View Full Version : Level Environment Design......

02 February 2005, 05:05 PM
This was an environment created as part of my Msc final year project last year which the examiners awarded me 80%.

it was a fantasy project based on ancient/mythical chinese and japanese influences, and was designed for a short 7 minute animation along with three character meshes.

the total face count was just under 25,000 tri's which was the limit set and 30 (512x512) tp's at 24bit colour depth. The environment was fully rigged and included swaying tree's and foliage, leaves emmitting from the tree's due to wind influence, sliding doors and animated sunlight/glare.

4 lights were setup to light the entire environment (2 omni's, 1 spot and 1 direct).

The main influences came from the forth coming bioware title "Jade Empire" and tecmo's "Ninja Gaiden".

02 February 2005, 05:49 PM
I like!
The concept and modelling look great!
but i must say that it does seem to be "too busy"
My eye cant focus on one area because of the busyness.
I dont see how that could be fixed though, otherwise great scene!
can we see wire?

02 February 2005, 06:13 PM
i think the "busyness" you are referring to is the lack of depth due to flat lighting. That was my only critique, the lighting is extremely flat but then again im not quite sure what the exercise is about.

02 February 2005, 06:15 PM
I also believe that it is too busy. Maybe if you added shadows it would help but I'm afraid it could be the textures too because everything is more or less the same tint.

It looks good other than that, good job. :)

02 February 2005, 06:17 PM
I agree way to busy. Everything is jumping for attention perhaps because the textures seem to be out of scale with each other and the real world. There is also quite a bit of streching in areas. The textures also seem like you just manipulated photos and didnt add any real specific details of any one obect. I know I just said alot of thing and I'm not trying to bring you down, just telling you what I see. I do like the choice of theme as well as the world layout. There seems to be alot of interesting areas a player could hide/be in. Good Job.

02 February 2005, 07:07 PM
yeah i think it is the texturing.
i think the busyness is the only thing that lowered your mark to 80, to be honest the rest is great.

02 February 2005, 07:26 PM
thanx for feedback, i think the busyness is probably because i sharpened up the images in photoshop and by doing so, extra colour/details seem to have come out quite a bit.

here are two wires although it looks like quite a mess, im not sure you'll be able to make out anything too clearly from them:

02 February 2005, 09:53 PM
you have 5-sided polygons, i think you have to fix them :lightbulb

02 February 2005, 10:02 PM
That's quite the project, nice work! I do agree that the image looks too busy/loud. I think this is due to the lighting being too flat and the textures being very bright and uniform.

02 February 2005, 11:12 PM
Your textures have too many colors and are quire harsh in contrast/brightness too, it basically looks like a playstation environment now :P

Your surrounding mountain range can use a lot more detail too, its really low poly and simple right now

02 February 2005, 12:32 AM
when u mention the lighting being too flat, im not quite sure what u mean, could u please elaborate?

There is a tint to the lighting applied to the environment, this is basically to achieve the sunset mood i was going for, references for this approach were taken from my observations of screenshots from "Jade Empire" where there is a similar lighting feel in some of the environments. The textures in those screenshots are also quite vibrant and varying, never the less i can appreciate what u guys mean by the busyness, trust me the sharpening of these images only helps prove ur points. I think i felt that the rendered images were slightly too blurred for my liking and in affect i made the images too sharp.

02 February 2005, 01:08 AM
The lighting is "flat" in your renders because areas in your image are either in FULL SUNLIGHT or TOTAL SHADOW. There are no brighter areas of light baked into the textures, and no shadowy areas around the base of objects. You need these subtle shadows, in corners in rooms for example, to make your scenes believeable.

02 February 2005, 05:23 AM
very cool concept and nice setup but i think the problem with this level goes beyond sharpening in photoshop, you have many un smoothed polys and the textures to be completely honest with you look very ammature and just wouldnt cut it in games today, you have much stretching everywhere as well as to many varrying resolustions in the photos ur using to texture, also the photos u are using for the rocks are really bad, i would desaturate them, there would never be that much black, also the whole thing lacks uniformity, like the old masters, when they painted they had underpaintings, by that i mean, use some sort of texture under all your textures to bring it all together, ur color palette is so random that its just causeing to much confusion to make out whats going on, but like i said, good concept and the way you have everything layed out is perfect but you have alot to do. good luck

02 February 2005, 04:52 PM
I have to agree with what many of the others have already said. the colours are too saturated, too high in contrast. There is too much detail in the textures, the eye never gets a chance to rest or seek out the details. Try a more uniform colour scheme, try and make the textures more subtle. The lighting is also very flat. But apart from that I do like the modelling, the concept and the environment. Improve the textures and you'll have a nice level there.

02 February 2005, 06:16 PM
I am also gonna have to agree with everyone on the texturing. Your color palette is quite large. You should consider using less colors in the textures to give it a more uniform environment feeling. Take the inside of the temple as an example. I would say this is by far the best part of the temple. The color palette is smaller and does not feel so busy. You put some excellent detail into the walls, even though the wood could use some more work.

You could help out the animation with low lighting, however this will drown out the look of the rocks with all the black on them. Is it possible to see screenies from a final render?

02 February 2005, 04:38 AM
thanx for more feedback, i see what ur getting at with the lighting being flat, to be honest i completely overlooked that without realising, thanx for pointing it out!

if by stretching, you're referring to mostly the rock/stone textures i think i see ur point about lack of uniformaty, but with other objects and roof tiling textures etc, i kept to the same scaling while mapping.

i still personally don't have a problem with the outdoor palette. Some of you have mentioned perhaps desaturating the textures a bit, but i maintain that i was after a fantasy feel (don't really want to come off sounding like an excuse, but its the honest truth). By fantasy what i had in mind was vibrant colours e.g. like how u would find on traditional chinese clothing (reds yellows, greens). To me when i think of realism, i think saturation, but fantasy i think surreal, however this environment was built for an animation so busy look of the images didn't bother me too much as it wasn't really intended for still shots!

its quite surprising and refreshing actually at the difference in opinions between those recieved on this board and those from my actual course (they were quite opposite). Nevertheless i will learn from this project and take what people have commented on into serious consideration in my next one.

thanx again for the constructive feedback, especially the flat lighting, i completely missed that!

02 February 2005, 04:21 PM
Just a little Edit of one of the images. This can be done with most engines now. Vertex lighting is not that bad. I do not think you need to de saturate just have better use of lighting overall. I do not consider this the best lighting ever but it is an good start for you to take.

Hope this helps. I tend to learn more by visual examples than txt sometimes.

02 February 2005, 09:13 AM
very nice environment. but some things are kind of strange, linke the trees. the pink one is supposed to be a sakura-tree (isn't it?), wich is only pink in spring! but there are also red and yellow trees, so perhaps you were trying to make an autumn scene??

02 February 2005, 04:05 PM
^^yes u are correct in assuming it was supposed to be more of an autumn scene, its just that i love the pink tree so much i stuck it in there, and im not sure about the name u mentioned, as far as i know its a japanese cherry tree ;)

Desp#2/Rog - i like the edited image, did u do that in photoshop? or actually take the image into 3d program to add the lighting?

initially the environment did have more atmospheric lighting similar to ur edited image, but i found that the shadows engulfed too much of the landscape than i was prepared to accept.....mainly because it was a university project and i wanted the examiners to see the whole environment, i wasn't really after realism to a high degree but as most of u have mentioned the overall lighting was indeed flat and if it were for an actual game, i would have no doubt implemented a more suitable solution!

02 February 2005, 09:23 PM
it was all done in PS.

When I do lighting I tend to hide my mistakes in dark shadows. Lighting is what makes a flat environment come to life. Also as for seeing all the details in areas I rather see the details pop out instead of all be flat like the previous lighting. In your case it was busy as people stated and with the edited version some of the right details pop out. If your instructors are telling you they need to see all the details well I will say this… Not all details are meant to be seen. Sometimes you can a great deal of effect just with lighting alone and correct object placement. Doing silhouettes in the distance to enhance depth is best to do at times than putting a 500 poly tree. If an engine like Doom3 still relies on visual perception just by lighting and using masked textures you can gain a lot of effects with very simple methods. What is the point of an instructor pushing you in that direction… It just does not seem clear to me. Lighting like shapes and patterns help guide your eye to what is really important.

For the tree shadows you can do them with an alpha mapped texture so you have a nice leaf like shadows. For the rest you can use vertex lighting. I think one of the stickied threads has a few links of how to go at that.

Now that you have a scene work at it to get nice looking even if your no longer doing it for an assignment. Replacing some busy textures will also help. But that has already been said.

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