Two travelers landed on a far away planet covered with giant mushrooms and mysterious structures. These structures seem to still be functioning for some unknown purpose, but the civilization that built them disappeared long ago.
Update - 4 May 2021
Hey folks! This is going to be my last update before the final submission. After receiving some great feedback from Moritz Eichinger and Valentin Pavliuchenko I continued to develop the look of the scene.
I made further changes to lighting and composition, as well as adding fog cards and particle effects to enhance the mood. I also worked on establishing four additional camera angles in order to comply with the submission requirements.
Until the deadline, I will continue tweaking everything and will try to implement any additional feedback I might still receive. As the final step, I will need to do some post processing and create a video sequence from the shots I already established.
Thanks to everyone who followed my progress until now. Looking forward to submitting my entry and seeing everyone else's finished work!
Update - 22 Apr 2021
Since the last update, I continued iterating the lighting and colors of the scene, which will be a continuous process until the end of the project. The main focus this time was to rework the planet to make it look a bit more stylized and convincing in terms of scale.
For the planet, I simply painted some continents and applied the blur slope technique I mentioned last time. On top of that, I painted a layer of clouds and added it separately into the material so that the clouds can be moving. The last step was to add a Fresnel effect to my material and match it to the direction of my scene light.
Next week I will continue on making improvements and try to implement the feedback I am receiving. I am also working on creating additional camera shots to fulfill the 5 render requirements of the challenge. Unfortunately, this turned out to be quite the challenge, since I only had one main perspective in mind until now.
Apart from that, I also plan to add some VFX including scrolling textures, particles and fog cards in order to enhance the atmosphere. I want to be done early enough with all these things ideally so that I have enough time for polishing and working on the presentation.
Thanks for reading my update, until next time!
Update - 15 Apr 2021
After last update I received a lot of great feedback from the EXP community for the lighting and colors of the scene. I spent much time iterating these aspects and figuring out a setup that could look nice while continuing to work on the textures.
For the texturing I wanted to go for a more stylized look and I came closer to achieving that by using the Blur Slope technique I learned from this amazing Stylized Station video. Apart from that I used the Baked Stylized Lighting feature from Substance Painter, which works quite well for getting a stylized look since otherwise the lighting in my scene is fully dynamic.
I also did a bit of work on the landscape and painted some grass and foliage for it. Other than that, I remade the skybox to simplify the colors in the scene and making it drag less attention.
There is still a month left for the challenge, so I would say that I am good in time. My plan is to continue tweaking the lighting, composition and textures as well as reworking the planet to give it a more stylized look. I also want to add smaller details for storytelling where I can and also do some VFX work in order to bring the environment more to life.
See you in the next update!
Update - 8 Apr 2021
This time I only have little progress to share. I have been making some tweaks to the lighting and the mushrooms and I also had the chance to block out some rocks as well as a landing capsule for the foreground.
For the landscape, I started adding handpainted textures as a base. I noticed that they are barely visible in the current lighting setup, so I will not spend more time on polishing them. Instead, I want to add grass and other types of foliage to enhance the landscape.
My next goal is to give the new objects I blocked out some textures and adding more foliage like the grass. I also want to revisit the giant robot since I did not get the chance to properly texturize it yet. Also, I am still not happy with the mushrooms but I feel kind of stuck with them, so I will leave them again for a while and maybe come back later.
I hope you enjoyed this small update, until next time!
Update - 30 Mar 2021
As you can see, everything is still very WIP. I focused the last week on creating a first iteration of the pyramids and the giant robot as well as making some adjustments to the composition. I am still unsure about in which direction I want to take these aspects, but I definitely want my textures to be more stylized than they currently are.
Experimenting with alien type of material is kind of fun. The next materials I want to tackle are the landscape ones which may be unique and alien or just generic looking, depending on what would fit better in the overall scene.
A certain panda has pointed out to me that I need to implement some smaller scale details and establish a path for the player character, which I want to do soon as well. For now, I hope you liked this insight into my latest progress.
Update - 23 Mar 2021
I have been iterating a lot the composition and colors of the scene and I am still not sure if this is the direction I will be going for. Adding textures to the mushrooms have helped to get a better sense of how to light the scene, but the mushrooms did not turn out too well, so I will need to remake them.
Apart from the mushrooms I also experimented with the skybox and the planet for the background. I wanted the skybox to have a surreal and mystical look, I also might add scrolling textures VFX to reinforce these aspects.
The planet is supposed to contain forests and rivers, so nothing too complicated. I still need to experiment with the degree of stylization of the planet as well as trying out additional geometry for the forest areas.
For now I will take a break from figuring out these macro type of things and focus on making a textured version of the character and the pyramids. I plan to do weekly updates, so stay tuned for the next one! :)
Update - 16 Mar 2021
This is the blockout for my environment in Unreal Engine. I am going for an alien world with a lot of mushrooms and pyramids. It will be stylized PBR with a bit of handpainting here and there. Below you can see a few concept sketches I did to develop the idea.