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My best projects of the year
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My best projects of the year

Eliot HERVIER BLONDEL
by ItsEliot on 22 May 2024 for Rookie Awards 2024

Hello everyone, Thank you for checking my entry. Since my last update a year ago, I've significantly broadened my expertise across various domains. I'm delighted to showcase my latest projects to you today. Without further delay, let's dive in and explore what's in store! Enjoy your viewing!

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1. The Detector

This project is part of a larger project where I had the pleasure of collaborating with Mael Jamier (Director/Lookdev/Lighting/Comp) and Reza Raissi (Simulation). My responsibilities included asset modeling and texturing.

The design of the prop was inspired by Andrew Lozovsky. I handled the modeling and UV unwrapping in Maya. For the UVs, I aimed to create clusters defined by the materials that I would assign to the different parts. This technique significantly sped up my workflow when defining masks in my texturing software.

I did the texturing in Mari. Although I was initially unfamiliar with the software, I learned as I progressed. Mari was an excellent choice due to its capability for detailed texturing. To streamline my workflow, I baked my mesh maps in Substance Painter.

During the texturing phase of the main part of the asset, Reza Raissi managed the wire simulation. I applied the wire sim on the mesh and I handed my work to Mael Jamier for look development and to integrate the detector into the shot.

2. The Jungle River

The Jungle River is a collaborative project that I was fortunate to work on. The goal was to create a jungle environment featuring a river simulation and an outer animation. To facilitate collaboration with other departments, I began learning about the Solaris pipeline alongside Mathieu Keraudran, who developed the pipeline and handled the FX for the project. Justine Letestu was responsible for the modeling and texturing of the outer, Agathe Lootens rigged and animated the character, and Mael Jamier composed the shot.

To create the environment, I studied numerous images of tropical forest rivers to define the overall shape of the environment and identify the types of plants and trees that grow near such rivers. I started by creating a Heightfield and then added large cliffs designed with VOP. I collaborated closely with the FX artist to define the terrain, ensuring that the FLIP simulation would work properly.

Regarding the trees, I developed a tool that defines the behavior of the roots, making them appear more organic. The idea is that the roots follow the shape of the elements they rest upon. Since my process involves some VDB (Volumetric Data Blocks), I adjust the density of my meshes based on the distance of the tree from the camera. To enhance realism and address any issues, I processed the trees further in ZBrush.

I populated the scene with scatterings of plants, stones, and leaves, utilizing masks to define their placement according to natural patterns. This included stones and pebbles in the riverbed and plants near the water's edge.

 To achieve this, I incorporated Megascans assets that were translated into .usd format using component builder, enabling easy referencing and scattering throughout the scene.

Initially, I created a point scatter at the object level and merged it at the stage level for instancing. However, through collaboration with the FX/TD, we realized that this process could have been entirely handled at the stage level. We worked together to refine the scene setup, leveraging scopes and configuring layers to ensure an efficient workflow and seamless integration of effects.

Initially, I created a point scatter at the object level and merged it at the stage level for instancing. However, through collaboration with the FX/TD, we realized that this process could have been entirely handled at the stage level. We worked together to refine the scene setup, leveraging scopes and configuring layers to ensure an efficient workflow and seamless integration of effects.

A significant focus was on the cliffs' texture, particularly the mossy areas. I aimed to create a look as though the moss was naturally settled on top of the rock, without the need for additional meshes. Experimenting with displacement, I achieved a bumpy effect by applying a constant value, allowing for the desired texture refinement.

Starting the lighting of the scene, I found Solaris' light mixer to be not only enjoyable but also a time-saving tool. Incorporating Gobos and light filters, I created a canopy effect within the scene. Solaris provided almost real-time feedback on the lighting adjustments, significantly expediting the creative process.

Finally, we brought all the pieces together in Solaris to prepare for rendering. Utilizing MaterialX for all materials ensured compatibility with any renderer, but we opted for Karma due to its numerous options with AOVs (Arbitrary Output Variables), which enhanced our final render output.

3. The Space Station

For The Space Station project, my aim was to create a Star Wars-inspired shot within a week, narrating the return of an old, heavy ship to the station after a lengthy journey. With the station itself, I strived to convey the impression of a heavily utilized facility that was showing signs of wear and tear, perhaps verging on the brink of disrepair. This characterization aimed to evoke a sense of history and authenticity within the scene.

For The Space Station project, my aim was to create a Star Wars-inspired shot within a week, narrating the return of an old, heavy ship to the station after a lengthy journey. With the station itself, I strived to convey the impression of a heavily utilized facility that was showing signs of wear and tear, perhaps verging on the brink of disrepair. This characterization aimed to evoke a sense of history and authenticity within the scene.

I modeled the base station in Maya and crafted a low-poly asset bank to infuse life into the station and create mini scenes. By opting for low-poly assets, I efficiently optimized the scene. Given that these assets would occupy only a few pixels in the picture, this approach ensured an effective use of resources while maintaining a balance between detail and performance.

Additionally, I created a bank of hard-surface pieces to develop procedural tools, which proved particularly useful for designing the satellite. These tools streamlined the process and enhanced the overall efficiency of the project.

The project provided an opportunity to animate the spaceship. I focused on accurately conveying the ship's weight and the scale of its thrusters' power, striving to achieve a realistic sense of movement and propulsion.

Given the short timeframe, I quickly transitioned to Nuke to enhance the shot's liveliness. I began by adding a sky, using photobashing techniques and animating it slightly. I then incorporated smoke and fast-moving clouds, drawing inspiration from northern landscapes, to further enrich the scene's atmosphere and dynamics.

To achieve greater dynamic range in my textures, I used a technique that combined keying and grading. This allowed me to manipulate the highlights of the image and create a frost effect on certain parts of the shot. Additionally, I added noise using the position pass on some rocks that were lacking texture definition, enhancing their detail and realism.

Finally, I took inspiration from Nevarro landscapes from the Mandalorian show to do my grading. 

4. Conclusion

Thank you for taking the time to read about my project. If you enjoyed it, please don't hesitate to give me a high five and leave a comment!

To conclude, I am excited to present my most recent demoreel!


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