Our first assignment – I am in a team with Patrick Gallagher, Lauren Meenagh and Caitlin Masterson.
Excited to explore a 3D specialisation I have not previously dealt with. Our task; to create a 3D environment that conveys a narrative. Paying attention to references, good topology workflow and UV mapping techniques.
Our first week we came up with ideas and concepts for our environment.
Toyed with ideas of merging a typical day-to-day scene with an exciting and untypical genre/style. Unique model design was a large focus at this point which later switched to simplistic, well-done modelling with realistic texturing and neon lighting.
We chose an Alien Tomb, Chef’s Kitchen, Grocery Store and a Tavern to research/conceptualise to present to eachother in the next couple days;
We moved on with a Sci-Fi/Retro Grocery Store concept. A style similar to the city scenes from ‘Blade Runner’, neon lights, wet textures, low key lighting. We believed this would make for a beautiful, intense, moody outcome.
Below are some lighting/texture moodboards I sent to the group that inspired me throughout the process. Continuously looking back at these pre-production elements kept us focused and reminded us what we were aiming for in terms of style.
And some prop refs;
Below are concept pieces from the rest of the group. At this point, we were playing with narrative. Caitlin thought of a car crashing through the window which we saw fitting of a dystopian world. Convenience store robbery or high-speed chase.
We decided to move forward with a similar layout to my concept piece, but it ended up changing a lot when we blocked out the scene.
After class, we discussed our idea with Gerard and he enjoyed the concept. He thought we could elevate the idea by freezing the car crash in time. The moment it flies through the window, glass everywhere, rain bouncing off the car, debris. We loved these visuals and went forward with the idea.
Below are scene layouts from Patrick and myself.
We went forward with my layout although they were both relatively similar. In class, I put together a blockout of the scene. Later, Patrick added his car model and he messed up the inside of the store as if it had just been hit.
I asked graduate, Christian Johnston, if he could offer some advice on our project so far. At this point, our project was not moving along as fast as it should be, and I felt we needed some direction to hasten the process.
Below is our blockout sent back to us, outlining that we basically do not need to make the store as big as it is. The lighting is extremely lowkey so modelling this far into the store would be pointless for the final product, and half the store is not even affected by the car.
The photo below is an example of very simple modelling but good, effective texturing. Essentially, if we do minimal very well instead of complex badly it will overall look better. Focus on textures, lighting and colours.
1 = Building manipulated using the Lattice Tool
2 = Original model that has not been changed
Explained our modelling workflow should be; model the asset without attention to our style first (basic and ‘realistic’). Then, use the Lattice Tool to mess it up and add elements to make it more whacky (it is sometimes obvious when the Lattice Tool is used to style a model, so add until you feel it looks right for your environment).
It is worth noting at this point, we went for a more realistic approach with slightly stylised models. I believe the model’s style ended up lost due to the realism of the texturing but they were still fun to make.
He also mentioned we probably should not damage the store or add the car because of the time we had left. We were pretty invested in the idea at this point and knew it would make for at least a striking outcome, so we ignored this piece of advice and continued with our narrative.
My Asset List;
– Security Camera
– Monitors + Screen Images
– Outside (Building Structure + Gas Station + Liquor Signs + Bin)
– Mini Fridge
– Cardboard Boxes
The group UV mapped and textured our own assets. Patrick and I worked with Megascan’s Quixel Mixer in conjunction with Photoshop for texturing our assets. We also used free online libraries, editing as we saw fit to our environment. I really enjoyed this part of the project, the final outcome of the textures we made was extremely gratifying, and loved seeing the environment and lighting interact with them. Very cool.
AO Version. We did not decide to use an AO render in our scene as it was so dark, it lost its depth when we applied the layer. Here, it is applied to my model image. The image is definitely sharper.
Below are initial lighting tests for outside. Also experimenting with aiFog (which we later switched to Area Light settings instead when rendering for faster rendering speeds and noise reduction).
For our final render, we received direction from Hristo on how to render for Arnold.
At one point our rendering time was 10 hours per frame…
With these settings, our render was virtually noise free and took a lot less time.
Final Flythrough (tbc);