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ZEBRA: UNITY NEON CHALLENGE SHORT FILM
Updated 8 months ago
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INTRODUCTION: Welcome to the world of Zebra. District of Columbia 2073: an enslaved clone remotely controls a mechanical avatar across Washinton DC as she virutally commutes to her position as a house keeper for the political elite.

FINAL FILM SUBMISSION:


Screen Captures from the Video:



BREAKDOWN:

CONCEPT

I wanted to do something entirely original, no concept art. There's inspiration of course, including some of my favorite designers/concept artists like Mike Winkelmann (aka Beeple) and Mark Chang, as well as the works of Philip K Dick, especially Valis. Considering both the limitations of needing to re-use old assets and time ( I made this is 8 days), I came up with this:
ZEBRA: A short film following the commute of a remotely piloted "eve" robot. Guided by an enslaved clone, she treks across a dystopian Washinton D.C., from the subway, to a ride share in an 86 Cadillac Deville, to the doorsteps of her employer's heavily guarded authentic victorian home.

ASSETS

HEAD SCAN
I captured my friend and band mate Alex Menne (we play together in Seattle based band Great Grandpa: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1Hs5RG6WIwUSJLxRYWaOW6) using a Sony A7r, processed with Reality Capture, Zbrush, Maya and Substance Painter. Clean up of HP in zbrush, Retopo and UVs in Maya, Texturing in Substance. I don't recommend capturing a head with a single camera as it's incredibly difficult have people remain still while shooting. We had to re-shoot 3 times and find creative ways to keep her head still. If you're interested in learning more about photogrammetry and my process, check out this talk I gave at a Unity Meetup in Seattle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnr4Au0Lb6o

GREEN PLASTIC GUY
I captured this little guy with the same tools and methods described above. Since he was a uniform color (therefore difficult to scan well -- see my photogrammetry video above for further details about this issue) I rubbed dirt all over the plastic. I ended up liking the result so much I kept it in the final albedo. Originally I was just going to create the albedo from scratch procedurally in Substance.

SUBWAY EXTERIOR
I mostly kitbashed this environment together to save time (had to create this entire scene in one day), using these sets:
  • "Free Sample Set" from https://kitbash3d.com/#offer (They send you this when you sign up via email)
  • "Spaceship Kit" by Andrew Hodgson https://gumroad.com/andrewhodgson (Great hard surface kitbash set, highly recommend, only $20 american)



SUBWAY INTERIOR


I created the assets and environment above this spring while working as the sole environment artist on "Blackout", a mixed reality experience by NYC studio Scatter that premiered in April at the Tribecca film festival. Some photogrammetry was used for modular station pieces, like the bench and floor. The rest, including the train were modeled in Maya and textured in Substance Painter/Designer. A more detailed breakdown of this project and assets can be found here: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/23qgv

SUBWAY DESIGN LANGUAGE

Quickly mocked up some designs for the electronic billboards in and around the subway. Wanted to leave a few easter eggs for the Philip K Dick fans while also world building in regards to the "EVE" program.


CADILLAC
(All Screenshots realtime open gl in Substance Painter unless otherwise specified)

I created this cm accurate 1986 Cadillac this fall for NYC based Studio Fancy Rainbow for their Sundance Film Festival and Oculus funded VR film "Queer Skins." I originally was flow out to scan the exact car, but due to time constraints and resources we were only able to do a quick reference scan for measurements. I then modeled everything from scratch in Maya and Zbrush and textured in Substance painter. The inside of the car only uses five materials and is less than 250k tris. The experience takes place exclusively inside the car, while the outside is 360 video. It was critical for the experience that the car be photo-realistic and historically accurate.


UNITY ASSET STORE ASSETS:

  • "Earthling" 3D model ($6) : https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/3d/characters/earthling-3d-model-84000
  • Post Processing Stack (free): https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/essentials/post-processing-stack-83912
  • Cinemachine (free): https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/essentials/cinemachine-79898
  • Unity Volumetric Lighting Package (free): https://github.com/Unity-Technologies/VolumetricLighting
  • Color Grading Pack ($25): https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/37668


Cinemachine and Timeline

I made extensive use of Cinemachine and Timeline in this project (two of my favorite additions to Unity in recent years). Coming from a film background, I've found these tools to be incredibly intuitive and powerful. I love being able to animate disparate elements and my camera from the same panel. The tracking, dolly, and other traditional camera moves are huge time savers and designed to utilize the same language familiar to a DP or director. I also absolutely love and likely abused the noise function, as it brings a human element to the camera moves that was always lacking when I used to animate by hand. I usually didn't have the patience in the past to add those minor details myself by hand.
Much of my time on this project was spent experimenting with different focal lengths and camera moves. This is a luxury that is rarely afforded on traditional sets and one of my absolute favorite aspects of working in realtime 3D. Combine that with being able to accomplish shots that would be either be physically impossible or dangerous and you have yourself the dream setup for a DP/director. This was first time playing with these tools but I can't imagine working without them in the future. Unity continues to impress!

POST-PROCESSING:

Those who know me well know I love post-processing. I firmly believe it has become a fundamental element of what pushes realtime rendering towards photorealism. Coming from the film world, these tools are also almost completely ripped from a film coloring suite, or camera manual, which is a great thing. Depending on the scene, I graded with a combination of the color grading tool and LUTS. I find LUTs are a great place to start for style. Once you've dialed in a basic filmic look in the color grading section (experimenting with tonemapper, exposure, and curves -- pushing the blacks a little, grading for a cinematic look), it's great to jump into a library of LUTS ( I often use the Color Grading LUT pack from the asset store as starting place: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/37668) and explore some different styles. These can always be taken into photoshop and tweaked. Once I've found a color/look direction, I'll head back to the grading section and play to the strengths of the LUT, adjusting saturation, contrast, temp, exposure, etc. Sometimes the best results come from turning of the grading all together and relying only on a LUT. Style should always be the determining factor. If it looks right, it is right (unless you're introducing artifacts..).



MUSIC:

  • "I am" by Postmadonna (my old band) from the album "Valis" https://postmadonna.bandcamp.com/album/valis
  • "Cypher" by The Rookies (some of my friends -- I engineered and mixed this song years ago): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALA6MmEnyL0

CONCLUSION:

Thanks again to everyone for checking out my submission and thanks to Unity for providing tools the truly allow you to unleash your creativity! If you'd like to keep up with my work in the industry follow me here or on Artstation. Happy new year!






FIRST POST:
Hi everyone,
I'm Pat Goodwin, an environment and lighting artist based in Seattle, Washington. I've been pretty busy recently working on several cinematic VR experiences in Unity this winter, and finally just got around to entering this contest! Very excited by all the inspiring pieces already posted, congrats to everyone for the great work.
I started working on some early scenes this week and wanted to share some initial results. Those who know me well can to attest to my love for Philip K. Dick -- I have a Valis tattoo and own the exegesis (it's a problem :) )-- and therefore wanted to create a visually striking sci-fi short film with a few pkd easter eggs/themes in his honor.
The film follows the commute of a remotely piloted "eve" robot across a dystopian Washinton D.C., from the subway, to a ride share in an 86 Cadillac Deville, to the doorsteps of her employer's heavily guarded authentic victorian home.
All assets my own except for character asset and some sci-fi kitbash elements.
Otherwise pretty much relying entirely on Unity's Volumetric Lighting Package and Post Processing stack. Everything running at 4k 30fps.
Here's some intital WIP, hope ya'll enjoy! Full breakdown coming Monday 1/15/18 at midnight.
WIP: Opening Shot (eve in the remote control center, valis shoutout) (Also Neon Lewis dot structure shoutout :)
WIP: 2nd Shot (many eves working hard for the system) Shout out to my band mate Alex Menne for letting me do this scan of her head -- had redo most of it from scratch though due to movement).
WIP: 86 Cadillac Interior (this car is almost 100 years old in this film, so I still need to add some more grunge, and maybe some electric mods --updated for the future!). Made this for a VR film I worked on recently. Lots of work, lots of fun. Did a scan for millimeter precision ref. when modeling, but it's all traditional modeling and texturing, no scan data in final product.

Thats all for now. I'm aiming to have the final film uploaded by early this weekend. Thanks for checking out the progress so far!
-Pat

Pat Goodwin
Environment/Lighting Artist - Artist
4
Comments
Pat Goodwin
8 months ago
Environment/Lighting Artist - Artist
BaldBeardedMonkIts really nice. The music really kicked it up to the next level. So many things to learn from you :)
Thanks man, appreciate it. I still have much to learn as well, just glad for all the great resources and inspiration available these days!
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BaldBeardedMonk
8 months ago
Founder/Director - Designer
Its really nice. The music really kicked it up to the next level. So many things to learn from you :)
0
Pat Goodwin
8 months ago
Environment/Lighting Artist - Artist
Farrukh AbdurCool work :)
Thanks Farrukh!
0
Pat Goodwin
8 months ago
Environment/Lighting Artist - Artist
David RasoAwesome ! Happy to compete with some talented peoples
Thanks David, I feel the same, so much inspiring work coming out of this contest
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Pat Goodwin
8 months ago
Environment/Lighting Artist - Artist
Blair RenaudDude.. that was fuckin dope.
Thanks Blair, had a lot of fun with this one!
0