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Environmental Artist Javier Cadenas recently published a nice steampunk-inspired scene, which features a lot of cool techniques. The project was rendered and assembled in Unreal Engine 4. It’s a relatively small scene, where a fancy train enters the station with a lot of decorations. Although the scene features a lot of materials, they are not expensive at all and the whole environment runs in engine at 60 frames per second.
The artist wanted to practice his skills in Sphere Reflection Actor, Metallic Shaders and emissive colour. These images show the Sphere of Reflections. The artist liked the tool, which proved incredibly handy.
The main asset, the train, was modelled with Miki Company’s colaboration more than a year ago. Unfortunately, Unreal Engine 4 was in development back then and some of its functions didn’t work properly. For this reason, I redid all the materials, textures (diffuse map, metallic map, and roughness map inside the diffuse map’s alpha channel) and I also made an animated emissive zone using a mask texture.
Javier Cadenas, Environmental Artist
Most of the materials in the scene are metallic. The contrast of the brightness value between the metallic and the non-metallic objects was emphasised the metallic aspect of the former. There’s also a bunch of materials made from plastic or paper, and they have an antagonist specular value.
The coolest thing about this environment is the abundance of animated screens. Javier added these images to add more personality and dynamism to the scene. The screens have a flipbook material expression multiplied by itself and linked to the emissive colour input. There’s also 6 sheet advertisement posters. Their glass reflects the emissive lights from the screens.
The project was developed during one month. The artist choose to model a lot of seamless assets to use them in a tileable function. This solution allowed better level optimization. The meshes are relatively low poly. All in all there are 45 different models but 2/3 of these parts had a high poly model. The background and hidden assets had less tris, however, thanks to the the fog and DOF from the postprocess we can’t differentiate these with the main props.
Javier Cadenas believes that a perfect way to blend texture like gravel or stone in a landscape is by heightmap blending. It could be found during the creation of a new layer on your landscape material. It’s pretty expensive but is useful if you’re painting roads, mountain debris or shores.
You can find more work of Javier Cadenas on his official website. He’s got a lot of very cool scenes with very nice touches.