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  1. #1
    Boomshot
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    Default [Environment WIP] Old Library

    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)


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    Last edited by JessieG; 04-02-2012 at 05:05 AM.

  2. #2
    Boomshot
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    Default

    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.


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  3. #3
    Boomshot
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    Default

    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:



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    Last edited by JessieG; 03-04-2012 at 06:56 AM.

  4. #4
    Boomshot
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    Default

    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:


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    Any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I have roughly 5 more weeks left on this project, then I'm going to put it on the shelf and try some new stuff!

  5. #5
    Boomshot
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    Default

    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:

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    Last edited by JessieG; 04-09-2012 at 01:28 AM.

  6. #6
    Boomshot
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    Default

    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.

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    Last edited by JessieG; 04-14-2012 at 11:50 PM.

  7. #7
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    Looks pretty nice so far!
    Reminds me the ambiance in the Thief Series.

  8. #8
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    Gamertag: Blast Hooligan

    Default

    Very solid start man, looking forward to see where you take this!

  9. #9
    Redeemer
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    Cool

    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.

  10. #10
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    Reminds me of Resident Evil for the PS 1

    Cool stuff.

    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!
    Environment Artist
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  11. #11
    Iron Guard
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    Default

    Jak's right, the BSP should act as a blockout only for 80% of the level. Take a look at a lot of Epic's maps for a quick reference. Sure it's used here and there but more and more we are moving away from using BSP. It's some practical uses for certain things but if yuo are looking to make something pretty for a show piece you should limit it as much as possible. Great start though for sure and at your level of education I imagine it's your goal to be pushing your technique to the limits and then beyond. So good luck and keep on truckin
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  12. #12
    Boomshot
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    Thanks for all the advice! The lighting is what I'm struggling with the most. This is my first environment so I still have a lot to learn there. It actually looks a little darker on my computer so I'll have to try it on a few others to find a good balance. I have light functions on the candle light so they flicker but I definitely need more work on the lights. Just have to learn more about em.

    The skylight texture is definitely being changed. Just saving that till later after the environments fleshed out. I have some fog in the light volumes from the windows and some dust particles, I just didn't have real time on haha.

    As for the BSP stuff, would you recommend just replacing walls, the floor, and ceiling with meshes of the same size? Large surfaces like that give me problems material wise (mostly the UV space available).

  13. #13
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    your first environment? that's hard to believe, good job if it is your first

    yeah replace all the BSP with static meshes. dont use meshes that are too big, you'll loose texel density and also your lightmaps will loos detail if your meshes are too large. create modular pieces that you can tile again and again, and use vertex painting to break up repetitive patterns and make meshes/materials look more natural

    great job so far
    Environment Artist
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  14. #14
    Boomshot
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    Ah ok I've heard a lot about vertex painting. Would that be doable with the tiles on the floor?

    And yeah it's my first full one. I tried one other scene before this semester of school but only got a few meshes in there. This is the first full scene I've put together in UDK but I've learned quite a bit in doing so. (remarkably with no errors when baking and making a custom gametype haha)
    Last edited by JessieG; 04-16-2012 at 09:24 PM.

  15. #15

  16. #16
    Boomshot
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    So after a long semester, I've completed all that I can in the time frame I had. The statue center piece I was using wasn't working out as I'd hoped, so due to time constraints I substituted the statue from Epic Citadel in its place to make the environment feel more how I wanted it. I wasn't able to implement all the changes I wanted to or were suggested here (I stuck with BSP walls since it was so close to the end of the semester and I had a lot of other work), but everything I've learned from this as it was my first full environment, and all the insight from suggestions in this thread will be applied to my next project that I'm starting this summer! For now though, here's a flythrough of the level for those who are interested:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2z5WHSJNdM

    Thanks for all the input!

  17. #17
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    For a student project, it's not bad. Keep up the good work- you're going places!
    Environment Artist
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  18. #18
    The Sacrifice
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    Default

    great work, I really like it. For your first level its impressive. Keep going and I look forward to your next project
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