— PROJECT NAME
Cyberpunk Environment: Technical Art Mentorship @ The Mill
VFX and Material Artist
Tools Blueprint Developer
Anna Björnsdóttir (Mentor)
Sujin Lee (3D/Material Artist)
Jack Chen (3D Artist)
Christin Neal (3D Artist)
Jayleen Perez (Character Artist)
This project was created as a way for members of the team to increase their skills in Technical Art, ran by Anna Björnsdóttir (Lead Technical Artist @ CCP Games).
Each individual in the team had their own element they wanted to focus on and improve.
Primarily, I had the focus on creating tools for the other members to take advantage of, namely spline tools to create quick geometry elements within the scene.
Secondly, I had the focus of lighting and weather elements within the scene itself. During the time of the project, I looked into a rain system within Unreal and created multiple advanced materials to make a configurable rain system affected by global parameters.
To get used to using Unreal Engine 5, I looked into what I already knew and understood which workflows had changed and which hadn’t. Namely, I looked into animated emissive materials, reflections (screen space and standard), material parameters and collections and lighting.
Initially tasked with researching Spline Tools, I created a system that allowed me to choose meshes to place along a spline, with customised rotations, offsets and materials.
Utilising this, I created some Christmas fairy lights with a standard cylinder mesh combined with capsule meshes with offsets controlled by my spline tool. Adding the emissive material randomisation (utilising Dynamic Material Instances) allowed the lights to be random in colour and flashing intensity.
Upon the completion of the spline tool, I utilised it to wrap some Christmas lights around the scene while experimenting with reflections to work with water and wet elements within the scene.
While creating the wet rain material, it initially appeared on every surface with every angle. I solved this through utilising WorldSpace and TriPlanar shaders to mask out the channel (and the direction, with blue being the Z-Direction etc.) and then applying this to the material so the ripples would only exist on top, the water running down the sides etc.
Creating believable rain means utilising all aspects that we see in nature; namely droplets, rain affected by gravity, puddles and ripples.
Most of these effects have been added utilising textures on different channels which have baked-in various elements such as time randomness, size randomness etc. into textures and then thrown through multiple masks to achieve the effect needed to replicate rainfall on a surface.
Upon the first completion of the rain system, we can see that we have an animated rain system with ripples inside of puddles, droplets on ‘non-puddle’ areas and drops gliding down the side of geometry. This Material Function can also be added to any existing material to allow the Material Collection Parameter to globally control the entire rain system.