Editor’s note: This post is part of our weekly In the NVIDIA studio Series celebrating featured artists, offering creative tips and tricks, and showing how NVIDIA Studio Technology accelerates creative workflows.
3D environment artist Jacinta Vu joins us In the NVIDIA studio This week she presents her video game-inspired scene Royal Library and workflow for creating 3D content.
Based in Cincinnati, Vu specializes in converting 2D concept art into 3D models and scenes, to which she has been instrumental The Dragon Prince by Wonderstorm Games.
Their artistic endeavors often begin with hand-drawing low-poly game assets that look like beautiful paintings, their initial intent in stylization Royal Library.
“Around the time of Royal Librarymy style was very hand drawn and I wanted to work towards that more League of Legends and World of Warcraft Styles,” said Vu. “However, my vision for this project was very different. Royal Library is based on concept art and is very different in comparison.”
Vu started her creative workflow by creating 3D models in Autodesk Maya and slowly built out the larger scene. Utilizing their GeForce RTX 2080 GPU, the GPU-accelerated viewport was unlocked, making Vu’s modeling and animation workflows faster and more interactive. This gave her the freedom to generate ideas and unleash creativity while saving her valuable time.
“It was really nice to be able to make these quick and precise adjustments,” said Vu. “Especially when you’re creating a modular kit for an interior versus an exterior, there’s less room for clutter since buildings are built to be structurally perfect.”
Practice creates masters. The NVIDIA Studio YouTube channel has many helpful tutorials, including how to quickly model a scene rendering using a blocking technique in Autodesk Maya.
Vu then used ZBrush’s customizable brushes to sculpt and sculpt some models in more detail.
Next, Vu used Marmoset Toolbag and quickly baked their models with RTX acceleration in just a few seconds, saving render time later in the process.
Vu then moves on to lighting, where her mentor encouraged her to literally go big by saying, “Wouldn’t it be cool to do all that indirect lighting in this big, sprawling building?”
Here, Vu experimented with lighting techniques that leverage multiple GPU-accelerated features. In Unreal Engine 4.26, RTX-accelerated ray tracing and NVIDIA DLSS powered by AI and Tensor Cores make scene refinement easier and faster. With the release of Unreal Engine 5, Vu then tried Lumen, UE5’s fully dynamic global lighting system, which gives her the ability to illuminate her scene in stunning detail.
Normally, Vu would apply her hand-painted texture style to the finished model, but as she continued to refine the scene, it made more and more sense to rely on realistic graphics, especially with RTX GPU hardware, to support her creative ambitions.
“It’s actually really weird because I think I got stuck for a while in the process of setting up the lighting, setting up the camera and getting the models finished down to the textures,” Vu said. “It was difficult for me because I’m coming from a hand-painted background and switching textures was nerve-wracking.”
Vu created her textures in Adobe Photoshop and then used Substance 3D Painter to apply different colors and materials directly to her 3D models. NVIDIA RTX and NVIDIA Iray technology in the viewport enable Vu to edit in real time and use ray tracing baking for faster rendering speeds – all accelerated by your GPU.
Vu returns to Unreal Engine 5 to animate the scene using the sequencer feature. The sparkling effect comes from a godray enhanced by particle effects, combined with atmospheric fog to fill the space.
All that’s left are final renders. Vu renders her full-fidelity scene at lightning speed with UE5’s RTX-accelerated Path Tracer.
Finally the Royal Library is ready for visitors, friends and guests of honor.
Vu, proud to finally be done Royal Library, reflecting on her creative journey, saying, “In the last segment I said, ‘I actually know how to do this.’ Once again I was in my head thinking there was something I couldn’t do, but it was liberating and it’s the sort of thing that taught me so much for my next. I know I can do a lot more a lot faster because I know how to do it and I can keep practicing to get the quality I want.”
NVIDIA Studio exists to unleash creative potential. It provides the resources, innovation and expertise to support passionate content creators like Vu.
3D environment artist Jacinta Vu is on ArtStation and Twitter.
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