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Architect and arch-viz-wizard Mateusz Klepadlo talked about the visualisation of the great architectural project of the prominent Japanese architect in Unreal Engine 4. He discussed the choice of materials, the lighting and modeling.
My name is Mateusz Klepadlo and I am from Bialystok in Poland. Three years ago I graduated from Architecture and Urban Planning at the Bialystok Technical University. I worked for various architectural studios on many different projects from architectural and art field. Currently I am running my own small CGI studio focusing strongly on architecture visualizations and design.
Preparation, modeling and gathering assets.
Azuma House is designed by great architect – Tadao Ando. The idea of recreating it in Unreal Engine started, when I’ve been playing in Cinema4D and V-ray with free 3d model of the building provided by Ronen Bekerman. Before working in Unreal Engine, I’ve had to start with remodeling the building, because Unreal Engine requires different modeling style than the source mesh had. I always use Cinema4D both for preparing 3d models and creating UV maps for Unreal. While working on the interiors I modeled part of the assets myself, but to fasten the work I also used free content I could find on the internet. The vine in the center of the scene is build from two elements – part of it is modeled with ivy generator and some parts are taken from v-ray ready assets found in the internet. From the very beginning of placing the assets I’ve been focusing strongly on the composition and possible camera shots I could use later.
Before I start working on the materials I like to have a lot of references. To create PBR materials it is very important to know how they behave in different lighting and weather conditions. In these scene all materials I used are very simple ones – most of the time I use few, earlier prepared maps – diffuse, reflection, normal, displacement and opacity. For diffuse channel I always like to mix few textures with different scales to get some extra details. This also helps to lose unnatural tiling effect of the texture. To create new texture maps I always use Photoshop and Nvidia Tools.
This scene was created in Unreal Engine 4.11 preview. Light portals included in this version are making the Lighting creation process much easier. You can achieve very nice lighting quality without the need of changing any values in ini. files. These scene is lit with static hdri skylight and direct lighting. In the interiors I used stationary spot lights and in few rooms I also used dynamic lights to fake indirect lighting where it was needed. The lighting in these scene took 3 hours to build and I think I manage to get rid of most lighting artifacts.
In achieving realistic looking scene helps using LUT texture in the post-process settings. I am always using it to unify color scheme of the scene and to create original look.
Why Unreal Engine?
I started working with Unreal Engine about a year ago and even now I am still amazed by its possibilities. The quality is really remarkable and a real time changes and the ease in creating animations are making this engine very attractive for architectural presentations – especially when creating set of still images and short movie takes – like in this case – 3 days.