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Hi Elliott, This is a great breakdown and very generous in sharing your process and insights, you came a long way from the vending machine days!
Are you planning on releasing the UE4 project to the public? Or only builds? I'd love to play around with it in the editor if possible!
Lucas Henrique shared some tips on the production of detailed filled 3d environments with pretty lighting.
My name is Lucas Henrique, I am 20 years old, self-taught and I am from Recife, Brazil. My first contact with game development was back in 2011 when I discovered about UDK. I started to mess around with the engine, watching tutorials etc. From UDK I got to know some other programs like photoshop, 3ds max and zbrush. Since the beginning I did a bit of everything like character creation, programming, drawing, vfx etc. Later on I realized that my true passion was to be an environment artist because I always wanted to make beautiful game environments and I’ve been doing that since then. I’m a freelancer at the moment while focusing on the creation of my portfolio. I’ve been doing some small contributions to a game called The Path of Calydra.
This is actually my first portfolio project I made. It all began when I was looking for some inspirational images through the web to create a project to my portfolio and I ended up stumbling upon a picture I found which quickly caught my eyes. I wanted to achieve the lighting and mood of that image while creating the theme and storytelling by myself. I really tried to push myself to create something interesting. I tried to focus not only in the big picture but in the small details of the scene so that close up shots are going to give a bit more depth to the scene.
I modeled everything in 3ds Max, the clothing stuff were made in Marvelous Designer. The room’s structure is modular and the props were made using an approach which is quite known. Highpoly, lowpoly and UV in 3ds Max. The baking and texturing process in Substance Painter.
One technique that I really wanted to give a try was “kit bashing”. The radios were made using this technique. I modeled quite a few pieces like knobs, buttons etc, and I started to bash them together to create an unique piece of geometry. I really wanted to put enough details on the props so they could be seen from a close distance.
My initial idea about the courtain was to have 2 courtains in both windows. But I thought that wouldn’t work because this would just add too much to the scene. Then I thought that I could add a courtain on the right side window and arrange it in a way so that it frames the scene a bit better in order to improve the overall composition as you can see in the final image.
I really like the effect and realism that spider webs can do. It’s a nice little detail to add. I made a transparent material with a spider web texture and applied it on a plane. I scattered the plane around the scene to achieve that effect.
I added both sunlight and skylight and kept tweaking the parameters until the end of the project. Tweaking parameters like rotation, brightness, light bounces, global illumination etc. Plus messing around with the post process’ settings will greatly improve the lighting and overall look of the scene. My lighting process was all about trial and error until I get something that I like.
The environment took a month and a half to be finished.
The scene is well optimized so it does work for a game while keeping a good amount of FPS.