Environment Art Blog #14 - MarketPlace Cleanup, Controllable damage shader and Jacob Claussen.

General / 17 May 2018

Evening guys!

Another busy week, but not too much in terms of art actually, been doing a lot of preparation to put my latest scene (Last Bastion) online on all the different marketplaces such as Gumroad, Unreal Marketplace etc. So that took most of my time this week.

Other than that big bulk of work I have been working on a blockout for my Artstation Challenge, I can definitely feel the pressure in terms of time.
And this week I will be back in Belgium as well, so I will have no time to work on any unreal stuff unfortunately!


As mentioned before I did do a whole lot of cleanup of my project which basically consisted of removing a blueprint I use for the sky dome
( Ultra Dynamic Sky) which needed adjustments to get roughly the same result, reducing a lot of the texture sizes, adjusting some of the spots I missed on some of the assets and making it all readable for the person interested in buying the scene and assets.


I have split the project up in 2 individual entries, one for the complete scene with all the different lighting setups and completely build scenes and another one for the pipes as a separate assetpackage. Cleaning this up and then adjusting all the different things that still needed adjusting took a long while as well, so i probably spend the better part of this week working on it.

Unreal Engine was kind enough to Feature me on their stream (which had some technical issues so it cut out in the middle of my video, maybe I crashed it? hahaha) so that means that I am on the Epic Games launcher page for a week now! (Special thanks to Drew Fletcher for spotting this one :D )


I hope that by next week I get all of my stuff released online, because it's the first time releasing something through the unreal engine maeketplace as well, so it's a bit stressyyyyy! :D

Oooh yeeah before I forgot, this is how far I got with the Artstation Challenge so far because of all of this going on.
Still determined to actually finish it though, but It's gonna be a tight one!


Last week I mentioned that I would be doing a breakdown of the material that I used in my latest project, showing you how to construct your own adjustable dirt/color shader.

Also did some changes to the size and layout, I had no complaints so far but I noticed that the resolution on some if it was pretty low.


Image Credit - Jacob Claussen - The Abbey Bookshop

Visit his profile over :
Jacob Claussen - Artstation Profile

Saw this one last week and I just had to include it into this week's blog, it does a thing that I can simply not do, make a simple but really powerfull scene, I just love the little touches on this scene, the books that make the entire scene pop really nicely. 

You can clearly see the improvement over his last couple of scenes and it is awesome to be surrounded not only by super talented artists that are at the top of their game, but also by people that are still climbing the ranks and pushing them self everyday, and I say this not too diminish his work in any way shape or form, but it is such a boost to me personally that I see people like this around me.

So thank you Jacob Claussen for inspiring me, and crushing it on a daily basis!


Allright guys!
That's going to do it for me for this week, I'll catch you in the next one!

Environment Art Blog #13 - Last Bastion, Camera tricks and James O'Brien.

General / 10 May 2018

Evening people!

Another busy week trying to get all the different items sorted for my last scene which is now finished! There was a lot of stuff to finish this last week so the self-imposed deadline was tight! But still had loads of fun polishing and making it presenentation ready, all in time to get started on the artstation challenge without to much time lost.

I am also thinking about releasing most of the assets on my gumroad later and still thinking about if I should release the full scene as well.



Onto this weeks work in progress!

Managed to finish this scene in a reasonable timeframe, adding more story elements, doing a night lighting setup and removing some barely noticeable assets which didn't contribute to the story that much such as the car for example.

The final version with all the different assets rendered out can be seen here: Last Bastion 

A thing I spent a lot of time on was building the night version and a "green screen" scene to render all the different assets with some nice lighting.

It's just a simple scene with an emmisive pink sphere that doesnt cast shadow (and emmisive to negate it capturing shadows) the screen space reflections set to 0 in post process to avoid the meshes picking up any color from the sphere and an HDRI plugged into the sky light as well as the reflection capture sphere.


And the final time sink was doing the full presentation for everything, rendering out different iteration of the video flythrough while thinking about the presentation in general for the current scene and upcoming ones.

This was a super fun scene to work on and I would like to thank all of you for joining me on the ride through this one, now onto the next!

What's next?
I'll start working on the artstation challenge where I will join the Environment Category (Ofcourse), so next week is all going to be about that!
Looking forward to next weeeeek!


A small one this week in preparation for a material breakdown for the pipes that I had in my latest scene so I can take the time to properly finish that one off.

This weeks one is about some camera tricks for Unreal engine, this really helps me out when building my scenes!

Got any recommendations or want to see something in the upcoming blog posts, leave a comment and I will see that I'll get to it!



Image Credit - James O'Brien (Vadim Ignatiev) - Countryside Real Time

Visit his profile over :
James O'Brien (Vadim Ignatiev) - Artstation Profile

This is an amazing one guys, I love this scene and the way the atmoshperics play into it.
All the tiny details as well thought of and it clearly shows, when this image pointed me to James O'Brien's portfolio I was just amazed by the way he used atmospherics in all of his scenes to put the emphasis on the mood he tries to convey, especially in the one above, showcasing the real power of the new EEVEE render engine inside of Blender which I want to give a shot after seeing this image!

There is something to be said for the way James recycles a lot of his work as well, slowly building up a complete library to create more and more scenes with, which all have a painterly quality to them making them stand out oven more, especially when looking at the thumbnails!


Thanks so much for inspiring me to do better James (or Vadim) :D

Allright guys!
That's going to do it for me for this week, I'll catch you in the next one!

Environment Art Blog #12 - Home stretch and beyond, Material Parameters and Peyton Varney.

General / 03 May 2018


Evening guys!

Got another good chunk of work done this week, although I enjoyed playing Frostpunk over the weekend as well. I set myself a deadline to finish this scene that I am working on for last weekend, but missed that deadline horribly! (also didn't want to rush things either)
I was trying to get that done so I could join in on the Artstation Challenge that started this week, but a week of delay is not that bad right? I just need to be aware of the scope of the concept a bit more :D but it might be good to really push myself on this one in terms of time.


Made some good progress this week due to the artstation challenge starting out!
Did some more scene adjustments, adding a watchtower for some nice storytelling/visual flair and making it more like an actual outpost.

Also finalised some more meshes such as the fences, which have barbed wire and some nice wind going along the fence covers. Another thing that I worked on were the barrels and I decided to remove the truck that was on the edges of the shot, mostly due to time restraints but it is't a major influence on the scene anyways for the amount of work that would be put into this.

Some closeup shots for the barbed wire and concrete barriers, both still need a final pass, which I am going to try and finish this week! (hopefully haha )

Another thing I spent some time on this weeks was cleaning up the dirt shader that I have on all of the pipes, which allows me to control the amount of dirt and is based on the 1-axis of the mesh. The first masks wasn't tiling properly, so I fixed that by doing a tri-planar projection of a generic cloud texture on top of the mesh inside of Substance Painter which I then fed into the material inside of unreal, so the blend is constraint by the values of that texture, this does mean that each set requires its own dirt mask, but that shouldn't be an issue because a lot of the pipes are built in a modular fashion, so in total that's 4 maps for 40 ish meshes Roughly.

Allrighty, that is gonna be my work in progress for this week, I hope to show you guys the final one next week and a decent blockout for the Artstation challenge, let's do iiiit!

Little side note, my little subway scene might be on hold and I feel bad but don't judge me allright hahaa


This week is going to be a smaller one again! But a super usefull one when working with materials inside of Unreal, teaching you how to setup material parameters!

If you have any feedback or questions please do not hesitate to drop me a message at all.


Image Credit - Peyton Varney - Protégé: Conservatory Interior

Visit his profile over :
Peyton Varney - Artstation Profile

I Came across this awesome scene when Peyton Varney posted in on facebook (10k hours group to be more specific), discovering this was amazing, I was struck by the level of polish of this scene, the way the light interacts, peeks through the windows, the play between colors and just the quality of the scene in general. I also love this shot for the composition and because it clearly shows the contrast between the orange mechanical element versus all the green and brown foliage.

The amount of talent oozing out of this scene is awesome, well done to the whole team who worked together on this one Peyton Varney, Max Frorer and Steven Hong and thanks for inspiring me with this awesome scene!

Allright guys!
That's going to do it for me for this week, I'll catch you in the next one!

Environment Art Blog #11 - Lighting update/new scene, Grass tutorial and Romain Jouandeau.

General / 26 April 2018

Evening people!

It was a crazy week this one, trying to juggle loads of things at the same time was exciting as I am terrible at that, but for some reason, I was super productive this week, started a new (super small) scene as well this week, to see if I can restrict my time working on different projects, and to focus more on different things, this being a pure substance designer scene based on a picture I took in the London underground last weekend.

More to show you in the next section!


Most of my time this week was spend on doing a material for the fence covers and lighting, getting some more volumetrics in there.
Also spent some time on ground textures and moving bits around in the scene to remove some of the visual clutter, which is why I wanted to have the fence covers in the first place. Experimented with some writing to go on top of them, but that is going to be done with decals instead.

I also started adding in some more dirt and grime bits especially on the wall sections, but this is going to be done on a majority off the meshes to give it a more rundown look.

So next up is my other little project that I started this week, so far I have spend maybe 3 hours on this one, most of them inside of substance designer. All this stuff is early work in progress though, looking forward to getting some more substance done!

It's going well so far in terms of time management, now it's just keeping this up!
Next week I'm going to spend a lot more time on getting the chemical plant scene done, working on different meshes/materials.

Looking forward to next week!


Got a big one for you guys, was trying to keep it as condensed as possible, and this might be a good template to refine at some point later after a lot of feedback and taking a more in depth approach. This tutorial also made me realise once again that breaking stuff down/making tutorials takes more time than you expect!
So this is how I approached the grass that I am currently using for a scene that I am building, I hope it will be helpful to you guys!

If you have any feedback please do not hesitate to contact me at all, and I would love to see your own personal end result if you make something using this tutorial!



Image Credit - Romain Jouandeau - LA SERRE

Visit his profile over :
Romain Jouandeau - Artstation Profile

I was so glad when I found this one this week, I have it as one of my desktop images and it instantly sparked that feeling of "I WANT TO MAKE THIS".

I love the storytelling in this one, the visual contradictions between the bright green colours of life in the foreground and the dark gloomy orange colours of destruction in the background. The way this has been executed is superb, all the tiny details in the foliage, the little robots flying/driving around.

This is such an amazing scene and it is going straight into my folder of projects to-do, if and when I ever have the time for it!
His other stuff is amazing as well, so make sure to drop him a visit through one of the links posted!

Allright guys!
That's going to do it for me for this week, I'll catch you in the next one!

Environment Art Blog #10 - Grass/Terrain Textures, Bulk Edit and Owen Kiayias.

General / 19 April 2018

Evening people!

More visual tweaks as you can see and I have added a section for weekly tips, these are going to be bite size things ranging from tips to small breakdowns/tutorials. This might be a bit of a more technical one this week but there is some cool stuff in the works so make sure to keep up to date on them!

I am also thinking of ways to condense this blog, especially my WIP screenshots in a better way, but more of that can be seen in the next section.


  

Allright, most of my time was being spend on adjusting the foliage/grass and terrain textures, using substance designer for the terrain textures and good old poly modelling for the grass meshes. Started out by first modelling some individual straws of grass and moving them around with a soft selection.

Once I got the bakes done it was time for some blockout textures and an accompanying terrain texture. I made the terrain texture inside of substance but I feel that it's still a bit flat, but I'm going to make a solid dirt texture first before I move onto adjusting this one.

There are still some issues to fix on the grass meshes as well, because of the ways that I moved some of the pieces of grass the highpoly geometry has some bits sticking through the opposite side of the mesh, resulting in crappy AO/Transmission bakes in Knald.

Also added a truck to add another story element to the scene, but that's just a quick blockout because I properly started working on it just now.
The truck pointed out some scaling issues though, making the fencing seem really small at a certain point, so that's a thing I fixed as well.

Most of this week was spend on grass/foliage though!
Going to finish the foliage and the ground textures next week and then move back onto the other meshes that I have to finish up!




Allrighty, this is going to be a smaller one to start out with because I am still preparing a smaller breakdown on how to make some grass!
Although it is a small one, it is a super handy one, this tool basically allows you to adjust multiple values ( for instance lightmap resolution ) of multiple assets in one go!

Anything you want to see, or more info on? Why don't you leave a comment down below and I'll answer :D




Image Credit - Owen Kiayias - Majestic Diamonds Robbery

Visit his profile over :
Owen Kiayias - Artstation Profile

Allright guys, some crazy cool stuff this week, Owen Kiayias baffled me with this scene, such a detailed and cool piece full of interesting set pieces which shows you how crazy upcoming talent is! 

Love how the light interacts with all the different elements of the scene and all the smaller set pieces such as the hanging cloth from the broken glass panels.

Such an amazing scene, congrats Owen Kiayias on polishing this beautiful scene!
If you like this piece, make sure to drop him a like and a follow, if his work only goes up in quality, this is going to be an awesome adventure!


Allright guys!
That's going to do it for me for this week, I'll catch you in the next one!

Environment Art Blog #9

General / 13 April 2018

Evening!

As you can see I'm going to try something new from now on, make it a bit more visually pleasing, but this is obviously going to be tweaked/adjusted where needed.

Had a good week this one, I sort of turned my personal work in a different direction instead of purely focusing on the assets themself and the modularity, I decided that it was time to focus on the story a bit more, but more on that in the WIP section ofcourse!

Another thing I am going to try and keep up with, are weekly tips (coming soon!) and doing more breakdown stuff, showing more of the actual raw stuff that goes on instead of just adding the more finalized stuff and that it.
It's going to be interesting how I am going to convince myself to do so, because I am a perfectionist like that hahah.

Would love any feedback/thoughts on the format or the content in my blog btw, I am trying to make it something engaging for people to read and actually make it worth going through.


Allrighty into the meat of things!

I added a lot of thing this week, this might be my focused week yet because I started to think about the actual story and setup of the scene and stepping away from just the "grind" of making the assets themself.

To accompany this change I started to build a new scene as well, this was both a good way to test the speed in which I could use the assets and where adjustments needed to be made.

Things such as where I added lights to a staircase piece but then realised that it is easier to split of the light and place it individually to give myself and potentially other people more useability for the assets. When the focus shifted from a pure "Assetpackage" point to an "I-Need-To-make-this-scene-awesome" point, I realized that there were no assets that really gave this scene personality, so I started blocking out differen assets such as fencing, barrels and larger set pieces such as a truck and so forth.



Adding these more Hero like assets is going to require a fair chunk of time to get done, but does allow me to show of more in depth textures and modelling techniques, so it's going to be interesting.

The scene below is sort of where I am at now, I was thinking about moving away from a typical bandit outpost feel to more like a last bastion of humanity where they use the on site chemical lab as a way to hack a cure for a disease that destabilised the world, hence the light colors down below instead of the dark and moody colors in the previous screenshot above.

Might still do both of them in the end, but I am going to stick with one for now.


Some more techie stuff I have been working on in the meantime.
This is the material that is used across all of the pipes (including different sets) and uses texture parameters that can be changed on the fly, allowing it too be used like this.

I decided to make this material to make the scenes more adaptable, allowing people to change colors and the amount of z-axis grime and dirt gathering (which I still need to finish in the coming updates)




Then to close of this section, I was still using grass that I have been using for a while across different projects now, and it was about time that I updated this, so here I go, modelling some different grass blades in maya.
Going to bake/texture these in Substance Painter when the sheet is done, and I might thrown them up gumroad at some point maybe.



Let me know if you got any questions or would love some more in depth insight/breakdowns!




Image Credit - Christian Behrendt - Rubikon

Visit his profile over :
Christian Behrendt - Artstation Profile

Stumbled across this one today actually, I have always been a big sucker for cyberpunky kind of scenes.
Christian Behrendt made this scene inside a 11 month timeframe, during some difficult times, I am glad to see that you stuck with it because it really pays off in this image!

I remember the first time I tried to do a scene with so many lights in it, and it's a super hard thing to balance.
So congrats on filling this piece man, I am looking forward to the next one where you push yourself outside of your comfort zone again, because I feel that is where you find yourself.


Allright guys!
That's going to do it for me for this week, I'll catch you in the next one!

Tim

Environment art blog #08

General / 06 April 2018

Evening guys!

Back into the normal routine this week, it took a bit to get back into the flow with playing farcry 5 as well!

I had some issues this week with looking at other people and the amount of work that they do inside of any timeframe, and it always seems like I am doing stuff at such a slow pace, and get the feeling that I really need to optimise the time that I spend doing personal stuff, but then on the other hand I feel like that is because I spend so much of my time experimenting and tweaking stuff.

I don't know what to think of it really! Maybe it's just typical Artist guilt and jealousy that creeps in every once in a while.

WIP

Onto the good stuff, spend this week building on the new level that I started, testing some different lighting setups and also spend some time on making a shader that does the following:

  • Make the color of the elements adjustable, for more color variation with different pipes without adding additional basecolor textures
  • Adjustable dirt levels based on the world Z axis

Still need to do some finishing touches on the textures and the different blend masks.

I finally get the feeling that this is going somewhere, spend some more time on lighting and doing some post-production.

Looking forward to next weeks progress.

Weekly Inspiration

Image Credit - Oleg Gamov

Visit his profile over :
Oleg Gamov - Artstation Profile

Being absolutely consumed by this game (farcry 5) since it came out this should come as no surprise, and to be honest, the game is waay better than I was expecting really.
It has been a while since I enjoyed walking around endlessly in an open world game like this filled to the brim with wonderfull environments that are such a joy to walk trough. Spending a bit of time to crawl up a mountain just so you can catch early sunrise and take a ton of screenshots is definitely worth it!

I was looking around to see who worked on it and then came across Oleg, and daamn, such an amazing body of work he has on this game.
So I just wanted to say a big thank you to you Oleg and all the people who worked on this amazing title for inspiring me and being part of the reason that I want to be in this industry as an environment artist (and it really forces me to confront myself that I need to learn how to light scenes properly as well hahaaa ).

I'll add some of my own screencaptures down below

Screenshots are directly from the game, not claiming that this is my work in any shape or form (just saying!)


Allright guys!
That's going to do it for me for this week, I'll catch you in the next one!

Tim

Environment art blog #07

General / 31 March 2018

Evening guys!


I know I missed one last week, I was waaaay to busy with personal stuff combined with playing farcry 5 this week, that does mean that I got a lot of things to show this week.

WIP

The biggest thing that kept me busy, pushing myself to get this one done inside a one week timeline.
The major influence for this scene was Fable Legends. Trying to get a balance between realism and stylisation, it's not completely there yet and I might do some changes over this weekend and update the scene itself.

The major challenge about this scene was getting back into unity and using all the tools out of the box, such as the foliage/grass tools. I was so used to using the tools offered in Unreal that that was the major hurdle. Also not having a material editor and making my own shader was a big hurdle. (I know that there are some really good plugins such as Shader Forge, but buying those is not an option, just for one week :D )

All in all, it was a nice change of pace from all the realistic stuff I was doing before that, so might do some more smaller scenes/dioramas in the future and further hone this style a bit.



After the arttest was done, I saw all the stuff from GDC, and really wanted to try some of the new features Unreal had to offer, so I decided to relight an older scene just for fun! The new volumetric fog is super nice and easy to use.

The relight of this scene is not completely done, and might revisit this in the future, but it was really nice to test the new features.

After all that, I was time for business as usual, and as I wanted to get back into to it first I decided to build another shot to put more emphasis on the smaller assets. Also still working on this one. as you can probably see hahaa :D.
Now that I got back into it, it's time to finish these assets and materials!
Looking forward to start putting the final touches on this one :D.

Weekly Inspiration


Image Credit - Rachel Noy

Visit his profile over :
Rachel Noy - Artstation Profile

With all the inspiration hunting for the Art-test scene I was doing I took a deep-dive into Fable Legends and I never took the time to appreciate is properly.

When doing this, I really started to appreciate the cohesion of the materials and the attention to detail and the world.
This is not purely Rachel Noy who inspired me on this, but the scenes that she made are outstanding, I just love the light play and composition in these scenes!

Thanks for inspiring me Rachel Noy!
(and again, this goes without saying, it is such a shame that this game didn't make it to release, it's such an amazing piece of art)

Environment art blog #06

General / 16 March 2018

Evening guys!

Another crazy filled week this one, met some awesome people and got some stuff on the go that I can't share yet! :D

WIP

It's going to be a shorter one this week on the WIP-front!
Had a crazy week again as mentioned before, doing a lot of different stuff (a lot of which I can't really discuss at this moment, sadly :( ), and preparing for a weekend away from home as well! Which is going to give me some space to catch a breather after this week, and I need it! :D

Still found some time here and there to work on the project though, did some minor stuff such as unwrapping the final set of pipes and giving them a quick texture, and got to give the new version of substance painter a go, I just love the UI, looks way cleaner!


Vertex 2018

Went to the first edition of Vertex in London this year.

To be honest, it was a big surprise how inspiring it was, met some awesome people and it opened a different world to me, it was the first time where I was surrounded by super passionate people that lived and breathe 3D in many shapes and forms.

Some of my highlights are def meeting people such as Anna Hollinrake, Shayleen Hulbert and many others...

It's definitely something I am going to be doing more from now on, as it was an awesome experience for sure!


Weekly Inspiration

Even with all the amazing and inspirational people I have found something this week that really just baffled me.

Image Credit - Christian Haley

Visit his profile over :
Christion Haley - Artstation Profile

Man, I don't even know where to begin on this one, I can keep looking at this one, the detailed streets, giving a nice lived in feel to this metropolis, I also like that all the buildings feel built in the same era, although they are still different enough to make it believable that it wasn't just one architect designing them.
The atmosphere is another thing that is really on point as well, the little light strokes and sun rays piercing through the different layers of smog.

Thanks a lot for Inspiring me Christian Haley, this is a masterpiece, as well as your other stuff.
This for sure has me inspired to do some experimentation with more matte painting concept stuff again!


Thats going to do it for this week guys,

As always, thanks for dropping by!

Tim

Environment art blog #05

General / 09 March 2018

Evening guys!

Cheeky adjustment to the title of the blog! Still thinking about something more permanent, but I do think that making it more about environments instead of me just being selfish hahaa :D

Would love to know if you have any good suggestions!
Allright, onto the good stuff now.

WIP


Had a really nice week doing some work on the scene itself, building a chunk to the right of the focus point.
Also some more unwrapping and texturing on the walkways, Horizontal silo, bigger silo's and additional piping.
The before mentioned assets still need a more decent/final texture pass though, as there are still some issues with the AO on some of the assets.
Other than that I seem to have made a nice bit of progress this week!

It's starting to really shape up nicely :D

Another thing that I started to do is making some prefabs from all the meshes that I have for people to more quickly make scenes of their own.
Only spend a tiny amount of time on this, so there is a lot more to come where this came from!


Weekly Inspiration!


Image Credit - Simon Barle

Visit his profile over :
Simon Barle - Artstation Profile

Just, look at this.
These environments are just super gorgeous, I had a difficult time going through them and picking a single one that really stood out because they are all really gorgeous! But look at the contrasting light, drawing the people's focus into the nice red foliage popping up from the bright blue water.
These pieces are just outstanding works of art.

I picked Simon's work because it has been inspiring me for a while now, I landed on his profile when I was doing research for my forest scene, and his redwood forest is just crazy awesome!
He is just a master when it comes to making environments and I always get so inspired whenever he does one, and I would love to get to the same level of mastery at one point.

So, thanks again for keeping me inspired Simon, and people, make sure to give his profile a view, it's def worth it!


Allright, this was a really nice update! I am glad I got some more time this week as well.
Looking forward to the next update!


Tim