Finally I could get my hands on Unreal Engine 4 to start a project and not just to test it around here and there.
The first thing I have to say is that I’ve fallen in love Unreal Engine 4, especially their blueprints, they are a vice!
When I started to move the scene, from Blender to Unreal Engine 4, I ran into some problems in the workflow, but fortunately, I wrote an addon to facilitate the work. If you want you can download it here.
Once I had made ??the structure of the room, with its materials and basic lighting. I started to create a blueprint for opening doors … and in the end the blueprint derive in a “Doors Creator” that maybe I will send to the recent Marketplace
When I had all the structures in place, I proceeded to set up the lighting. In order to use Global Illumination, I have to use static lights. Maybe in the future, at the end of the project, I can use dynamic lighting, and probably stationary. For the project, I had in mind use dynamic lighting to show the room in different lighting situations, besides, the aim to show finished project on the web, in HTML5.
BTW, I also learned something important about the lightmaps, the recommended space between the UV islands is 3-4 pixels.
I also wantedan intro, so I startedto play withMatineeandpostproceseffects. Thisis theprovisionalanimationfor theintro, made with matinee:
Finally! I endthis phaseof the project.Rendering withcycles.
My computer has spent many hours working at about 90% capacity. In the end I created 5 images. For each final image (1920×1080 px -1600 samples), the render time was approximately 8 hours… For avoid have the PC running continuously for 8 hours and let it breathe a little, I decided to create 4 images of 400 samples each with different seed and mix them in the compositor.
The post process is also done in blender, I did some color correcting, I added the Ambient occlusion pass, then I added some lens distortion for add a little bit of Chromatic Aberration, I added a little of the glare effect to some images and then in all but at the night shot I added sunbeams, some through the new sunbeams filter node, and others through rendering the volume.
To render the volume effect, I found a “fast” and easy way to control the volume effect later in the compositor. I created the room in a new layer and I place the biggest objects in it also, then I apply the holdout material to all objects on this new layer and I set the render settings for render the transparent background. In this way I can do a render only for the sunbeams effect in a separate layer, for use in the compositor and add posibilities like colorize the sunbeams, add the blur effect to save render samples, increase and decrease the intensity (density effect) etc.. Also is good have the option for save the sunbeams to png for use in photoshop.
And finally, here are the 5 shots of this scene. Sure I could improve things, I could be playing here and there but I’m happy with the result and I’d rather spend the long time it takes to do the renders, in the next phase the project. Put for sale some of the assets and start rebuilding the scene in Unreal engine 4.
Finally I think I have already modeled all props and do not need to add any more
I have chosen not to model any existing design (eg Ikea) and create my own designs(nothing fancy), I have thought about selling the props one day, so I thought it would be easier for the customers if they can use the objects without having to ask permission to third parties.
The same applies to the covers of the books. After spending several days searching the internet for some efficient and fast method for creating book covers or find public domain book covers, I realized that I was wasting more time looking for alternatives than to creating a covers in photoshop. I have to admit that having to create about 50 book covers, scared me a bit and I was too lazy, and I thought that to do the job would take me a few days. In the end, took only a couple of hours … I found creative commons images and according to what inspired me in, I made up a title. Thanks to a template that I did in photoshop was easy to create different covers.
Some of the props have their low poly version because, aside from making some renders in blender cycles, I plan to re-create this scene in unreal engine 4 and see how far I get with this new technology, I would like to take advantage of the real time render to create an animated sequence and also a bit of interactivity to the scene. Also , the Low poly objects can help in render times for objects that are not close to the camera.
Aside from creating some materials for the props (like the old copper), to render the images I’ve been trying several things, first, render the image as is, without any effect or post process. Rendering time is quite acceptable for my machine (an hour and a half – 350 samples) considering that is done in cpu (only 3 of my 4 cores).
On the other hand, I tried to add volumetric effect to the scene. To do this, instead of using a volume shader for the world (not take in consideration my skyligth set up), I have created an area where restrict the effect (like a domain for smoke), and then I have applied to it the volumetric skatter shader. As the camera had to be within the volume, I created a bubble (as I’ve seen suggested in various places on the Internet) where to put the camera so that it could render the volume
With the volumetric effect, the render time increased significantly, but I was more happy with the result. Although in the image that I made as a test, the effect was exaggerated and I need turn down the density.
Now I am trying to create different images, with different seed and then assemble them into the composer. According to the calculations I’ve done, this way I can save myself 10 hours and I can stop the render at any time to continue later. I do not like the PC running almost at 100% for 24 H. .. (could use some renderfarm service, but I prefer save my money for now).
I am also considering other options, one is bake the textures and practically only have to compute the volume effect. The down side for baked textures is the view angle. If I want create about 5 shots for the scene, I need bake the textures 5 times and set up the materials for all objects 5 times (specially in glossiness objects). This methodis not veryefficient. The other option is to use a new coming feature for blender “Sunbeams” for the compositor (a new filter node). I created a test with this new feature (fast and efficient), and with a little bit of color correcting, looks like that:
I can not wait to finish the final render in cycles and pass it to unreal engine! But all in good time. So I can make comparisons.
By time I had wanted to do architectural visualization. There are still many props to do to finish the scene, but already beginning to take shape.
This scene was intended for do some still images and sell the assets but I think I will create an animation for the visualization in Unreal engine 4, using Matinee, for practice with this engine and see what results I can get