Winning the Artstation Challenge & Moving Forward

General / 30 March 2021

Hello!


It's that time again for another update, so what has happened in my life lately? Well!


We got ourselves a puppy a while ago, her name is Ginza. It was slap in the middle of the Artstation Challenge which severely hampered my motivation in the middle of the whole thing but I did spend the last week pushing more time into by forcing myself to do it even though I was exhausted by taking care of the puppy.

and I ended up winning.. somehow.

(alternative banner shot)

Generally if you didn't check my art-station challenge post, I've uploaded the final work here:
(https://www.artstation.com/artwork/nYBz4o)

The main purpose of this piece was to explore my ability to create soulful and striking art whilst limiting my color-range, and as usual with these challenges I tend to focus on very specific things I want to learn or explore for it. I also decided to go with my own concept design, the reason is because personally I feel like there is definitely value to learning how to create your own designs and not always rely on copying someone elses concept. At some point in ones artistic journey you'd want to make things that are solely your own and I hit this point for sure maybe 3-4 years ago where I started focusing way more on just...becoming better at doing this. 


Progression Shot:


So what is happening next? Well, as soon as my life calms down a little bit more I can start making art again, generally I'd want to put more of an effort back into game-development so I guess that is the stuff you'll see in the future.

I guess I'll give a shoutout again to my Twitch & Patreon. I guess if you're interested in my thought-process when I make art or learn some of the tricks that I use when working then maybe it might be a good choice for you to check out.

(Or if you wanna see the puppy on stream which is the reason most people come to it) 


and if you're wondering what we're creating on stream, here is a quick work-in-progress screenshot of that:


It's a bit different from other things I've been doing , we're making something STALKER like and we're focusing on composition & mood. We also talk about how to set things up from scratch as we go. The thought of it is to create several areas of interest which can be moved through with a camera that ends up inside of this abandoned military base, and we create composition and ideas on the fly by talking through things.

I usually stream on Tuesdays at 8pm CET and if you end up missing the stream I always update the videos to my Patreon page, I also update the Patreon page with secret sauce knowledge articles written by myself.

 So be sure to check it out!
Twitch & Patreon


Until next time!
Warping out

//Chris Radsby

Art Streaming & Mentoring for the Masses

General / 17 February 2021

Hello There!

Some people have been wondering about what I'm doing on my art-streams so I thought I'd do a quick gathering of the topics I've been covering and some screenies from the stream. Essentially what I'm teaching in my streams is what I teached my mentees the last 2 years but I do for the masses instead.

If you like this idea, please consider joining my Patreon to help me in my quest of world domination & glory.

In reality it's a way for me to be able to fund me keeping on doing this in my spare time, buying UE4 marketplace stuff and reviewing them and if in the future it goes well, then maybe it could potentially fund me spending more time teaching/mentoring and maybe even some game-development. But hey...starting small, for now I'm just teaching people what I've taught my mentees whilst having a good time making art.

 You will also find articles I've written about this stuff as well the streaming sessions that are directly uploaded to the patreon after each session.

Here is my twitch, for the ones interesting in joining my sessions live. They are currently happening every tuesday at 8PM CET. 

(http://www.twitch.tv/chrisradsby)


Session 01 - Getting Started

1h Fundamentals

1h Starting Scene from scratch

In the first session we spent an hour going through some art fundamentals before we even started doing some art. Then we actually started working on the scene without any reference, just an idea of what could potentially be the Setting/Atmosphere and we did compositional work & talking through the thought-process as we went along.

We covered these topics:

  • Going through the basics
  • Choosing the Right Scene
  • Gathering Reference
  • Composition
  • Infusing Narrative
    • Using Composition to your advantage for your Narrative


We basically had something nice going in 2 hours :)

Streaming Session 02 - Continuing with Fundamentals

1h Fundamentals

1h Art in the Scene
 

In the second session we went through:

  • What to think about when making Blockouts
  • Blockout Techniques
  • Lighting Fundamentals and Why we do a first pass early
  • Planning / Organizing your work

And then we continued doing some art on our scene, found some weird Raytracing-specific issues, figured it out. Started talking about what the scene could turn into and trying a new compositional angle.


So yeah if you're interested in following the progress and learn together with the others then I suggest you hop onto the streams and the patreon!

Until Next Time!
Warping out

//Chris Radsby

2021 - New Avenues

General / 30 January 2021

Hey there!

The times have gone fast and 2020 has really been a great and fun year for me to learn new things and explore new aveneus as a game-developer. So for 2021 I have some big news to share with you guys.

I have decided to leave the Mentor Coalition. 

My two years together with the Mentor Coalition has been great, I love the opportunities Josh and his team has given me but now I'm readying myself for trying out a new format. This new format will rely on me regurarly streaming me creating art, having educational art & game-development streams and sharing some more exclusive access to some of my stuff on Patreon. In general, I'd like to spend some more time building my social medias and gaining followers that would be interested in getting mentored by me during streams but also later on 1-on-1 opportunities as well.

So, to start small. I will start up weekly Art & Game-development streams.

http://twitch.tv/chrisradsby

Every Tuesday at 8pm CET starting on February 9th I will stream when I work on my art or game-development.  It'll start with a once-a-week stream and eventually grow to something more.


I will also launch my Patreon. It'll be a slow start, but my followers on Patreon would get more access to some of the stuff I'm doing and open up more learning opportunities and maybe potentially help me fund some of the time that I want to put into doing art, mentoring and game-development on the side. If you've been following me for a while then you know that my interest in game-development as a whole have grown and I would love to one day be able to truly call myself a one-man solo dev, and hopefully you guys can be there to grow and learn with me.

 So if you're like me that enjoys environment art but possible also technical things like tech art or game-development in UE4? Well then maybe my patreon would be a good entrance-point for you to partake in all of that.

http://www.patreon.com/chrisradsby

So what is happening with my mentoring now?

 Well right now not much, I need to focus on getting these new things in order first. If you're still interested in me mentoring you then please contact me here on Artstation and we can talk about it. I would also like to thank all of my mentees that have stuck by me during the years of me mentoring, you guys have been awesome and it's been a lot of fun so I thought I would highlight some of you guys in my portfolio as well.


https://www.artstation.com/artwork/KrdZgG


That's it! Be sure to stay tuned as I'm going to update things here & on my patreon to reflect some of the new changes that are happening.


  Warping out!

//Chris Radsby

The World of Cyberpunk 2077 - Through the Lens

General / 22 December 2020


 

Hello there!

So I've spent the last 100 hours of my spare time playing Cyberpunk 2077. During this time I've really tried to enjoy myself playing the game and I found myself spending hours inside of the photo-mode. I've been trying to capture the world away from what you see in your regular cutscenes and frame them in a way that makes it look like high-quality main-content using the in-game photomode with no third party editing afterwards. These are shots that you might potentially just see for a moment during your play but never really consider twice. I'm here to give you that second look though.

There are no obvious spoilers inside here but I'll give a warning anyways!

If you look closely, if you spend some time immersing yourself in the game, spend some time in your car, listening to the rain falling onto your car roof you'll find that there is a lot of personality in Night City, lots of mystery and plenty of alluring areas to explore. 

It's a beautifully crafted game, despite its' flaws,  so tip of the hat to the craftsmen over at CD Project Red. 

My 100 hours have been well-spent in your game and thank you <3

 

 



New Horizons - What have I been doing this year and since my latest update

Making Of / 17 October 2020

Hello There!

This year has been interesting so far, apart from the horrors of the pandemic it's been a year of learning, self-discovery and new horizons.
Early this year I decided to once again to completely change 3D-package. I decided to move on from Modo and into Blender.

The way I do this generally is to just uninstall any other 3D Package I might have and concentrate fully on learning the new package. As for my art, behind the scenes my art has gone through some more changes, I've been learning how to rig, how to animate & going deeper into learning about how to set up VFX.

My two-three latest personal projects are basically the result of what I've been learning from January -> June a lot of which I've also covered here in my blogposts.



June marked a new beginning for me. It's the month that I decided to re-learn C++. I learned C++ in high-school, but back then the application for it was never learning it for video-games it was about creating PC Software stuff and it never really stuck all that well. Now however, I decided to relearn it and deep fully into trying to become a one-man army game developer.

I'll try and list my journey  of learning since June.

  • Programming: C++ Basics
  • Programming: UE4 C++ Basics
  • Blender: Creating Armatures/Skeletons
  • Blender: Creating Rigs
  • Blender: Animation
  • UE4: Learning Blueprints
  • UE4: Learning how to use the Animation Graph
  • UE4: Coding Health/Stamina Systems
  • UE4: Coding NPCs & Simple Behaviors
  • UE4: Dealing with Items/PIckups/Weapons
  • UE4: Player/NPC Attacks & Damage
  • UE4: Item/Enemy Spawning Volumes
  • UE4: Level Change, Saving & Loading
  • UE4: Setting up a Custom Character (from Blender -> UE4)
  • UE4: Setting up Multi-Skeletal Mesh Character for Character Customization
  • UE4: Created an "Eye-LookAt" function for my Character.
  • UE4: Implemented my own Freeform Climbing System that works with moving & rotating Objects
  • UE4: Learned how to use IK with the Animation Graph
  • UE4: Implemented more character traversal: Learned how to set up Mantling
  • UE4: Created my own "Rope Gun" a la Thief (Spawns a rope on location and unfolds into a longer rope)
  • UE4: Run-time Spline Creation for Random Awesome things you can do with Splines
  • UE4: Created my own Rope-Swinging System
  • UE4: Decided to learn UMG for UI/UX
  • UE4: Learned how to setup controller navigation in Menues
  • UE4: Decided to create my own Inventory System


This basically covers 3-4 months of me learning things on the side of the 8 hours I spend every day at work.

Game-development isn't at all fancy, it's nitty gritty and most of the time things just look whack and considering that, most of what I have recorded isn't probably interesting enough for you guys to look at for the blog, but I thought I'd just show two things that really had me feeling "wow, this is going somewhere".

Developed a new look at function for the custom character I implemented.


Of course there has been a lot of head-aches during this time and I think generally I've gotten a deeper understanding and appreciation for the work that others put into these things and since a lot of this stuff isn't very exciting to look at, here is a quick video-straight from the editor of me trying my own swinging system that I made from scratch.

Kinda cool huh? Blood, Sweat & Tears I guess! But it's been a lot of fun for me though! 

Now you know what I'm up to, and the reason I'm not actively posting art-blog things anymore. I'm busy learning more about game-development as a whole and I'm not gonna lie:

 I'm loving it :D

but there are still plenty of time left until the end of the year so let's continue working hard and learning new things eh?

Warping out!

/Chris Radsby  

Creating a Series Pt 16 - Legacy Project - Updating the Canopy Shader

Making Of / 04 June 2020

Hey there!

So I was kinda unhappy with my current versions of trees canopies, which is kinda funny since I've already released this scene "officially" haha but there is never anything wrong with upgrading your art & scene performance!

In terms of my needs for a visual look that works from all distances the original canopies were:

  • Obvious looking polygon cards
  • Inconsistent from all Distances (ie with the shadowing and AO acting differently form all ranges)
  • Probably a bit too "realistically shaded"
  • Not enough stylized control.
SO. I spent an hour early this morning reworking the shader


Here is what they look like from a distance with LODs included.


So the new shader does basically everything I want it to:

  • It makes the tree canopies shade more consistently across a distance, even with LODs optimizing the heck out of the trees.
  • The shader is more performant and runs faster than the previous shader. (Better visuals + better performance woop!)
  • The look is more unified and easier to deal with for production
  • I have way more control over the Stylization of the Canopies. (How bright, how colorful, how dark the shaded side is etc)
    • Ie I can change everything easier, so even if the shaded side is to dark I can easily change that and if I want them to not be as dark in the distance etc etc.


Here is a quick gif of time-of-day and how the canopy shading acts.


So I'd like to think this mornings efforts was a success!

Until next time!
Warping out!

/Chris Radsby 

Creating a Series Pt 15 - Finalizing the Forester Camp

Making Of / 23 May 2020

Hello!

It's been a while since I last posted , I thought I'd give some updates on what's currently happening!

https://www.artstation.com/artwork/6a96v0 

So most of you already know but I've finalized one area of my open world art project Legacy. I decided to go ahead and finalize it so I actually have something to show people when they ask about what I'm currently doing and planning for the future.

Super happy that I'm getting a lot of attention and love for this piece. I think this style is something that I've kinda been trying to do for a long time, ever since I made my stylized attempt at Konoha a long time ago.

I think what inspires me the most is games that I've enjoyed as a kid most notably Zelda Ocarina of Time and the tranquility of Lake Hylia.

The Nintendo 64 days, it's weird how they affected me that much to the point where I want to make art and worlds just like it. I think most people have some kind of trigger for the art that they want to make though and this is just one of mine. Together with Outcast from Appeal back in 1999. (which I'm also currently replaying with the complete visual remake).


Project Legacy

it still lives like you can see and I'll continue my explorations into the world I'm creating but I also thought that I would show some development stuffs while I currently have your attention.

Added the new sky/atmospherics, trying out the volumetric clouds and whilst doing this I just ended up improving the lighting and color-grading.




The birds are Morph Target animations (Blendshapes/keys?) that I modeled in Blender then used a script to apply the vertex positions into the UVs and then use UE4 to read them and blend between the morph targets. So that way it became a convenient Static Mesh + Material which I could easily feed into a particle system. Looking back I'm sure just using vertex-blended Sine Waves would be just as good but I wanted to try to get the workflow working in Blender and learn how to do it so I did haha.

I've also been looking into doing some small grass / moss type things so I've been looking into efficent workflows of setting that up inside of Blender. So far the results have been good but I've yet to figure out a super optimal way to do it though but the shading is fluffy and works at least.

I'm also tried making a Gerstner Wave Material Function that I can use to plug into my water eventually. I will probably only use it for oceans though and not lakes. I will eventually try to blend it with the Distance Fields along the shore to have the waves calm down and turn into shore-waves.

Oh yeah and I made this little camp tent, just super quickly with Blenders Cloth tools and some new wind particles that are more optimized.



For the next area I'm going to go something new. Even though I like the deserty stuff that I was working on I kinda need to transfer all of that into the single-level that I'm creating. Before I used World Composition to make everything which is good but it also made my life more annoying in many ways. So I'm gonna see if I can just create everything in the one single-level.


Oh well, until next time!

Warping out!

/Chris Radsby  


Cyberpunk Challenge - Part 04 - [UE4] Detailing Animations / VFX / Drone / Rain / Char

General / 01 April 2020

Hey there!


I've been slowly working my way through this , I was already in quite a good position time-wise during this contest so now I'm just adding more stuff that I find fun and I try to teach myself more stuff in the mean-time. Since the last post I've done a bunch some of which I'll show you just below here, but first :)


Answering some more questions:

How do you have time for all the things? 

  • I tend to preach this all the time but people tend to overscope, a lot. The "secret" with mine is that I went with a really tiny scene art-production wise and an even less heavy art-production pipeline. The only real texture I have in this scene is the concrete texture. Which is just a tiling simply concrete-texture, there aren't even any normal maps.

  • The point is that to make art you don't have to really rely on really time-consuming workflows and for me, that's perfect since I don't actually want to spend a lot of time making lots and lots of unique props or textures.

  • Top down approach, work on bigger things first, things that take up most of the screen-space. (Screen real-estate) those are the most important things (except for hero props). Once most of those things are sorted out start with smaller things, it makes things easier when it comes prioritizing your work.

  • I guess the last point I want to make is that: I make time for it. By sacrificing other things in my life
    but that said as well, I also do the above stuff, I make sure that I don't do something too detailed or something that has too many unique things going on.

Keying Lightning Strike


Drone:

I decided to quickly model a drone, I also taught myself how to Rig and Skin it in Blender AND getting it imported into Unreal. Sad thing is that I later realized you can't seem to access the bones in the sequence editor? (correct me if I'm wrong anybody). So that I would have to do most of the animations in a 3rd party software like Blender and import animation data. I was kinda hoping I could just do it all from sequencer so if anybody 

knows how to do that let me know ! ^__^


Testing the rig in Blender


Imported rig in UE4.


Shading and look inside of UE4.


Character VFX:
So for the character I kinda wanted a pulse as well, maybe even a small pocket computer that would have a display on it. What I quickly realized though is that it's kinda hard to make something all cool and sci fi and have it be visible without too much noise or ehm... focus in the scene. So right now this is what I have until I figure something better out.


Lighting Strikes:
The Lightning strikes are polygon modelled. ie , you take a picture of a lightning strike and you start to edge-model it from the side. Then you make sure it has depth by going into different directions) Then you make sure that it has a gradient, from the starting point to the end point which you can "Fill up" during it's life-time as a particle.

You can probably also do this type of stuff with a texture-card , as long it has a gradient, but if you want really clean looking things without compression issues this is probably the better way to go. If you want to be really optimized you can do a channel packed texture or even more optimized 1 channel with several strikes with different gray-scale values and a gradient made in the shader.


Electrical Arc:
It's a beam-particle with a stylized electrical material. The beam itself has several subdivision with added noise to it to make it jump around during it's life-time.


Rain:
I think my biggest concerns with most of my scenes is that I always want them to feel somewhat alive, somewhat realized and with things happening. The rain I wanted there but most people tend to do really obvious rain-effects, like if it's raining you notice but most of the time looking out the window you don't really spot all the rain so I tried to make sure it was pretty subtle from a distance.


Cyberpunk Challenge - Part 03 - Fleshing things out

Making Of / 12 March 2020


Hey there!


So I've been working kinda slowly lately, a lot of stress popping up now at work and in my life in general I feel but I have tried getting some art-time in.  I do feel like I'm heading somewhere good? Let's hope so at least. Let me know what you think! But first!


Answering some more questions:

Whos' design is this? Do you have a concept?

  • No concept! These days I design my scenes mostly by myself since I want to create artwork that is unique to me.
  • Inspirations I have plenty, mostly for popular cyberpunk shows and animé. 

Teach me senpai !?

  • Sorry to say that I'm somewhat overworked lately, so I'm trying to focus a bit more on myself. I will however continue with my mentorships when things calm down :)


So the main things I've been working on since my last result

  • Detailing foreground by adding more pipes, decal text, more lights.
  • UVd my sewer tunnel, made a concrete texture.
  • Made a flying paper VFX, added some small moving cloth bits (vertex shader)
  • Made electric arc VFX.
  • Scaled the character up
  • Added more detail along ralings
  • Made a powerline thingie + pipes leading into the hole
  • Added emissive around the hole in the back, to light up when the eletric arc VFX hits it.
  • Added a hole on the right side, with some green light coming out and trying to add more interest to the foreground
  • Moved my camera back to be able to add more detail in the foreground and puss less attention on the background.


The flying paper VFX with the spawn-rate turned to stupid.


Progression shot


and the current update, a video showing everything in motion in it's current state.


That's all folks.
If you have any questions let me know!

Warping out!

/Chris Radsby

Cyberpunk Challenge - Part 02 - Figuring stuff out

General / 29 February 2020

Heya!

So I thought it was time to write another blogpost regarding what I've been doing lately. So generally I haven't spent too much time on the Cyberpunk scene, I've just been doing small stuff here and there that I've found fun/interesting since I've been somewhat swamped in work and other things BUT I have made some things but first up:


More information about my scene

  • It's completely rendered in real-time in Unreal Engine 4.
  • It's real time dynamic lighting, no RTX-features.
  • I'm going for a stylized look. (influenced by animé) I don't want to make it realistic.
    • Character is cel-shaded with no baked textures, only colored polygons.
  • I'm currently not doing any heavy production workflows, ie no high-poly/low-poly baking etc etc.


Flying Cars VFX 

- Mesh Emitter + Lens Flare

What it does is take any mesh you feed it and emits them as mesh particles. These have an attached lensflare to them as well and they just push them in a certain direction. It's probably the easiest way to go about this type stuff.

I also have lightning strikes going on around the scene with a big light to add more to the mood of the scene.


Cable Physics

Physical cables that have a start-point and an end-point. They conform after the COL-geometry around them.
Makes it easier to get natural looking cables hanging and lying around. For more elaborate setup a mesh-spline is probably the better choice.


World Location Pulse Emissive

I've used this before, this world location pulse is a material-function that I can plug into post processing, materials or lights. It allows me to set a point in the world and have a pulse-be generated from that location . That pulse I can use as a mask to do different cool things. It's sometimes handier to use if you need a pulse originating from a location spreading in all directions.


Progression shot

So I decided to show progress from even earlier stages of my blockout, my first post showed a couple of shots in since I felt like there wasn't really much to show at the moment but I also thought that some people thought appreciate to see the whole thing. So with every blogpost moving forwad I'll show the full progression.


Latest Shot

Below is the absolutely latest video-shot of my scene . I still have lots to do but I'm trying to take it easy and not kill myself.


"


A "short" list of stuff I still have to do.

  • Fix the scale issues I'm currently having, need to re-adjust things now that I've decided to show more in my scene.
  • Add more opportunities for story-telling in the foreground and don't be afraid to change things up to make it look more interesting.
  • Probably add rain or something else to increase atmosphere and mood. My only worry is that it might end up too noisy.
  • Figure out a better design for Character Helmet
  • Figure out a better design for the power-generator he's jacking into
  • Add more detail to the foreground sewer opening
  • Add more detail to the circular opening in the background
  • Actually do a pass on the buildings
  • Add huge power-lines from the green area below leading to the circular red shape.
  • Figure out VFX for the power-lines.
  • Add more car variations to the Flying Car Mesh Emitter.
  • Make small detail props to place around the foreground



So there you go :)
If you have any questions let me know!

Warping out!

/Chris Radsby