Programmer/Tech Art - Unreal
A project born out of cooperation between Wabash National and Extract Technologies, the task for our team at the Envision Center was to create a VR showcase of their state-of-the-art mobile clean-room, a way for dangerous chemicals to be handled in a mobile laboratory setting. Based on imagery provided by the clients, our team of artists recreated what the truck would look like complete with the medical technology. As this concept was simply being demonstrated before actually being built, it was a great cost savings to the client, and the client could also show potential buyers what exactly they want to build, as opposed to simply explaining it verbally, or using 2D drawings.
This project was showcased in New York and Germany at the largest international trucking conferences. People had a notable reaction to the ability to look at this technology through a new type of lens; however, most people just had fun trying to toss the beakers and making them into the nearby virtual trashcan.
A challenge for this project was more on the Tech Art side of development, specifically trying to pull off lighting. The scene has a few layers of indoor lighting, primarily inside the truck bed with its own sterile lighting setup, but also sitting inside a warehouse with its own overhead industrial lights. With this complex setup and wanting to bake our lights, we ended up with ugly artifacts appearing on the side of the walls. After adjusting some settings and realizing the problem wasn't rendering away, we altered our approach. We setup a multi-layered lighting system, where materials of objects located inside the sterile environment would only react to 'light layer 1', and any exterior materials affected by the warehouse lighting would be tagged accordingly, and lighted by 'light layer 2'. This ended up solving the artifact problem and giving us a pretty nice end lighting result.