Tracery, I just adore some lovely tracery!

Work In Progress / 04 September 2021

Mhm, that fancy wood carving bit around the windows/cabinets/stainedglass, or is often the case, stonework, tracery. My home is gradually evolving into a castle full of the stuff, I might have to tone it down...but not today!

Here is the updated Divination Moon Shop! Two big updates

I imported all models into Unreal Engine.

This took me a while as I individually brought each mesh to the origin in Maya, deleted the history, and exported to FBX for Unreal. (Do you prefer obj or fbx for your Unreal scenes?) Then I placed them on top of the original block out that was imported a big single mesh. This is great, because I'm at the point where I can work on the asset gym and just reimport the mesh with new texture/detail/materials etc.

Asset gym imported meshes below.

And then the tracery my dear, yes the tracery.

First, I sketched on top of the concept in Procreate to get a feel for how I interpreted the structure.

With confidence that the idea was functional, I modeled it in simple planes. This reduced the amount of geo to work with and sped up the process. I could easily move meshes backwards and forwards to get the desired overlapping interactions.

I delayed adding this because while it is important it seemed like a bit of luxury detail focus. I specifically waited until the larger shapes were in, and the bulk of the less exciting elements were blocked out.

I adore the way the tracery block out looks. It adds much needed heart and soul to the model.

EDIT: It is a bit late and I'm checking off for some delightful sleep. I forgot to include the beautiful original concept by Lok Du, so, rather hurriedly tossed in, here you go!

Getting Unreal now.

General / 21 August 2021

I'm bringing my meshes from the asset gym to the origin, ensuring the pivot point is where I want it, and exporting to FBX one by one. I've heard OBJ is less error prone than FBX but it isn't requested by here we go again on the testing of the FBX versus OBJ.

I then started importing the meshes into Unreal, so that when I update the meshes with detail and material, it will easily repopulate my scene. I'm starting to really like the look of it. Unreal import in progress below, you can see the overlapping blockout and imported individual static meshes. 

Happy First Crash Day!

General / 20 August 2021

A year ago, Maya crashed on me for the first time. 

A year goes by so quickly, and I'm grateful to you for helping me come so far. I've had a hard time putting into words without feeling cheesy, the emotion I get when I think of the awesomeness of the 3D learning community, and also of my family, and friends, and the artists who are long gone who figured out things like chiaroscuro, or perspective, or even the creators of procedural texturing and real time game engines. Thinking back on the day my mother stayed up late into the night programming the Commodore 64, sending a small boat floating up and down the screen, "Look what I did!" she said to my dad after hours of hard work, "Look!"

"Wow, that's amazing!" he said, "Now what?"

And because my mother didn't have a drive on which to save her creation, they powered it off and the boat is left only in my memory.

It is small victories, and small failures in life that stack up eternal, and, I know to my core that I stand on the shoulders of giants.

So when I say thank you for helping me grow, it seems barely enough. Thank you.

Shiny roof = no lumpy roof

Work In Progress / 14 August 2021

I'm excited about the roof, but let's face it...I had the most fun blocking out the floor lamps on the landing. :D


The roof is shiny because I set the material to Blinn to help identify lumps. While I don't mind lumps in my mashed potatoes, I do mind them on my organic curvy roof. 

  I admit, this entire time I've been dead set on working macro to micro...and I wanted a break so I put some TLC into these enchanting floor lamps.

  I also, have a lovely modular floor started.  Sculpting in ZBrush is starting to feel like riding a bike. Subdivision levels are making sense now.

Lovely Modular Floor

So far this Environment Art for Unreal class has been pretty helpful, it seems to tie a lot of the pieces together in a way that sticks. Either that or I'm getting that sweet sweet muscle memory.

Happy modeling.

Divination Moon Shop Update

Work In Progress / 06 August 2021

Extruding the roof highlighted some non-manifold geometry hiding in the rafters ;) To that end I cleaned up the roof and adjusted so that the two roof pieces fit together now. I've decided to let the two roof pieces smash into each other. I believe that will give me more control of the texturing later. I can cover the seam up with a strip of trim.

Here is where I'm at in Maya. I included a shot of the roof wireframe. If you have a critique or feedback to help me improve, I'd love to hear it.

Divination Shop Blockout in Unreal 5

General / 03 August 2021

I decided to go with UE5 on this after listening to my teacher Peyton Varney's feedback on his tests so far. He says, overall pretty similar to UE4 with the exceptions of lumen and nanite. I'm still going to design this for games, so high to low poly baking etc.  I've got beautiful hanging colored lights in my concept and am excited to set up emissive materials for them, see how that goes. 

Making progress on the shop.

General / 31 July 2021

My scene block out is finally coming together!

Baking Maps for Games Reading List

General / 25 July 2021

In theory baking maps and UVs is pretty straightforward, especially when it is working as planned. Despite that, some light reading is in order.

Baking Maps for Games Reading List

* ========================================== *


The Toolbag Baking Tutorial by Lead Artist at Marmoset Joe Wilson
In-depth with examples. Read iiiit.

UV Mapping Beginner's Tips by RizomUV
In-depth with some nice specific settings info unrelated to RizomUV.
"If you have to stack and flip, make sure to use an FBX export with tangents and binormals checked."

Normal Map Specific

Bit Depth and How Compression Affects Normal Maps by 3D Artist at CG Cookie  Jonathan Lampel
Unity Focus - Dated but helpful

Height Maps vs Normal Maps (Video 03:22)
Illustrated Normal Tangent Space, Object Space, and World Space

Banding Errors

Banding in Games by Mikkel Gjoel

Takeaways for my current Marmoset Toolbag 4 baking project with final render in Unity.

  • Height Map - To ensure that your zero point is 50%, set the min and max values proportionally, for instance, -5 and 5
  • Smooth the cage, get more skew, less crazy edges. Fix skew with skew paint.
  • Try split uvs instead of continuous.
  • Make sure to triangulate your mesh before importing it into Toolbag. (triangulation mismatch causes x-shaped smoothing errors )
  • Right handed (OpenGL) for Unity (handedness can be overridden via the normal map settings in the Baker object by clicking the Flip Y checkbox )
  • Dither Map
  • 8-bit tga, 16-bit tiff (Unity alpha 2020.2.0a13 supports 16-bit formats as of June 2020)
    Baking to a higher bit depth (16-bit) helps to remove banding, and down-converting to 8-bit with dithers (in Photoshop) to more effectively cram the values into the 8 bit space. Screen captures from Bit Depth and How Compression Affects Normal Maps


Technicolor Nightmare

General / 24 July 2021

This is what happens when the distance is off on a bake.

You could stop scrolling now and save some cones in your eyes.


I warned you.

Why? Why did you do this??

Blockout Progress - All dem shapes

Work In Progress / 17 July 2021

Cut out more of my faces to start letting some air run through the shop.