Today is the start of the Experience Points and DiNusty Environment Challenge and I thought I will try to create something for it. I have learnt of Experience Points and DiNusty very recently but so far the content and support you can receive on the website and the Discord is amazing - I recommend that everybody joins!
The theme of the challenge is 'Cyberpunk' and we have been kindly provided with some references and concepts as a starting point. In all honesty, I have never been comfortable in creating sci-fi/cyberpunk designs so I feel this project will push some of my boundaries and comfort zones. I have a huge appreciation for Japanese architecture and culture which has always amazed me with it's simplicity and pragmatism. The scene will be completed within Unreal Engine 4.
Whilst looking at the concepts, I have came across this piece of art by Jose Vega (ArtStation) and I instantly fell in love in the simplicity and feeling. What I liked the most about it is that it's not overly grungy and sci-fi like a lot of the other ones are but has a more future-realistic approach. I have decided to take this as a initial idea and work from it towards creating a moodboard and developing on it.
For my moodboarding and planning i have used PureRef. It's super easy to move stuff around and organise it and the navigation is super fast and easy. I have began organising my inspirations based on the topic such as composition, lighting etc. I have looked at inspiration in video games (Mirror's Edge, Deus Ex,Cyberpunk 2077) and films such as Blade Runner, Akira and some other 80's futuristic anime's. The main takeaway from them is the architecture, technology and patterns that will allow me to create interesting models and trims. I have been greatly inspired by Liam Wong's photography for lighting and composition. Another part of this photography is the element of realism that we have to apply to these environments to make them feel lived in and weathered. I have also started working on some breakdowns in regards to modularity so that I can make this scene scaleable if needed, which is important to do early on to make sure you know what things you need to work on instead of just guessing. Next step is creating a blockout!
I have started to create a simple blockout kit in Maya using the shapes and designs I have seen in the concepts and reference images. I have decided to create a few shapes and variations to give me the most flexibility when it comes to creating interesting buildings. I have imported it all in Unreal and started to block out shapes.
I really liked the concept of the subway exit but I wanted to make it my own - I want to incorporate the interesting designs of large buildings that we can see in Tokyo with so many lights and neons bouncing off. Having tall high-rise buildings also gives for a more interesting composition that.
To cap the environment making sure that it does not go on forever, I found some inspiration when looking through images of Asakusabashi Station when it was in renovation. The station has a bit of the wall ripped out revealing the supporting arches and I feel that will work quite well to break up the cubic nature of the envrionment.