Wednesday, 29 October 2014

A look back at the film room project

So we finished and presented the film rooms project on thursday and now seems like a great time to reflect on how things went and show what we ended up with. Since my last update we created models, textured them and taken things into engine aswell as meeting up round my flat to create a physical model...


Film Rooms Project - Asset creation



Assets I created for the tent plus engine shots


After reconstructing what the assets looked like with the concepts and using the blockmesh as a base I went to create the models I was assigned for this project. I started with the record player and attempted to do a high poly version of it by baking turbosmooth down but I couldn't solve the topology that needed to be fixed in order for it to work properly in the time I had; so I went and modelled it normally and focused on getting the details right on the low poly until later on.

I did do something new during this stage however! I had some help from Jake on creating a ZBrush sculpt and exporting it for baking to a low poly in Xnormal for the bed which sorely needed some extra detail in the folds, baking is an important skill for creating realistic assets so it's nice to finally get into the basics of it. I am aiming to do more of this as I go forward into the next project. :)

Bed Sculpt in ZBrush


Texturing

I went onto texturing next where I experimented a lot more with adding detail and variation to the roughness maps as during the asset swap project my textures didn't pop as much as I would have liked them to. I played around with using grungy brushes on the roughness map on a low opacity and building up subtle details which instantly made the materials look a lot better in UE4, I also did the same with the albedo in adding some colour variation.

The texture work required a TONNE of feedback and back and forth to get it looking right with our lighting setup as the light made everything look super orange but we got to a stage in the end where it looked ok, the roughness maps had a little bit of adjusting but not as much as the albedo did. The record was also a fun part to work on as creating the bands of value on the roughness really brought out the look of the vinyl disc.


Lighting


Lighting screenshot in ue4
Lighting was a tedious process and required loads of tweaking, our scene was an especially difficult one to replicate it turns out because the light through the fabric was hard to predict and make it match the original shot. We also had to add more blue lighting behind the camera to pull back some of the oranges and we also applied some colour grading which fixed some of the issues. Next we got the emissive texture working for the disco ball and the globe which contributed to the scene's lighting and picked out the front of the record player like in the original shot. After a load more tweaks and adjustments we ended up with our final scene:

Final shot comparison with movie still

Conclusion


I am happy with what we achieved on this project, our final scene matches mostly with the actual shot and we managed to fit in a lot of detail but there are a lot of things that could be done better. I think part of the problem lies with the difficulty of replicating the lighting in this scene but also I would say more back and forth between with the shot image and the scene at every stage might have helped the accuracy as the placement of objects are a little off.

If I were to do anything differently I would say that I would try and get stuff into engine earlier so there is more time for light tweaking, we thought we had enough time allocated for lighting but on reconsideration I think even more time should have been allowed for it or even doing a lighting pass before the texturing with values to see if its accurate before going into details.

I feel like I have learnt a load more over the past few weeks compared to a solo project just because of the group factor, it has been an intense but rewarding experience this project and I am more confident in a group role as a result. The next project is a solo one (Sentry Turrets ftw) but I feel like I can take the project management and time keeping tricks I learned over this project and apply it to any others. Hopefully I can keep to it this time. ;D














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