After exporting the textures I did a bit of research on Unity material set-ups following a useful Calibration Chart on how the Red channel and the Alpha are used to produce the final material in Unity. Unfortunately the metal/roughness did not work and instead of adjusting the maps in Photoshop, I just used the metal/smoothness sliders to achieve the final result. The Calibration Chart also mentioned the Diffuse/ Albedo Luminosity Median which I adjusted in Photoshop.
I've been experimenting with material creation in different software. After looking at a procedural texture video from Naughty Dog and skimming through a somewhat similar walk-through from James Sky, I decided to create a texture purely in Substance Designer and test is in Unreal Engine, Unity and V-Ray.
The final results can be seen below. UE4 lost a lot of diffuse and AO despite adjusting the sRGB setting and AO baking. It was also a little flat due to a lack of a height map. I may be able to multiply the normal map.. Unity used a normal and height map with made a big visual difference but needs further adjusting. I might have better luck with the Specular/Glossiness set-up. The V-Ray sun gave the scene a warm tint which could be adjusted in the filter settings. It also lacked depth much like UE4. Further experiments are required. It was good getting back to V-Ray though.
Despite the face that I'm been working a bit over over-time at my job, I've been pretty busy working on projects and learning new skills for a recent interview. My projects have been varied as usual.
There's been more photogrammetry:
The next stage of this would be to develop the environment and integrate other assets into it. But that's for another time.
I've done a quick UE4 archviz project where set myself 24 hours to do as much as I could There's lots I could do to improve it but I'm going to leave it there as a quick test type thing... :
I've even installed 3DS Max 2017 and explored wire parameters, as well as their new ART renderer and physical shader:
I used Substance Painter to texture this particular project. Unfortunately not only did I have problems with the metalic map on Max's new physical shader (resulting in the contrast being reduced and the final metal look not being quite the same as it did in Substance) but having a deadline I had to stretch out the video before saving it out in After Effects, which resulted in rather a lot of gitter.
I can't reiterate enough how amazing the Substance Suite is for artists. I don't know of many people who use it but it's well worth it and competitively cheap to buy.
As for the new Autodesk Raytracer. It's pretty cool. It was useful being able to set the max number of iterations or time spent on each frame, as well as being able to get a quick preview.
For the next few weeks I'm going to be going back to my old workflow of V-Ray, plus spending some time looking at Unity 5. It's been a few years since I've used Unity. Hopefully I'll be able to pick it up again fairly quickly. With VR taking off apparently Unity is the way forward.
After that I'm going to be spending time focusing on Substance Designer. I'd love to create some procedural textures from scratch. I'm seen some amazing PBR textures people have produced with it and I want in!
Oh yeah... and then there was this. No textures. Just a grayscale... that's all folks...
I haven't had a lot of time in the last week or so. I'm been doing over-time at work, as well as work related functions. As a result I have't been able to do much 3D-wise. I decided a week or so ago to produce a project based on a shot from one of my new favourite anime series Steins;Gate. There was something tranquil and pretty about the shot that made me want to imitate it, plus it was fairly simple to produce. It was modelled in Max and rendered in UE4, with Substance Designer and Painter to work on the textures. I originally used Rayfire to break the concrete slab but it was too angular so I took it into Zbrush and used the Mallet brush to erode the model. I haven't quite replicated the shot from Steins;Gate but I'm happy with the result. I'd like to get one with other projects for now, but thought I'd post it anyway .
FYI the ground texture was the only texture I didn't make and was downloaded from Substance Share a great free source from Allegorithmic.
Well after speaking to Rense de Boer on Facebook (nice guy) he gave me a few tips on his awesome 4k photogrammery work. I've been giving it a go in my spare time. I went into the city taking various photos from different angles. I've managed to get it working pretty well on a fairly large scale. I took it into UE4 and took a few screenshots. Still not as impressive as Rens'... guess I'll just have to keep trying.
I'm sure everyone who works in the CG industry is aware of the annoyance when waiting for projects to render. So with the emergence of more realistic animations produced in game engines and rendered in real-time (more or less), I thought it would be a great area to explore.
Many great game artists have emerged in recent years, one of the more mesmerising being Koola who uses Unreal Engine 4. I've had some experience using Unreal's Development Kit in the past, and reading through Koola's forum on Unreal's website (link), I thought it would be great place to start.
So the last few weeks have been researching UE4 and producing environments. One of the first components to get my head around was its Physically-Based rendering with Roughness/ Metallic node material setup. In doing so I also changed my texture workflow over to Allegorithmic's Substance programmes as they not only have a base setup for PBR materials but also have handy PBR "validating" tools that check your textures are fully compatible using a heat-vision type node.
On the topic of Unreal Engine 4, it also has a few interesting tools. For my first scene, a semi-outdoorsy, shelter type of environment, I wanted to make use of the particle system. I took a few particle set-ups from a demo and used a couple pre-made 'Starter Content' materials to produce a wooden floor being soaked in rainfall. Upon researching wet floors, I came across Unreal's vertex paint using blend materials. Arron Kamminer and Bruno Afonseca have made great use of them and posted their results, including material set-up on Polycounts forum. Unreal also have information of 'Vertex Color Blend' material setup on their website. After hitting my head against the desk for an hour or so, I managed to get it working in order to produce my damp floor.
For my second scene I chose a brighter, garden type environment. I used a few new techniques for this such as setting up a level blueprint to create sun/daylight rotation and using Unreal's BSP Geometry Brush Actors to block out more of the environment. As an experiment I wanted to see how much I could produce entirely in the engine, so apart from a few props the scene was made using additive and subtractive cubes, even going as far as to block out sharp edges where I could to give a chamfered appearance.
Well after a lack of internet and moving house, I'm back on track..
Yesterday I came across a phone app called 123D Catch by Autodesk that basically lets you take a series of photographs and turns them into 3D models. It even uses the sensors on your phone too work an "integrated photo compass" that helps you make sure you've capture all the necessary angles. Well... it sounded good but it keeps crashing after I've taken all the images I need and losing them. Currently it's trying and failing to upload the last lot I took. Maybe I'm just unlucky.
So instead, I did a bit more research and found Autodesk have another programme in beta for PC called Memento, which basically does the same thing. It doesn't have the compass but it does allow you to upload more photos, as well as lots of handy tools to fill holes, crop and retopologize.
I could imagine this software being a useful base/template tool, scanning, importing an .obj, manually retopologizing and baking the textures. Be pretty cool for creating additional customised pieces for 3D printing. Might be able to come up with cool some way of incorporating it into my vfx work.
Warning FYI : The upload/ automatic meshing can take a long time on both programmes.
While I'm working on the RealFlow project I thought I'd upload a video I made during the second year of Uni (technically my first year) as people seem to find it interesting. It's a photo projection I made in Blender.
A similar technique was used to produce the apocalyptic warehouse type scene in my show reel using a photograph I took for the project. I experimented with the Perspective Match tool in 3DS Max, but settled on doing it by hand in Maya, using a background image, mapping the UV's 'Based On Camera' and a Surface Shader to project the textures ready to bake. The original photograph can be seen below on the left with the 3D projection on the right (with what appears to be an error on the windows that didn't affect the bake).