Work In Progress / 23 July 2020

Gravity Falls: I Love Lamp

Some great advice I got at the start of the year was "just finish something". I have a habit of trying to do things "the right way" which isn't always the most rewarding way of staying motivated. Initially for this project I wanted to just mesh out everything properly in maya and then go through and texture everything. However because it's been a really long time since I attempted anything stylised it was important to make at least one asset start to finish.

My eye is drawn to the lamp in the scenes it appears in from my previous blog post. As it is also going to be something I'll have to play about with for lighting as well it just seemed an important asset in the scene but still relatively simple to start with.

I modelled this in Maya. It was a simple shape and although I could have left it as the base shape and the lampshade with no interior, I am not sure if I will want to do a fly around the scene or not at a later point. I therefore took the opportunity to model the inside of the light just in case. Any excuse to keep practicing!

Using reference to make sure I get it to look somewhat believable when up close!

As a final asset it's not terribly complicated. It is also arguably a bit high poly for the scene at 2.2k tris, but again I would like it to look nice up close if I chose to do this. If I wanted to make a still scene all the insides wouldn’t be necessary and would cut this down a lot. Additionally I wanted the round shapes to be as smooth as possible to contrast the really blocky forms that are found elsewhere through the scene and therefore probably lower poly.

The next step was texturing! Using substance painter I created some base colours and base roughness values for the lamp shade and lamp base. Although this is stylised I wanted a little bit of texture to be there In the normal and roughness map if I got up close in a fly by so I used what was built in substance painter and played around with those values a bit to get something subtle. Creating an opacity layer and a mask layer I used the bell alpha shape to cut out the round fringe on the lamp shade.
It still wasn't looking quite right so I went back to the source reference and decided to delve in with some line work. Originally I wanted to try and use the curvature map to do this however I just couldn't get it to be a crisp line. I therefore did it by hand in key edge points and for some extra details. I also took a risk with some small hand painted highlights. After remembering reading from a stylised tutorial to pick a light source and stick with it, I will need to make sure other assets have the same light direction (above from the triangle window).

It turned out a lot better than I had imagined it would! Although still a bit rough around the edges. I've also given it a low roughness value to make it look more like porcelain but this may end up being too shiny and might not work with the rest of the scene when I start making the other assets. Although the line art is a bit shaky (Which would make my old comic tutors heads spin!) it doesn’t look too bad in the scene and adds to the hand drawn background feel.

I gave the lampshade and the light bulb an emissive channel as well which I will be able to play with later on when i get to polishing my lighting. It wasn't enough to have the whole thing by itself so I gave the side table the same treatment to see how they worked together.  

The main difference with the side table is that I've applied a gradient overlay layer. It's very subtle but it helps ground the object. I will be using this going forward and it might mean a quick revisit to the lamp as well. 

Honestly these are working really well together and it's hitting home the look I wanted based on the reference. I might need to make some of the wood grain lines a bit more obvious as from far away you just don't see them. It's almost got a borderlines vibe about it! Next I am planning to work on making a material for the floorboards and walls in designer. As it's such a bit part of the scene it's important I get to nail this down as well.