Bringing 2D into 3D
Momus Park was the first time we tried this with surprising results. For those who don't know, the majority of the textures used are based on the The Starry Night from Van Gogh. Trying to imitate the spirals and the brush strokes from the sky and the city on the models.
In this project, we took these ideas and methods a step further, by not only trying to recreate the texture but also the looks inside the painting. Creating in that way a world in which wherever you went or looked, you experienced the sensation of being inside a painting, uniting 2D and 3D.
Actually, this is not a new concept, however most of the 3D works that try this method are static images or videos, an impressive technique and design without a doubt but it's a shame that you can't go around the world they created.
Where to start
Once we have limited what we want to do and the feeling we want to get, it's time to gather references and styles.
In this case, we were looking for artists that had painted open aired spaces and gardens, since the main theme of this world it's called Avatar Garden. Meaning that the player have to have places to walk throught, select the different avatars and relax zones where the players can meet with other people.
The other condition that we put ourselves was that it had to be a classical painting, since we were connecting the 3D and the 2D, we thought it will be interesting to join a classic art medium with a new one. Putting this two things together inmediatly gave us the thought of the impresionist movement, with artists such as Claude Monet or Édouard Manet.
This style has a lot characteristics that make it ideal for this, the textures have a lot of personality with a strong presence of brush strokes and spots of colours, making it really easy to create tileable textures. Finally after reviewing a few artists, we decanted ourselves for Gauguin and his tahitian landscapes.
Once we have an artist selected, it's important to take notes. Each artist has a particular style that took years to develop, and if we want to recreate their paintings or artworks, it's a must to try to imitate these details. In this case we can pinpoint a few things from the get go that will helps us in order to recreate it:
When we have these main points clear it's time to prepare the props and the assets. To get started, we created some of the most basics props to fill a simple scene. That way we can define more details and polish the models even more.
This also helped us to develop a pipeline that allowed us to work more efficiently, which more or less consists of this:
Finally, in the spirit of Gauguin, we decided to change the world to an island instead of a garden.
Improvise, Adapt and Overcome
Creating this pipeline gave us an idea about what we will need to make, however it's not as easy as that. As always happens in these kind of projects, we found a series of problems. Especially when adapting some of the assets into the paintings style.
There were times when we had to reject some models because even though the final result may look impressive, the time spend on it, the resources it took or the number of tris, made the process not worth it.
For example this tree below (reference on the left), to recreate it we put a base on the leaves with a green texture, and them we recreated the yellow strokes with transparent planes. On the right you can see the tree in the process. Sadly we had to drop it because of the reasons stated above.
Other example comes from the vegetation, in particular from the bushes, since the forms are not very detailed, if took a lot of tries until we achieved a satisfying shape, it was a difficult time to make because a lot of times they resembled deformated spheres. Since this was a necessary model, we repeated the model until we achieved the desired result.
The most important lesson from this point is that not everything comes as one imagines it, so when you arrive to this, is important to stop and think about it. It is necessary? it is taking a lot of your time? how can I change it? This is normal, so it's important to improvise, adapt and overcome.
If you keep going you can finally obtain the desired results, as you can see:
While working on this project we discovered that it was a good way to test our limits, and what we can do inside an enviroment project. We tried to recreate a paradise that Gauguin viewed when he first traveled to Tahiti. All in all, I hope to see you there.