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Gnomon 2049
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Gnomon 2049

by camdrain on 31 May 2023 for Rookie Awards 2023

My final project during my time at Gnomon. Created in my Demo Reel class during my last 2 and a half weeks as a student. As a final farewell, I decided to make an area I have walked by everyday as a student. Gnomon's campus is so interesting and unique, with so much history to it.

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GNOMON 2049

My final project during my time at Gnomon. Created in my Demo Reel class during my last 2 and a half weeks as a student. To create this project I used Unreal Engine 5, Houdini, Substance Designer, Blender, and Maya.

As a final farewell, I decided to make an area I have walked by everyday as a student. Gnomon's campus is so interesting and unique, with so much history to it. It is based in an old, industrial Television Studio, and I highly recommend looking up photos of it, if you want inspiration for grungy, worn textures. Because I walk these catwalks everyday, I had perfect reference, and was able to walk around with a tape measure and get perfect measurements. This was a unique project for me, as it was my first time modeling based off of my own real world life. I have always modeled off of images and concept, so it was a fun project to walk outside and take my own reference photos. After matching the reference, I decided to take the project into the future, and give it a more ominous, dark tone. 

Here is a handful of reference I collected by walking outside and using my phone camera to take tons of pictures of every nook and cranny of this section of the campus.

Having a ton of reference is great, but what is even better? Exact measurements of all the main pieces I would be modeling, so I can try and get as close to 1/1 as possible. So I took a tape measure and meticulously measured every aspect of the area I would be creating. I then added most of the measurements to a photo, as well as had everything written down to reference as I was modeling.

For this project, with the help of my mentor Bobby Rice, and fellow Gnomon student Dakota Smith, we built a Houdini script that displaces depending on vertex color. Using blender (as I have found to prefer its vertex coloring over Maya's), I vertex painted the assets to give depth and breakup to the tiling textures. This is a technique that was able to be built into your shader into Unreal Engine 4, but with Unreal 5, a new technique had to be developed to be able to continue to use it. It was a fun challenge, and in the end, I think it looks quite great.

Taking an asset like this, with simple vertex colors, and using 4 displacement maps, you can take simple assets like this.

And add tons of depth and detail that really give the whole scene realism and life.

This workflow added tons of details, and really lets all the reflections show the wear and tear that the campus has gone through since it was built in the early 1900s.

Going to gnomon was an amazing experience. The amount I learned my instructors and fellow peers is what ultimately lead me to landing my first job in the industry at Certain Affinity. I hope you enjoyed a small breakdown of how I created my last project during my time at Gnomon. Thanks for reading!


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