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Hello, I’m Alessio, alias Zale, and I live in Italy near the wonderful Venice. I’m 22 and I’m working as a programmer for a small company where my main task is developing medical and sports apps. I chose this one since I studied Computer Science in High School, unfortunately. I’ve always loved drawing, painting and stuff like that but no one encouraged me taking this path and when I was younger I made the mistake of listening to them that’s why I regret the education I chose.
Only after High School I’ve started doing what I really like. I decided to join a 3d modeling course (90 hours) which, together with some studies I made by myself, let me have the base that I need for my dream job.
At the moment I’ve just realized some personal projects to understand my style and where I would like to specialize. I hope to improve a lot so that I can turn this hobby into a job.
Video Games and animations gave me a lot and I think it’s time to do something for this field too.
Night In The Woods Project
This project was born accidentally. I was looking for a 2d character to rig in 3d, just to try something new. When I saw the scenes where it appeared I thought that the atmosphere was amazing and I wanted to reproduce it in 3d right away. The initial idea was to add to this setting the 3rd dimension without making any changes to the original look, I wanted to see the frontal view exactly like the original one.
First, I made sure that no one did something like that before, or at least something inspired by this game, and since I didn’t find anything I tried. I really like the artistic style of this game, they was able to make those atmospheric scenes with just simple and minimal drawings.
As I said before, the idea was to not change the original shapes, so first of all I setup the camera in the orthogonal view mode, in this way all the models were in a frontal perspective.
I started creating the houses along the street to make sure that all the essential objects were viewed in the right way. Done that I had to do the trickiest part: the soil. To make sure that all the areas were shown ( in the orthogonal view mode the horizontal surfaces aren’t shown by the camera ) I had to work on their depth and angle, by combining these elements I was able to reproduce pretty accurately the original picture. This trick makes the soil leaning towards the camera, but with the right balance between angle and width I managed to have a realistic proportion.
The parts in the foreground and in the background have the proportions a little bit wrong but just to get, in an acceptable way, the spacing effect in a narrow space. I should have made the scene deeper to maintain the right proportions, but doing so there would have been too many empty spaces. For now I’m satisfied for the solution I’ve found.
I would add many animations on the environment, such as moving trees, wind that blows away the leaves, opening and closing shutters, turning on lights, clouds and stuff like that. Anyway talking about the general visualization, I would like to have the whole scene fixed except for the background that I would like to move together with cameras using the parallax effect, doing this the character would be always on the center of the scene.
I would give importance to both elements in foreground and background so that when you walk you can explore both levels, the lower and higher ones. I would allow to go into the buildings keeping the same perspective and “removing” the frontal walls of the houses, maybe using a light blurry on the surroundings to focus on the internal elements.
I think it will be really interesting to be able to move the camera in a 3d environment, for example viewing from above during some specific parts of the game.
Considering that textures are essential as the other elements of the scene I think that using a program like Photoshop is the best way, in my case I used Affinity Photo since I think it has a great value. I used the rectangle tool for most of the textures and I just added some details by hand. I could have added the grain effect directly on the texture instead of using the one provided by Sketchfab, but I preferred this way because I don’t think I will use this model again.
Presenting with Sketchfab
My settings on Sketchfab are really essential, I like keeping everything as simple as possible. I used the textures in shadeless mode to not have the shadows linked to a light source and I added a light ambient occlusion (SSAO) to highlight the depth of doors and windows.
The grain effect is what marks out the atmosphere giving a more natural aspect, it seems like coloured with crayons, and also the Bloom which helps to recreate the sunset. Of course I setup the camera in the orthogonal view mode and the FOV at 1’.
Making environments work in games
I would like to see this type of environment in a sim/business simulation game game in order to use the frontal perspective to control characters, both outside and inside of buildings, using a view from above to manage the buildings. In this way there will be a 2d/3d game with an interesting effect.
Note: I haven’t played Night in the Woods yet.