I've been going around as a writer, but started getting drawn into Concept Art and 3D modeling. I'm currently finishing my studies as a 3D artist and will then be let loose on the world. Beware!

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Blocking and sketches always help. I use Google Images a lot to find source materials to the models and scenes I want to create. Without a clear target it's not easy to create a nice looking scene.

For this scene, I suggest using vertex painting too. With vertex painting you can give lots of subtle details to it. Also UDK material editor is epic, you should try some complex materials.

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SinKing Author

I made this test with the models and materials from America's Army Proving Grounds. It's mostly BSP, so I couldn't vertex paint anything. I was also using America's Army materials (except for the UDK floor and my own meshes); I was gonna try out their shaders and materials.

I must say, I learned a lot from looking at the material compounds and mesh-uvs alone, so this wasn't a futile exercise. However, after I (made and) added some particles, decals and a camera , I couldn't bake it out anyway (errors, errors). So it's been yet another exercise on they way to better mapping :)

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Making a good looking model is simple, making a good looking scene is harder, making a great scene with great looking models is a big challenge, but the hardest of all is making a scene that looks like a picture, without any inconsistencies, easy on the eye, and exciting.

If I learned something from ten years of mapping it's that mapping is hard... HA

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I had a rough idea of stairs leading up to a small alley, so I drew a small sketch and started blocking in the stairs and BSP. I tried to have some variation and to make the layout not too straight. I put some BSP in the background and use a Post Processing Volume for the DOF effect.

This is the "vanilla" scene, so I'm gonna have to add decals and particles, next.

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