SCAD X The Mill - Final

Final Progress and Final Thoughts


11/14/20234 min read

Matte Painting Projection

Based on our mentors' feedback to enhance the shape of the ground, I went to re-work the base geometry of the ground to have a more realistic terrain to start with. From this node network created by Mateo, who was responsible for creating this scene first, I shifted values and noise types to better replicate the shape of the ground.

First, I changed the base noise type to Manhattan- which gave me a noise that resembles a shape of the mountain ranges from afar. I increased the scale as a starting point of making this geometry appear like a part of a mountain terrain,

Then, I achieved extra details and organic bumps using additional mountain nodes.

Based on this new ground geometry, I exported this as a base map to fix my matte painting. For more details on the final product, I increased the resolution from HD(1080 + 100px high) to 4K(2160 +100 px high). Re-downloading some of the assets for more information was also helpful in making the terrain appear more realistic and seamless.

This time, I referenced the lighting of the base terrain instead of implementing it in the scene, as we decided to focus my workflow fully on plane projection. Based on what I created in Photoshop, I exported a diffuse map and a height map to put in.

After making sure that the terrain projects onto the geometry, I used attribute paint to paint the areas where I wanted to place some 3D grass assets. I originally planned to use the ‘attribute from map’ node based on Zach’s suggestion, but it did not work as we expected.

Due to heavy geometry, I packed the geometry using a pack node prior copying, and caching the data as a file. Mateo helped me with this part, and this saved my work time significantly.

After some light tweaking, I rendered the frames and sent it to Mateo to composite this shot.

Tuk-tuk Texture tweaks

Dee and I have been working closely to seek improvement on the textures of the interior. We focused mainly on improving the plastic seat texture by adding more specular contrast and height map data.

This is how it appeared in Substance Painter as I worked on the details.

When Dee put these textures into Redshift, we saw some artifacts on the geometry once rendered with displacement map enabled. Figuring this might be a product of low-poly count, we tried to increase the subdivision but it did not work. In the end, we decreased the height map intensity to resolve the artifacts.

This is how shot 3 turned out, after compositing by Mateo.

Final Thoughts

Entering the SCAD X The Mill workshop, as a 10-week advertisement project in collaboration with a global-sized VFX company, I anticipated it to be an intense and fast-paced experience with a lot to learn. I was correct with what I had expected it to be like, but both the workload and lesson learned were something that I could not foresee just 3 months ago. I could feel my growth as an artist in such a short span of time, and I am happy with how the project turned out to be.

What I see most valuable, however, is how this opportunity shaped my view and anticipation as an entry artist seeking to enter the industry. Working with my teammates for the past quarter, meeting our mentors, and exchanging feedback kept reminding me what I love most about VFX- collaboration and communication, and how much we all love what we do. It thrills me to be ready to enter the industry with people who are as passionate and caring as my teammates were to each other. We love our product and value the time spent together troubleshooting, communicating, and trying our best for a common goal. The idea that we are only going to grow further as artists will be my fuel going onward.

I thank the mentors from The Mill NY, Professor Gaynor, Professor Fowler, and Team Mountain for this amazing experience.