Thesis Production Update #4

General / 27 August 2020

Thesis Production Update #4


It's been awhile since I've made a post on my thesis progress! This has been a wild, crazy summer for multiple reasons. I moved from one quarter of the country to the other (for a dream internship at 343 Industries) while working through a summer quarter of classes! Above you see a test capture of some footage from within my scene. A LOT has changed since I last posted. And I am close to the final results.

(Image above is the establishing shot of the village)

Catching Up:

The last time I posted a blog update, I was roughly playing around with blocking out a beautiful corner of my scene. I have since decided to build off of that beautiful corner instead of using the original city layout of the Scandinavian Village. I preferred the newer composition found within the beautiful corner. 

(Image above is a shot of the Farmhouse)

Focal points of the Scene:

Going forward, I would like to focus on the development of 5 focal points in the environment:

  1. The Establishing Shot/Overall Environment
  2. The Hilltop
  3. The Farmhouse
  4. The Marketplace
  5. The Church

All of these focus shots are at different stages of development so far. As foliage is the most recent addition to my scene, I feel like the general aesthetic and establishing shots are really close to where I want them, but closer hard surface details for the marketplace and church are still missing to an extent. The next few weeks will shift my work away from the establish shots of the village/hilltop, and instead begin to push the marketplace and church so that they standout as narrative elements that showcase the culture of the Scandinavian People

(Image above is a shot of the Hilltop)

Skies, Clouds, Trees and Rocks:

I've really spent a lot of time implementing natural assets into the scene to give it a believable outdoor look. The sky has been continuously adapting to my changes in lighting, and I've utilized sky-cards throughout the sky to create a sense of depth to it. As I continue to change the lighting slightly I will also continue to develop the sky further. Skyboxes have always been an area of environments that have fascinated me, especially as a fan of Bungie and their brilliant skies created in the Halo and Destiny franchises.

As I began to utilize quixel megascans foliage assets, my environment really started to become more grounded. Having dynamic grass on the ground really allowed the lighting to show through the environment much more clearly than it was previously. Similar to the sky, I will continue to develop the foliage and make additional passes to the environment over the final few weeks of development.

(The Church is still only blocked out in the back left of the village. The development of the architectural assets for it will be my immediate focus going forward)

I essentially have another 10 weeks to further develop the environment along with finish my Thesis Research Paper. But I will likely submit my final works within the next 5 weeks so that I can focus on my internship this fall. My immediate attention will be on fleshing out the village and building the church. Along the way I'll make additional environmental changes as well.

We're getting close :)

Thesis Production Update #4: Material Updates, Raytrace Tests, and Beautiful Corner Setdressing

General / 25 May 2020

1. Introduction

Over the last few weeks I've spent time going back to all of my architectural assets and redoing the bakes, textures, and materials. I wanted to make sure they were far enough along before I went too far ahead making set-dressing assets. During this time I decided to build a new "Beautiful Corner" village away from the original scene as a means to work on defining my color pallets and lighting settings a bit better.

2. Updating Architecture Materials and Building new Assets

The Walls, Windows, Doors, Trims, and roof materials all were updated during this time. I wanted a better wood texture, and I think it's getting there but I'm likely going to tweak things more as I go along. Wood is very difficult, and in my scene wood is such a significant part of most assets, so It is important to get right. A couple of new assets were built as well, including new trims with "animal style" patterns and wooden fences.

3. Updating Terrain Blend Material

The terrain material is another aspect that I updated during the last few weeks. I wanted to create more realistic looking ground, and this meant I needed stronger grass and dirt shaders. I also brought in some water/puddle decals from the epic marketplace to help create some reflections on the ground in areas of my beautiful corner shots.

4.  Beautiful Corner

I blocked out and assembled a scene in a new area of the same landscape as a little "playground" for testing materials and assets together. Over the next 2 weeks I will continue to fill out the beautiful corner with my updates and newer assets, and will slowly begin bringing these assets into the main village scene over time. I decided to also try to implement raytracing now that Unreal Engine 4.25 is out. This is an early lighting pass without the lighting built, but I will be working raytracing as the project goes along in order to create the most beautiful lighting possible, and to keep up with industry trends.

Thesis Production Update #3

General / 07 May 2020

First Pass - Terrain Material Blend Layers




This was a shorter update where I began developing the layout/urban plan of the city as well as building the first pass at blend material layers for the terrain. In the city I now have the option to blend between grass, rock, and dirt path layers.