Saturday, June 14, 2014

Learning by Replicating another's work

This video is amazing:

I was looking for melding multiple textures on a single mesh in UE4 when I stumbled this 15 minute walk through on building a scene.

I've decided this guy has the mojo I need to build better games. If he can do it in 4 hours, so can I with a lot of research and some practice.

I am going to pick this video apart, replicate it step by step here and provide notes on how it is done. I fully expect it to take me weeks to do this, especially since I don't always have a lot of free time.

To make sure I didn't miss anything I downloaded the video via jdownloader2 and brought it into premiere. I am then walking through it frame by frame. It is tedious but I want to replicate his workflow and learn a few tricks along the way.

6/14/2014 - Saturday
Getting Started
1. download and open the cave example
2. create a new level
3. set up for Oculus Rift:

This does not add any special movement beyond flying but that is fine.

move snap: 5
rotation snap: 2.812
scale snap: .25

Adding a few meshs and setting up the camera

Environment:Meshes:Bricks:SM_Cave_Brick_01a (scale:5:5:5)
Environment:Meshes:Rocks:SM_Cave_Rock_Large_01a (scale:1:0.25:1)

Switch to unlit mode

Environment:Meshes:WoodStruts:SM_Cave_WoodStruts_01a (scale 2:2,2)

Add a camera actor and lock viewport to it. (pos -315:-15:220)
> position it so that scene we are building is in view
> unlock viewport and pin it so it stays up when not selected

copy the brick 5 more times
copy that section of 6 bricks to the right

13 seconds into the video, but I'm keeping up...

6/15/2014 - Sunday
Adding the cave statue and fleshing out area prior to export:

create a lot of copies of the brick so it is 5 high & 5 deep
> remove a few from the end

add SM_Cave_Statue_01 (s=1000:1000:1000)
> this scale was ridiculous to work with I did 20:20:20

move narrow sm_cave_rock_large_01a to left, rotate and position
> pos=105:-555:380

delete furthest column of blocks and floor

select furthest column on blocks and export

Landscape work in blender
I've never used proportional selection before. That was quite a learning experience.

How I did it:
1. create a plane and subdivide it by 32 in each direction. 
2. then scale it 2x in the x axis.
3. select the 6 center rows and pull them down using proportional selection. You can adjust the amount of the selection with the scroll wheel
4. I then followed along in the video making a series of adjustments to match his. 

The proportional selection tool isn't as nice as the one in 3d studio max so I had to be a bit creative with what I selected and the radius of the proportional selection.

The top is his work in 3d studio max and the bottom is my work in blender

Setting up landscape in UE4

Before exporting the landscape UV map it onto a texture and set the shading to smooth.
Export it as fbx at 100x (opposite of import of meshes which was .01). This will get it in perfect scale with our scene.

This next part is where some of the dark arts of UE steps in:
We want a material we can vertex paint onto. He spends a few minutes experimenting with materials and going back to the cave several times to figure out which material and paint color work. He tried red, blue and green with a variety of materials until he found the right combination.

He finally settled on M_Cave_Ground_Mud_Inst.

For the paint:
 paint color = blue
 > advanced: alpha = 0
 uncheck all channels except alpha
 radius = 256
 strength = .2
 falloff = 1

Drag this texture onto the landscape. The landscape is initally snowy. Paint over the entire surface and it becomes muddy. Amazing (to me at least) this looks really good.

Here is a snapshot of the final product and all the paint settings:

I will need to do more research into the material. I opened up the parent and there was a lot there. 

6/16/2014 - Monday
Adjusting land creek depth and adjusting bricks

Painting onto this:
 paint color = red
 > advanced: alpha = 1
 check all channels except alpha
 radius = 128
 strength = .2
 falloff = 1

paint down the middle with this. It is a water texture
> this mostly undoes the blue painting from above

He goes back to 3d studio max and reduces the depth of the water channel
> reimport narrow stream version

switch back to blue and paint portions of end sides to switch it to rocks

select beam and rescale it: 3.5:3:3
> rotate it slighting clockwise in the YZ plane and position end behind rocks on right

select half of the bricks on the right and swap them out for an alternate
> he used magnifying glass on mesh to quickly find it in the content browser

he did a similar operation on the left:

rotate and swap out individual bricks

STOPPED at 1:39:28


Reposition more bricks on the left and right side.
> A few copies were made too

Add Rocks/SM_Cave_Rock_Slate_01a
> scale 1.5 and put on left side of river towards the end
> I think this is a marker for how far he wants the scene to extend to

remove center column on right and slide end bricks and wood beam to fill gap

return to blender and remove the 6 end rows shortening the length of the creek
> pull down the sloped section further
> redo UV mapping to fit texture

return to blender and pull slanted area back up

STOPPED at 1:58:18

6/18/2014 - Wednesday

Rock walls and ceiling

raise rock, scale it to 3 and change material
> he paint red, blue and green (RGB no alpha) onto the surface (which isn't visible on his first material selection)
> he then spins through the rock materials looking for one where the surface texture varies by color
> NOTE: you can see the color on the vertexes when you roll over the material!

He settled on M_Cave_Rock_Large_Moss_Inst & painted the lower portion of it so moss showed through
> with this material, it doesn't matter what the color is
> drag it out of the way on the left

add Castle/SM_Cave_Castle_Tower_01
> scale to 2
> drag far into the distance on x axis

make a copy of the left rock wall
> slide away along the x axis
> scale to 50, .25 (unchanged), 50
> push far away on left along y axis
> rescale to 300, .25, 300 (damn!)
> pos = 1835,-111655,380

@ 2:08:25

I'm going to take a moment at fix the statue so it is scaled correctly
> scale = 1000
> pos = 293280,-20290,
> damn that is big

OK, back to rock mojo

Make a copy of the rock wall and move it to the right side of the scene
> pos = 1835,99910,380

Just so you grok the size of the wall I zoomed out a bit for you:

Make a copy of the rock wall on the right pulling towards the scene
> this will become the lower bounds/floor
> rot = -90,0,-90
> pos = 1835,19415,-80360
> sca = 500,.25.500

readjust scale of walls
> 500,.25,500

create a copy of the floor rock and move it above the scene
> sca = 100,.25,100
> pos = -5775,19415,12720

To position he working view above the ceiling he changed the camera speed (upper right corner of editor) to 8
> that was a huge help!

find light source in scene outliner
> rot = 28.868,-46,129.45

(5)move the ceiling rock toward statue, rescale & rotate it
> sca = 300,.25.,300
> pos = 154880,19415,114320
> rot = 90,0,-16

(6)create copy of the rock ceiling
> sca = 300,.25.,300
> pos = 233375,-107175,114320

(7)create another copy of last ceiling piece
> pos = 290875,157326,114320

reduce of the scale of the first ceiling rock (5) along x axis
> sca = 200,.25,300

make a copy and slide towards statue
> pos = 354360,19415,114320

@ 2:21:12

Part 2 here:

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