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 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. by Peyton Varney by Patrick Gladys 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 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


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.