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Very impressive article Jake! You are very talented.
nice article! i love seeing the breakdowns.
Jordon Britz talked about his atmospheric and cozy scene with the feel of the 80s made with UE4, Substance, Maya, and ZBrush.
My name is Jordon Britz, I’m a self-taught Environment Artist living in Baltimore, Maryland. I entered the world of 3D about 2,5 years ago through YouTube tutorials before diving deeper and learning the industry standard software solutions I use today.
Since I started, making art for games has become my passion and I look forward to putting out new pieces while I search for my first job in the industry!
Hallway: The Start of the Project
My reference for this scene was actually Liam Tarts’ “Nostalgic Room”. I fell in love with the composition of it and had to make my own version. I decided that for my remake, I would go with a bit of an 80’s feel with the old Atari 2600 and other similar props.
This is a bit of what the scene looked like early on, as I was getting the hallway to a point where I felt like I could move forward with it while also getting the base for my lighting and modules. I started this lighting setup with a couple spotlights pointing each way down the hallway to get an idea of where I wanted to take it, really just toying with everything while also giving it a feel similar to the reference.
Lighting & Color
The lighting was definitely something I was thinking about since I started working on this scene. I knew that in order to make it look and feel the way I wanted, I had to start pretty early and tweak the lighting until I got something I’ll be satisfied with.
In terms of color and the lighting, I really just experimented and tweaked until I had something that I liked while keeping my reference in mind. I ended up with a purple spotlight on each end of the hallway, and a couple point lights lining it as well. One of them was placed at the entrance of the hallway near the carpet to make it look a little brighter at the entrance.
For the room, I added a couple pink point lights to each side of the room to give it the pinkish hue seen in the final version. I also added a few reflection captures to both the hallway and the room to get some more accurate reflections.
In terms of bounce lighting, everything in the scene was lightmapped and all of the lighting baked, so the indirect lighting definitely helped push the quality of the lighting and the overall feel of the environment.
Modeling & Materials
The hallway and room were created with modules. I made a few simple modules and created the materials for them with tiling textures, you can see a couple of them below.
The materials were important for the look of the finished scene, and during the entire production, I was tweaking my modules’ materials here and there until the satisfying result, adding some normal detail and bits of roughness to make them look right with the lighting.
The carpet was made purely through parallax occlusion mapping in UE4 while the base normal/height map was made in Substance Designer. Doing it this way allowed me to make almost every fiber look 3D and really helped to push the look and feel of the scene.
Props & Details
For me, a large part of this project was focusing on the props and assets in the scene specifically. I really took my time looking at references for each individual prop and working on each one until I assumed it looked finished and fit what I was trying to create. All modeling was done in Maya and a bit of ZBrush, baking and texturing of the props was done in Substance Painter.
For each prop, I also tried getting the proportions and scale as accurate as possible to make sure nothing looked out of place. A lot of the normal details that you can see in each of the props were done with floaters. Most of them were painted in Substance as well.
For the door, pretty much all of the details were done solely in Substance Painter! I took my time painting in the wear to make it look a bit older and worn, always looking back at the reference to get a similar and realistic look. I followed this guideline for pretty much all of the props created for this scene.
Overall, I think the biggest challenge I faced during the scene production was just taking a lot of what I’ve learned during the last few months and finding places to apply the knowledge to. My friend Jordan Aston helped a lot by mentoring me the last few months, pushing the work to new levels, and teaching me a ton of new techniques that I was able to use during the production. I approached this scene mostly by just taking my time and trying to achieve the look I was going for while trying to grow as an artist. This project took about two and a half weeks to complete from start to finish.