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Arthur's Olde Tavern
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Arthur's Olde Tavern

Marija Derkovic
by MarijaDerkovic on 27 May 2022 for Rookie Awards 2022

Hi, my name is Marija Đerokvić and as part of my studies at the PIXL VISN media arts academy I have created a fantasy environment with focus on lighting and look development. I was aiming for a semi-stylized look with realistic textures and stylized lighting, stylized shapes and stylized scale.

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After pinpointing the main reference for the environment, it was important to find additional reference for the assets and materials. As the materials were supposed to look realistic, I searched for real German timbered houses to texture the wooden beams, plaster, ivy and roof tiles. As for the shapes of the assets I looked at references that ranged from realistic to fully stylized. I believe, this blend of style helped establish the look of a moody fantasy world.

Gathering all my references, I loaded the main image onto a plane in Maya and started the blockout, taking frequent screenshots to track my progress until I was satisfied with the amount of detail I had modeled. Ending the modeling stage and unfolding the UVs I started deviating from the concept to add my own touches. I adjusted the camera angle upwards and animated the focal length to add interest and a story telling element to the shot, as if a traveler stumbled upon an inviting tavern.


Keeping that story in mind I started blocking out the light. To achieve the inviting look of the tavern, I used warm lighting. Consequently, the light on the outside looks cold to create a contrast of color temperature. Atmospheric effects like the moonlight from the top left, the windows and lamps make the environment look softer however, as it was not my intention for the scene to look frightening.

Before texturing I made a small rigid body simulation using Bullet to make the taverns sign swing with the wind.

Moving on to texturing, the wooden and metal parts of the taverns sign were made in Substance 3D Painter for more accuracy. The rest of the assets were textured combining textures from Poliigon, Quixel, and Texture Haven to achieve a worn down look. In addition to that I went into Zbrush to sculpt custom displacements for the ground and the wooden part of the taverns sign. After finishing the textures I adjusted the light to the new look and refined it further.

The last thing missing before rendering and compositing was the vegetation. For the Ivy on the house I mapped out the shape I wanted to achieve and recreated it using an ivy generator. The textures for the ivy were made with a close up picture of an ivy leaf and converting them to suitable textures. The plants on the ground were Quixel assets that I scattered using MASH. Lastly the trees were made in SpeedTree and the leaves were textured with the same method used for the ivies.

In compositing I adjusted the lighting of the render layers I previously made and added some details like smoke, more atmospheric effects and a background.


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