FXWARS Challenge:36 -SEVEN TOWERS - Gustavoeb (Gustavo E Boehs)

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  09 September 2012
FXWARS Challenge:36 -SEVEN TOWERS - Gustavoeb (Gustavo E Boehs)

This is my WIP thread
Dont know if Ill have enough spare time to go trough the end of this, but might as well give it a try. I'm getting on this boat by my own now, but if I can bring more people on board thatd be great, so I'll try to reach out to some people I know and see if they have any interest...

I'll probably go with:
PSAMATHE - Sand Desert
As I got a thing for desert, desert stories, desert movies, desert teams in AOM (Age of Mythology) so on and so forth.

My inital idea is to add a fallen take to the scene, as people moved on from the "nature religions" and Gaia's powers have weakened. The towers and its adjacent structures are now kept by a small group of trustful guardians.

Now onto watching desert movies the whole weekend to grab some visual ideas on what may look good as far as envoiroments and effects are concearned.
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  09 September 2012
hi.
do you mind posting the name of the movies here?
cheers.
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  09 September 2012
Originally Posted by manja: hi.
do you mind posting the name of the movies here?
cheers.


Originally Posted by manja: hi.
do you mind posting the name of the movies here?
cheers.


Well I can recomend some:
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • Sahara
  • Dune
  • Flight of the Phoneix (the origianal)
-R
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  09 September 2012
Sorry guys I was (am) out of town this week. but yeah lawerence is great. Very raw desert. Ive watched Prince of Persia which has some interesting fiery sands and sandstorm effects too.
ill look into your recommendations Mr. Ortiz. Dune looks like a great reference, and I was not aware there was an original Flight of th Phoenix. Great!
Before I left I had collected some reference images over the web. is it ok to post stuff we have no rights of, like stills from movies and concept arts from other artists, just as reference?
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  09 September 2012
first sketches

so here are some first sketches, I imagine a tower leaning to the side, almost falling. its being held by ropes that spread far, this ropes are the main structures for the tents of the guardians.
ruins surround the fallen tower, and a storm is coming...



sand crawls uppwards to the top of the tower, were it fuses in a glowing fiery effect that bursts into the sky...
well just some initial ideas

oh yeah, I should be using tower number 3 and going for full cg
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Last edited by gustavoeb : 09 September 2012 at 08:31 PM.
 
  09 September 2012
so as part of the challenge I thought it would be nice to create some tools that will help layout the scene. the first one of those will be a tool to sketch the volume of sand banks for the dune. I understand to some this may be counter intuitive, "just sketch it in ZBrush" you may say.
Writing the tool took no more then half an hour, althought it needs some polishing. But now I can draw dunes with curves+some extra inputs, ultra fast. If I need them moved around, or re-shaped, it is all procedural.

here is a gif of the tool working:


here is a brief explanation on how it works internally...
Based on the XZ distance to the curve, points are displaced in Y, as shown here:


Users can control how far out the sand bank reaches + how its profile look for both sides. Doing that is simple, all you need to do is multiply the Y value by an f-curve. The trick is to know which side is which. Sou you got to get the dot-product of a vector that points towards the curve and a unit vector pointing up in Y. If the angle between this vector and the tangency of the curve is greater then 90 degrees you should be in one side, if not you are on the other. as shown here:
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  10 October 2012
That is really cool. Should make the sand much easier to work with.

Your concept sounds fun.
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  10 October 2012
That script is totally cool!
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  10 October 2012
sand cummulation

Quote: Should make the sand much easier to work with

Hopefuly so, lets see if this procedural approach will hold, as long as quality is concern, for final image.

Quote: That script is totally cool!

Thanks. In theory its not a script though, it is an ICE compound
Ill share them by the end of the challenge, when they are polished enough... Ill sure Ill bump into some odd behaviour during layout.

Ok so here is the seccond tool Ive worked on in order for a smooth layout stage. This one will cumulate sand when assets collide with ground. Assets need to carie a weightmap with the amount of cumulated sand painted on them. This map could further be filled procedurally by some other input (like wind, noise, or something else)... but I think I rather paint it, as long as I dont have a gazzilion objects layed out.

Here is the tool working. Some params were not yet exposed (distance and blur ammount):


So yeah, this one works in two steps. First you need to query for how much sand should be there at your colliding object. You can do all nice stuff you want to that data, scale it by distance, blur it, whatever. Just remember to filter out points that are inside the coliding object when bluring, or else you will lose volume unwillingly. Keep this values in the fridge for later usage:


Now it was a bit of experimentation on how to get deformation to look right. Best results were achieved in this manner... Query for closest position on colliding geometry from the original PointPosition+Height. Blend original PointPosition with geometry query results using the map you previously stored in your fridge, remmap it to your liking:
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Last edited by gustavoeb : 10 October 2012 at 03:34 AM.
 
  10 October 2012
ICE powa!
Looks nice

Keep it comming
 
  10 October 2012
awesome man!
ice looks like houdini doesn't it?

makes me wonder why i'm still using maya!
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  10 October 2012
High frequency detail

So I should be doing more sketches and laying out some assets, but I cant seem to be able to stop connecting nodes. Now it is time for some rendering and defining the finer detail of the surfaces. I'll try to stick to the procedural workflow I've beggined with.
So 9 out of 10 times I'll throw some fractal noise at my surfaces, stretch it, tile it and DONE. Not so this time, no standard procedural texture in SI can seem to give me this look:


So we got to dive a bit deeper. In SI there are two types of texture nodes: TEXTURES and TEXTURE GENERATORS. The first type is very easy to use, all options in one place kind of thing and allow for a certain amount of customization. Texture Generators on the other hand are nodes that only generate textures but lack some basic info like UVs for example, you can then fill in this data with other nodes for maximum customization! GREAT!

So I get a basic Wave Texture Generator, all I can do is change the amplitude of my waves in U, V and W. Looks very blend:

But we can do anything with the UV vectors we pass on to a Texture Generator node, including displacing it with some noise, like so:

Not so boring anymore:

After rescaling and applying that map to the displacement, this is how it looks:

Also we need to add a bumpmap for very high frequency detail:

Ok, this is not the final shading, but I like where this displacement is going... And it is still all procedural.
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  10 October 2012
Layout

Ok, so moving away from techy stuff a bit. Ive grabbed the tower model and together with the tools aforementioned did a basic layout based on my initial concepts... I did a camera animation and a color study, here they are:




I think it is all too blend right now, but I dont know where to go... Any suggestions? Dont want to move forward until a nice concept is layed out.
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  10 October 2012
Id suggest finding some really good photo refs to start off. Your colour study is very extreme in saturated reds which i've never seen in a desert. Sand is often very desaturated.
Try and get some colour ideas from some photos and see if you can find a mood you would like. With your technical ability you dont want to fall down when it comes to the artistic side. If you can find even just a few photos that capture the mood you want, you will benefit greatly from it!
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  10 October 2012
Originally Posted by gustavoeb: I think it is all too blend right now, but I dont know where to go... Any suggestions? Dont want to move forward until a nice concept is layed out.

Originally Posted by gustavoeb: I'll probably go with:
PSAMATHE - Sand Desert
As I got a thing for desert, desert stories, desert movies, desert teams in AOM (Age of Mythology) so on and so forth.

Why do you have a thing for deserts? What is it about them that you like so much. Figure that out and it may help you. Ultimately you're going to enjoy the process a lot more if you design your project around something you like. Not just the topic but the specifics as well. Take that and then make us appreciate deserts as you do through the finished product.

Personally when I think of deserts I like, I think of Dune. I love the Fremen and that entire culture in the first Dune book. Maybe your concept shouldn't be the ruins of a lost desert kingdom but instead show them in their prime.

Great start, find your path and start walking.
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