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Portfolio 2023 - Lighting
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Portfolio 2023 - Lighting

Estelle Panel
by estellepanel on 29 May 2023 for Rookie Awards 2023

Hi! My name is Estelle and I'm a french lighting artist 💡. You'll find here my latest work and my two graduation projects made at New3dge. Duat was made from octobre to december 2022 and Karnak, from january to may 2023. Thanks for watching.

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Hi !

My name is Estelle
and I'm a french lighting artist 💡. 

I try to convey emotional experiences through effective use of color and light, inspired by my illustrator background. My personal style has been heavily influenced by classical paintings such as  contemporary photographer. I am also perpetually looking for balance between aesthetic quality and performance requirements for real-time.

Below you'll find my latest work and my two graduation projects made at New3dge.
Thanks for watching !

Karnak is a solo action-adventure in third person view. The player incarnated Haytem, an explorer guided by a mysterious woman to free the cursed city.

I worked on this project mainly as a lighting artist, then as material and shader artist. In collaboration with Vincent D'Andrea (Enviro) and Léo Zhang (Fx/Tech), we created the temple bridge in 5 months, from January to May 2022.

The environment is based on the concept of Jérôme Bianchi.

At the start of this project, I tried to bring the artistic vision of the concept art to life. That's why I created a lighting close to the reference. But sometimes, an interesting atmosphere in an illustration doesn't work as well in the game. I had to rethink the balance between the concept and the right lighting for our gameplay.

In addition to the lighting, I was responsible for the sky and the sandstorm for this project. I painted the storm in Photoshop. I mixed photobashing and painting techniques to blur the clouds and have a better control of the contrast. It's helped me to hierarchy the image.

I then created the basis for a shader to color the tempest directly in unreal. I worked with a system of masks in the different RGB channel and add option to control color, height, contrast and the intensity of the blend with the sky. 

Then Léo Zhang, our technical artist improved the shader. He add interesting options to animate it and improved the realism of the final render.

The HDRI come from HDRIHaven. I twisted it with hue, saturation and exposure in photoshop. Then I added a gradient for a better blend with the ExponentialHeightFog and Sandstorm.

The project was made with Lumen from Unreal Engine 5. In terms of lighting, I used a combination of dynamic lights and a direct light associated with the previous HDRI Backdrop. But that's not all. I played a lot with the Height fog and volumetric option inside the light, to create god rays and accentuate the presence of the sand.

During the project, I was perpetually looking for balance between aesthetic quality and performance requirements for real-time. I focused the lighting on the the city in the vista, and minimise the light on the bridge. I also played with the Max Draw distance/Distance fade range, to switch on/off lights depending on the camera distance. Sometimes I used the inverse squared fallof to limit the light intensity or desactivate cast shadow options. These are some of the tricks I have used to maintain a good lighting complexity.

I finished the lighting process with a LUT made with Da Vinci Resolve, and applied in the post-process volume. It helped me increased the contrast and adjusted the color balance to accentuate the feeling to be lost in front of a sandstorm.

I've always been interested about material's reflections and their impact on the lighting. So it was natural for me to create some of them, starting with trimsheet. 

The objective was to provide a textural library that could be used for the environment and characters. The different material were used as a base for texturing, then anyone could transform them and qdd some dirts and grunges  according to their needed.

This pipeline helped us to maintain coherence between the characters and the environment. But not only.  We were able to texturing more quickly.

The biggest challenge of this project was the size of the environment and the short time we had to create it. To be efficient I created a procedural shader to quickly texturing the city and large assets directly in unreal.

I worked with a system of map in the different RGB channel and add option to control color, height and intensity. But not only. The shader can also be used to add a gradient to the top and the bottom of the asset, to simulate sand and dirt with a grunge map.

For this project, I was in charge of creating the shaders and material functions of this environment, including Vertex Paint, Top Mask, Gradient in world aligned or Parallaxe occlusion mapping to name a few. And  I making them evolve according to the team's needs.


                                                  - TRAILER -

Made in collaboration with Jean-Jacques Dumas, Moheb Naguib, Ludivine Bellot, Armande Lecointre, Maxime Leroy, Vincent d'Andréa and Benjamin Kretschmann. Music by Anthony Damario and sound effect by Fabien Crousillac.
More about KARNAK on our rookies entry.

• LIGHTING [UE5] - Ruins

I started this re-lighting project to practice with Lumen and improve my lighting skills.
The project was mainly inspired by Alexei Savrasov (1830 - 1897) a russian landscape painter. Made in Unreal engine 5 with Lumen.

This is a re-lighting of a scene created by Angel Fernandes and which was in free access on the epic store.

I worked to imitate his soft natural light and to recreate the specific contrast, between a bright sky and stormy clouds.

To recreate the atmosphere of the painting, I used an HDRI dropped in the HDRIBackdrop. The HDRI come from HDRIHaven. I twisted it with hue, saturation and exposure in photoshop. Then I added a gradient for a better blend with the ExponentialHeightFog.

The project was made with Lumen from Unreal Engine 5. In terms of lighting, I used a combination of dynamic lights associated with the previous HDRI Backdrop. I tried to emulate a natural light and avoid the feeling of unnatural spotlights.

I finished the lighting process with a LUT made in Photoshop, and applied in the post-process volume. I increased the contrast and adjusted the color balance. This is an easy way to add the finishing touch to the lighting. Each lighting had its own LUT.

• LIGHTING [UE5] - City subway

I started this re-lighting project to discover the new features of Lumen, and improve my lighting skills. Made in Unreal engine 5, with a color grading directly in the post process. The mood was inspired by "Type in search world : www" (2019), a corean drama created by Jung Ji-Hyun.

This is a re-lighting of a scene created by Clinton Crumpler from Dekogon studio and which was in free access on the epic store.

DUAT is playable demo of a MOBA-type game in top-down perspective. Players embodies a fallen god, trapped in the Duat : the realm of the dead. And each arena represent a different vision of the afterlife. 

I worked on this project as an environment artist and created an entire arena,
in 4 months from September to December 2022.

The Bridge of oblivion is a representation of the desolated afterlife. A lonely tomb close to being submerged by the fog and the sand. That’s why the atmosphere is a mix between death's symbols like the pyramid and desaturated color, to remind the disappearing life.

The challenge was to find a balance between artistic aspects and game constraints, including a 512 texel density. High poly was made in ZBrush for the asset and texture. The texturing  was made in Substance Painter with a physically based rendering (PBR).

To improve our productivity and gain in efficiency, I had to create a procedural shader for my teammate. The objective was to quickly texture large assets directly in unreal. I worked with a system of map in the different RGB channel and add option to control color, height and intensity.


                                                  - TRAILER -

Made in collaboration with Mélanie Khau, Ludivine Bellot, Baya Benedetti and Eva Le Cocguen. Music by Anthony Damario. More about DUAT on our rookies entry.


                                ♣ Thanks for watching ♣

                                              Follow me on ArtstationLinkedinTwitter


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