Unreal Engine 4 Info Graphics
As a professor at one of the leading colleges in Canada I often find my self teaching new users software and having to relay complex workflows in simple and easy to understand pieces. To help aid in this I have created info graphics that show some of the simple concepts that can then be used in more complex situations as part of the whole. Below are some of those info graphics with a description of problem that is addressed and a solution that can be used to address it. Note that these only show a solution as there are always many ways to address any given need.
Blending textures with vertex colours (Colors if you prefer):
A great way to reduce needed texture space is to use tileable textures across large areas of a mesh or multiple meshes. The problem with this is you can end up with what looks like a tiled texture that is reapeating over and over. You also don’t specific textures changes where you might want them.
The example below is a road and I was looking to have gravel areas and areas where it looked more dry and cracked. Painting a single texture for the entire road would result in a massive texture having to load or ending up with obvious pieces of road looking exactly the same as the last. In the example I solve these problems with three generic tileable textures that don’t have any specific details in them. Each texture can then be tiled to the desired size, in the example below they are all tiled the same but could be changed to have each tiled a different amount. The three textures are then using Lerp nodes to blend each one together that is simpliar to having three layers of texture in Photoshop.
Vertex colours are now used as a mask, or layer mask in Photoshop, to blend the textures together where needed. Vertex colours can be painted in your game level directly on the mesh to blend which texture you need in each area.
Below is a completed material with the three tileable textures with their normal maps as well as specular and roughness channels being controlled. Convert inputs to parameters so that instanced materials can be used and controlled quickly adding more variation to your levels.
The image below is almost entirely created with tileable textures and vertex colour blending.
Procedural Geometry Based Clouds:
There are a number of ways of creating clouds and this is just one of them. The clouds are created with a sphere primitive in Unreal Engine that is scaled to the size needed. The material that is then added using a procedural noise and displacements to create a puffy looking cloud object. To further enhance the look the shader is set to Subsurface to allow light to pass through the clouds at the edges making them look illuminated from above. It is a simple trick that can be expanded on and create some wonderful looking clouds for your levels.
Random Pulsing Emissive Texture:
There is no example of the final product here but what I was after was a simple way to create a flickering gas lantern effect using an emissive texture. The solution be below uses two sine curves to control the output of the Emissive channel that can be control for the effect that you are after. Once again this is only one solution to the problem and there are several others that can be used.
Simple Water Material:
Water is always nice to have in your scene as it brings it to life and give depth to the textures. The solution below is a very simple starting point to creating ripples on the water that are moving in a given direction. A ripple normal map is used twice and blended together at slightly different angles and are moving at different speeds. This creates a bit of randomization in the ripples.
Tiling, Offsetting and Multiplying a texture map:
This is a more in-depth example of tiling a texture that is shown in the first info graphic. Here we are not only tiling the texture but also adding an offset feature for moving the texture in the UV coordinates. Ensure that you are creating parameters from the inputs so material instances can be created and reused with different settings.
I will add more as I create them for my classes.