I'm going on an adventure!

General / 05 February 2018

My first ArtStation blog! This new blogging feature has come at the perfect time for me. I'm going to be dedicating more of my time from now on to improving as an environment artist in as many areas as I reasonably can so this will be a great place to share my progress and hopefully get some feedback and constructive criticism along the way. This first post won't be showing any work, just setting my goals for what I'm going to be working on.

My primary focus will be to adopt Substance Designer as a standard part of my workflow. I have already dabbled with it and created a few materials but without any larger environment projects to use the materials on, it fell by the wayside. I follow so many great artists on ArtStation who use it regularly and inspired me to take it up originally. Seeing some of their recent work has encouraged me to get back into it properly with renewed vigour.

I would also like to switch from using Quixel Suite to Substance Painter for all my normal mapping and texturing needs as it seems to be taking over the games industry more and more now to the point that it has become a must-have skill on any CV. The ease with which you can create quick and detailed normals in NDO though seems like something I will miss. On my first look, Substance Painter seems a lot more confusing and fiddly to get similar results with but I will test that out properly in the near future. And finally, I would like to start sculpting again. Having shied away from organic work in recent years, it's something I would like to tackle head on which my new project will help with.

So onto the new project. Working on buildings and hard surface props for Train Sim World on a daily basis has given me a desire to create something more natural and pure in my free time. I was recently watching The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and was mesmerised by the entrance to the Halls of Thranduil in the Woodland Realm for the brief scenes it appeared in. The intricate pillars and doorway set into the side of a steep cliff in the thick forest with sunlight piercing through would make a great portfolio piece. The interior of the Halls of Thranduil is a stunning place as well but as I don't want to start too big, I will only be creating the exterior entrance for this project. Seeing as I use Unreal Engine 4 already, I will be using it for this project too.

There aren't many shots of the entrance to the Halls of Thranduil in The Hobbit. One shows it close up from the front and the other far away from the side. The far shot has a lot more going on with many trees all around and a huge waterfall and river in the background. My main goal is to recreate the close shot and if time permits I will possibly add more but I would like to move onto something else and not get caught up for too long on a single scene just yet.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

I won't be giving myself a strict timeline to complete this as I'm not sure how much time I can dedicate to it. Having the blog to update though will keep me coming back regularly. I have made progress on the main pillars already which I will post in the next update.