Ship Interior
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Ship Interior

Quentin Westcott
by QWestcott on 31 May 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

A game interior forcing the player toward an area of uncertainty.

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I love games that have a lot of atmosphere! I remember playing Silent Hill and Resident Evil and saying, "Mannnn.... I really don't want to go in THERE"... and I had to go in THERE.  That feeling of being in a tight confined space, not quite sure what was going to come around the corner, but knowing it isn't going to be good!  I wanted to recreate that experience and knew it was going to take some work. 

The Ship Interior was the result of this, coming together when I took an Environmental Art class at Digipen Institute of Technology. The scope of the project was to create a scene, texture it, and then render and light it in the Unreal Engine.  I had always used Marmoset Toolbag for rendering assets up to this point, so I thought this would be a great way push my skill set!

We started in Autodesk Maya, moved to Substance Painter, and finally landed in UE4. 

It started with collecting images that would go in the scene- you can't model something if you don't know what it looks like. I also collected some "look-and-feel" reference which would help focus the project as I went along; not everything was going to happen during the Maya building phase. 

My choice of interiors meant I was going to have to create more unique assets than normal, and that was going to be work.  Even though I could reuse several pipes,  fuse boxes, and other mechanical devices, I still had to scramble to get all the assets finished. 

Large primitives blocked in the space and were eventually replaced with smaller more intricate objects.  All objects were grouped into ID's, unwrapped, and everything was kept at a uniform scale with the exception of a few details that got more texture space. 

Starting the textures was daunting, with so many objects it was hard to figure where to start! Not only that my references showed me that most ship engine rooms where all painted the same!  I was looking at a sea of slightly off whites! The walls were a challenge because they couldn't be boring, but also couldn't fight for attention with the rest of the objects.  While I used quite a few materials/smart materials from Substance Source/Share, all were edited and layered in some way; nothing was just a base material.  The wear and grime that builds up over time is incredibly fun to make as it makes those assets come alive!

The whole scene was built to focus the attention toward the center: the T junction where something would happen. 

Unreal was where everything came together! Textures were adjusted to look better in engine, and lots and lots of adjusting lightmap resolution.  

The main light was coming from a "flashlight" so I learned how to edit a spotlight to give it personality.  Some atmospheric fog gave the light beam more "volume" and also added some great diffuse light across the entire room.  This was a welcome side effect because the room was too dark, which was strange to say because I wanted a "tension filled space".  However it was too dark and things weren't reading, they were just getting lost; sometimes more wasn't better. 

Cameras were put in to capture various aspects of the room and then rolled all together in the master sequencer before exported and brought into DaVinci Resolve. Christopher Young's music was the cherry on the top of the cake to polish it off!

That's it! THANK YOU for letting me walk you through this fantastic journey! 

~Quentin


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