Penny's Arcane Store
I wanted to get more into in-engine nitty gritty and decided to get into a proper Unreal project with RVTs and terrain-blending set-up. I ended up finding one of my older concepts for an RPG, and decided I’d dive into it and try making something that would run in real-time. The concept here was to make a witch’s cottage, but I found the stereotypical “old lady in an old cottage” to be a bit boring, so I wanted to imagine a witch who’s trying hard to pimp out her store and get people to visit.
I’m really happy I was able to create something this cohesive in Unreal. Not only could I get some time to familiarize myself with the Unreal 5 engine, but I also start to understand the importance of finding a good block-out and composition early in the process. I also got to throw myself deeper into Substance Designer.
I would maybe have wanted to try a little more vertex color blending.
I went to Skopelos for a week with my partner, and walking around in this space was such an amazing experience. While I was a bit of an art slump, I was looking through the photos on my phone and found this photo and thought about the idea of creating this environment and capturing that sense of enclosed chaos into a 3D-scene.
I’ve been pretty old-school so far and saving tris, using alphas, skipping modeling to use normalmaps… but lately, it’s becoming more and more apparent that tris won’t be the issue of the future. It’s something to keep in mind, but many of the artists I was following are transitioning to modeling out the details they want. So in this piece I did the same, I was just hammering out nitty-gritty details and I think the result kind of shows that. In the end, I had no issues rendering this entire environment in Unreal as well.
Everything in this scene was tailored for this specific view, and in hindsight, I should’ve split this up in more modular pieces and assembled them. One of my bigger issues was that unlike “conventional 3D-building”, the Greek buildings were in reality mostly big chunks of white rock, so the modular set I made at first didn’t really work. Having said that, it’s kind of lacking some detail to break up the paint.
Old Book that might summon something
A little practise to learn some new tools and new techniques! There’s not much of a story to this apart from that I wanted to try out Blender, but long story short, it’s in the end made in Maya #newUserStruggles.
I’m throwing myself in the world of Blender because I see how much it’s developing, and if I’m being honest; it either already is better than Maya, or is on the trajectory of surpassing Maya. So I just need to learn it. Unfortunately, for this model, the model broke because of my misunderstanding of some things, so I remade it Maya because I also wanted to learn more about the second part of this practise: generated texture. I’ve purchased the course of the coloring book from Stylized Station, and I wanted to test out some of the techniques I learned there for Substance Painter. I’m really happy with the end result.
I’ve learned some things in Blender which I’ll now adapt for my next model, I’m still adamant on learning Blender even though this one turned out to… not… have worked out. The only other thing I would’ve done differently is to do some explosion baking since there is some color ID bleed.
I feel like I wanted to get my creature sculpting up a bit, and watching Follygon’s amazing speed sculpts inspired me to go for Pokémon. Apart from being the first in the Pokédex, Bulbasaur is also by far my favorite of the gen 1 starters.
I feel like I’m slowly finding my footing in ZBrush and Substance Painter. Not much in this scene is actually handpainted, most of it is just sculpted/modeled/generated. And to still get such a stylized is a pretty fun result to get.
This was just a speed sculpt so the UVs here are obviously not optimized in any capacity. Not sure I would do it differently though, it served its purpose of being a practise sculpt.
Lighthouse/Bar - "Drinks A'Hoy"
Story: Ernie and Simon have been living and working together in this lighthouse for 42 years, along side with their friend, the Turtle Aleggo who’s been there for who knows how long. 15 years ago, the government decided they no longer needed the lighthouse so they decided to sell it. When “Ernie found out that the current bidders just wanted to demolish the lighthouse, he convinced that they should just buy it, because why not? It was where they had spent and built their lives together! If this wasn’t their home, then what was?”
This was made for the “Lighthouse” Sketchfab-challenge. It conflates two concepts I had, one where there was a lighthouse fused with a bar, and one where the light itself was substituted with a giant firefly.
This was my first large scale project using Substance Painter. I was also had my Blender debut and created those bright neon signs beautifully. I believe the lighthouse became this everlasting cycle of feeling completed but then saying “wouldn’t this piece be better with…”. I created the opportunity to fake water being closer to surfaces with map baking and was able to make cute characters.
I went a little overboard on UV-optimization on this. I thought I was being clever when I split the lighthouse tower (the cylinder) into quarter pieces and simply duplicated & rotated the piece (except the entrance), and while I still think the idea was good, now every little “interesting” detail I made would make it glaringly obviously that it was just the same piece over and over again. So for next time, maybe I won’t make such huge pieces duplicated in a scene, alternatively, allow some space for variation by pieces that can be added on.
"in a thousand fairy tales, no one had described her as pretty"
This is a bit of John Bauer-ish inspired piece. Growing up in the pine forests of Sweden, I feel like the idea of trolls was quite whimsical and exciting.
I also wanted to portray some kind of sensation of feeling ugliness. I think when you live in society that always says that certain features are beautiful and some are not, they start tearing you down, and eventually there’s not much you can appreciate about yourself. I wanted to extend this idea to fairy tales, in fairy tales the beautiful creatures are elves with dainty feautres, fair skin, etc; trolls are always described as grotesque because of their large features, shabby clothes and hairyness. I do feel I made her quite cute in her own little way and these features aren’t inherently bad
My first real Zbrush character in a long time. I really wanted to sculpt a character in pose. I don’t know, I do love a nice character, but sometimes when you’re drawing, body features pushes flesh in a way that it’s quite difficult to capture in a rigged character. I do love the way the fingers turned out; the way they nestle into each other and if I hadn’t been able to do that properly, her emotions of being very unsure of herself would not have come through. For this piece I both used Painter and 3D-coat, and I thought it was a good idea to not choose between the two, but rather let them complement each other.
I think the scene in general is a bit tame and isn’t really giving her that environmental impact she could’ve used. I really wanted to make a water reflection, but I wasn’t able to make it happen. The symmetry isn’t great, and I wish that could’ve been done better.
“I’m just gonna make a table and chairs to try out the new UV-mirroring techniques, that’s it”. That’s how it always starts out and then I am suddenly creating this ambiance to suit the space. In terms of wanting to try UV-saving techinques, it went well. I had an issue where the chairs were simply too similar, but then I was able to distort the UVs slightly to differentiate them just enough.
I’m pushing myself to use more polys. Whenever I see a chair like that, my main instinct is always to make a plane; but this time I needed to both push myself out of a modeling point of view, and also come to terms that modeling nowadays is using a lot more tris. Even in terms of mobile development many issues don’t come from tri-counts, but from texture map and pricy alpha channels. So in the same spirit, for this piece I tried to optimize my UV-space by mirroring dozens of objects, while still making sure they are still to UV-scale.
I always rush away from my concepts way too early. I do a little scribble and then I wanna get into the actual modeling, and then when I’m up close I don’t really know what to do. In the future I just need to nail the concept thoroughly before going on to modeling.
I really felt like I was out of the loop when everyone was talking about Substance Painter and Designer, and out of stubborness I clinged on to 3D-coat for a long time. After seeing so many amazing possibilities I felt ambitious to finally buckle down and start Zbrushing and self-teaching Substance Painter.
So this is my first attempt: it’s actually based on a model I made a long time ago and I wanted to make a revamp out of it to see what I would do differently. I’m pretty pleased with the result, but I already have several things I’d want to improve such as UV-mirroring to save some space. Instead of getting too caught up on that I figured I would just let this piece go and move on to the next project
Getting back into Zbrush and additionally starting to learn Painter feels I am now in modern game art development. I was always afraid that I’d get stuck into the very “generated stylized look” which is very common in the game industry. I would categorize this piece as one of those but with enough practice I do see the potential of being able to express your own art style in the program.
The staircase was my first object to bake and run through Painter, and I feel like it really shows. The roof-top was probably the last, which I also think is the best part of this. In general, I have to stop limiting myself so much with polys. The fact that I tried to make the bottom part of the house as one box and just bake stones on just looks bad nowadays. Just model the rocks, game engines won’t die because it.
It’s not a secret I love Pokémon, and this was a part of my own Fakemon-dex, for the other Pokéfans out there, it’s the final stage of a Water/Grass Pokémon with the Water Absorb ability.
One of the reasons I do love Pokémon is that they somehow managed to make such an amazing world where it’s very easy for fans to continue fantasizing what they would like to see in the world, and make the monsters in the game a great gameplay addition while also being lovable pets.
I really wanted to make a scene here I could show some kind of interaction, I love when you can tell that something is happening within a piece, and I wanted to really give this credibility of being in the Pokémon Universe by also adding the Horseas and Cloysters.
I tried out the outlining technique here which I think worked very well with more toonish look of this. I also tried the fake lighting that simply are planes with fading textures which I think worked very nicely, so again, I think there’s so much that you can give an idea of with simple 2D-objects in 3D-environments that can really bolster the content.
While I actually kind of like the angular shapes, the hair is just too low poly. I got some great feedback from friends who pointed out that I could make it smooth in general, and then with intention “angularize” certain parts for the sake of silhoutte. Then it would really look like I’m choosing where I want the angularity, rather than it being a product of low polys.
South Asian Sweet
Sketchfab had a LowPoly Dessert Challenge, and I thought it would be fun to tap into something that my mom used to make me as a kid. Well, half-truth. This is a fictional mix between Gulab Jamun and Rasgulla; and to be honest, they’re just way too sweet. But they’re quite pretty to look at. This was completely made in 3D-coat, when I wanted to try out their modeling tools.
I’ve always just stuck to the painting part of 3D-coat, and I feel like it was a bit of a waste of its potential. While I thought some features were cool, I’m not sure if I felt their tools were necessarily as good a Zbrush’s.
I kind of like this, but the polygons are a little bit too obvious. I think this would be even better with a baked map.
Vi Hade All Tid i Världen
A piece I did quite some time ago, “All Tid i Världen”, inspired by the Swedish band Kent, specifically the line “Once we were millionaires, when we had all the time in world“.
This artwork is supposed to reflect that when you’re young, you’re burning with passion but you might be lacking the knowledge and experience to achieve those goals; but once you manage to know these skills, you’ve kind of burned out and lost your passion.
In this piece I feel like it became quite important to think about how to convert 2D elements into 3D, but also match 3D elements with 2D backdrops.
Create outlines to really accentuate the 2D-feeling of this. I’d also just use a lot more planes to fake the idea of someone sketching forth shapes.
The Astronaut Who Never Went to Space
I wanted to try making an entirely painted piece, so this is a completely unlit piece that just has entirely baked/painted lighting into it.
The idea of this work is more about unfulfilled dreams.
I saw someone on Sketchfab who kind of “faked” light range with a simple sphere; I thought this looked quite cute and thought it gave it a nice toonish way of portraying light.
I think this filled its purpose, but I should’ve considered lighting more if painting an entire environment was the goal; which is to say, shared UV-spaces will work poorly if they’re used in two spaces that have vastly different lighting.