Possibly my favourite assignment from the recent AGP Graphics & Illustration course was the ‘graphic wall’ task. I really enjoyed creating a themed graphic design for a wall and composing the graphic onto an actual photo of the wall in question.
However, because the room in question is at the back of the house (north-east) facing, it never gets an decent light through the window so I am never able to take a decent photo (as all I posses is an iPhone camera).
I didn’t want my hard work to be only half-realised so I decided to dust off Unreal Engine 4 and recreate the room using accurate measurements for the walls and decorations that I’s created previous for my architecture visualisation experiments last summer. I then imported the graphic as a texture to place on the appropriate wall.
This is what I came up with:
I am quite pleased with the outcome as I spent a fair amount of time trying to get the level of realism as high as possible. Using the ‘area light’ technique, I was able to improve the lighting over my earlier attempts of re-creating my living room in the engine.
The biggest difference is, in my living room scene there was only a single Directional Light (representing the sun) and I was expecting that to be enough to light the entire room. It was only after reading a blog post on the artist Koola that I understood that I needed to give the directional light more help. A spotlight is required in order to light the room ‘through the window’. However you do not simply put the spotlight at the window and point it in the room. The cone will not provide the flood of light that is required in order to fill-in for the lack of potency from the directional light. Instead you point the spotlight away from the window, directly at a “light card” or “reflector” (which is a simple 3D plane with a pure white material applied). This then floods the room with rays at the full range of angles required.
You tweak a few other of the light, surface and rendering settings until you have the desired effect.
I am very happy to now be able to realise the graphic wall assignment properly AND that I’ve discovered (thanks to the reading the articles linked above) the secrets to creating photo-realistic real-time game rendering.