Things to keep me busy

So. Since I hit that little snag I posted about yesterday and I wasn’t able to post the updates like I imagined I just now thought that I’d put some stuff up here as an equalizer for the boring bugs I have to deal with.

Starting off with a model I made yesterday as a “warmup” for getting back into modeling a little more.
I’m determined to give a “modern” modeling workflow a shot, so I sculpted a model, remade its topology, baked normalmaps and ambient occlusion from it then finally made the textures using the information I had at that point.

So. It’s a stone column of sorts. I wanted to do a piece like this specifically because it’s sort of a “modules within modules” thing, and that appeals to me.
The column is composed of the individual bricks I sculpted, and the low-poly cage is built from that super high-polygon model.
It turned out surprisingly well, and the normalmap/ambient occlusion bake went effortlessly too. I usually have a lot of artifacts, but not this time.
Oh, I know the texture has seams. πŸ˜‰ Laziness kicking in.

Here it is rendered real time also, just for kicks. Though it’s pretty hard to tell it apart from the background. Constant ambient, I curse you. Also, lack of scene “fog” that helps perspective.

So, there are some other things I wanted to explain/show, one which is actually in that engine render above.
The model is lit by two lights in that screenshot. One pointlight and one spotlight. The spotlight casts shadows onto the model that are made by a obstructing model which we’ll get to soon.
However, what’s changed from the last post I made showing spotlight shadows is that the shadows are now soft shadows.
Yes, that’s right. They are totally better looking now than before.
Right now the softness is brought on by a 4 tap PCF(percentage closer filtering) and a sort of screen space dithering routine. 4 tap PCF is usually a very low sample for soft shadows, but with the help of the screen space dithering the visual artifacts are not that noticeable.

The model that’s obstructing the light there is this one:

A window thing. That floats in mid-air.
There’s something else up with this window. It’s light-bloomed to the high heavens! That’s the HDR Bloom thing I’m working on for the post processing pipeline.
It’s not working that great right now, but gives a pretty good effect for making things glow.
The blurring I used for this effect is pretty costly. So there’s another reason not to use it yet.

Alright. There’s one last thing I mentioned in the last posts but didn’t show.
How I “improved” the water and what it looks like.

Here’s an “overview” shot of the water and where it intersects with the geometry.

Here’s a screenshot looking into the water near the column.

And here’s finally the change I made. At this low horizon angle the column is still visible where it intersects the water surface. This didn’t happen in the older water and I think it’s more “accurate” like this.

… And it’s OK. I know the refraction artifacts are pretty damn prominent. But I don’t really want to get into ameliorating it yet…

There- now that’s officially off my chest, I’ll get to go back to staring at pixels again. Bye. πŸ™‚

Edit: One more for good measure:

The light, as reflected by the water surface. It of course changes shape depending on the viewer angle, it’s like any other specular highlight in the engine. πŸ™‚


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