Nice work and thanks for the breakdown! Always interesting to see someone else's approach to a scene, and the new/different methods they use and/or come up with :)
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3D Stylized Environment looks every time beautiful today this is my subject on that I have to Do My Dissertation and bring some new information with our reader.
We’ve talked with environment artist Maxime Larivière about his interesting high-tech pillars, which he created with a popular combo of tools, which is often used in game development. These assets would be a great addition to any sci-fi environment.
Hi, my name is Maxime Larivière, I come from the north of France. I have a 3d generalist degree but I always focused on game art as I love to bring realtime environments to life. Over the years I had the luck to contribute to great games like Alone In The Dark 5, Test Drive Unlimited 2, the Assassin’s Creed brand and more recently on Tom Clancy’s The Division. I’m currently working as a Level Artist at Ubisoft Annecy.
Main Tasks of a Level Artist
As a level artist, my job is to help to build and shape the worlds players will see when they launch the game. It’s always a team effort though, working closely with level designers as well as other disciplines. Dealing with the deadline is always a challenge, most of the time we have to find a balance between more and/or better, both are time consumers, but we usually find a compromise to finish in time. My main task is to build parts of the world and tell stories within the environment, to create assets and make everything fit according to level design and art direction.
I like to find time to practice, create props and keep learning. I’ve always been a fan of good sci-fi in the vein of Halo or UT (Outpost 23 map is awesome! – read the full breakdown of this map). I’ve also recently been blown away by the style of the new Doom. These environments where bold industrial shapes combined with barren landscapes. So, the main purpose of my new project was to start to learn MODO, which was used in the production of DOOM. I started with a simple blockout (the purpose of the object was to give some rhythm to walls). Then I quickly iterated on volumes and shapes. Once I was satisfied, I pushed elements to high res, the rest of the workflow is fairly standard. Some details were added after with Substance Painter.
Like in a scene, objects need to have different levels of detail, from global shapes to micro details. I wanted to keep an industrial mood that’s why I used pipes, stickers, and metal, to add consistency to the object. In this case, the object is composed of three parts: the main structure, the big pipe, and the ‘machinery’ part, then some smaller elements like bolts or vents. Each small element was driven by bigger shapes, for example, to echo to the big pipe. I had to add smaller cylindrical parts. It helps a lot to give continuity in regard of the main shapes.
Materials were made within Substance Painter. This software is incredible, I love it! For this prop, I tried to keep it simple; used metal and heavy rough paint. Like for the model, I started to work from macro to micro, separate painted elements and metal then add a touch of vivid color.
To keep the object easy to read, the way you dispatch materials and colors are important; In this case, more white paint than metal and finally orange paint. Orange attract the eyes, but if you put too much of it, it can become too aggressive. The use of a baked Color ID map makes life easier. After that, I added some smaller metal parts and painted elements to create some links between each part.
I used tweaked materials from Substance Painter, color, roughness normal where modified for my purpose. I also used some part of smart materials like rust or edge damages. Some normal details like vents and bolts came from a pack bought on Gumroad from environment design. There are incredible resources, which help to make things faster without reinventing the wheel each time you make things.
For the dirty version, I though of how materials react to time and environment: rust, dust and edge damages fit for an exterior prop so I just had to make dust material using right generator settings. Same thing for paint which reveals the metal under.
This kind of asset can work for a game, the polycount can be lower of course. The purpose was not to have the most optimized object but more to have fun while practicing.
UE4 is an awesome game engine! Importing objects and maps is dead easy. You can play with lights, particles, postFX…I think the biggest challenge is knowing what you want to show in it.
Making materials work the lighting
Sometimes I just let my feelings decide for me, the way highlights work on the surface, or does shadows falls on the object in an interesting way, is there enough contrast….or not. I remember some Tadao Ando constructions and how simple concrete shape can become awesome when he plays with highlights and shadows; this is something I try to have in mind when I light my objects.