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We’ve recently published an article about a new amazing UE4 cinematic with sci-fi cockpit by Tor Frick. The thing is that the artist decided to share a little breakdown of his work on ArtStation to give a glimpse at the production process. You can never go wrong with Tor Frick’s art, so take some time to study the post.
Here is a small piece of the breakdown to get you interested:
I started making the cockpit at first as a simple scene in Modo, originally did not at all intend to take it this far, it was just a test to see how much I could push my then newly made boolean tools (this was way before MOP booleans, it would be way easier to create from scratch today). There are some old videos of me working on it on my youtube channel (part 1 of the streams).
Eventually, I realized this could be a pretty cool workflow to develop further so off I went. The idea was to minimize work when creating really high-end custom meshes for cinematics, by abusing Modo’s round edge shader. The end result you see in the cinematic is more or less my design mesh, no low poly/high poly distinction, and automatic UVs that I then stitched together here and there (because I have a conscience, it probably did not really impact performance or texture density, but there are limits to my sloppiness).
Pretty much all the art except some cables here and there etc were made by just boolean low-poly geo in Modo, no extra bevels or anything. Since Modo’s booleans stay pretty clean I didn’t have to go in and clean up the geo, only help the triangulation along here and there where the ngons were a bit too insane for triangulation to handle properly. I also did not bother to optimize things like cylinders, extra cuts I had put into the geo etc. I could probably have cut down the polycount by half without really impacting the visuals, but this was more about speed than trying to make something as optimized as possible, since the polycount impacted my performance pretty much… not at all. The final polycount for the entire ship ended up at around 750k triangles or so. I could have stamped on more detail later directly to the normal maps, but I chose not to, even though that would obviously be a quite important part if you were to use this workflow on a larger scale. Modeling EVERYTHING with polygons is a bit much, it takes time and resources better spent elsewhere. This is also why the scene is lacking a bit of the finer detail of things.
Wireframe example of the geometry
Make sure to study the full breakdown here.