Sunday, July 22, 2012

UDK Fake Thickness Material

Today I made a material that fakes thickness on surfaces that use transparency masking. 

The concept is basically to offset the texture with a Bump Offset node (also known as Parallax), then darkening it with a multiply node, and then adding it underneath the original texture with a Lerp node. It doesn't handle corners that well, so I'm wondering if multiple stacks of Lerp might help with the illusion but I'm worried about the drawcalls. Also, I'm not sure if this is more efficient than just stacking two planes, I'll have to do some testing.

Here is the Material Graph:

Friday, July 20, 2012

More technical art!

I saw a pretty good explanation of a Silent Hill style transition material so I was inspired to try that out myself. The article in question is here:
But I did a change to it where I did an Add operation of the rock texture on top of the transition mask to make the glow effect match the rock texture better.

The material is connected to a Matinee that controls the transition parameter, and the Matinee is triggered by a key press through Kismet. T to make the transition, and G to reverse it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Apex Observatory: Final block-in and a texturing test.

Opted for a mashup of A and C, and I decided to move the platform out further so players arriving by the elevator can get a better view of the structure. The building itself isn't very modular, but I intend to make good use of tiling textures and material effects for things like snow.

I also did a quick texture pass on the walkway to probe for any oddities surrounding how UDK handles textures and UV's. I discovered that shadows won't render if the UV's go outside 0-1 space. And I ran into a problem with baking lightmaps. It seems like meshes with transparency won't cast shadows when using Lightmass, although realtime shadows do. Apparently this is a bug with the May build, but a workaround is supposed to be to change the material Blend Mode to BLEND_Translucent and set Cast Shadow As Masked to True but that isn't working either. Very odd...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Apex Observatory: Block-in stage

All right, graduating in winter, time to get some portfolio pieces out of the door.

The Apex Observatory is built on a thin needle of a mountain that pokes up above the clouds so the astronomers always have a clear view of the sky. Unfortunately space is rather scarce and with star gazers flocking in from all corners of the world comes the demand for expanded facilities.

A bit of a whimsical environment. The idea is essentially a cluster of towers and buildings huddled together on a tiny peak. It will sort of float in an expansive sea of clouds with a few smaller peaks poking out like islands. Above will be a beautiful star filled sky with all its celestial bodies in clear view.

So far I've just done some quick block-ins in Maya, trying to get a feel for the general shape and composition of the structure. I like the lopsided and angular towers in A, but I find the general layout rather boring. I'm liking the general construction of the structure and the shape of the towers in B, but I feel the layout and negative space in C is a lot more interesting.