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Antoine Barbannaud - Environment and Lighting Artist

Antoine Barbannaud - Environment and Lighting Artist

Antoine Barbannaud
by AntoineBarbannaud on 19 May 2023 for Rookie Awards 2023

I'm so proud to share my first entry to the Rookie Awards! I'm an environment artist with a focus on lighting and compositing. I hope you'll enjoy my work.

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Hi! Welcome to my Rookie Awards 2023 submission. I'm Antoine, a French 22-year-old student in Environments at Creative Seeds. I am very fond of Lighting and Compositing, as well as scripting. Here's a collection of some of my best projects!

The Promised Valley

This is the project I'm most proud of: my first large scale full CG environment, done in 2 months. The composition initially came from a painting by Lorenzo Lafranconi, though as the project and layout progressed I strayed further and turned it into something of my own. 

As a kid I read a lot of fantasy books and this sort of medieval/fantasy atmosphere is the sort of place I think young me would have loved to explore. I wanted to show something epic, so I went with the idea of a landscape that makes you feel small, and a city that reigns above. And what better way to show something epic than with a stormy sky?

In total it contains 20 million un-instanced polygons for hero assets and 1.7 million instances for vegetation and rocks.

Here's a small plot showing all the vegetation that goes into the foreground! I had over 100 variations of rocks, bushes, grass, sticks, and various elements you'd find in a valley. 

Making the terrain was quite a challenge. I was inspired by the Alps a lot, the shape and structure of the mountains takes inspiration from those around Annecy that I was lucky enough to visit two years ago! 

To layout the shot, I started by sculpting the shapes I wanted in Maya, then brought them in Houdini as height fields to give them natural erosion and detail. For the hero mountain I used a mix of my layout, Gaea's rock and erosion tools and Houdini. A key component to making these mountains work was the cliffs: I seperated them from the mountains and gave them some love with noises and triplanars displacements. 

This was also my first time doing matte painting. I'm pretty happy with the result, and I'm thrilled to try it again on new projects.

Tribal Motorbike

This was my first hardsurface asset and the opportunity for me to practice finer modelling and texturing. Having only started modelling and texturing a year and a half ago, it was a challenge I really wanted to take on!

The original concept comes from the great Darren Bartley and his universe of tribal vehicles, characters and environments.

Interpreting the concept was quite difficult as a lot of the mechanical components were rough. I had to figure out shapes that could make sense and connect to each other in order to have a realistic result.

This project took me 2 months as well, and the motorbike has 8 million unsmoothed polygons, 15 udims and 96 8k textures.

To get around the complexity of this asset, I made plenty of python scripts like automatically renaming groups of meshes and transferring their UVs. I also had fun multithreading the .tex converter in Guerilla Render by making a standalone tool, which brought my preprocessing time from 10mins to 2! This allowed me quicker iterations between Substance Painter and Guerilla.

It was also the opportunity for me to learn how to make interfaces with Qt, which I had never done before. The tool has settings, preferences and cache (so you don't have to re-enter the file path every time!). 

Luca Kitchen Fan Art

This is an older project done in 8 weeks in second year, my goal was to practice modelling, as by then I had only been doing it for a few months. I also set my sights on matching the reference from the film Luca as closely as possible!

Making characters isn't my speciality by any means, but I wanted to challenge myself by recreating the cat! It was my first time doing grooming in Houdini and I'm pretty proud of the result.

Tools - Light Editor

I've talked about modelling and texturing a lot in the thread, but I'm a lighter & comper at heart. 

I had heard stories about how at ILM on Star Wars, render times were so long that they were placing tons of lights that may look good and setting up their LPEs, letting it render overnight and effectively lighting in Nuke by turning them on/off and tweaking them. Essentially, this tool takes the same idea by creating a live link between Nuke and Maya/Redshift.

You can quickly iterate on your lighting: render, import in Nuke, tweak and in a single button the values are back in Maya! 

As both a necessity and a choice, I also found it nice to have a one stop-shop to edit your lights instead of accumulating grades and color corrects. This way, it's easy to find what's happening to a light! I coded this tool in Python and had a ton of fun doing it.

I do have one more project that I've been working on in the past 5 months, though I can't share it just yet unfortunately...

Of course, none of these projects would have been feasible without the help and feedback of my mentor Jean-Michel Bihorel, Jean-François Macé and my classmates.

Thanks for your consideration, I hope you enjoyed my work!

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