Mattepainting and Game assets update

Wall of content warning!

So these last few weeks I’ve been making stuff for the project but pretty much nothing of it has been visible here on the blog. So this is going to be a well needed update on my end of the project.

So my primary task for the project is to create a nice looking pre-rendered matte painting of the house the gameplay takes place in. The pre-rendered shot will work as a sort of establishing shot and starting screen.
The other thing that I work on is creating a nice environment that is visible outside the window that will be entirely rendered in the game engine.
So my biggest challenge is making multipurpose assets that can be used both for the mental ray pre-rendered video clip and the Unreal Engine 4. Also keeping the same look on but different quality.

Here are some of the designs I made in the first 2 weeks of the project.
I had a rather clear image of what the type of climate and colors the shot would have but I was struggling deciding on what composition to use and what the building would look like.
The next to last image is a paint over that Lane Brown did of the sixth image.

Concepts2

The design that is decided on now is a hybrid between the two images with red borders.
The image at the bottom is the 3D block in.

During the tech dev I mainly worked on the different ways I should create the various animated effects for the matte painting. The important part that makes the animated effects a bit harder to make is that they have to seamlessly loop.
My primary concern was making good looking grass without having the wait days for it to render.
Through reading and testing different methods of creating grass, paint effects grass seems like the obvious choice when it comes to quality and speed. It’s probably not going to be the most original looking cg grass but it will work fine for this project I believe.

grass

Game assets
During this last week I’ve been working on textures, modeling and on shading for unreal 4.

This weekend I downloaded Substance designer and learned how to use it for making tiling textures.
These are the textures I’ve managed to make so far. They are some of the primary textures that will be seen both in the game and pre-rendered sequence.
The normal map is a bit strong at the moment but it will be an easy fix.

Tiled_textures_substance

The Substance material looks almost identical in UE4 as in the Substance viewport which is really nice and makes the process of having to tweak the texture after it’s done almost none existent.

Substance
Only a quick and painless adjustment to the roughness is needed.
UE4_shader

I also tested combining the materials using a mask that I painted using polypaint in ZBrush for these stone and dirt stairs.

Stairs

I will try using the same technique later but using Mari for painting the material mask instead of ZBrush polypaint which was a bit difficult to use since I had to imagine what the materials would look like when I painted the mask.

Yesterday I made 4 types of grass foliage.
Grass_tex

I was interested in seeing if I had screwed up my first plant that I made 2 days ago or if there was shading issues. It turned out to be both. Unreal 4 supposedly doesn’t have a very good way of shading foliage as of yet so I looked online and found this forum thread on grass shading.

https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?3268-Nature-Environment-in-UE4&highlight=Ulrich

I tried copying Ulrichs shader setup and the grass turned out looking a bit better.
grass_shader2 grass_shader4
grass_shader1

My grass is still missing normal maps and animation which will improve it a lot I think. I’m also going to changing the normal direction of the grass to make it look a bit more dynamic and less like planes.
The lighting is not baked in the foliage since the Uv map is a bit messed up at the moment.
I am also probably going to remake 1 or two of them so i get a more plain grass feel to it and less like shrubbery.

//Adam Nordsvan