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Hong Kong Style Diner | SCAD VSFX408 Studio 1

Updated: Apr 4, 2022

Week 1

This week I worked on logistics and modelling. I made a spreadsheet for all the models that I need to acquire or model and started replacing the blocked out scene with actual models. There are more modelling work than expected due to the nature of models being different than the western counterparts offered on model cites. But I am confident in getting all the models ready, UV'd, and exported to Unreal Engine by Class 5. For the presentation, I would export out some camera shots from sequencer as a previz.

Week 2

For the past week it was just a lot of modelling and UV work. I have most of the bigger models done to the point you would recognize the scene from my reference. However, I have yet to finish on the miscellaneous details that would fill the scene. I will be exporting what I have into Unreal for Class 5.

Week 3

I'm at the point where I'm comfortable with the lighting setup. I did some basic animation and camera moves for the presentation, and I'm happy with how it turned out. This week I will work on filling the scene with misc. details such as the wires and the smaller assets, and begin texturing. There are quite a few repeating assets in the scene, I think the best way to tackle repetition in texturing is to use decals on top of them instead of creating separate textures in order to save time and memory space.

Here are some stills from the presentation:

Week 4

This week has just been a lot of texturing on Substance Painter and transferring it to Unreal, I'm happy with most of the textures but some needs to be tweaked like the bench on the booth looking a bit saturated and the tile wall. I will be working on adding in a Metahuman in the scene as well as a few key assets for the narrative.

Week 5

The Metahuman is ready and soon to be exported to Unreal, the other tasks to be completed for class 15 would be adding in posters and newspaper, as well as figuring out the media player for the TV. Once the Metahuman is in, I'll update some camera angles and look for animation assets. After that I will continue to tweak some of the textures and lighting of the scene a bit.


Modelling | Maya and Houdini

Doing some rough measurements and calculations, I blocked out the diner I'm intending to model. I made a spreadsheet for all the models that I need to acquire or model and started replacing the blocked out scene with actual models. There are more modelling work than expected due to the nature of models being different than the western counterparts offered on model cites. Most of the modelling was done in Maya, but there are also some assets such as the wires and stacked plates that are done in Houdini. Once everything modelled and UV'd, it is sent to Unreal Engine to start with the lighting process and Substance Painter for the textures.

Photogrammetry | Polycam

I've experimented with photo scanning one of the hero objects, the egg custard tart, on my phone with the app Polycam. The scan consisted of around 200 photos and shot in an overcast exterior for even lighting. I am happy with the quality and textures that I got and I proceeded to import the fbx from my phone to Maya for some clean up.

Texturing | Substance Painter

This process was lengthy but pretty straightforward, I utilized baked map and procedural textures as much as possible to streamline the work. One thing that would have helped from the start is to lock down camera angles first, so that I have a clear vision as to which objects requires more attention and detail than the others.

Material and Shader | Metahuman

Getting the Metahuman to function correctly was the greatest challenge I have faced in this project. The first problem comes with the grooming system interacting with the indirect light, apart from adding a bounce light, I also found it useful to disable the LOD, and keep the grooming geometry as strands.

Body animation | Metahuman

In order to get the Metahuman skeleton to align with Mixamo animation data, I have to do some retargeting. I first have to convert the T pose skeleton from Mixamo to an A pose skeleton to act as a buffer, and then converting the A pose skeleton to the Metahuman skeleton.

This video explains the retargeting process much better than I can.

Facial animation | Metahuman

I have a dedicated blog page written to go over how I got the facial capture working.

Lighting | Unreal Engine 4

Now that assets and textures are in Unreal Engine, I began the lighting setup. First I placed tube lights exactly as how the diner in the reference is shown. Then I added small additional lights to highlight some of the assets I want to show, such as the glass display. Lastly, due to Metahuman having some artifacts with indirect lighting, I decided to add a small bounce light to solve that problem. From there on, it was an act of balancing the intensity of the lights to create the mood that I want, as well as optimizing dynamic lights versus static lights.

Media player material | Unreal Engine 4

Following the media player documentation from Unreal Engine, I have setup the media player to run in sequencer. I decided to make my own material for the media player, as the default of plugging the image sequence into diffuse simply does not look good. Instead, I multiplied the image sequence to a fresnel node as well as an intensity multiply to give it the effect of a television screen.

Glass shader | Unreal Engine 4

This gave me a lot of trouble in terms of the looks of the glass and performance. It was very challenging to create old stained glass with proper fresnel and reflection, on top of that it was very taxing on the system as well. I ended up with two types of glass, ones that is full blown ray tracing glass, and another additive glass that is used in the background that uses an HDRI to fake the reflections.

Post processing volume | Unreal Engine 4

Movie Render Queue | Unreal Engine 4

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