Old Attic Interior: Design Techniques
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Old Attic Interior: Design Techniques
22 February, 2019
Environment Art
Interview

Boditushig Ganbaatar did a little breakdown of his attic interior made with MayaSubstance Painter, and Redshift and shared a few useful videos for learning.

Introduction

Hello, my name is Boditushig. I am a Graphic Designer from Mongolia and I’m currently majoring graphic design at Mongolian University Science and Technology. My first experience with CG was when I interned at local film studio 2 years ago. I learned a lot of basics from my supervisor Munkhjin Otgonbayar. I started by modeling, texturing small assets like bolts, headphone, Wheatley from Portal and so on. I aspire to be a professional environment artist in the film industry.

Old Attic

Software Used

I use Maya for modeling and Substance Painter for texture works. Maya is comfortable, to begin with, and it went along with my personal workflow. Maya’s UV unwrapping system was very powerful and it gave me tons of different methods to unwrap UV in different types of mesh and situation.

Substance Painter was the only texturing software I learned during my internship and I got comfortable with it very quickly.

Concept

This project was a school assignment: we could do anything we wanted freely using 3D Software. Since I aim to be an environment artist I chose to do an environment design for film.

I went through many different concepts and ideas and stumbled upon Maarten Hof’s Grandpa’s Attic environment which was made in Unreal. It really inspired me because the atmosphere and lightning were great storytelling element in the scene. In my scene, the owner is a young adult who inherited the attic from his uncle.

Blocking

It wasn’t that hard to block out the scene as a whole since I already envisioned it in my head. Laying out the composition of the scene was the only thing left to do. The small objects were approached like scatter objects to fill in the gaps of the scene. In the process of adding too many assets into the scene, my Maya viewport started to get really heavy, it began to lag, even the camera movements weren’t working properly. My asset’s overall polycount was so high that I decided to transfer all of my assets as Redshift proxy meshes. The benefit of using proxy mesh is that it appears in the viewport as bounding boxes or a percentage of points. It lightens up the viewport lot.

Assets

I collected many, many reference pictures online to help the various assets to look like in real life. My most favorite asset was Atari personal computer, especially keyboard was fun to model and texture. Here are some of my references.

Cloth Objects

I used Marvelous Designer on cloth fabric related models such as T-shirt, jeans, curtains. I wasn’t well acquainted with Substance Designer at that time and I really didn’t have the time to learn Substance Designer, so I opted for MD.

Texturing

I used Substance Painter smart masks a lot when texturing the woods and other stuff. I found seamless wood textures online and for the other wood textures, I manually erased the seam and repetition in Photoshop. Then I generated the normal maps in Photoshop and created the roughness, metallic, and height maps there by turning the seamless textures into grayscale images. Then, I tweaked the levels in Substance Painter to create the textures I wanted.

Carpet

I found two carpet textures that I could use as height texture from www.textures.com where 1k versions of the textures are free. I added Substance Painters Fiber 2 and Fur maps to the height and blended all together. For the reflectivity, I used some of my height maps and adjusted some contrasts and levels and blended with Substance Painters grunge maps. The most important thing here is that in real-life everything has a certain amount of dust and dirt.

Curtains

The technique used to create the semi-transparent curtains is to create an opacity mask with alpha masks blended together. There are two opacity masks on the mesh. The first mask makes semi-transparent stitches of the curtain and the other one masks the floral pattern on the alpha channel. I made the see-through parts of the floral pattern invisible and blended the semi-transparent stitches on top of it.

Oil Painting

I stacked 3-4 grunge maps and toyed with the scales of each map until it felt like oil painting roughness. Reference pictures come in handy when you are trying to get the original feel of a certain texture.

Lighting

I generated out the volume light channel through Redshift’s AOV and in the post-process, I blended the noise layer in the scene in Nuke. The process behind it is really simple. For the light source, I used Redhisft’s Portal light as my main light source. I used Dome light and applied Studio HDRI to the Dome light to get extra highlight effects in the scene. Finally, I used a few physical lights with very low intensity to add more extra brightness to the area.

Feedback

It was a real challenge for me as it was my first major project. Of course, there were many trials and errors throughout the process. The most tedious and confusing part was unwrapping the UV maps of every single asset in the scene.

I simply wanted the scene to be flawless and I wanted every single of my assets to be detailed exactly as I wanted it to be. I planned every bit of detail from the start and I tried to achieve the exact look. And even the smallest object in the scene has its own details.

Learning Materials

Here’s the video which shows what Redshift proxy is and how to use it:

Volume light and Fog tutorial in Redshift Maya:

And Photoshop compositing AOVs:

Here’re also a few Pinboards that I very liked. They have the feeling of vintage mood and good references:

Boditushig Ganbaatar, Graphic Designer

Interview conducted by Daria Loginova

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