| N E O N |
Updated a year ago
Final entry
Making of

When i first thought about taking part in this challenge i thought...let's see what may be done within this time...and even though my entry probably does not completely follow therules ( there are not that many asset store items because of the stylized look i wanted ) , still hope it may be interesting for someone)
The team
The whole project was conceptualized and implemented by me, although it'd wrong not to mention my friends who's shared some great ideas and cheered me up along the way so thank you guyz ! :)
Narrative inspiration
I just had this idea about camera's being carried all the way through the space down to...level , got in the wrong place by the accident, and then picked up and conducted by a drone through the...level ). So i ended up this kind of story-mood-board...
I knew what kind of impression i wanted: dark ,stormy, and with lots of accent lighting . As for the good old concept art...concept art is a great thing, although i think it's "weight" may vary, based on a project's scale and development time. So in order to make it all in time, i decided to start off right away and see it i can attach all of the details to the core theme i've ended up with.
Scene conceptualization
I won't go in details here but , it turned out pretty soon that there is no way i could get all in time) Although some of the early experiments were really useful just to get used to the great new post-effects.
By the time i started to sketch out the basic shapes, it became crystal clear that there was no way i could get an acceptable photoreal look, at least with a scale, i was aiming for. Maybe that was a good point to pick up some free assets and start constructing but i decided to push it a bit further and...stylize it in some way)
So i came up with this idea of rectangular-based modules that would make up the whole thing). Here is render i did back then...

It's always fun to see how many patterns you can get with just a couple of building blocks.Another important tip was to break up initial "rectangular"ity with some booleans' and lighting to add a bit of variation and break up the whole structure.
It was pretty much obvious that the city itself would be the main challenge.Initial idea was to expose 3 distinct parts, each with it's own scale and feel. Since color theme was already established,from that point, it was just the matter of content.

I knew that in term of impression, huge structures are percieved that way only if compositional balance is set up right. That was critical, because that's what the city itself supposed to look like. This is when Houdini's procedural approach came into play. Even though it was the first time i used it in "production", it turned out to be pretty easy and i was able to get the desired asset in a few days. The only thing that i was mostly afraid of, was over-parametrization : it's pretty important to know what level of variety you need and what time it'll take to get it. So in some cases you may end up with some highly customizable asset, but if it's gonna be used in couple of hidden places and had consumed a good half of your production're in troubles) So eventually i came up with a one asset for the foreground buildings and the one for the background ones.
Filtration station
I tried several variants but could not get the right impression : i wanted this area to look and feel different from the rest.The only way to do this was with a proper usage of shapes and lighting. Unlike the city's concept of straight and rectangular shapes, this part must've been drawn in smoother but still structural way. So i started to sketch out some tubes' system.
Once i've got the composition setup , i started to explore materials just to get the right impression from the scene. I really enjoyed the specular-emissive look, since it allowed to control big color masses with a small textures ( i think the overall texture atlas may be about 1024 for all tubes ) and have all the tiny details via reflection. All emission maps were painted ( and blurred :) ) in Maya. Eventually i got smth like this.

Vehicles and details
There are few types of vehicles i did for a scene : flying drones and two types of...vehicles. Both are super simple in terms of modeling. Details include some "holographic" signs and some antennas.
Materials, lighting and FX
Ac As i've mentioned before, i wanted a lot of accent lighting and details : since those would read just fine in a dark environment, so in terms of materials there are two main types : the ones that makes up the whole color mass and reflective ones that catch all of the details. There are 7 probes in a level with a max resolution being 512...since it turned out to be fine.
There are a lot of lights in a scene) I mostly used spot lights to highlight silhouettes and point light on a per-object basis to add some atmosphere where necessary.
As for FX, there is only one effect that my be interesting aside from additive gradients) Since i've used Houdini engine, i thought why not to try vertex animation for achieveng fluid like effect. So i made simple setup in Houdini with several metaballs moving and got it exported in texture that was used later in a shader , which was then modified to get a more emissive look.
This is when assets came into play) I found a great set of sce-fi ambient tracks and composed a simple "track")
Cinemachine,Timeline and Post Processing Stack
Turned out to be a killer!) Things were never easier, i mean even when it comes to animating things "fast" , it happens fast with timeline now) I was able to get a final cut-scenes within a day , that was really fast. And even though there is no sophisticated camera play in my demo, i still found Cinemachine's camera's tools useful and handy)
As for the post processing...well, as i've mentioned it has become so much easier to get a desired look now. Aside from standard components i've also used Amplify Motion Blur and my weird version of barrel distortion shader) I mean, dunno if has all the right math but by now...i think it's ok)
Assets used in project:
Scene OBJ Exporter by aaro4130
Post-Processing Stack
Amplify Motion by Amplify Creations
Houdini Engine by sideFX
Procedural Ambience by Cryonics Division
Some of the assets on Sketchfab:
Assets Collection

_Random Stroke_