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3D Environment Design

After sketching and visualizing a generic scene and backdrop for the environment for each garment, I will sketch in 3D with Tilt Brush, Gravity Sketch and 3D model in Blender. This will be to create assets that enhance the visual and emotional experience of the environment. In this, I will be animation, texturing and rendering hyperrealistic images and 3D objects to import into a virtual reality scene.

 

Bryant Park (Main Map)

Initial Environment 1 Research & Development

June 10th, 2020 - June 20th, 2020

September 23rd, 2020: Initial Research and Development

Bryant Park is in the heart of the Garment District, home to the famous library and gorgeous blooms that decorate the park. Every day I walk by this park on my way to work. It's always so peaceful and a step into this park is somehow isolated from the madness of New York, despite being surrounded by it. 

I walked around in late September to photograph Bryant Park and the people who visit it. I wanted to capture the stories of the various people who come to New York and sit in this park for a slice of solace.

Environment Research & Development

Sept 23rd, 2020 - Sept 24th, 2020

September 24th, 2020: Initial Research and Development

After photographing Bryant Park, I felt comfortable taking elements of design from my own research and bringing them into Gravity Sketch so that I could begin attempting to model their general shapes. It's important for me to develop these models with an element of storytelling that is cohesive with the story of my 3D fashion collection and the interaction.

gravity sketch to blender assets and reference

blender and gravity sketch process video

in order to optimize the assets from Gravity Sketch into Blender, I needed to solidify some of the assets and then decimate them to reduce the number of faces. I also needed to reduce the number of textures that I used in order to make these assets work best between platforms.

Gravity Sketch enables me to use my skills in hand drawing and design to create 3D objects in a more tangible way. This is the best method for me to iterate efficiently and artistically. It took me about 3 months to learn to develop several different kinds of objects.

 

I have a lot to learn about Blender and modeling, but its tools make it very easy for me to make these assets more functional in a real 3D space.
 

keyshot turntable

To the left, is my model of the famous Bryant Park chairs and table. As you can see, it's a bit off-kilter on the axis, which I was able to correct in Blender before importing.

This turntable render was done in Keyshot.

 

Blender to Unreal Engine

October 10th, 2020 - October 13th, 2020

October 10th, 2020: Blender to Unreal Engine

After I was able to characterize some assets and design them in Gravity Sketch and Blender, I modeled out generic scenes with filler textures in Blender to see how I wanted to assemble the assets in Unreal Engine. After doing some research, I found that importing mass assets from Blender to Unreal was not as efficient as optimizing the assets within Unreal. Since Unreal Engine can simulate physics live during gameplay, I wanted to play with lighting and environment in the Engine rather than Blender.

Below, is a process video of the generic layout after rebuilt Bryant Park in Unreal. Again, with many placeholder textures, environment, lighting and models, but still fleshed out enough to begin gameplay development. By developing gameplay and assets in tandem, I believe that I can create a stronger element of storytelling.

reverse engineering to learn

To the left, is a process video of me looking at how some of the textures that Unreal had provided are made, and deconstructing their blueprints. This is to understand how they are created by swapping out images and different systems in the blueprint.

Fortunately, I have some experience in texture mapping and was able to learn to take my own images and recreate the textures with the same levels of depth as Unreal Engine's.

unreal initial draft walk through

experimenting with lighting

Lighting is a clear indicator of mood, in Unreal, there are so many ways to manipulate light and how the textures appear in different conditions.

Here are images of my experimentation with colored lighting as I build out the scene.

Through modeling one building with glass panes and placing them around the park, I get a nice light reflection and shadow payoff.

UI and Environmental Storytelling

October 10th, 2020 - October 13th, 2020

October 10th, 2020: Blender to Unreal Engine

In order to tell a story that isn't just mine, but that of New Yorkers, I asked my friends what their experiences in Bryant Park were like. In doing this, I am able to sketch scenes that tell stories through the animations, actions, and garments that are worn.

 

For example, I could make a dress made of fabric tulips that are modeled similarly to the ones in the garden. Perhaps you collect tulips and bring them to me to create the dress and earn points. 

 

© 2023 by Amanda E. Howe