
  • Vertrucio
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    Vertrucio greentooth
    Definitely feels like there'll be 3 plot lines weaving through this place, and probably a few ambushes outside.
  • iam717
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    iam717 greentooth
    very nice, i am not an environment artist so do as you wish though my 1st thoughts with fresh eyes cause i have not seen this thread at all up until now, you asked here are my .02's cents, 2nd floor far right balcony "fence/ledge/guard" is warpy at middle for looks or interest sake? but for me it stands out to much as an error and not an artistic choice.  

    2nd img aerial view lake middle, the boat floating freely looks funny to me, maybe small dock with it rope tied? might help, seems neglectful for a "player character", to do, (weird to me).

    2nd img, the 1st stairs in front of bridge, that boarder wall, the very top of them i like and feel it should have continued along the top side of the bridge, it looks nice, i am not really thinking if it functions correctly for bridge making. 

    2nd img, far right, "empty area", the sandy/dirt area i can see the patterning, if it could be broken up a bit it might read better to me, it took my attention and then i noticed it.  Those chimneys are very.very clean, ashes are very, very messy.(has fire place, uhg)

    2nd img, back of the porch two tables no chairs, is that connecting to the ground, i can not tell, is that what that looks like irl? ref share please for that then.

    3rd img, upper corner far left, take those two tree's so , right, right, then go to the base of that ending tree, move over slightly right, that mountain in the background, i can see the patterning, i mention patterning cause for me it is distracting. (if i am trying to believe this is a living place.)

    Hope it helps, i know you are still working it all out but you asked for feedback and i tried to give as much as possible.
  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    @ThisisVictoriaZ @Vertrucio @iam717 Thanks a lot for your feedbacks and criticisms !
    I'm glad you found it has some Baldur's Gate 3 vibes because this is one of my main reference. I definitely tried to think this place as an location we could find in some of this worlds.

    "2nd floor far right balcony "fence/ledge/guard" is warpy at middle for looks or interest sake? but for me it stands out to much as an error and not an artistic choice. "
    For this one It was deliberately warped for looks, I was trying to give some weight to the structure. I will have to find a better way to do it.

    Regarding the boat, you are right it is weird actually. It is planned to add at list a rope to a beam on the bank of the lake, or maybe a small dock as you said.

    2nd img, the 1st stairs in front of bridge, that boarder wall, the very top of them i like and feel it should have continued along the top side of the bridge, it looks nice, i am not really thinking if it functions correctly for bridge making.
    I'm not really sure if I understand correctly this one. You mean that the stone pavement in tile at the top of the wall should also be a the top of the guardrails of the bridge ?

    About the visible patterning, you are completely right I planned to get rid of them soon or later. And about the two tables, they will probably disappear they were more of placeholder geometry for experimenting things.

    This was helpful and thank you very much for taking the time to comment all of this, this is much appreciated.

  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    Hello ! Still wip but i'm getting closer and closer to the end result. I've not forget the previous feedbacks, It is planned to rework on them. Somewhat happy with the result so far.


  • iam717
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    iam717 greentooth
    You did it and it looks so much nicer to me, thanks for considering it, glad it helped (for me anyway) My eyes+ work! woohoo.
  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks a lot !
  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    Hello ! I'm close to the end, I will not take too long to wrap up this project. Still a few things to do though. Any ideas and feedback regarding composition, lighting or render quality are welcome. :) I think mountain in background feels a little messy. And I also have the feeling that there are not enough distinction between the tavern and the background but can't really figure it out.



  • Fabi_G
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    Fabi_G polycount lvl 666
    Hi! Looking good overall and very cool to follow your progress!

    I feel currently there is much contrast and few areas of rest, making the scene appear quite busy. Maybe you can add some controls in your material to adjust/decrease the contrast of the albedo. Yet another option for noisy/repetitive surfaces, would be to vary the strength of the normal map and potentially reduce it overall for by distance to camera to balance large shapes and details.

    The greens/plants feel bit too saturated imo. Maybe if you dial back the saturation, the man-made structure could pop out more.  

    A detail that confused me at first, is that the wooden roof tiles are red. I relate that color more to tiles made from clay. But maybe its a thing to paint them in that color - and I certainly see how it makes the structure stand out.

    Keep it up :+1:
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    Very cool project. i was sitting there for a long time looking at latest image partly because enjoying it but also something is making me feel like it's off somehow. Not sure what it is, something about colors or something. Nothing jumps out as "wrong" but just doesnt feel quite right. 

    I think Fabi said what it was. perhaps a tad too bright and saturated.

    I use to go to a very beautiful place that reminds me of this: https://www.google.com/search?sca_esv=54f857b3f8be4b8c&q=val+di+mello+italy&tbm=isch&source=lnms&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi3wtKriImEAxW-L1kFHZ39CDUQ0pQJegQIDBAB&biw=1334&bih=662&dpr=1.44

    I think if you shifted values a touch more realistic it might feel nicer. But it is excellent already.

  • luan05367
    Your project looks amazing, and I'm also just starting a personal project on a village similar to yours. Could you share the Texel Density you've set for this project, especially for modular elements like walls and roofs?

    For my project, I've applied a Texel Density of 10.24 px/cm, with textures at 1024 resolution. This means I'm tiling on every 1m modular piece. Since I have some modular pieces that are 1x1m in size, I'm planning to explore my village in a first-person perspective. I'm unsure if a TD of 10.24px/cm is too high compared to current AAA first-person games.

    With this Texel Density, I anticipate a considerable amount of repetition in my buildings, so I'm considering adding an extra texture layer through Vertex Painting when I bring the project to Unreal to mitigate excessive repetition. I'm wondering if there are other approaches besides this one.

    Thank you very much! ^^
  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks a lot for your insights Fabi and Alex ! I have the same feelings you describe, something looks off but can't figure out really what. I always have trouble finding great balance between contrast / Sharpness / Readability. That's definitely great advice and I will try what you said as soon as possible. The image you provide is really beautiful and indeed a nice reference Alex. Regarding staturation and color vibrancy, I was looking for something like The Witcher Blood and Wine environment. But with wat you said, I can clearly see I'm off even compared with Blood and Wine. 
    Do you think there are also too much vegetation and props ?
    Again Thanks very much.

    The Witcher 3 Blood And Wine :


  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    Hello Luan ! Thanks very much ! Just for some context I originaly thought this environment as if it was for a top down game like baldur's gate 3.
    For modular structures I originaly used a texel density of 5,12px/cm because even if the camera is by default quite far from assets, I have the ability to zoom and therefore get closer (like we can see in baldur's gate 3). But even in zoom max, it feels texel density was too much so I decided to go for a lower density of 2,56px/cm which is enough regarding the camera distance with assets.
    For images rendering purpose, I might switch back for a texel density of 5,12px/cm because camera can get much closer to assets.

    I'm not an expert regarding texel density and I not have much experience in First person type of game but from what I know a texel density of 10,24px/cm has been used for some times and maybe it is even higher in current gen fps games.

    This article from Beyond Extend explain some rules for texel density and show games examples. It can gives you an idea.
    I also think choosing your texel density depends on your artstyle, you can maybe go lower on texel density without noticeable difference for artistic direction that does not require a lot of details. Maybe more experienced people could gives more explanation on this topic ?

    Yes you can Use vertex painting and blend color or different materials, or maybe use decals to add variety. Depending on what your are creating you could maybe use two UV channel, one for your tiling materials and one for RGB Mask to blend different materials in an other way. 
    Maybe you could use larger textures in some places also, to avoid to much repetition.

    https://www.beyondextent.com/articles/art-in-a-new-gen   More info on this article regarding RGB Mask.

    I hope I answered your questions and give satisfaying response.



  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    i dont think there are too many props. 

    there is a big difference in the color and value between ground foliage and trees. I wonder if bringing that closer together may help. If the background and prop elements blend together more that may help put focus on the building and make scene less visually cluttered? Just an idea, I am working on similar issues in my own project, so what I've done is setup a hierarchy of material instances so that I can batch tweak things like color and value by categories.

    if you didnt want to go to trouble to set something like that up but want to quickly play around with adjusting color/value by item type you could just F9 for screenshots and then adjust them in photoshop by making some mask and then using adjustment layers. That way you can quickly find the best look without having to tweak a billion things in unreal.
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter
    Here's some concept art that I think might help in color matching!
    https://www.artstation.com/artwork/14woB2
    I also find your render to be too sharp and saturated, so maybe adding some softness, blur and shadows in the foreground might solve this?
  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    Hello I wasn't home the last few days so sorry for late answer. Thanks for your feedbacks Alex_J and Nikhilr. I already made some improvements regarding contrast, saturation and clarity thanks to all the comments.  I will post some screenshots later. Thanks a lot !
  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    Hello ! Following all previous feedback I reworked the scene. I think it is better like this. What do you think of it ?


  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    Feels a lot nicer to me. 

    Probably only a matter of taste, but I feel like red is a little out of place. I did a quick recolor to brown: 

    to me something like that feels a little more harmonious. Maybe that's too much saturation. But i feel like roof shingles in a place and time like this is probably coming from local lumber. JMO though
  • jStins
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    jStins interpolator
    This is great, nice work! Baldur's Gate 3 has taken up all my gaming time since it released and you nailed the look. Could definitely feel right at home exploring this place in BG3.

    My only critique would be the vegetation on the roof. Ivy growing on a rooftop feels out of place, but I could happily be proven wrong on that front if you see some of that in your references. However, I'd consider removing it even if it makes sense logically. The green on the roof kinda pulls it into the background with the other trees / foliage. The structure had such a striking presence in the images you posted in December and I'd try and recapture some of that in your final hero shot. 

    These are nitpicks though and again, really great piece here! 
  • Ruz
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    Ruz polycount lvl 666
    I think the light source make it look oversaturated, maybe too much ambient light and the walls looks too similar to the roof making colours blend
    in to each other
    The only darker shadows are in the archways underneath the buildings and even thought the light appears to becoming from the side slightly, if you step back and squnt your eyes slightly its hard to tell which direction the light is coming form
  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks very much for feedbacks ! I like my red wood tiles, but it seems that they look strange ahah. I will probably go for a more natural wood not painted if it is better.
    Regarding the vegetation on the roof I was following some ref like this ones :



    But I probably have not executed this well. I was thinking that the vegetation could integrate more the building in the environment.
    In any case I understand what you mean regarding the presence the building had before and the mix with background. I will work on that.

    Regarding lighting and saturation, I may have push to much ambient lighting and sky color.
    What do you mean by the walls and roof looks too similar ? I can't really figure it out.
    I will see what I can do to better display the light direction, thanks for pointing this out !



  • Ruz
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    Ruz polycount lvl 666
    well in the middle section the walls seems to be the exactly the same color as the roof, whereas the other walls are white, meaning the roof
    seems to blend in to the walls( in the middle section)
    I think maybe the roof tiles need to be a touch darker? not sure
    looks good overall, just a few niggles :0
    The aerial perspective in the background works quite well, but maybe the puffs of smoke form the chinmeys could be slighly longer?
  • Dolgaror
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    Dolgaror polycounter lvl 8
    Hello ! I think this is the last time I will post my progress before the final render. I feel it is time to stop and move on something new. I tried to work on every feedback I receive and  it is looking really better thanks to all the comments. I still need to work on foliage on the roof though. Do you see any last things that should really be improved or reworked ?


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