'80s Engine Control Room

This is a scene I put together for an art test for Camshaft Software (Camshaft gave me permission to post this)


After I finished my Diploma from Media Design School, I was aproached by Camshaft Software for a 3-month contract.  As part of their hiring process, they asked me to do an art test.  I Had a lot of fun using static colouring instead of textures for a lot of this, I was using Alien: Isolation as a lot of reference for the props.  I loved the way they hit that aesthetic right on, but it did bug me that everything looked too clean: There wasn’t enough ‘noise’ in the materials for me in the textures, and so I used this piece as a sort of test-bed for trying my own variation on this aesthetic.


Image reference

The image Camshaft gave me as reference for this was a good challenge.  The low resolution meant I had to think a fair deal about how light bounces around in the smaller areas, what some of the smaller details might be..  I didn’t even see the slight curve in the wall until a few days in, and it wasn’t until just last week I think that I saw the wall behind the far rack system lead out into another area.  The lighting was a good brain teaser too, I wasn’t sure how much of that was light bleed into the lens, how much was actual albedo, or how much was from the lights.  I think I got a good balance between post-processing, albedo, and lighting colouration in the final product.

Final image from UE4

This project took about 3.5 weeks.  The first two weeks were a bit sketchy, but after I got my internet sorted out (and therefore didn’t ragequit when google images wouldn’t load when trying to look for reference material, because holy smokes does that get old quickly) things started to go smoother.  Clocked in at about 40 actual work hours total, though a lot of that I think was spent on baking lightmaps.  Jeeze, the issues I ran in to with that.. Never have I had to go in and snap each UV for a modular floor to stop lightmass from making weirdly stupid errors with the bounce lighting.  Still eventually had to just replace the whole walls and floor with a single mesh.  But this was good!  I learned a lot about lightmass from that, particularly in the importance of the Lightmass Importance Volumes when baking lighting.

This is a buffer visualisation of the just the lighting and emissive channels in this scene.  The scene here totaled about 24,000 triangles and 10MB of meshes/textures, with the majority of the file size being in the lightmaps.

This was a nice challenge, and I tried to put as much of the detailing of this piece in to the lighting as I could, leaving the albedo colours relatively simple. 

I really enjoy working from reference images.  I like the challenge of working out exactly how a certain thing may look or work, and I love trying to make the final image look as close to the reference as I can.
It took me a while during my studies to realize that flat colours and low-res geometry could look good, but since then I have tried to experiment with this aesthetic.