NOTE: I'm leaving this first post with the original block out pictures so the thread shows my progression. Newer screenshots are farther down in the thread!
I'm currently working on an environment for my Advanced Environment Design class at college. I've decided to do an old 18th century-ish library that's disheveled and generally not kept up very well. The screens in this initial post are my current block-outs done with BSP and a few simple geometry meshes (not optimized for Lighting or texturing just yet). I have a main corridor with a statue centerpiece that WON'T be just a cube, I just need to settle on an actual design. On the left side of the main hall is a doorway to the long hallway in the screens. And at the end of the hallway is the study room, which is the smaller area in the screens with the fireplace.
For this I wanted to get the basic feel of the level down, so I used simple geometric shapes as place holders for most big objects, as well as basic textures to get a color scheme set up. Basic lighting was added as well to give the overall feel, though I will need to put a lot of work into it once I start getting my final meshes in the scene. I'll be posting updates in here regularly as this semester progresses for anyone interested on where this project is heading or if anyone has any advice as I move forward. It'll also help keep me motivated since I have weekly assignments due for this. For now, here's my block-out! (Don't mind the horrible UV/lightmap UV layouts or bad modeling, everything's being replaced over time! =D)
I added a few meshes in like the centerpiece statue, flags (which I still need to make some sort of anchor for them, they're just floating to get an idea of what they would look like haha), a proper carpet, and the raised platforms for the tables and bookshelves to break up the flatness of the floor. I messed with more natural light and some particle effects for the dust in the room and the candles, also a bit of post process volume tweaking. Still LOTS more tweaking to do with the lighting and plenty more modeling needed. Not sure on whether to leave out the candle chandelier or just move it directly over the statue to help with lighting it. I'll mess with a few different possibilities over the next few weeks.
Up next: finalized bookshelves, candle holders, and tables/chairs. I'm excited.
I messed with the lighting some more to try to add some contrast (the environment lighting was illuminating things like the walls a bit too much) I may have a few spots darker than I would like but I still have a while to continue tweaking the lighting. I've added some more props and started filling in the smaller detail props as well. I filled a few bookshelves just to test in the brighter light and to fill in the centerpiece painting area. As you can see, most of the other shelves re still empty. I'm too lazy to fill them just yet. Everything in these shots are my own custom meshes except for the two lamps in the last screen shot. Those were included in UDK, I just wanted to use them as place holders and see how lamps would look there. I'm going to make candle lamps to replace those later because I think it looks pretty nifty. Here's my progress so far:
So it's been a while but I've still been working on this. Just had a lot of stuff to do for finals and Spring break just passed. I've added some more detail props and began filling up bigger open areas with unique meshes. I also did a lot of lighting tweaking (yet again). Here's the progress up to this point:
It's definitely inspired by 19th century design. I wanted a "very old but still in use by some crazed loner" type of look, if that makes any sense haha.
I have some more WIP shots. I did a few more small lighting tweaks, a couple detail props, and MOLDING!!! It was very tedious but it's amazing what a world of difference adding molding to walls really makes haha.
I've sealed off the back area (with the hallway with curtains and the other room) because With finals for other classes as well coming up I won't have enough time to get those done. Maybe after school when I have more time. But for now I have it walled off and have to add a door to both sides to fill up a little blank wall space. Here's where I'm at so far:
For this week I tried to break up the wall texture some since the repeating wallpaper/plaster seemed a little too empty for my liking. I also got doors in to break up the largeer bare ares of the side walls and got the entrance way in. I also tweaked the floor material to give more of a reflection in the tile. I also did a general optimizing of all the textures and set up some LODBias to get rid of some slowdown I was running into. I have about 2 or 3 weeks left to get everything where I want it so any suggestions for tweaks or things to add would be greatly appreciated while I continue my own brainstorming session. =D I'll probably get a camera flythrough of the level within the next two weeks as well.
Looks amazing, for now!
The screenshots are look like different set of Shakespearean library center in the 18th Century (correct me if I'm wrong). Long time to let you finish this work frequently, just wondering.
I think your lighting is too bright for what you're trying to achieve and it looks flat- I would consider using some custom light functions to get more interesting lighting. I would also add lighting to the draw the player's eye toward the player path- right now it's all even and doesn't attract you to any specific area; it just reads very flat.
Another thing is that you're hurting your environment by depending so much on BSP. Create more static meshes; use BSP only to proxy and gray box your level, then replace ALL of it with static meshes. I recommend sculpting some crown mouldings and other props with ZBrush to create a more detailed environment that draws the player into your world. Also, your fog sheets on all your windows are flat. You need to create a custom material with some panners and rotators to make whispy dust particles appear to slowly move through the fog sheets; this will dramatically improve your environment and make it feel much more believable and natural.
The material on your skylight windows looks bad; the dirt doesn't look like dirt and you can see the symmetry line which stands out really bad and pulls you out of your world. Look at some pic reference on google of dirty warehouse windows and try to mimic that in your texturing, remove the symmetry line or hide it better- go to UDN and read over the great material docs they have there, most are available to the public and it will help you understand materials and and how to make better ones.
There's a bunch of other stuff I wanted to critique but it's way too much and I'm too lazy to keep writing, sorry!