Category Archives: Week 13; Exterior FT

Snow. Lots of it.

As I showed last week, I’ve begun work on my third and final diorama and it’s come a fairly long way, at least at first glance. In practise I haven’t really done a great deal, it’s just the simplicity of the diorama that makes it appear like I have.

I’ve made a lot of (unfinished) particle effects, some snow, a moon (also unfinished lol) and a tent. And I textured those rocks. See, not as much as ya thought, huh? Being able to reuse the rocks across the whole diorama has really sped up the process, and a simple tilable snow texture applied to a couple of shaders for various thicknesses of snow means I covered the whole thing with snow super quick.  

It looks more complex than it is. Each section is pretty much a repeat of the other, just changed to add my normal maps, etc. You can see a few greyed out links where I attempted to add tessellation, but unfortunately it didn’t give the effect I was aiming for despite the tutorial I followed. I had actually followed a tutorial from scratch to try and create the snow, but it was laughably complex and I just ended up doing it myself from what I learned.

I’m relatively happy with the snow but I ideally would have liked tessellation to make the snow really deep. I’m still trying to work out how I’m going to deal with nice deep footprints around the tent. All I can think to do is create a unique footprinty snowy mesh to lay over the top of the rocks. Woe is me, art is hard. The rocks for this diorama I am muuuuch happier with than the dragon garden rocks. They’re not perfect, but they have a nice amount of surface variation and sharpness which I failed to capture last time. Also you can barely see them because of the darkness which is always good. I need to play with the lighting a little and also make the overall diorama stand out a little better from the background though so that’ll probably change.

As you can see from the above shot, the thinness of the snow looks a bit weird, especially with the normal map of the rock showing through the snow.

I’ve been dabbling a little with my other dioramas this week too, particularly the dragon garden which I’ve been feeling iffy about for ages. I took into account some crit from a few people, especially ‘Madwish’ on Polycount, who has been giving me regular feedback from the beginning. Thanks Madwish!     

I’ve deleted some foliage to calm things down a little, and moved the tree roots (which I’ll now need to modify again) that were initially by the dragon’s head to the left, where Jonah felt there should be something happening. This did 2 things; it helps lead the eye around the diorama a little more and makes the area around the dragon’s head less noisy. In my opinion, it helps ease the eye and directs you to the dragon’s head a little more. I also brightened the texture of the dragon by 3 times to add colour to the scene, and again to make the dragon, particularly the head, stand out. I’d had several comments that it had taken too long to spot him.

I’m still torn about the background for both the Fool’s Room and Dragon Garden, but someone on the Ten Thousand Hours Facebook group suggested a radial gradient which I’ll definitely be trying. For now, I here’s a test I made for the Fool’s Room, where I made the background black except for what you see through the windows. It makes the scene feel very much like something from a point-and-click adventure game with their classic dark backgrounds. 

The main reason I’m hesitant about black backgrounds is that I feel I’ll get penalised for bad taste (though I genuinely prefer the black for this and DG), and two black backgrounds will look odd alongside the starry night of the Fool’s Tent. The DG also has less of an adventure game feel, and it’ll just look odd on black when FR works so well.

Ok, I’m getting ranty now so enough of the dioramas. On a completely different topic, I received my grade for the three ‘style matrix’ projects I did at the start of third year; 82%, a first! I’m pleased with my mark, obviously. A greedy part of me wants this to be higher though, always higher, so I’m going to find out what I came short on for future reference. In further good news, I’ve had a couple of freelance job offers which is always super exciting. There’s one I’m definitely interested in but it all depends on timings and so on. I’ll see what happens, but whether it falls through or not, it’s really reassuring that I’ll find work when I actually actively start looking. The job offers are thanks to Artstation, where I set up an account last week. Everyone on there has been lovely and people seem to really like my work! It’s a real shock to get such a good response. I guess I just look at my work and can’t see through all the cock-ups. I don’t know. You’re your own grestest critic and all that.

So yeah. Positive week, all is going smooth. I’m currently on the train to lovely Beverley for the weekend and a break. I’ll be feeling all refreshed when I return. 🙂

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