Crystal Mines (WIP)


(Kligan) #1

Hello there!
I’m currently working on my project - a scene I named Crystal Mines, assets from which I’m gonna share later on Sketchfab.
It’s a cavern with metal ore deposits, but it also has glowing crystals (mainly just to make it all pretty-looking)
I’ve been re-doing my crystals now and then ever since I made the first prototype of the scene with grey blocks.
Right now, I’m satisfied with the way they look… kinda.



I still feel like something’s amiss. The way they look - I would want to lick it! Like a candy :slight_smile:
I’m not sure if I should change something again, or is it just me being tired of trying to make them look “perfect”, so I can’t judge properly.

Could I get some feedback, please? Suggestions? Maybe I should really just leave it as it is and move on to do the rest of the scene…


(Nomadking) #2

I think the thing that looks a little ‘off’ is the way you’re lighting them. If the crystals are meant to be the source of the glowing light then it should be more even throughout the length of the crystal, not darker at the ends (particularly noticeable on the larger ones)

As it stands right now, it looks like the glow is below the crystals and they are simply reflecting that light outwards.


(Kligan) #3

Hm… You mean something like this?

I have a mask texture in my material - a gradient from top to bottom. I thought it would look better that way.

I also changed the material on rocks. They were too smooth, and looked weird with crystals sticking out of them

And maybe I should increase emissive value as well?


(Nomadking) #4

I like the changes :slight_smile: You could still get some colour variation in there if you want, but you’re probably better sticking to the lighter side of the palette to make sure they still feel like a light source.


(Kligan) #5

Your previous post gave me an idea. And after some time working on it, here’s what I got:

I duplicated geometry of each crystal in maya. Then scaled it to 0.98, and assigned different material.
In-engine, I re-did my blueprints - each crystal now has an outer transparent layer with index of refraction 2.43, and an inner opaque core.
Then I removed all the light sources attached to crystals, that were illuminating them from within previously.
And finally, I enabled using emissive as static lighting.

I’m really happy with the result! Thanks a lot @nomadking for pointing me in the right direction!


(Nomadking) #6

Oh nice, that came out great! Now you get the feeling of a defined lightsource AND the refraction / reflection from a glass like material.

Great idea :slight_smile:


(Kligan) #7

An alternative type of refraction gives different effect.

Can’t decide which one I like better :smiley:

Previous one has lots of movement in it whenever camera moves. So it’s kinda breaks the illusion compared to static screenshot.
This one, however, has no such issues. But it’s more obvious that crystals have a core inside.


(Nine Prisms) #8

Wow, all of these are stunning!! Personally I like our latest on the most. I actually feel it looks more realistic, the crystals having that glowing core, over the entire thing glowing. However both look great and realistic, so it really is a personal preference thing. Either way you made some beautiful Crystals!:hugs:


(Kligan) #9

Thanks!

Unfortunately, I was unable to make the second variant work properly.
I spent the entire day tweaking the shader and working with lighting. But somehow, it just doesn’t look the way I want.

If you compare the last two screenshots, you can see that the first one has more natural lighting, especially at the bottom on the rocks.
The second one does not illuminate its base properly and gives out more faint ambient light. Even when emissive boost cranked way up.

I tried to simulate the effect by placing faint light sources at the bottom of each crystal, but it’s just not the same. And somehow, it makes the overall lighting in the area change color to very dark blue. Not sure how that happens.

So what I ended up with is modified and optimized version of the first shader.
I use much brighter emissive values on the inner core to build lighting. And when launching simulation, the emissive value goes way down through the dynamic material instance in blueprints, to look more subtle.

I’ll leave it like this and move on. Way too much time wasted already :smiley:


(Nine Prisms) #10

Ooo, these last ones look the best by far anyway! I know very little about how things work in 3D still, so I don’t fully understand what is different, but it looks so real!


(Kligan) #11

I’ve added some “greenery” to my crystal formations. Looks pretty neat, if I do say so myself :smiley: