Update - 4 May 2021
For my final update, I tweak some details such as applying a LUT, scattering some more small plants along the street, and adding a puddle decal to the road.
I learned a lot about Unreal Engine 4 during the creation of this project. Now I feel much more comfortable with the program.
Before this challenge, I always was quite hesitant to work more in UE4 because it's really daunting to learn a new program. But this contest took away my inhibitions.
I often found myself browsing all the other submissions, excited when someone published an update.
Seeing what others came up with was really motivating.
Here are some different angles of the water pump:
Closeups of the houses:
progress from the blockout to the final product:
Update - 26 Apr 2021
Since my last update, I modeled and textured the water pump, changed the color of the pillars on the rearmost building to make it less distracting, added a lot of debris in the foreground using decals from Quixel, made a slight change to the camera movement of the closeup, added more details to said shot, and added more dirt to the radio.
I decided to include the full camera movement in this update since I'm not going to change it.
The textures of the water pump react differently in engine. This was rendered with Iray to show the dirt/grime build-up.
This is how the closeup shot looks like now:
Here's the progress since my last update:
Update - 19 Apr 2021
I decided to scrap the mirror idea and instead, I'm going to model a "SciFi water pump" (I took inspiration from these sketches). I also re-worked the bench texture, added some more trees, and changed the landscape and the street.
I'm still going to have to work on the street and landscape material though.
progress so far:
Update - 6 Apr 2021
Since my last update, I textured the buildings and the AC, added some more plants, and worked on the street texture. Although I'm not sure if I like it, so I might change it back to the asphalt.
An issue that I've encountered is that I can't use mesh paint on the landscape and when I try to convert it to a static mesh, it loses the sculpted details and it won't let me scale it up. I'm going to have to do some research on that.
I plan to find a fix for the landscape issue, refine the texture of the bench (under the radio), add some distant mountains, work on the street texture and keep on adding more plants.
progress so far:
Update - 26 Mar 2021
Since my last update, I've textured the radio, figured out how to create a working mirror material (which is quite important since it's my main focal point), worked on the lighting, added a sky texture, and placed some foliage.
I also linked a cloud texture as a light function material to the directional light and then animated it to mimic moving cloud shadows on the ground (the effect is visible in the progress view below).
All of the plants are from the Unreal Marketplace.
My to-do list for next week is to texture the buildings, work on the ground texture, fill the scene with plants with more color variation, and work on the close-up shot of the radio.
I decided to make the radio white and yellow to create a distinct contrast from the purple monstera leaf.
This is the first iteration, I might add some more dirt and grunge.
The old, not working mirror material (on the left) was a simple shader with a white base color, metallic on 1, and roughness on 0. But as you can see it didn't have the desired effect.
After doing some research, I placed a Planar Reflection component in front of my mirror plane and turned on "support global clip plane for Planar Reflection" in the project settings. Now it looks like a mirror.
Update - 17 Mar 2021
This will be my second big project made with Unreal Engine 4, so I'm still learning my way around the program.
But I'm sure that I will learn a lot and get more comfortable with UE4.
Fairly early on I knew that I wanted a focal point in the distance that looked otherworldly. I thought about a giant plant or huge quartz obelisk. But I decided that it's going to be a massive mirror that could be a portal to another dimension.
I also decided that the buildings were going to be in a cyberpunk style, but overgrown, because whoever lived on this planet has been gone for several decades.
After some brainstorming, I started to block out the scene in Maya to figure out the composition (see below for the process).
The first shot is going to be a close-up of a monstera deliciosa in focus.
Then the focus will shift to a broken radio propped up by a branch on a bench.
Next, the camera will tilt upwards and reveal the whole scene.
On my reference board, I collected ideas for the foliage, reference for broken asphalt and concrete, hard surface details I might want to use in the texturing process, and much more.