View Full Version : UDK - Weathertop (LotR) Inspired Scene
Here's a scene I've been working on and off for a while now, it's loosely based off Weathertop in Lord of the Rings (so don't be finnicky about it not being an exact replica). I'm just looking for suggestions in terms of composition, lighting, and anything else worth improving.
Currently it looks totally boring as it's just got a tilable stone texture on everything, I will be refining each asset individually and giving it more character (moss, creeper, dirt). And not everything will have the exact same stone texture. But I don't want to shoot off too far ahead without you guys checking it up to this point.
Any feedback is much appreciated and I hope everyone had a good new year.
01-04-2011, 04:22 AM
good work , i think you must add some details (props, little stone, etc.) and i have a question it is a BSP or static meshes ?
Thanks Joker_47, I'll definitely add a whole lot of little character with grass popping through cracks and little stones.
Sorry going crazy here it's late.
01-04-2011, 06:19 AM
love the lighting! wow!
01-04-2011, 06:25 AM
All BSP? Aren't the rocks meshes?
01-04-2011, 07:26 AM
How are you lighting this scene? Are you using extra pointlights inside the structure to alter the colour of the shadows?
01-04-2011, 07:41 AM
That lighting looks pretty damn sweet.
and the tiling stone texture works really well.
Walrus - No, I just changed the environment colour under lightmass properties.
PixelGoat - Thanks! I'm not overly confident in the stone texture I'm using, contemplating something a little less noisy, but it seems most people I've shown are happy with it.
Sorry it'll be a couple days before a next update, but feel free to keep critting/questions.
01-04-2011, 03:47 PM
Looking good man. About how many stone pieces are unique?
There's quite a few, about 9, this entire thing was just a huge exercise for me to bury my head in zbrush for a few weeks and learn it (including the cloaked character in the middle), so everything was hand done - no real shortcuts there.
01-04-2011, 03:59 PM
It's looking really cool, I think the stone texture works really well :) I'd firstly suggest putting more grime/moss/vines, but you already have that planned. Definitely looking forward to seeing the end product!
01-04-2011, 05:51 PM
Looking very nice. One thing I'd suggest is making the mound that it's on a bit more unique. Right now it looks like it's just a tiny grass hill. It'd be more interesting if it had little rocky cliff drops throughout it and maybe even rock walkways like the LOTR Weathertop that lead up to the stone structure.
01-04-2011, 07:07 PM
LOL at that ^
anyway. looks amazing. really love the lighting. thinking it could look a bit more damaged in some areas. the rock in general looks a bit too clean IMO.
Khalamea - Thanks, will do!
Oniram - :/! Yeah as I said will definitely be adding some more character to the rock and hopefully grunge it up for you enough!
Zipfinator - I must admit I bonded with just the simplicity of a hill, i wanted to blend it in with like a stonehenge look, again something I didn't follow at all like it appears in LotR. I may add some custom static meshes of cliff rocks. I didn't particularly fancy the cliff texture i had originally, looked pretty bad on such smooth terrain (I probably approached it poorly). Either way if others still think I should make it more cliff-like I might change it. Thanks :).
01-05-2011, 07:06 PM
Lighting looks cool, but what's the history of the place? If it's crumbled where'd all the debris goes, how did people get up there? There doesn't seem to by any stairs. Think about what it was supposed to be before it was a ruin, how it worked, and how it got to the way it is now.
Hey guys quick update. Is anyone able to offer any advice on creating decent looking moss? I've just been going with a moss texture and masking it away randomly - but it's been looking terrible (hence hasn't been included in screenies below).
I just played around with a couple meshes to get a look nailed down, I'm aware it needs more character but I need some advice on how to. I've tried to create some old vines running up the side, but haven't liked that either, anyway let me know what you think so far.
01-09-2011, 03:53 AM
Hey, instead of moss, what you would want is Lichen. Moss doesn't tend to grow on a mountain top (as I assume this is. It certainly looks like one) but Lichen, really, is over-prevalent.
If you see this image taken near Mt.Washington's summit, you will see what I mean:
It's all green, see? That's all lichen. You wouldn't have to go THAT covered in lichen, perhaps look at these:
Here are some references of what lichen looks like, in general.
Also, take a look at some weathered white-marble. Gravestones are very good reference for the correct coloring and darkening that occurs over time.
As you can see, marble gets rather splotchy, but beyond that, it sort of just looks like an ambient-occlusion render. So if you were to bake an occlusion map, and use it as the diffuse, with some variation, it may look quite convincing, though your bricks don't have much sharp details in them that would produce a strong occlusion, so that may be too plain, as well.
Sorry, I really like this, and want to see it succeed; I didn't post because I think it needs a lot of improvement, but rather, because I think it needs very little improvement. It is close to being quite wonderful.
So, to sum things up:
darkened splotches (with dripping. Water darkens marble, and oftentimes, it leaves behind the "ghost" of a drip)
More contrast, in general. maybe a bit more colour? Certainly so with the addition of lichen.
Thank you very much Joopson. I'll definitely go ahead and try and replicate that lichen look. I really appreciate your response.
I'll be sure to post something tomorrow and I hope you'll be around to have another look soon :).
01-09-2011, 05:17 AM
im lovin the assets !!! can't wait to see what you come up with!
01-09-2011, 10:42 AM
Looking great for a start, I will try to follow this project closely :)
One thing you'll have to add is cracks and more wear into your stones, because it looks quite new as it is now, new and abandoned at the same time.
01-09-2011, 11:46 AM
I love this so far, but I have to ask a question. It may just be me seeing this, or I just can't figure it out on my own. Is there anything special your doing with your shader? I almost feel like the assets alone have a near toon shader like quality. That may just be what I'm thinking because of the really dark shadows though too.
On a side noteJoopson I think your on the right track with your recommendation. Not only is it more accurate, but it is something that not enough people take into account so it will make the scene have a different feel. I would think anyways.
I will definitely be keeping an eye on this one.
01-09-2011, 11:53 AM
Hi Tim! The scene is looking cool, I like the elegant straightforwardness of it.
Going by the older scene shots, I would say your diffuse is too bright. Even though you are going for a very white-colored rock surface, consider damping the brightness on your diffuse texture so that more subtlety in the lighting can show through. Right now the contrast between lit and shadowed surfaces is so intense that it's hard to make out any surface definition within either zone relative to itself. Bringing the diffuse brightness down a notch should help make lighting differences more apparent.
That said, also consider placing a few faint point lights yourself by hand to reinforce the idea of bounced light and to get more gradation along surfaces -- maybe pick a few of the brightest or most orthogonal surfaces to the sunlight and put a soft point light in the middle of them. To balance out the addition of these new lights, consider dropping the Lightmass bounce light intensity a bit to compensate (I usually do this through the DiffuseBoost property in the View>World Properties>Lightmass). Here's a quick paintover to show this idea: (this is an exaggeration to make it more clear)
Also consider toning down (if not removing) the SSAO as it's still a bit overpowering for the lit areas. Maybe try using the baked Lightmass AO option instead since you can control how much it affects lit and shadowed areas separately.
The surfaces on some of your rocks look a bit mushy. Not too much, but they have a fairly soft appearance that I think comes from not fine-tuning your rock phototexture to match the sculpted normals. Rather than resculpting and rebaking them, you might try painting more into the diffuse to reinforce the shapes in the normals. Maybe bake out an AO map from the sculpt with a significantly higher occlusion exponent (for mentalray bakes in Max, this is the Spread property) to better catch the pockets and recesses in the surface, like this:
And then using that new AO as a guide, and disabling your rock photosource layer so you can see more clearly, trace the edges of the pockets to pop them out further. You may want to trace over a faint overlay of your normal map as well so you can catch sharp outer edges too which won't have any AO contrast to guide you.
Here's the process I use to paint up my rock diffuse:
Lastly, and unfortunately I don't have any good examples of this from my own work yet, consider using multiply decals to discolor your rock surfaces as in from water damage. Doing this with decals makes it easy to avoid the "these two rocks have identical stains" problem. I'm still working on figuring out a good solution for moss/lichen myself, although I can show you how to set up a biased blend vertex paint shader for it if you like.
Hope this helps!
You're a saint Zack - I was looking forward to your comment, thanks so much :).
I'll get to work experimenting with those techniques now, there's a lot to take in and play with so I'll be back when I have something to show for it.
And thanks everyone else for your nice comments, will work on implementing as much as possible.
03-29-2012, 11:53 PM
You really should take another look at this snow ;)
03-30-2012, 12:00 AM
Whoa, first time seein' this, I love it!! Then again, I love anything lotr, so I may be biased xD
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