Unity - WTF is going on

General / 15 July 2022

Hey guys!


Like a lot of you guys know, I've been delving into learning Unity with the plans of potentially making game prototypes and creating tutorial resources for it. However in the last few weeks of me evaluating it and especially in the last few days I'm just left with a bitter taste in my mouth regarding some of the high-level directional choices that Unity are making.


Unity Merging with IronSource:

https://twitter.com/sh4na/status/1547220546458361859


Unity Game Developers obviously not being happy about Unitys Direction

https://twitter.com/gamemakerstk/status/1547313023236427777


Unity decided to shut down Unity Anwers and then went back on their decision [Support forum for Devs]
(they decided to shut it down, community hated it , because its obviously a bad decision.)

https://forum.unity.com/threads/unity-answers-shutdown-canceled.1293360/#:~:text=On%20June%2023rd%2C%20Unity%20Answers,on%20the%2023rd%20of%20June.


Unity CEO calling its user-base "Fucking Idiots"

https://mobilegamer.biz/devs-not-baking-monetisation-into-the-creative-process-are-fucking-idiots-says-unitys-john-riccitiello


Unity Cancelling Gigaya


https://forum.unity.com/threads/introducing-gigaya-unitys-upcoming-sample-game.1257135/page-2#post-8278305


I think the cancellation of Gigaya is somewhat of the last straw for me, because Unity has issues for medium and large scale development. It's the number one complaint from its game dev user-base, Unity doesn't have a flagship game that push their own tech forward, that makes the engine better for everybody, that inspires its users to push onwards. Game development is hard and costly, and they cancelled it because of these reasons believing that they've learned "enough" and its not worth pushing further. It's just proof of the fact that Unity can't even push through their own issues of their own game development.

They don't believe in game development enough to even support their own internal game dev team financially. In the end, they make it really hard to defend them or Unity as an engine you want to stand behind.

in fact, it's so hard to defend that most successful games don't even advertise the fact that they are made in Unity and most devs actually pay to remove the Unity Splash Logo in their game. It's even advertised as the first feature of their Unity Plus subscription.

^ Right there, the first feature in the list of features of the Plus subscription.

So yeah, it's hard to defend them at times like this. Does this mean that you can't make great games in Unity? No, of course you can. But you're also making games in a "Game Engine" for a company that seem to care little about games.

So where does this lead me in regards to what I was planning in terms of evaluating their toolset, tutorials and what not. Well essentially this:

  • I will not continue the Unity Evaluation Based Series
  • I will not continue to make art in Unity
  • I will be sharing what I've learned so far as free resources on here
  • I will be spending my focus on Unreal again

As for the wonderful devs that use Unity, keep on working hard! It just sucks to be spending so much effort on a company that doesn't care about its core-users.

I opened up UDK/UE3 again and repaired an old broken scene.

General / 06 January 2022


aaand check it out people !

it's running in UDK/UE3. This scene was made back in 2013-2014 way before...any fancy rendering or tools. (photoshop ftw) but now I can see it in high-resolution in the viewport (from which I grabbed these shots below) and in ultra wide as well because..why not since I have the monitor for it :D

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

 

 



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 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
  

The Value of Mentorships

General / 17 January 2020

Hey Guys!

Lately there has been a lot of interest in me and the Mentorship I'm running over at The Mentor Coalition.

EDIT: I'm currently not running a mentorship at The Mentor Coalition. If you're interested in me mentoring you and teaching maybe consider my patreon? https://www.patreon.com/chrisradsby but also you can contact me here on Artstation and we can talk about things and potentially set something up!


It all started with the most humble and awesome Stijn Van Gaal and the Article that he wrote for his fantastic Italian Alley piece.

Coupled together with Kieran Goodsons lovely blogpost it's been a lot of great impressions of my Mentorship out there which is great!

The thing I would like to really highlight though is that even though guidance is really valuable, speed you up and can really help you get to the next level, it's really important to remember that these guys have invested a lot of hours into their craft and in my opinion,  Deserve All the Praise generated from this type of attention.

Now I don't mean to undersell myself in anyway but it's important to remember that:

Progress = Time Invested

None of their successes would've come if they didn't work spend the time on improving and that's the stuff you don't see everyday when you browse artstation, or browse social media and see updates about other peoples successes. The blood sweat and tears. Which again is why I want to make sure to highlight this:


I can only show you the path then it's up to you to walk it.


And this is true for all forms of Mentorships or Coaching. It's never easy but you have to be very critical of your own work, be willing to listen and take instructions to make the most out of Mentorships. It can be very rough for people sometimes to learn their weaknesses and be told to deal with them. But generally speaking with your Mentor about these thing is exactly what will help in understanding how to improve.

Ultimately the difference between the people who succeeds and don't is the amount of honest time spent put into their craft. The seriousness they bring every day to their workstation.

Becoming professionally skilled in your craft needs you to bring a professional attitude towards your craft.

It basically means that, by having a professional attitude towards your craft you take it seriously and thus schedule your art-time. You make sure you leave room in your day to improve your art and you tackle it with a professional attitude.


The Bar for Quality

Alright so let's talk a little bit about the bar of quality, in Kierans excellent blogpost you can see some of the bar that is needed to get hired in this industry but It's also important to realize that the skill-level even between these projects are vastly different and I think that applies to all of us: We're all better/worse at different things however you need to reach a certain bar to start being considered on a professional level.


Let's use this quick mockup that I made of a Radar-Chart Diagram

A mentor can help you guide you improving your strengths and deal with your weaknesses, it's generally not something you get taught in class or even easy to learn from community-based learning. The main problem is gauging where you are currently at, and what areas you need to focus for the biggest impact in your art.

Looking at all the juniors getting hired they are all good at different things but they all have achieved professional level in most if not all categories.

There are some exceptions to this, an overabundance of one thing might actually make up for the fact that you're lacking somewhere else and if I were to spend some more serious time into this then you could make charts for different companies values. All companies have different requirements or things they value.

Me as a Mentor/Person I value:
Hard Work, Creativity and Artistic Skill more than I do World Building, Technical Skill or Asset Execution Skill.
Because some things are easier to learn than others.

The Importance of Community

I've always though that some of the best ways to learn is to engage with a community trying to climb the same game-art mountain as everybody else. I think this is the most valuable type of learning you could do for yourself, is to join a community with like-minded people , all trying to improve together.

The major pluses being that they help you learn, let you know your weaknesses and you become friends with amateur artists and professional artists all over the world.

Both the Dinusty Empire and The Mentor Coalition have fantastic discord communities where you can share your art and learn from other like-minded people.

Mental Health

Coupled together with Hard Work , seemingly impossible high quality bars for Art it's important to remember that your own mental health is really important. Which is why I'd like to also highlight it as an issue in this industry as a whole. When decide to engage in projects with the intention that the project is supposed to get you hired it's important to actually choose the right type of project to do and learn better ways to be more efficient.

This is something you can learn but it's also something that a community or a mentor can help you with.

Not all aspects of your Art has to be perfectly executed. 

There are shortcuts that are valuable time-savers and sanity checking your production times is a good way to realize if you will be able to make it or not. Ie if you have a 100 assets to make for your scene and you spend at least 3-4 days on each well then you still have 300-400 days worth of work ahead of you and it's enough to make anyone go insane.

Take care of yourselves, the industry can sometimes be harsh enough even without you putting all that pressure on yourself because the scope was too big :)


Alright, I think that's enough for now :) Don't want to badger you guys even longer.

Left in Space - SolRemix Entry

General / 01 October 2019

Hello! 


Quick update , I decided to join the Nvidias #SolRemix contest last week. However I realized I would only have 3 Evenings worth of work time on it since I was going to spend Friday to Sunday Midnight in Stockholm , so I decided to do the best I could make in the time-span.


The final result is this image & video:


I've had a couple of questions regarding the work as well. It's massively inspired by Halo and Mass Effect, both worlds have had a massive impact on my art and my life in general so it felt right to do a space setting for the entry. I also chose the space setting because of the time-constraint, I needed something that was very quick to make without getting bogged down in Asset Production.

  • The planet itself is not made by me; it's by this wonderful person:
    https://www.unrealengine.com/marketplace/en-US/slug/physically-based-earth 

  • The scene is dynamically lit in UE4, no RTX-features enabled.
  • I'm making heavy use out of the volumetric and I'm actually using black fog in this particular scene with colored lights
  • The character was provided by nvidia and their SolRemix Competition
  • All of the video & audio editing was done in UE4 sequencer.
  • All of the meshes are low-poly and using a Black Material with no Specular (Silhouette Material)
  • The music is made by C21FX - AFTER THE FALL

I guess that's it, if you have any questions please ask away :)