EA DICE environment artist Simon Barle talked about his new scene, which is a recreation of the Hunters Dream level from Bloodborne in Unreal Engine4.
Bloodborne’s Visual Style
I think the biggest features of the world in Bloodborne is the Gothic architecture mixed with twisted nightmare shapes which create a very interesting environment.
I wanted to get those elements in so I made sure to block them out very quickly and then keep working on them as the scene came together.
The goal of this project, aside from making fanart, was to fully learn Substance Painter so everything went through the whole process of baking and texturing in there.
I started with roughly blocking out all the major components quickly in Maya and once I felt I had a good base I started elaborating on the assets, did a sculpt pass and then finally finished everything off inside Substance Painter.
The texturing process for this scene was made almost entirely in Substance Painter and Substance Designer. All the tileable textures are created in Designer and the objects are textured in Painter.
The most important materials for this scene were all the ground materials and brick materials. What make the materials connect to Bloodborne are quite a lot of specular in my opinion, everything in Bloodborne is a bit shiny and I think that’s a part of making the surfaces feel interesting, it wouldn’t have the same feel if everything was very flat and diffuse. There are also a lot of colors creating good contrast, there are quite a lot of colder colors which are balanced with warmer tones and some lights here and there.
What I needed was the workshop, trees, bushes and a moon, once I had that in place the level actually felt almost the same even after I filled the rest of the space with other assets, it just looked more complete.
I think its really important to nail those components down first since they will be the anchor points of the scene, the rest are just support.
The Production of Assets
Everything in the scene is created by me, the foliage is built by baking down highpoly branches and leaves to simpler plane geometry then just placing them on a trunk mesh I just modeled.
My overall approach to asset creation for this project was:
- Basic 3D/highpoly if needed
- Scultping in Zbrush
- Baking and Texturing in Substance
Bloodborne is fairly dark but I wanted to avoid areas turning close to pitch black since all monitors are very different, I wanted fairly consistent results on most devices so I focused on getting enough light in the scene without making it appear too bright.
I used Distance field Soft Shadows and AO together with Global Illumination and a couple of hand placed point light which I used to add some lighting where I felt it was lacking or just help bring out spec and silhouette of assets.
The lighting in the scene is fully dynamic in real time.
Keeping Up the Pace
Time was a bit scattered for this project but when I got time to work on it I always sat down with a plan, I usually think up how I am going to do the assets I plan to be done later that night during my commute from work.
I made a list of things I wanted to get done before I had to go to bed, usually throwing 1 or 2 things more than I could but as long as the majority of the things got done I was happy. I always looked at the whole picture rather than getting stuck with detail which can easy eat up a lot of time, if it did what I needed it to do, it was good enough and I moved on to the next asset.