Those animations look amazing!! Great job!
Very cool review of the making of Spellbreak. Would be even more cool to see some videos inside UE4 showing how they do a few very specific things unique to them.
This was so helpful for me. I'm hoping to adapt your tutorial to pull off something similar comparing modern satellite imagery with historical maps. No topo, so my steps should be simpler, but I'm a novice with Blender and you've really helped. Thanks!
Advertiser, photographer and a great 3d artist Paul H. Paulino talked about his approach to the creation of high-quality 3d images. He worked on Tim Barton’sMiss Peregrine’s Home for the Peculiar Children as well as Independence Day 2: Resurgence to name a few. In this post he talks about his workflow and the way he builds his incredible textures.
Hi! My name is Paul H. Paulino and I am a Texture Painter/LookDev Artist born and raised in Brazil but right now I’m in Vancouver, Canada, working at Scanline VFX. I am 25 years old and I spent a large part of my life working in photography, motion graphics and cinema. After graduating in advertising four years ago, I decided to change my career path and focus on something different: computer graphics.
I studied visual effects at Think Tank Training Centre for a year here in Vancouver. A month before graduation at Think Tank I got a job offer from Scanline VFX in 2015 and I’ve been working there since. I’m pretty new in the industry and so far I’ve worked in two feature films which are coming to theaters this year: Miss Peregrine’s Home for the Peculiar Children (Tim Burton) and Independence Day 2: Resurgence.
Texture Creation Process
Usually my texture creation process is really straightforward. The most important element to keep in mind while working on your textures in my opinion is to collect a bunch of references and always pay attention in materials that you see around. Everyday we are surrounded by different materials, textures and patterns. It is crucial to learn how to apply these elements to your textures to make them more realistic. I always use a software called Pure Ref to organize my references and it is the best thing ever!
Building your own texture library is something that every texture painter should do. After each project, make sure to collect and save all the textures that you have used. Be organized and separate everything properly, this step can save you a lot of time in the future. Also, get used to create tiled textures from your regular textures and create a folder just for them, and also separate another one for masks that you’ve created.
General Material Production Workflow
My shader workflow starts really simple. I’ve been using V-ray for a while in Maya and 3dsMax and it is an awesome software to achieve photorealistic results quickly. I usually start bringing my textures from MARI and then I begin dialing the values in my shader until I’m happy with the results. I usually start by plugging my bump/displacement maps with a solid 50% grey color to check if they are accurate.
After that I plug the specular and glossiness maps and start dialing the reflections/highlights. The last thing I do is plugging the diffuse map. Usually if you get your bump/displacement and your spec maps working your diffuse is gonna be working too.
Also, using the new Vray 3.0 we have the GGX option which is awesome. It gives you full control over the highlights in your objects.
Hard-surface and Organic Objects
My approach while building materials for organic objects are pretty similar to hard-surface ones. The main difference is that you have to deal with SSS and this can take a while to get it working properly since we have so many different options. But again, it is really important to dial the surface detail and the specular values first before plugging the color map, which can be really distracting.
I think the best advice I can give about my photoreal process is to start simple. Avoid overcomplicating your shaders and textures as much as you can. Maybe in the end you may have a complex shader tree but it is important to understand what are you doing.
Always keep an eye in your references and try to understand the “storytelling” behind your materials. If you are working on an old and rusted ship, make sure to texture it thinking about how can you show your audience through details that that ship had been through rough days. If you start treating your assets like small story books the output is going to be stunning.
I had my first experience with MARI during my first semester at Think Tank while I was working on my project WASP. It was really interesting in the beginning because it was so different from the other softwares that I’d used before. After struggling for a couple weeks I finally understood why MARI is such a powerful tool.
The layered system and the mask stacks allow me to create complex textures without a problem. Aside from that, being able to paint directly on your model makes the process way more interesting and artistic.
The Most Important Element
I guess that the most important element is to learn to visualize and understand patterns in nature to use in your own textures. For example, a really tricky part during the texturing process of my Southern Cassowary project was to mimic the casque pattern since I couldn’t find a good reference photo to extract the mask from. So I had to start looking into other patterns like plaster, flaking human skin and marble.