Luis Paolino discusses how Assisted Creation and Unity ArtEngine is now a fundamental part of his workflow.
Tell Us About Your Work
My name is Luis Paolino, and I currently work for Unity Technologies. I’m a Technical Art Manager, helping establish a workflow for artists to achieve visual goals. I also work on lookdev for projects and make proposals for visual improvements in different industries such as automotive, film, and gaming.
As a kid, I always had the passion to create things, things that don't even exist. That is one of the reasons that encouraged me to move to Japan 20 years ago and study computer graphics, to become a creative technologist, starting my career as a CG creator and Engineer.
I have been very lucky to be part of very creative companies where I have been working for many years creating the best experiences for many users.
Now, with experience in the automotive, video production, and game industry, and the exposure Unity has given me, I have had the privilege to work and learn from so many amazing professionals of the industry, I focus more on creating the tools and technology for making those experiences.
About a year ago, Unity acquired a company called Artomatix and the tool ArtEngine. This was the first time I used Assisted Creation tools, and since then, it’s been a pretty exciting journey.
Are You Spotting Any Interesting Industry Trends?
I feel that trends are moving in the direction of bringing high-quality graphics and emerging experiences into portable devices where technology like render streaming, photogrammetry and volumetric video will play an essential role.
How is Assisted Creation Helping With Your Current Project?
Creating realistic assets from scratch requires references to keep a good scale balance and a lot of work to create a convenient realistic material. All this requires a lot of time and effort to create realistic assets multiplied by the amount of assets you need to create. To avoid this I normally create my assets from photogrammetry.
Photogrammetry is the technique of obtaining reliable information about physical objects from photos and using that information to recreate the same object with micro details in 3D with its base color.
The final result of a computed photogrammetry object is too dense in triangles, not optimal for real-time rendering, and need decimation, I normally use a free software named Instant Meshes, fix pivots, and make new UVs using the most amount of UV space possible in Autodesk Maya and bake my maps (Base Color, Normal Map, Height, and AO) to the new UVs using xNormals.
Then, I bring my assets into ArtEngine to process my Base color map to generate a proper Albedo using the Albedo Generator + Hard Shadow Removal.
Sometimes, photogrammetry results have some issues. Fixing all the Maps by hand in 8K resolution is a tedious task that also takes hours of work with a not optimal result. Instead, I use ArtEngine that lets me process all the Maps at once with plenty of options such as using the Mutation, which gives me the flexibility of modifying the density of my Maps at the required resolution at the same time that makes it tiliable or Content-Aware Fill node that lets me fix specific areas of my Maps.
ArtEngine lets me create tileable PBR material from one photo or from pre-baked Maps in minutes in comparison with other tools, and create infinity variations of materials using the Mutation node.
Another ArtEngine node that I use often is the Multi-Angle to Texture node, with four or eight inputs. ArtEngine calculates a perfect Albedo and Normal Map. I normally use it for foliage but can be also used to generate full PBR fabric materials as well.
The flexibility of ArtEngine creating tileable PBR material, fix photogrammetry assets and foliage materials combined with a game engine like Unity, let me create realistic worlds saving days or even weeks of work.
Those are just a couple of many more reasons why ArtEngine is by default an essential tool in my workflow.
Assets created from photogrammetry, textures, foliage, and tiliable PBR materials processed in ArtEngine, rendered in Unity 2021.1.