I decided to have another go at the alley scene. The buildings I used in the foreground are a little too low-poly to be that close, and the textures could do with a lot of work. So I’m drawing on the workshop I did with Leigh van der Byl here to create simpler geo and spend more time on it. Also I took a bit more time to find suitable reference. I’ve reworked the sizes of things quite a bit too.
Here’s a preliminary image for a new project. Let’s see how far I can take it.
This uses the same kit as the last one. Plus an xFrog tree. I really enjoy this kind of work. However the kit models are just a bit too clean and low poly. I’m thinking that I need to go back to doing something like that texturing workshop I did with Leigh van der Byl, but use some of these elements to set up the initial scene. I’ve also been rewatching David Revoy’s Blend and Paint tutorial, which is also about overpainting renders.
I’ve posted this and the last one to the Finished Projects forum on BA instead of to my Sketchbook thread. I think the time has come to start working towards finished artworks. So far I’ve got some traction, 50 or so views, 3 or 4 likes on each. It’s a good start. My goal is to get an image featured by the end of the coming year, and after that to regularly get featured. I think it’s doable.
I’ve been working with my recent purchases from KitBash3D lately, mostly rendering each model so I’ve got a kind of catalogue of assets. It’s a long job, but at least it gives me some ideas for actual scenes, like the one above using models from the Brutalist kit. I guess a few people and vehicles would make the scene more interesting.
I’ve been learning a bit about file management in Blender too. These kits are pretty big and the last one I bought (Dark Fantasy) I can’t even load on my Linux box because it crashes Blender. I can load it on the Metabox, but the time for a new workstation if fast approaching. Lusting after that HP Z8 of course. Maybe it BTC goes up enough…
I spent a bit more time on this, and am quite happy with the result. In fact I posted it to BA under the Finished Works category – the first I think, in more than 10 years.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time painting flagstone textures, used in this render. They’re still pretty rough seem to work OK. Apart from a plane with the texture on it, I’ve added a couple of KitBash models to provide some interest.
Half the images from my sketchbook thread on BlenderArtists have disappeared. Apparently they had some server issue recently. Oh well, hardly anyone was looking at it anyway.
Did a bit more work on this. Tweaked the flagstone texture quite a bit, not that you can tell in this image. I changed the displacement texture to 16bit because it was a bit jagged before.
I set up my new Cintiq 24 Pro on my Linux box, and it works fine. I was worried about drivers but so far not a problem. Being 4K all the logos in GIMP are pretty small of course, but I guess I’ll be working close to it. Time to spend a bit of time painting textures!
The plan for creating environments now is to do some previs in the Armory game engine and then finding the best spot to render from. I’ve got the demo third person shooter running, deleted a few assets I don’t want, and added a cube that I do want (it could be anything really) and textured it using a stencil technique that I’ve just discovered on Udemy.
So instead of modelling the assets I add, even low poly, I can add primitives and texture them appropriately. Even planes for background layers like mountains. Basically a really low poly version of the matte painters workflow. Having a set of stencils should make the process fairly quick.
I don’t really need the character to have a gun but it’s got good movement controls (WASD + mouse to face direction) and I can’t really be bothered at the moment getting an unarmed model to replace it. It’s a while since I’ve animated anything.
Anyway, now the rubber hits the road. Having worked out a workflow, I need to do a bit of workflowing and actually produce something. What excuse can I find? The lawn needs mowing, the hedges need trimming.
I managed to complete this course on low poly modelling. Not just watch all the videos but actually do the project. I used a tree I made in another course for the main centre of interest.
It actually took a while to model all this stuff. However now I can use it in other scenes. I must see how it goes in the Armory game engine. Setting colliders on complex shapes is a problem.
I sought advice on BlenderArtists about a suitable game engine for simple previs for a game level, and was advised to look at Armory. This is fully integrated with Blender, it’s only 3D so I don’t have to wade through a whole lot of 2D stuff just to get acquainted with the engine, like I do for Godot, and it comes with nice simple examples and a programming language (Haxe) that’s very like Java or C#. Plus I can use logic nodes if I want!
Getting an animated character to work might be a challenge, but really all I need is something (a cube even) that can move, can’t go through walls and floors, and has a camera attached. When I achieve that I’ll probably go back to the Game Level Design course I was doing on Udemy and try out the examples.
It’s a very indirect way to develop environments, but I feel confident that it can produce interesting results faster than any way I’ve tried already. Sort of build it as you go and see what you end up with. I’m hoping the game engine process will give it some immediacy and dynamism. I quite enjoyed using Unity many years ago, even building simple stuff. Anyway, finding left field solutions to problems (in this case the problem of inspiration) is one of my talents. Hope it produces results here.
It’s hard to find good photos in my photo library for this kind of work, but here’s one I did find. The texture could do with some touchup, or else place objects in front to the problem bits – the power poles and the car.
I’m happy with how this process is working now. I guess the next step is to model the buildings in more detail. Here the foreground building is just a cube, slightly extended at the top. Once again some KitBash3D models and xfrog trees to fill out the scene.