For this project I will research how light influences a scene's look and it's mood. It will be heavily influenced by an image that one of my friends took in Paris.
The idea is to reconstruct this image and to make it feel like the viewer is there. To make this happen I will add sound, camera movement and animated lights.
Above that, the goal is to make the scene to have a looping day to night cycle. This way the ambience changes and thus the mood.
Depending on the time that I have, I might add a full stairwell to where the player is standing so that the player can look around.
P.S. Click images to enlarge
Started with modeling some simple geometry and blocking the scene in Maya. Since the picture is shot on an iphone I am contemplating wether to use the same portrait shooting view or the standard landscape view. I think it makes more sence and the composition looks better like this in my opinion. Perhaps in the future phones will be able to run this "game" and people can hold it as usual.
UV Mapped and textured the windows. Began to assemble everything in Unity.
Today was a struggle. I tried making the ivy in front of the window. First custom with extruded mesh on a curve and Mash, later with maya paintfx since it's way quicker.
I then wanted to bake everything to a plane. I could not get the color to bake and the lowest amount of polygons for the mesh was 50.000.
For now i just added the highpoly mesh to my scene. It looks good and runs well. Though getting optimized plants is something that I need to learn in my opinion. I will probably make the ivy from scratch using a different workflow once I know how.
Made the store and added depth behind the windows.
Beginning to look like the reference now.
The store is pretty flat, but adding just a little depth helps the look of it.
Another day adding details. Mainly curtains and bird poo on the store :).
A good thing that I learned today was a little trick a friend told me. The trick was to render images of geometry in Maya (I render with Arnold) and then bake the results to a plane in Substance Designer.
I tried this technique today with a simple fence to see what the workflow was like. Obviously this fence could have just been added to the scene as 3D geometry, but the goal of this test was to later use this procedure for the ivy plant.
I will still have to reproduce the plant mesh in it's entirety. But this time I can break it up in parts and bake several versions to flat textures, so that I can art direct the ivy much more.
Found out about a program called "An Ivy Generator". This was the perfect tool for me to make the highpoly plants for baking. So following the same procedure as the fence, I baked 5 variations to textures. Though after replacing the old ivy with the new one it did not seem right. The plants where way too flat and dense.
So I decided to keep the old ivy and use the new ones for background perposes. Even though there aren't any in the reference, a little green always looks nice.
For some reason I began to lose interest and motivation for this project. It felt like it wasn't going to get anywhere near the quality I wanted to reach.
In order to see the bigger picture again, I took a couple of days off this project and watched a bunch of tutorials regarding a different software (substance designer). After some days my motivation got back when working with substance designer. However I channeled that into this project.
A random vision had hit me of an abandoned spiral stairwell with blue-ish tiles and natural lighting. It looked so cool that I just decided to add it to the project. And that's what I did.
Now it's an interactive experience in which you can walk and look around a little. Still far from done obviously.
After a long break I finally made some progress again. The stairwell wasn't a part of the plan and that threw me off.
In order to proceed I took a couple of steps back and removed the stairwell from the scene, back to original.
Above that the scene now has some ambient street sounds and I made a second scene at nighttime with animated "car" lights.
The deadline was coming up so I fixed the last few things that needed fixing.
It is now a playable executable and with one click on the left mouse button the scene switches from day to night and vice versa.
Unfortunately the lights that I animated with the sounds of cars driving by have disappeared and I am out of time to fix that.
To the right is a video of the final product. Keep in mind that is was intended to be a screensaver.