Basic processes used
As with most things to do with animation, modelling or anything else, we used a creative process. Normally this would start with concept art and creating a lot of concepts of characters, landscapes or anything else that is going to be a large object.
However for the world builders project, we skipped a large part of this, all we really did was a basic shot rough so we could convey to the rest of the team what we wanted to do. As Simon and myself had a very good idea of what we wanted, and the other team members where either happy to do as we suggested or did not voice their complaints. Once we had given the team our basic style guide and ideas, we did not really concept the objects in the scenes. so that step was skipped, but we did have an art bible that gave us the information we needed to achieve what we wanted.
Our smaller items (such as lollies, plates, cutlery, etc.) where made using a basic box modelling technique. being that we started with a box in 3Ds Max, and added loops, extruded edges, and so forth, until we reached the desired shape. There is a video on youtube explaining how box modeling works here, and what we did to get our basic smaller assets created. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJDfvkSEUXU
Our larger assets where created by a much better modeller then I am, though I believe he still used the box modelling technique.
Once an asset had been created to a basic level, it was given to the person assembling the scene it was specifically for and put into unreal to test that the size and other dimensions where correct. If all was well then it would be unwrapped, and taken to Quixel to be textured. A large part of this started out as bumbling around in Quixel. whilst most of us had used the program before, it was a lot of trial and error to get the assets to look as we needed as they had no specific textures for the things we wanted. Assets ended up having strange textures put on them to look right, such as a cake with tar that was made brown not black so it looked like the dough. I have linked a youtube tutorial that I found helpful in learning the basics in Quixel and how to get it done faster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3xQm8dI764
after this it was once again put into unreal to test that the textures worked, and fit the scene and other assets.
from here it was a matter of working out general scene set up and asset placement, cameras with lighting and atmos effects being done last.
scene layout was not too difficult, a while some was done with the foliage tool, a lot was also done by hand for precision of layout, such as lollies around house, and rocks for the path.
Camera work was difficult, as at the time there where no tutorials on the Unreal camera system that had just come out, so a lot of it was trial and error to get done.
Finally the lighting, which was done in unreal using basic techniques found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmY7X9cBQZ0
Analysis of processes and what could be improved
Our modelling process went well, and while we did not use anything too in-depth such as sculpting it worked exactly as we needed it to for the project.
The first thing I feel needed to be improved here, was that the Quixel process was extremely basic, and while we did change some colours of basic textures, not too much else was changed. This in itself is not too difficult to fix, though it would take a long time, and more in depth tutorials on Quixel and how it works. There are tutorial for this on Digtial Tutors, as well as found online in places such as YouTube. This is one thing I would like to improve upon, though texturing itself is something I would like to get better at.
Unreal is a tool I have greatly enjoyed using, while our scene assembly was good and simple, I would not mind learning about it more and how to create better scenes in it.
some of the biggest things I want to work on in unreal also cover the other things I feel we could have improved on, which are camera work and lighting.
The camera work itself for this project was okay, though extremely basic, and did not fully capture what I was hoping it would for some scenes. so this is something I myself would like to improve as well.
Our lighting was pretty good once I finally got most of it done, but it is also another area I feel we could have done better at as it still lacked some depth to it in the end. One way we could have made the lighting better, would have been to do lighting passes, rather then trying to render it all out as one.
Other techniques that could have worked
There are many ways to approach all of these processes, and whilst I think what we did ultimately worked, there may have been other ways to approach them which I will see kto learn more about myself.
Firstly, texturing, whilst Quixel is a good program for texturing and can go much more in-depth then I took it for this project, there are other programs and ways that can help with texturing. Substance painter for one, is something I would like to learn to use.
There is also texturing in Photoshop which would be great to learn to do well, as this process can be used to increase the quality of textures that have been done in other programs.
Camera work is something else I would like to improve on. Most 3D Programs have cameras that work decently in them. 3Ds Max is something I would like to learn more about the cameras in, as there are many useful and proven tricks and ways to make them look extremely good that I would like to learn.
Maya also has some good processes and tools for camera work, as well as lighting and rendering passes.
Lighting is also something I see as useful from this, as it can be done in passes in other programs, though I am not sue about Unreal lighting passes. this is another thing I want to learn to do better, and would like to learn more about the processes that can be used here.