TEG Projects #1 : Grapp Darnini 3D Environment

Walkthrough the process of creating a 3D game environment for Unreal Engine 4 in two weeks.

You can watch recorded live-streams of the environment being made at TEG Live

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TEG Vlog #2 – Galactic Battles Team Member

Now a member of the Galactic Battles open movie project team as a modeler/uv/texture artist. Also various updates on projects and other stuff.

Galactic Battles website

Picture of the Black Magic camera and VanCG meetup.
black magic-july2015

Fantasy lantern prop WIP

Recently felt inspired to do some sort of fantasy/scifi styled environment with moody lighting so the last day or two have been coming up with this lantern concept. Its taken inspiration from things like wooden African masks, Aztec architecture as well as eastern Buddhist culture. The polished golden copper type surface seen in a number of Buddhist statues have a historical yet in some way even futuristic appeal. Its no surprise its  a favourite material for Steampunk and other technology focused genera as well. As for masks, well they are just cool.

A design I have remembered since I was a kid were mask cameras from the PC game Thief II The Metal Age.

Thief-2

Ya ok, it pretty old and doesn’t look very nice by today’s standards but its a interesting concept. There were even solid copper versions that were mounted on the walls to alert the guards. With these things as a starting bases for ideas I think it will result in some pretty neat stuff.

This week I will be going through a Gnomon Workshop done by Nate Stephens that is focused on environment sculpting. Really looking forward to it. Usually there isn’t much that’s new however the way I see it a small investment even for just a single useful tip can save an incredible amount of time and cause an overall improvement in quality for years to come.

Cycles engine still not ready.

Yesterday I got sidetracked while blocking some environments by Cycles volumetric light scatter material. It was just last month that a new workstation came in allowing for 12 render threads so I wanted to test the material for practicality in rendering a video. Short answer… nope. Reading through the render engines documentation and spending nearly a whole day changing settings and preview rendering resulted disappointing. It seems even in the latest version noise is still far too big of a problem. Setting volumetric to 8192 samples with various speed enhancements with light paths, branched tracing and algorithm types still gave mediocre results that took all night to render. And we are talking a Linux machine built for rendering.

Thinking about this problem we should wonder why this information cant be baked into a voxel grid. It makes me wish I was more knowledgeable on light physics, there must be some way that could work.

Apart from that I also came on this recently. Have never been a fan of Cycles rough glossy shader but never knew it was this bad. Discovering that Blenders “Linear” shading isn’t really linear at all will definitely change the way I handle shading network from now on. According to the article putting your gloss info through a math node set to “Power” with a value of 2.2 helps this problem somewhat.

Spark job fair, Jan Full Indie, Environments and code.

On Wednesday myself and Mike Pan attended the January Full Indie event where game developers were sharing projects they created during last weeks global Game Jam. It was a fun time where we had a chance to sample games and give critique to there creators. Afterwards we had time to discuss planing for the future of the Blender User Group in Vancouver.

Saturday was the Spark job fair where a number of people came to speak with local and not so local studios. It was enjoyable to be there and some of them even had branded trinkets to give away, thanks to Zoic and Double Negative I don’t have to search for the house key every morning. One of the representatives there was even reviewing demo reel’s, thank you very much sir. To top it off I even met one of my friends who was a volunteer for the event, Shane who recently got a job as a Rotomation artist at Gener8. Shane is my self declared rival and arch nemesis 🙂

There were a lot of great prospects there for environment artists and surprisingly Python scripting. Surprising in that it almost seemed as though they were more interested in Python than actual art. Suppose its good since I like Python but a bit concerning. Art is what I aim for. Environments  done right are amazing to behold. Even in stillness environments tell an animated story. Code on the other hand leaves crowds of people confused or otherwise puzzled. That’s my experience sharing code projects with other people anyway.

With that being said I need to expand a little bit more on the demo than originally thought. I was going to just do environments and keep some other related side projects to myself but the demand for code has prompted me to share some Python I’m working on. Last week a node editor was mentioned and details of it are still closed but I am going to share the Git repo URL here as its being worked on anyway so that studios can sample it. The last few days a fair bit of time was put into it. I will be working on art stuff and finding a job most of this week but there will be some more commits in the next five days.

Speaking of expanding the demo the next scene concept will be mainly architecture and machines. At Spark just about every studio was working on projects involving Urban environments plus I have a thing for architecture, love the stuff. It will be great contrast with the nature scene currently in the reel. Likely some of the weaker shots will be pulled out  to be replaced with the hard edge stuff once there is content ready for it.