CAMP HANGAR: 04 - FINAL
Here is my post-mortem of my Final Year Project (FMP) titled Camp Hangar, providing and in-depth analysis of the project overall as well as breakdowns of the process of development from start to finish.
"We made it..."
This project has been tremendously great for my own personal development, as I have learned a tremendous amount, but I also have a tremendous amount of work to show, so this blog post will go over both, with the best amount of detail I can provide.
The best place to start with this update is the composition of the scene itself, as you can see much of the composition of the assets in the scene has changed since the first update. Throughout the project I believed that the best way for this level to be shown would have been through a 360 panoramic image, where the viewer would stand in the midst of the camp and look around. But as weeks went by, I began to accept that this isn't the best way to show off the work I've done, and so instead I adopted a different way of showing my work that is more traditional, with cinematic screenshots. I created a path that the player can take through the level, composing views as they do. These cinematic screenshots would be the best way to quickly and easily show the best aspects of the project, and so a return to basics presented me with a set of different problems, closely associated with the scenes composition. In short, the layout was bad for not only a single image, but even for a series, so I tried experimenting with new layouts. It was one week before the deadline and final hand in, yet I was still experimenting, which could have proved disastrous if I hadn't spent additional hours over the next few days recouping for lost time, which I did, and I believe it proved more than useful.
I placed a few cameras around the scene firstly, where I believe the best of the level was shown in all it's glory, then made some adjustments to the level overall to 'dress for shot' as I've before heard it called. Big changes included adding an additional Portakabin to the scene, just in front of the containers, turning it on it's side, which better defined the lane designed for that area of the level leading to the garage. I would also reposition this portakabin so that it replaced the larger 5 man UN tent, moving that UN tent to the back of the scene where yes it was more obscure but intentionally so as I feel this was one of the weaker models in the scene, especially among the tents.
See above how the scene had developed from start to middle to end.
All round the composition seemed to work best after these larger changes, adding the larger assets into the sides of the shot, to block in the camera view, using the godrays and atmospheric haze to push the viewers eye back into frame, and then of course the central highlight of the fire, keeping the viewers eye central.
All that was left was to add those smaller details, adding debris and spare parts to the edges of the shots and the corners of the level, where a horizontal floor line meets a vertical wall or construct, providing a smooth transition for the viewers eye from one to the other. This would be called, framing detail, where detail is placed in the corner of the frame. I would also pay close attention again to the lighting of the scene, both overall and for individual shots, all in the accordance with the original project goal of a golden hour lighting scenario with deep blues shadows and striking oranges.
It was always intended the project to be a Destiny/Last of Us lovechild, and I'll be careful to say I achieved that blend by the projects end. I'm happy with how my understanding of composition and lighting has come across in this piece, while I'm still excited to spend another couple of days getting those details perfect. To get that setup just right did require a few additional tweaks and additions to get right, including adding a second directional style light (a spotlight with a large radius, and large attenuation radius) with a low level light intensity and cast shadows turned off, all to allow for a better visual read of the 3D scene, emphasising the direction of the original light source, without crushing the highlights
I would also go onto redoing some of the decals in the scene, changing the local language on the biggest decal from Russian to English so it was coherent with the other decals used across the scene. It was always difficult to translate from English to Russian so it became an easier to just cave and use English language instead, it doesn't effect the scene in any real way or the storytelling aspects, it just helps the viewer identify with the scene, and understand what is what, 'sanctuary' for example, and it makes it way easier when gathering reference for things like safety signs for example. This change saves time and serves a greater purpose.
In the final few days left of the project, I spent time creating and recording a video that would was part of my submission, a small 50 second video that shows some of the key areas of the scene, very slowly panning away or to the side to capture the best angles in passing. I didn't want to go crazy with the camera and create any whirling swooping camera movements - as this in my view looks very tacky - so I made sure to keep it tight, keep the focus for longer on single areas, take my time here and use establishing shots to point out key focal points.
See the full video here:
And there you have it, a breakdown of my project Camp Hangar. This blog has been a journey to write and I hope you learned something. Thank you for reading and check back soon for more updates as and when.