My life this week has compromised of sentry guns. All day. Every day. Sentry gun turrets.
No art. Nothing. Turret turret turret turret turret.
So on that note, here’s all the work I’ve done on my… turret. Turret turret turret.
I’m not going to lie; my sentry gun looks pretty cool. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come in the last week. I’ve learned tonnes about using Zbrush and baking in 3dsMax to the best of my ability, and about using Unreal Engine 4 blueprints.
This is pretty much the first project I’ve ever done where my final product looks exactly how I envisioned it, and I can definitely thank my use of Zbrush and blueprints for that;
Blueprints were a new concept to me, as in UDK I had never tried Matinee or anything like that, and I’m still really new to UE4. We were provided with blueprints that made our turrets track us and fire at us when we were in range, but any adjustments we made to the basic framework of the turret were on our own heads; we had to edit the blueprints. I mean, I at the start of the project I was like ‘yeah, I’m a boss, I can totally do this’, and by the end of the project I was like ‘that doesn’t work and that doesn’t work but I don’t care, ’cause blueprints’. It was a fun challenge, but oh my did it wind me up. Initially I had wanted to make the barrel spin like a Gatling gun, but after trying to work off someone else’s framework (thanks Josh!) and having no success I decided to concede defeat and leave it stationary. I have my whole life to learn how to do that… right?
It wasn’t all doom and gloom though. For instance, that laser? I was going to make it using a long tiny mesh with an emissive texture on it, but no. I went hard and decided to make it entirely using blueprints (following a tutorial I didn’t understand, obviously).
It’s easy to argue that I would learn nothing from this, but I actually did learn way more than I was expecting. I had to alter the blueprint to make it work with my turret, and fiddle with various things and break links that I didn’t understand. It also made me understand the principle of Event Ticks so much better, and now I get those and feel like I could use them myself to make a sequence of events, which I didn’t before trying to make the laser.
This glowy bit here, I was initially going to make using an emissive (emissives are the best). However, because UE4 works differently to UDK, you now can’t make emissives act as scene lights (no longer the best), which I have relied on heavily in the past. It looked just… awful, so I did some more fiddling. I made a simple normal map to add some surface variation, and tried playing with glass/refraction and finally the subsurface scattering shader. It looked much, much better but only looked how I wanted it to when I was looking at it with a light behind. I left it as it was and then got on with the laser tutorial. A happy accident happened, where I was trying to create a point light in my blueprint components to make a glow from the laser, and I tried setting it inside the crystal dome. BOOM! Awesome glowy effect. I was very pleased. It’s definitely something I’ll be using in the future.
I stuck some subsurface scattering on the marble itself too, because even though you don’t expect marble to exhibit it as much as my model does, it really added some life to the turret. Artistic license, yo.
So, in conclusion to this project, I pretty much couldn’t be happier with how it’s gone. There are still some annoying things that I will take into consideration next time, such as placement of seams and how much I use mirroring in my UVs as it was quite limiting sometimes. The mirroring textures was particularly annoying because it was painfully obvious which bits were mirrored when I started adding albedo detail to the rock, and some some areas are left virtually blank to hide the mirroring. I also would like to work on my metal texturing, as I feel that the barrel looks too new in comparison to the rest of the gun. Overall though, despite the fact that I ran into a whole lot of problems, I learned a lot from them even if I didn’t have enough knowledge to fix them (laser, I will fix you one day). It’s a project that has given me more confidence for future projects that involve blueprints, so I’m looking forward to developing my knowledge further.
Now I have to get on with the cardboard model and some more nature documentaries, and also make a start on our new project which was set yesterday (project overload, panic). This is a character project, where we have to make a ‘dichotomous duo’ (think Sully and Mike, Mario and Luigi) which are from the same world and work together well but also have respective contrasts. It should be fun, since all I seem to do when I have time is draw characters.
So this weekend marks the end of my turret project and the start of a character one. I’m more than happy to move on from my current work, and I’m sure I’ll have lots to show in my new post next week. This has been a really successful week and I’m pleased with what I’ve done, but I’ve missed painting so much! Time to do some art.