Last of Us Inspired Environment: Blog #2

General / 25 September 2020

What’s up everyone! It has been a while since that last blog. I hit a few road bumps along the way, but I’ve made a good amount of progress.




Working on the Knife was a little exciting because it allowed me to try out some new techniques from this Military Radio tutorial by Simon Fuchs https://gumroad.com/l/spEkf. I still have not finished the tutorial, but it seriously has been such a helpful and awesome tutorial. I have learned so many little new tips/techniques about Maya and Zbrush that have been extremely helpful.

One cool neat trick that I learned is in the Deformation tab of Zbrush. The Polish, Polish By Features, and Polish Crisp Edges are nice if you are trying to get a nice smooth/rounded effect on your edges depending on the prop you are working on.



Take this screw on the knife for example below. With whatever look you are going for you can use the sliders to adjust how smooth you want the edges to be. Even ticking the little circle can give you a different look.




Another cool tip is using the Mask By Feature which will mask out the edges. With using the Mask, you can control which edges you want to be smoothed in case you do not want them to all be smoothed out. You can Grow the Masks, Sharpen them, Blur them, and Shrink them. Ultimately it all comes down to the desired you look you want, but it was super cool to me to see all these different ways you can go about creating the desired look you want. There is no one specific way you must do something which is awesome. Just have some fun and mess up from time to time and figure out what works for you. I really wanted to get back to bringing some fun to the art.




Old Foliage



Update Foliage




Since the last blog I’ve done a little update on the foliage, but I’m going to spend some time improving all of that as I’m working on texturing the props in my scene.


This is just a small update on how the texturing is coming along. Nothing final, but I am so excited to do some more work.

These were some super helpful tutorials about foliage. I would have been so hesitant to try a lot of this stuff in the past, but I am starting to see the fun of just diving into the unknown.

https://www.artstation.com/artwork/Z4v5N by Peyton Varney

https://gumroad.com/l/levelup_blueberry?recommended_by=library by Patrick Gladys

https://gumroad.com/l/vuUUX?recommended_by=library by Karen Stanley


I get so locked into projects sometimes and in the future, I would like to try and be more consistent with showing my process. I think the next blog will be more of a post-mortem of the project and how the texturing process progressed. I usually take a few days after finishing a project to assess what worked well and what did not. This kind of carried over from school and I would highly recommend doing it.  It helps just to see what you learned and what you can carry over to the next project and what needs to be improved for the next. I'm going to spend a little more time on the presentation stage than I normally do because I think sometimes I get in a rush to finish, but if you spent all this time working on it you owe it to yourself to make sure you hit the finish line going strong and your project is the best it can be. 

Until next time!!

Last of Us Inspired Environment: Blog #1

General / 20 July 2020

What is up everybody!! It has been a while since I have done a blog, but I am excited to get back to it. I took a bit of break from environments. This next scene I am working on is Last of Us inspired and I wanted to improve my work with composition, storytelling, and texturing. The most important thing for me is this is something I am passionate about. Usually, my work in the past has been stylized, but I am excited to do something realistic. Earlier this year I was messing around with foliage and it was something I enjoyed so I wanted to start incorporating that into my work a little more.

One of the biggest inspirations behind this little scene was this concept by Vin Hill https://www.artstation.com/artwork/dx3wW. I loved the composition, but also the relaxing, calming mood behind it. It still conveys the abandoned post-apocalyptic feel in the environment. I always loved how nature comes back and just reclaims the environment.


With this environment, I wanted to explore more of a depressive and colder tone. I wanted to fit more in line with the mood I felt from Last of Us 2.





In the beginning I initially wanted to do a diorama, but it just was not clicking. I decided to just focus on a small scene with one shot. I would rather focus on just that and make it the best it can be. I have a bad habit of over-planning. I realized I kind of got away with it in my last environment A Captain’s Peace. I am realizing that I should do my usual reference gathering and prep, but at a certain point I need to cut it off and just get to work. Things change, some ideas just do not work. In the Block-Out phase I need to allow myself to try new things and make mistakes. The phase where I should be a little looser and have some fun, I can be too rigid at times. Welcome the mistakes and remember to have fun.

 






Something on the side that I love doing is looking at cinematography and how shots are framed. Just the very way a shot is framed can communicate a feeling or emotion. When you combine it with the environment, the storytelling, characters, etc. It is simply amazing to me how it all comes together cohesively to make you ‘FEEL’ something.

I wanted to share some of my favorite shots from Movies and T.V shows. I started my own little cinematography library of shots that inspire me. It is kind of my own little creative activity that gets me excited. I think we all get our inspiration from so many different things and you just got to figure out what works for you. Art is everywhere.


Mr. Robot


Mission Impossible: Fallout



Aliens



Tron: Legacy


Columbus (One of the most relaxing movies I have watched)




Kill Bill Vol.1

Early this year was a bit rough on the art side. I felt like I hit a bit of burnout and I just did not have that motivation as I had in the past when creating art. Sometimes I feel like I always need to be glued to my computer doing art or something related to it 24/7, but it is just not healthy. To kind of break that habit I started reading more. I have a newfound interest in screenwriting and how stories are created. I also recently started getting back to running again which feels great and I made it a habit to watch more movies. To put it simply, be kind to yourselves and live your lives the best you can. I know currently being in a pandemic it is hard on all of us. I am way too hard of myself and I do not realize sometimes how far I have come. I say to whoever is reading this be kind to yourself and remember where you started and the potential of where you can go. Being patient with the process is something I am still struggling with. Just remember to take things day by day. Whatever bit of progress you make matters. You will face an issue on a current project, but when you get to that next project you will be ready to knock that problem out of the park because you are improving. 

In my next steps on the environment, I wanted to do a first pass on the foliage and get a feel for how it’s going to look in the scene and start working on the main models of the scene that are the focal point which will be the Chair, Guitar, and the Knife.

Stay safe everyone! Until next time.

Pirate Environment Blog #4 - Sculpting

General / 16 July 2019

It has been a while since I did an update, but I overcame a challenge of mine that I knew was going to be the big hurdle and that was sculpting. This was my first time incorporating ZBrush into my workflow and it was a little scary at first, but I just kept practicing and staying with it. I am a lot more comfortable with sculpting and I started developing a little rhythm with each model. Lol I wouldn't have even thought of touching Zbrush a year ago, but everything just takes time and learning from your mistakes. Even though I spent a little longer than I intended on this phase I know I’ll be in a better position on future projects.



  


  



  


  

Even though I've been mostly sculpting I did take some time to keep playing around with lighting and I also added some more camera angles and areas of focus when I create the cinematic in the end. I'm going to be doing some retopology and I'm really excited as I near the end of this environment. Lighting being one of my favorite aspects of creating environments, I can't wait to start texturing the models and adding the finishing touches. 



I hit a few walls working on this environment, but I was able overcome some challenges and keep pushing. Something small that helps a ton is taking a lot of progress pictures just to see how far you come working on a project. Don't be too hard on yourself because you have to start somewhere. I'm still not sure how I'm going to do the next blog. The next one, might be a big one that will wrap up the entire project or I'll separate it into two with one being the Texturing and the last one being Finishing Touches.

Pirate Environment Blog #3 - Finalized Models and Block-Out

Work In Progress / 16 May 2019

What's up everyone! I am back with another update and I've made some great progress since the last update. My environment was starting to take the shape and tone I wanted to hit so I started putting more focus on finalizing and improving the models in my environment. Just having different references to look at helped a ton when creating the models. While I was doing this I still took time to improve the lighting and the block-out where it was needed.

Since my last update, I felt that the warm colors were too strong so decided to tone that down a little more because I wanted the environment to feel more calm and peaceful.



I had never used Marvelous Designer before, but it was really easy to pick up.  It is absolute magic. I used that to create the carpet, curtains, and the black flag hanging on the wall. I plan on creating a design in Substance Designer for the carpet and of course you got to have that Pirate symbol on the flag. All about the pirate life :).


Something that I kind put off to the side was the placement of some of my camera shots. I think they could still use some work and it'll be something that work to improve as I'm progressing. I wanted to create a short video going through the environment when I finish.


The candles will be lit sooooon....

I plan on creating a shader for the candle flame.



This update will conclude my work on the block-out and I am going to be doing some sculpting on some of the models which will be the focus in my future updates. It's great to see this environment come to life after some of the changes I've made. It helps a ton to get some feedback and thoughts if you're a little unsure on something. The more eyes you can get on your work the better. 

Pirate Environment Blog #2 - Block-Out

Work In Progress / 16 April 2019

What's up everyone! As of recent I've been able to put some time into the environment. Even though I haven't been able to work on it as much as I wanted to, that time has allowed me to rethink the look of the Environment. Previously I wanted to set up it with a diorama look, but I stepped away from that because didn't want it to take the focus off the Treasure Book. I wanted to keep the focus on the interior with a personal touch. I LOVE both realistic and stylized art, but I tend to lean more with stylized and its something I want to get better at with this project and in future projects.

As I was getting more models into the environment to get a sense of the spacing I started to tinker with the lighting to set the mood. I wanted the interior to feel a little more warm/intimate, but there is that subtle cool light coming from the outside that adds a little glow to the book. I'm happy with the current lighting, but it will be something I continue to improve throughout the process.


  

My next goals involve finalizing and improving the models and getting those prepared for ZBrush. There are some areas where the block-out could use some improvements, but I'm happy with how its coming along. I'm only in the Block-Out stage, but this environment went through many different changes from my original concept. It's okay to change something if you feel its not going the way you want. You may have some frustrations in the beginning, but it will all be worth it in the end :). My original concept was a little too big so I scaled it down to something that I really like, but also focuses on what I really found cool about the treasure book I created which was the sense of peace and wisdom I got from it. Until next time everyone! Going to continue working at it.

Pirate Environment #1: Block-Out

Work In Progress / 22 February 2019

Hey everyone!

This is completely new to me, but I wanted to document my progress on the current environment I'm working on. I wanted to do something small, stylized and hand-painted. I've been busy with school and my capstone project that I'm working on with an awesome team which I hope to show off in the future. I've been working on this for about a month and trying to work on it whenever I get the chance. I'll try and dive in a little more below into what I'm creating. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. 


A few months ago, I made this Treasure Book and decided I wanted to build an environment around that prop with a pirate theme. This was a concept I had found on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/814659020071693160/ (Here's a link to the Artist behind the reference Jack (https://www.behance.net/Deviljack-99/moodboards 
https://www.behance.net/gallery/56088805/Jac). What really pushed me to do an environment around this book was the fact that it just had this sense of peace and wisdom about it and I wanted to explore that tone and feel in my environment.


In creating this environment I wanted to keep it small and focus on setting it up like a diorama. I challenged myself create my own concept and environment design. Still very early in creating this, but wanted to establish and set the mood with cool colors with more of a night time scene.


I do want the book to be the of focus in this environment, but I also wanted to keep in mind this is the Captain's Quarters and you're a PIRATE. I definitely wanted to keep up with that theme and the features of a pirate. This is the Captain's Quarters and I wanted the room to have a sense of elegance.



 To end off, this will definitely be something that challenges me especially since I want to incorporate Zbrush into my workflow on this environment. I know this will take some time with current projects I'm working on, but I try to set goals and work on it piece by piece when I get the chance. Just starting on a project can be daunting. The Block Out stage is crucial and something I want to get right before I move forward. its important to realize its a process and everything does start to come together. I'm going to do my best to keep making blogs when I make a good amount of progress. Something I realized is that it can be frustrating when you want to work on your own projects, but you're just so busy outside of it. Something I try to preach to myself is to take it a day at a time.