Our frequent contributor and a great 3d artist Jeryce Dianingana has provided a short breakdown of his recent Witcher: Wild Hunt-inspired environment. He talked about the usage of Quixel Suite 2.0 and the way this software complements Unity 5 scene-building.
The Love for Witcher 3
I always liked games with a solid background, the lore, the music, the artistic direction and good gameplay mechanics. It was amazing to learn that you can’t fight the monster in Witcher 3 if you don’t know the characteristics of the enemies. All these things make me love this game. And because of this I I wanted to do something with Witcher, to show my appreciation for this amazing series.
The Beginning of the Project
It all started with the release of Quixel Suite 2.0. I wanted to try the 3D Painting of normal and texture, so I tried to do a dirty medieval bench with cloth on it to try to paint the opacity mask for the hole and it went very well. I was satisfied, and a friend of mine told me that would be great to make a scene with props of this quality. I actually never did anything like that before. So I went on Google and wrote ” The Witcher 3 Tavern” and I found some great artwork. The main pillar was to make the scene credible, to show that Unity 5 can make beautiful things too. So everything was essential, the lighting, the image effects, the props and the shaders.
The Choice of Quixel 2.0
Quixel Suite 2.0 was a joy to work with. It had all the features I needed: PBR Painting engine, the instant GPU Baking. Now we can even use the symmetry to paint (I will use this a lot on my next scene). I used all these features to create my materials. I generally begin with a basic smart material and a paint over it. It’s very simple to have a good looking material with Quixel. There’ no secret in this process. You just use it.
Quixel 2 is allowing you to directly paint PBR materials on your 3D in addition of baking the Curvatur and AO. You can use these tools or create smart material which is going to use the curvatur or ambient occlusion as mask to add some dirt.
Building Up The Lighting
I put a point light on everything that emit light: candles, every candle on the chandeliers, the grill, torches. I fake the light from the exterior on the windows by placing a point light in front of and tweaked the baked shadow to have a very soft shadow.
I used the Directional Specular mode for the General GI. The result is different from the basic Directonal mode. It’s using twice as much texture memory cause light is stored as incoming intensity. With this mode your materials going to have a “Realtime feel”.
I used CamelotVFX: Fire & Smoke and the Realistic Effects Pack for the distortion. I did a little tweak to make the fire. The fire is created with the basic particle system from Unity called Shuriken. It’s basically a sprite sheet.
Only the light from the grill is dynamic. It’s very risky to use dynamic light, cause this light creates dynamic shadows and they cost a lot more than a baked shadow. I put the parameter for dynamic shadow in the lowest quality to keep the feel and the movement.
Combination of Unity 5 and Quixel
In Quixel Suite you just have to set your “Export Target” to Unity 5 ( Metalness or Specular) and it will exporting all the maps you need ( Albedo, AO, Metalness, Gloss and Normal). The gloss is going to be placed in the Alpha channel of the Metal (or Specular), because unity functions that way. If you need extra map like Height or Emissive you just have to “Add new map” in your project DDO and all will be exported.
On the floor, doors and windows I used the asset Alloy physical shader to use the POM (Parralax Occlusion Mapping) and the new Decal system that allows me to add some details like Straws and Holes just with textures.