Lisbon Diorama | 3D Environment Journey
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Lisbon Diorama | 3D Environment Journey

Marta Ribeiro
by martadotti on 2 Oct 2020

After finally deciding on what work I should do on the side of my big project, in order to learn and fill my portfolio, I decided to work on Diorama types for now (maybe I will grow a bit more!). Here you can see the journey to get to that, and my work progress.

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Update - 15 Jan 2021

More Freedom, But Same Base

I have been gone for some time! I have been feeling sick, which leaves me quite tired when I still work through to do my part for the main project for school I am doing, a VR game project!

But anyways, here I am, with another update:

I actually, again, changed my idea. I got some feedback to plan and think of what are my goals for the project, what do I want, what do I need.

So that is what I did. I worked on creating a better plan, what I wanted to show and achieve with this project.

Technically the basis is still the same. It is still a Lisbon diorama, just not a rework from the previous one I did.

With this Lisbon diorama, I gave myself the freedom to create what I wanted to show. Below is what I want to include in this diorama:

I revamped my visual references from last year.

For now, I have general Lisbon references, which includes some of the goals you saw above. And before starting my quick blockout iterations, I did some visual research on the slopes in Lisbon as well.

Simple Blockout Iterations

I created some simple first iterations, to see how I could approach the ideas I had in mind.

Then, I chose a final one I liked the most, and did a bit more blocking out, seeing how it could all work together.

Here, I used some props I had created during the Lisbon Diorama model last year


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Update - 20 Nov 2020

2019 Block A Y2 Project | Doing Better and Telling a Story

After receiving feedback across the block itself, as well as recently and after some reflection, I decided to work on this project of mine.
One I created this, I was super new to all of the things I did. I learned SO MUCH but I know my work is not that great, knowing what I know now.

I decided that a good challenge would be to go back to this project and redo it, but BETTER.


I Know What You Are Thinking: Another Project? What Is It Then?

This has been a learning journey as well. Knowing what fits me, what would be good for me, what can I learn, what can I show, what story do I want to tell,.... so much that goes into this!
I feel like this is the perfect project for me now. I want to make this better, I want to prove myself that I can do this better and push it soooo much further than I could at the time. I feel like this is a great basis to start creating work for the portfolio on the side.


So Much Work To Do

There is so much I need to do: The building itself doesn't make much sense, the sizes are all wrong and the textures aren't great either. I want to make this better. I want to tell a story through this building, what goes on in this restaurant in Lisboa, Portugal, my home country and place.


What To Work On

- Modular Pieces and Good Models
I want to rework the modularity better. Try, plan and have this building make sense. Since this area I chose is actually a corner of a building, I want to leave it being just that. I want for the main focus to be in the front area of the building, specifically the restaurant area.

- Props and Storytelling
I need more of this in the scene, in order to tell a story. I want the viewers to be able to dig into the scene and discover all this interesting things, feel like they are in this scene, in this part of Lisbon. (more to come, more in depth with the blockout).

- Textures
I also want to learn more. During this block I quite a mix of texturing, mixing hand painted textures (mainly), with some Substance Designer textures (first time!).
I want to do better with this, learn better techniques of textures and use decals (which I never used so far) to bring the scene to bigger lengths. This will be also another learning point on my work.

- Lighting
This will also set the mood. For the basis, I still want to make it an end of the day kind of feeling, because it really brings me home to how we are in Portugal. We love the café/restaurant culture, we have amazing food and getting all together is amazing! Special in the times of today, I want to bring this into my work.
I will have to work from scratch as I want to learn more of lighting, and the current lighting is not great.

- My Own Artistic and Personal Touches
I want to make this place "scream" more of Portugal and Lisbon. For that, I will change the original look of the café into something that will pop out more - related to colors, details, etc.
I also plan to have my grandfather in memory. I want to include him in this piece, as I feel like this was made for him as well. I lost my grandpa shortly before my year started, and making this piece helped me remember him in it, but I want to have more. So I hope to implement some nice pieces here!

2019 Close Ups

Here are some close ups of the work I did back in 2019. Keep in mind that this was created in about 6,5 weeks, one being visual research.

I decided to take some close up shots of the front part of this diorama, in order to later compare the work I will be doing.

The last image is...... the lightmap density. Something I had no clue about at the time. Well, knowing about it now, this cannot pass by like this!!

Quick Unreal Blockout

With what I already had in engine, I decided to make a very quick and dirty blockout. See how this works. Does it look interesting? Does it look better?
There is still much work to do, since today it was also a lot of organizing the files for this project and taking some images as evidence, but it is a start, so here goes!

I plan to update this blog post every time I make some work. This will keep me motivated, anyone can give me feedback, and I will see my own growth as well!
It's true, I could've deleted alllll the previous work I did through this process, but I am learning and this IS the process I am going through. I am proud of it because I am learning!


Anyways, hope you enjoy today's progress and thoughts! Still much to do, but work is work and progress is progress
(below are some images around the blockout above)


Update - 26 Oct 2020

Halloween Diorama Visual References

Diorama Blockout

Trying out so light blockouts as well, to afterwards concept over. I want to test the look and feel, alongside colors and details for this piece.
Not too in depth, but something to guide me more.

New Beginning

Still learning over here. It has been tough to figure out what's best for me, and I kept getting overwhelmed. On top of that, I was feeling sick for two weeks. Though not "dying" sick, but it would leave me really tired because I wouldn't rest properly and kept working through it.
But I finally made my choice, and I will be working on Diorama's throughout this year, to learn and fill my portfolio, on the side of the game project.
This Diorama is Halloween themed, and it won't be very in depth because I don't have much time left until the next block. Next block I want to start a new diorama, with a different theme and a better plan.


Update - 9 Oct 2020

Today's Progress | Feeling Overwhelmed


I actually felt overwhelmed with the size of the project. I almost gave up, trying to get something else where I could learn more. I honestly don't know how or what to make, but I really want to learn more and create good things for my portfolio.

Instead of giving up fully, I decided to cut this scene in half. I feel like basing myself mostly on a concept I grabbed from Arstation (though it is amazing and I requested for if I could work on it), would get me stuck, feeling pressured and possibly overwhelmed, at a time where I just want to learn, get better and better and create awesome pieces for my portfolio!
I will be basing myself on this "idea", but making it my own instead. I will focus more on the "house" interior, with a pond in front of it. I still want to make this area game ready, so I will be always testing it around.

I am learning with what I am doing, and I am adapting as I am in this phase!

If you have any feedback, I would greatly appreciate it! Let me know if you have any tips for works to do for a portfolio for an Environment Artist. You can check my portfolio here or on Artstation here: https://www.artstation.com/martadotti


Update - 2 Oct 2020

Finished the last small pieces for the kit bash. They are still very simple, so I can put them in a scene in Unreal, create the scene in the concept, and test the measurements before getting into modeling.

This week I didn't have a lot of time (max. 1h30, including organizing some changes) so there isn't much change.

Created in Maya.


Update - 2 Oct 2020

Concept Art by Edward Barons

This is the concept I will base myself on. I gave myself creative freedom, in order to work on that more.

This is my first time doing this type of post, so I hope I know how to do this right!
Here is my progress at the end of Friday (2 weeks ago).

I am creating a simple Kit to create the scene concepted by Edward Barons. I had also already done some visual research, creating my key reference boards.
After receiving some feedback last Friday, my main focus will be the props for this scene, to be able to fill my portfolio. After that, I will try and put the scene together!