So we're half-way through December and I'm still working on my art-project in UE4.
One thing I kind of want to get straight is that people look at my work and go: MAN he works fast, he's already got so much going on!!
Now, I mostly show my progress here and even that I spend time to make sure it looks at least decent before showing it, I don't really want people to believe that I'm constantly pushing out really nice things or live the perfect life or something like that (some kind of weird instagram life).
Truth is I spend a ridiculous amount of hours working & researching stuff in my spare-time. Between having a day-job as a AAA-artist at Ubisoft Massive, my mentorship & this I do spend a ridiculous amount of time just working & thinking about 3D right now.
I can't say this enough: Unless you love doing 3D all day everyday , don't do it.
I actually love doing this since my two main passions are:
2. Making Video-Games (/Art)
I do this for fun and I'm sure that during next year I will take a bunch of brakes from this but for now, I'm just having fun with it.
HOW ABOUT THE REST?
The Environment Art Mentorship is still going strong for me as well, I think I have 1 spot left for the January sign-ups. So this week I've been trying to take it a bit more easy spending some time playing video-games and not putting all my spare time into the art-project.
Currently playing Zelda - Breath of the Wild, since I though it'd be good reference for what I'm currently doing. The main surprise of the game I think is that I feel like the Art overall is kinda uneven, but then again the world is super vast and is running fine on a Nintendo Switch with a bunch of awesome cool systematic effects so overall it's a very impressive experience.
USING WHAT I HAVE
So I decided that it was time to use the assets I have to create something substantial. At least I could get started with something. So I decided to just create something interesting in the center of my open-world. I'm currently sitting on:
- A couple of rocks & cliff meshes
- 1 Tree
- 2 Types of Grass (short / long)
- 3-4 types of Flowers (Different Colors / Shapes)
- Blockout shape of some huge-structure I'm working on.
So what can you create with just these?
I decided that I would be the entrance to an ancient tree-temple that is lying underneath the hill of which the tree is standing on. What you'll see below is basically my first draft of the composition of this area. I spent a 2-3 hours basically setting up this composition and prepped it to be in the center of the world. (which currently is 8x8km)
The thinking behind the composition was that I wanted something to draw the eye-further into the scene in a sweeping motion (Red-Arrows) leading the viewers eye to something of interesting the background (yet, to figure that out properly). In the middle-ground I wanted to visual interests, to the left and right. Left being some kind of adventurer camp set up on one side of the river.
On the other side would be the entrance into the cave leading into the Grasslands Temple. For now I haven't figured out if I want to keep it a cave or if I want to do some kind of temple entrance for it.
LORE, TEMPLE & BUILDING WOES
I have actually starting nailing down some of the lore for my project as well, though I'm still unsure how I can actually infuse some of it in the designs I'm currently making. I've been interested in kind of merging fantasy with sci-fi, in some way but more often than not it's just leaving me confused as how to meld the two.
So I've also started blocking out a modular kit for a temple , though I have yet to actually decide on an Art-Direction for what I want it to look like which is a major issue. I need to figure out:
1. Temple Style for the Grasslands
2. Village Style for the Grasslands
It's something I need to spend more time on for sure and something that you'll probably get to see some of next week or the week after.
TREE UPGRADES & NIGHT TIME
After spending some more time with the initial shot I decided to actually try and upgrade my trees. I didn't want them as noisy or expensive as they were before. I wanted a much simpler shape coming through. So the main difference from this version and the version above is that the canopy is much simpler, cheaper, performant and actually a bit more brightly lit and fluffy looking.
I also decided to try out some of the root meshes that I made for another scene in this one just to see if it would work out and I think that generally it's getting a bit more interesting.
Below is a top view of the area currently, as you can see I've started developing some of the area around this whole place but it also goes to show that I'm trying to think of the whole space. It needs to work as a proper game-environment, not only the 1 single shot for a portfolio piece. I think generally I'm just going to try and develop everything from the center and outwards, coming up with shapes and landscape as I go.
So another thing that is actually happening in the open-world environment is the day & night cycle.
Just looking at my current result I'm pretty frickin sure where I'd like the sun & lighting to be for that specific angle but when I've got a whole open-world time-of-day setup this becomes much harder to deal with haha.
This usually means that I can't have "perfect" lighting for every location in the whole world, my moon & sun has an actual set trajectory, the only thing I can actually do is to mess around with local post-processes in each location later on when I polish some areas up.
It makes me realize how much more streamlined a out-of-the-box TimeofDay editor for Unreal could be , right now you have to a bunch of weird things with Blueprint to even get something simple running. They probably should have a quick look at like, CryEngine or something like that.
I think my next steps will be to actually look at Temple Modules & Building designs.
I'd also like to quickly photoshop up some blockout textures for what I would want to work together with the temples & buildings. Nothing complete and they would just be doodles before I actually invest the time to make high-poly stuff or real stuff in Substance Designer.
Until next time!