The Cove

The idea for this environment began back when I started brainstorming on how my demo reel for my portfolio would look like. I imagined the opening shot flying in on a beach, with an arch and trees blowing in the breeze. I drew a quick piece of concept art, so I could make the idea concrete, as seen below. That’s what started it all, and that was back in the Spring of 2011.

For over a year I didn’t touch the idea. I had drawn a tower on top of the cliff, and had no idea what it would be. I didn’t know what would be in it, what it would represent, or if it had any significance at all.

Flash forward to the beginning of 2012. I revisited the idea. I decided that whatever basic idea I had for the tower needed to be re imagined. As I was using it for a class project and going to be making it the center piece of my portfolio, I wanted to make sure that what I created was interesting. So I thought to myself, why not create a sanctuary?

This spawned the idea of the statue in this little alcove. My first thought was to ask one of the character artists for a character that could make for an interesting statue. I, however, decided since this was my centerpiece, I wanted it to be all my own work.

I began with the basic foundation of the ring of the alcove. I wanted to create higher quality meshes for this project, not some low poly meshes that would be easy to tear apart. So I began with this rock wall formation that I set up to be completely modular.

It started off as just the basic spheres that I scaled in certain directions, and began using soft selection on the vertices to create the basic shape. Once I had it set up so it was completely modular, I exported it out to ZBrush and began sculpting.

The end result came out great, and I was thoroughly pleased, as I was trying out new methods and techniques that fellow students and artists gave me.

From there, I started crunching out more assets. The arches, Buttress pieces that would create a ‘hallway’ in the tree canopy, broken pillars, etc.

I then began to shape the terrain, as I was doing this all in the Unreal Development Kit, I got to have a lot more freedom with how I set it up and placing my textures on it.

I finally got around to sculpting the statue, as you can see in the header. I was thoroughly pleased with the feel of it when I brought it into the light of the level.

After that, I sculpted the pedestal, and added some foliage. I created a couple of cameras in UDK and rendered out a cinematic, one that I am quite pleased with.

Cove Cinematic from Alex Karpati on Vimeo.

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