Adventure Awaits : Blockout 1 : Naomi Vandoren in 3D

Work In Progress / 26 May 2022

Hello There! 

While these images are definately not from today I beleive its time to share my personal project with you! This is something that is dear to my heart as I know Naomi Van Doren personally. I have been wanting to create one of her images in 3D since I met her at Gencon in 2018. Her world just speaks to me in calm tones of joy and adventure. This particular peice caught my eye at Gencon last year. Soon she will be able to walk into it in 3D!


Reference Gathering:

There is definately more reference, but you get the idea. Generally I try to find the following: 

  • A real life image of the asset as close as I think it can be (in this case it was a smooth beech tree for bark)
  • An asset that shares similar visual character for look and feel
  • An asset or tutorial with the technical things figured out - so if I say want the roots to be attatched to splines etc

The Most Crutial Step:

After I do this I take a break. No joke. Not like a go-to lunch break, but a digest everything I just looked at break. So maybe it is not really a break per se; but the idea is after all of that visual digesting, walking away from it leaves my mind open and to fill in any blanks. It connects those visual thoughts and ideas into new things. Things that I never even considered before. So I go for a walk, meditate, do a quick yin yoga, and/or cuddle my cats. If I dont take a break I could cheat myself out of my creative abilty by getting 'vert-stracted' by slamming into 3D too quickly. Gotta let those juices steep and simmer, ya know? Like making cafe Olla or cinnamon tea.


OK we took our brain break. Anything I thought of I wrote down for later or grabbed more reference for it. Time to get on with silky silouettes and scale! 

The very first thing I did is determine our scale. Luckily Naomi provided a pretty clear sense of size with the little characters in the scene. I assumed this person was of average unreal character level height... and then jenga stacked her on top of herself in the concept image and in 3D. I also quickly mocked together a proto mesh of our arch and just a few of the arch stones.

Added more stones.... just the gernal shapes.

Annnd that's where we stopped that day :) Next is time to get that tree blocked out with the river and bring this baby into unreal for a lighting pass.