WoonJu Park has shared an extensive breakdown of the Korea in the 1980s project, explaining the process of modeling assets and the use of RealityScan, and detailing how the lighting was set up in Unreal Engine 5.
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Hello! My name is WoonJu and I am currently studying 3D backgrounds. Although I majored in Western-style painting with a focus on landscape painting, I have become increasingly interested in 3D art and have decided to pursue this field as a part of my project.
The Korea in the 1980s Project
The sentiment during my parents' generation in the 1980s, when they were in their teens and twenties, was warm. When they looked at faded photos, they felt nostalgic and spent time listening to the DJ's radio broadcasts from that time. They often told me that they would record their favorite songs on the radio and listen to them later.
I wanted to give a gift to my parents who still remember that era and create a vivid experience as if traveling back in time to that era. While watching a Korean drama called "Reply 1988" that was set in that time period, I felt that it would be interesting to create 3D backgrounds of the setting from that time.
I made a project called "1980s Korea," encompassing the 1980s, the era of my parents' teens and twenties.
Inspirations and References
I started with an apartment from the 1980s and created a large internal structure based on the blueprint of the Eunma Apartment, which has been around since 1979.
Since there was not enough information available on the internet, I went to the Seoul Museum of History to collect real-life materials.
Movies and dramas are good mediums. You can easily find items that were present during that era. If you have a place you want to find, don't hesitate to approach it.
This work is my first project. However, I had the desire to handle various tools, so I wanted to approach creating any object in a diverse way. My mentor, Sangwook Lee, helped me fulfill my ambition.
By the end of the project, I wanted to be able to create anything without fear and become someone who can complete modeling and texturing.
I completed my project in a total of 1 year and 5 months. I aimed to complete it within a year, but in the beginning, I took a long time trying to express each object well. However, as time passed, I became faster and was able to capture the characteristics of each object.
So, with the goal of finishing within 5 months, I always had a calendar on my desktop to work with. By recording my progress every day, I was able to avoid putting off tasks until the next day, and I organized my work by grouping small tasks in one week and large tasks in another. In weeks with small tasks, I made up to 7 in a week, and I efficiently completed modeling, texturing, and baking all in one day.
I think of daily tasks as puzzle pieces. I felt a sense of accomplishment as I completed my daily tasks, and when it was finished, it felt like the puzzle pieces had come together to create a single work.
Software Used for the Project
For this project, I used the following software:
- 3ds Max – modeling: high/low poly
- ZBrush – sculpting large cracks
- Substance 3D Painter – baking
- Substance 3D Designer – tiling texture
- Substance 3D Sampler – texture
- Marvelous Designer – cloth
- RizomUV VRS 2022.0 – UV mapping
- Photoshop – modifying textures, creating (alphas, decal)
- Unreal Engine 5 – rendering, lighting
- PureRef – references
- RealityCapture – food
I designed my project around three main areas: the kitchen and dining room, the living room, and the student room.
I created large props first to get a sense of the overall feeling. In the beginning, I set up the lighting and saw the first render, and then I added objects to the structure based on the large props, thinking about where to fill and move things around.
There was a total of 92 props in the kitchen, 89 in the living room, and 36 in the student room (including 120 books and 60 LP records).
On the first day, I created high and low models, and on the second day, I worked on UVs and baking. On the third day, I completed texturing and continued with the rhythm of the work.
I searched for the actual size proportions and started with a framework in 3ds Max. Objects were created in high resolution in 3ds Max, and sculptures or statues were made in ZBrush. For fabric, I used Marvelous Designer to create high-resolution models. When creating the low-resolution models, I went back to 3ds Max to clean up the mesh and then used RizomUV to organize the UVs. Finally, I brought everything to Substance 3D Painter for baking and texturing.
I used the RealityScan app on my phone. Since it was difficult to find resources on Korean food, I asked my mother to take pictures of the dishes I needed, and I took 360-degree photos to capture the necessary parts while moving around.
A tip for photos is to have consistent lighting and shadows, which can be achieved by shooting from above.
Then, I went to Sketchfab to download the files and used 3ds Max to clean up the geometry.
For items such as bedding, curtains, tablecloth, pillows, fabric, and rubber gloves, I created the high-poly versions using Marvelous Designer.
At first, it was difficult to get started with Marvelous Designer, but I was able to learn a lot from the Marvelous Designer YouTube channel.
For the mattress, I referred to this tutorial, while creating it.
For the bedding, I watched this tutorial to learn the principles and create the design I wanted.
When creating the pillows, I took into consideration the Pressure attribute, which controls the inflation of the pillow. The top side of the pillow needs to be inflated, so I set the strength to 10, while the bottom side needed to be deflated, so I set the strength to -35. If I had set the strength of the bottom side to 10, it would have inflated like a balloon and lifted the top side. So, be careful when adjusting the strengths.
To create the desired shape, I started by creating the basic shape and then checked the Elastic option. Then, I adjusted the strength of the wrinkles in the Strength parameter to complete the pillow.
I love doing texturing the most because I’m familiar with painting with brushes in real life, so even though grunge maps and the Mask Editor in Substance 3D Painter are great tools for texturing, I prefer directly painting with a brush.
Let me introduce the process of texturing the rubber gloves that I created. It's a tool that prevents water from getting on your hands when doing the dishes after eating.
First, I apply a Fill layer with the basic base color.
When texturing, I think the base is the most important. I think it's important to start with the basic features of the object and texture it accordingly. By thinking about the material when it was first created, such as plastic, metal, glass, fabric, or wood, and expressing it with roughness and color, a richer base can be completed.
I used Grunge and noise textures from Substance 3D Painter and spent extra time making masks in Substance 3D Designer and adding them.
Next, I added the circular dots to the fingertips of the rubber gloves to prevent slipping. I used the Height tool to make them pop out and look more convex.
Then, I added reflections. Every object has highlights, mid-tones, shadows, and reflections when in a space with light. Reflections can especially accentuate the object's features.
Since rubber gloves will be used for dishwashing and will come into contact with a lot of water, adding water droplet textures can create a more realistic effect.
Finally, using the Generator, you can add a strong shadow to the end of the glove to emphasize its three-dimensional shape.
Throughout the process, I changed the viewing channels to add color naturally and emphasized specific areas in Roughness.
By the way, I downloaded the plants for free from Bridge and used them to decorate. They were useful for decorating the planters.
I wanted to make everything flow together and look realistic.
In the living room, I imagined a storyline in my mind where the kids were playing Go and hurriedly kicked the Go board to sit down for dinner when their mom called them, causing the Go stones to scatter around. Although the mom had to do more dishes because of the dinner, she would feel happy that the family was sitting together to eat.
My mentor Sangwook Lee helped with the Lighting and materials setup. My mentor is an exceptionally talented Environment Lighting Artist who consistently produces work of the highest quality. I learned a lot from him, including how lighting can capture people's emotions with just one setup.
For this project, I used Path Tracing. The reason is that Path Tracing is the most photorealistic rendering among the rendering features provided by Unreal Engine 5. Path Tracing can handle reflections, refractions, translucency, and the blur of shadows based on the distance value very well. Although these can also be represented in Ray Tracing, I chose Path Tracing for the material representation of the glass.
The accuracy of Ray Tracing and Path Tracing is different, and there is a big difference in representing glass materials.
- Reflection of glass / Expression of the refractive index of glass
- Color of glass
- Roughness of glass (Path Tracing is the only method that can represent frosted glass by scattering light more)
Therefore, I chose Path Tracing to create a project like the one in the picture.
Go to Window inside the Project Settings. Change the Default RHI to DirectX 12 in Targeted RHIs.
(However, this setting requires an RTX graphics card to work.)
Next, go to the Rendering section and look at the Lumen settings. If Lumen is available, check the box for Use Hardware Ray Tracing when available, and under the Hardware Ray Tracing section, check the boxes for Support Hardware Ray Tracing and Path Tracing.
Then, go to Plugins and check OptiXDenoise. This will help to further clean up the noise in the rendering.
Finally, to apply the plugin, check Denoiser in PostProcessVolume.
It's not always beneficial to turn on Denoiser. Depending on the situation, you may need to turn it on or off. When you turn on Denoiser, the image becomes smoother and cleaner, while turning it off can give you a noisy, detailed feeling.
If you haven't set up anything, you won't know how long it will take to render the scene with Path Tracing Rendering.
By typing the console command "r.pathtracing. Progress Display 1", you can see the progress with a red bar and 0 will make it difficult to see the progress.
Living Room Lighting
When initially setting up lighting, it is based on photorealism in terms of exposure. Unlike cameras, our eyes automatically adjust to various lighting conditions and focus. However, cameras need to be adjusted for each situation. I approached setting up lighting with the concept of photorealistic exposure. If a camera is set to the correct exposure for an indoor setting, the outdoors will appear too bright. Conversely, if it is set for the outdoors, the indoor setting will appear too dark.
If you look at the color, you can see a slight yellowish tint rather than a deep red.
This time is around 4-5 pm when the sun is about to set. The time when the sun is setting is a time when shadows are long, and you can see light and shadow well. Therefore, the yellow light comes in and gives a sense of stability.
So I set the Direction Light to tilt. The light needs to come in deeply so that GI (Global Illumination) can reach deep places, and it also widens the area of the light.
For example, I will take this angle. I wanted to focus on the photo and video player in the center, so I turned on Vignette. By turning on Vignette, it can create a darkening effect around the edges. Vignette can give the impression that the light is partially draped, as it creates a slight shadow effect.
To achieve an even more vintage feel, you can use film grain to enhance the effect. By increasing the intensity of the film grain, you can add noise to the image to create the look of an old photograph.
The primary lighting in the kitchen was focused on the table area, as the outside light did not reach the kitchen area very well.
The kitchen table light has a shadow that spreads out to the sides due to the diffuse reflection from the bulb, which is set at a color temperature of 2700K. Therefore, I used SpotLight and adjusted the angle.
The yellow-marked area in the SpotLight is where I used an IES texture. IES can be used to create the shape of artificial light sources and achieve a more realistic lighting effect in interiors.
I wanted to create shadows on the ceiling, but since the SpotLight only projects downwards, I also installed a Point Light. By doing so, I was able to cast shadows on the ceiling and the Point Light reflected the surrounding environment, compensating for the lack of GI (Global Illumination) in the SpotLight.
In the Color Grading section of PostProcessVolume or CineCameraActor, there is a Misc tab where you can adjust the color tone using LUTs. I purchased a LUT from the Epic Games Marketplace. Color grading LUTs can be used to enhance the look of your content, such as for Instagram or to give it a slightly more vintage feel.
Additionally, in the Film section, Slope and Toe can be used to adjust the contrast of the image. I adjusted them slightly to avoid making the blacks too dark.
When looking at a screen, you need to consider how to create a sense of depth and how shadows are cast. Depending on these factors, the mood conveyed, the spatial perception, and the atmosphere can all be different. It can also vary depending on the angle and what spaces are empty or open. The answer to how to evoke a particular mood and atmosphere depends on your own feelings and intuition.
Throughout the process of completing this project, I gained many lessons. I learned that to create a realistic feeling, I needed to think about the flow of the layout, the characteristics of objects, and the density of their environment (such as aging and wear). Additionally, I learned the importance of soliciting feedback from others during the project. By hearing others' perspectives, I was able to look at the project objectively.
There were many times during this journey when I felt inadequate or even cried due to my perceived lack of skill. However, looking back, I realize that those moments were necessary for me to become who I am now. I encourage you to hold on to your perseverance and hard work. The desired results will surely follow.
Although there are many areas in which I need to improve, I hope this post has been helpful to you in some way.
Thank you for taking the time to view and appreciate my artwork.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to 80 Level for giving me the opportunity to share my project.