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Dead Hearts & Celtic Pastures

Dead Hearts & Celtic Pastures

Robert Graham
by BertieG11 on 20 Apr 2023 for Rookie Awards 2023

A showcase of two of my projects, the first being a Wild Western Diorama I modelled, the other a cinematic project exploring how to make VFX for a Stonehenge inspired level.

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A High Poly diorama depicting a Wild Western Afterlife in the form of a campfire at the crossroads

It takes inspiration from 'Firewatch' (2016), 'Rango' (2011) & 'Red Dead Redemption 2' (2018)

I used a high poly work flow, modelling in Maya & Zbrush, I baked the high poly meshes onto low poly versions

This Project was centred on VFX & Cinematography, Celtic Pastures uses assets from Megascans & the Unreal Marketplace.

All the VFX and the 4 central rocks & labyrinthine platform are made by me.

Additionally the level was lit, post processed & recorded by myself

The Runes were made using a Bump Offset to project the symbols off the rocks as an Emissive. The Swirling particles were made from a pollen VFX I'd made earlier, but I changed its colour & added Vortex attraction forces.

The Central Vortex uses a combination of multiple point attraction forces, 1 to repel the particles, 1 to attract & 1 to repel & attract at the edge of the sphere, causing the particles to make a vibrating sphere.

I animated & triggered the VFX using Blueprints & Splines.

Initially I had a weather shift in my project, with the rain causing the magic to start. However with only 1 minute of video allowed in my brief, the shift placed too many visuals that could confuse the viewer.

The Sky shift utilised changes in post processing, the sky light, directional light & height fog.

The rain VFX used the event handler, & particle collision to track where my refracted droplets landed, spawning a plane with a translucent animation for the ripples. Although optimisation wasn't needed for this project, I was still curious to test saving memory on reflections.

To do this I made a cubemap screenshot of my level & joined this to my puddle material's emissive

I additionally made a dust VFX based on a smoke template to exaggerate the dryness of the landscape before the rain starts, showing the transition using the roughness decal on the floor more clearly.

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