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Bruno Willian Reis talked a little bit about the way he’s shaping up those wonderful landscapes.
Hi, my name is Bruno Willian Reis, I’m 20 years old and I currently live in Brazil. I’ve been focusing on lighting currently. I’m fascinated with photorealism and with realistic terrains, and my goal is to show the potential of CryEngine 5.
I started with 3ds Max, it was amazing. I was fascinated by the things I could do using it, but I realized that something was missing — the rendering took a lot of time, although I think the problem was my PC. That’s when I became interested in creating games, I knew I had potential. That’s when I started looking for the ideal game engine. I searched for something easy and fast, at the time Unity3d dominated the market, so I tried to learn the basics, but I found the look really bad. I wanted something much more real. Then I found UDK and CryEngine. I started with UDK and then switched to CryEngine. I found it much easier to use and the lighting was amazing.
Well, first of all, I gather several references. After getting the references, I begin to shape my ideas, make some notes about the things I want and the things I do not want,
When I go to work with a very detailed terrain, I like to use the effects of terrain, like erosion and slope. After everything is set, I create a simple map, focusing on the mountains in the background. I learned a lot over the years. I did not use post-process for a while, but now I use this part more.
The process is very simple: I get some references and make some sketches in Photoshop. I use World Machine to set some things in the beginning. The main things are the height and the shape. Then I gradually add details, using a lot of noise to generate the details of the rocks and use a lot of erosion for the final details.
The way I work on my terrain is quite peculiar. I really like music, movies, games, anime, and these things greatly influence my ideas.
With the Alps, I started working in World Machine — this helps a lot when setting the height in 3ds Max, and then I export the scene to CryEngine. I do not calculate the distance — I just increase the scale of the object.
My terrains have a high and optimized number of polygons. I export the details to ZBrush and add a lot of rock details. I use some alphas from Megascans and also various grass assets, sometimes relying on SpeedTree.
Before lighting my terrain, I like to think of the ways to enlighten my worlds. Lighting is something amazing — the possibilities of creating something that attracts attention is something I think about a lot.
After watching the trailer for Uncharted The Lost Legacy, I looked for some screenshots of the scenes of the river (one of the scenes from the trailer), and got an idea to create the river with some mountains in the background and a volumetric cloud that gives this nice aspect.
Canyon has been very interesting to work with in CryEngine. Most users of the engine probably know that the terrain system is actually a problem. It lacks the system of splat maps what helps to define the types of texture for a certain color.
I’ve been using Substance Painter for 3 months. It has the function of choosing id map. So, I thought: “Why not?”. I could simply create a terrain in the World Machine and export the terrain, normal and height map, id map, terrain mesh.
There’s no doubt that working with engines that are not real-time, where you have to spend time doing Baked Lighting, is something very complicated, but it depends on the way you work. I like to work with several layers. I can also use some tricks to optimize a scene. I like to set some triggers to activate and hide my layers when needed.
An example character enters a house with some objects that are all hidden from the outside, and this helps me to work on my lighting. When I work with very large scenes I try to optimize as much as I can I always optimize my shadows, I use Cached Shadows — that’s a very effective optimization method which is used to reduce the number of shadows draw calls. Cached Shadows work fine with static objects, but the shadows of dynamic objects will not get updated as they move. This may be more or less remarkable, depending on the case.
I create some skydomes in 3ds Max and use CGSkies a lot. I use the volumetric clouds with the skydomes and set up some things in CryEngine where I set the light intensity of the skydome. I can also define the opacity of the textures and work the lighting in a more natural way with strategic points.
Make the scenes work in-game
At the beginning, it was a bit difficult to use the scenes for games in CryEngine. I also learned several ways to optimize for games. One of my tricks is to use some mesh terrain with few polygons, and use the fog to hide the details, maintain the shape and a good performance. I usually use two types of terrain meshes.
It was quite time-consuming from the start – it took about 5 hours to create these scenes, but nowadays I only take an hour, but it depends on the scene.