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Breakfast Jam | Tech Breakdown

Making Of / 06 August 2021


Hey there! A couple of weeks ago, I uploaded my collaboration with Pat & Grigoris,  where I was responsible of the Unreal side of things. This included things like shaders, lighting, post process and rendering the final shots. This blog post will be a quick tech breakdown of the few noteworthy bits that I'd like to share with you.

You can see the final renders here!

Pat's original, extremely chonky & yummy concept

Final Render

RTX Everything

Having recently bought an RTX card, this small-scale diorama scene was a perfect opportunity to dip my toes into the raytracing world. I decided to go full-in and I can officially say that I cannot look back now. This scene utilizes raytracing in all of its aspects, from shadows, reflections and even translucency & Global Illumination. All these rays quickly bring up serious performance implications but enabling Nvidia's DLSS and fine-tuning the samples per pixel settings helped quite a lot. Below you can see the raytracing settings I used while working on the project.

These settings, along with the Performance DLSS option gave me a good performance to work on the scene. I then set up a Movie Pipeline Render Config file with the final high-sample & resolution raytracing settings. These will only be used when rendering the final shots with the Movie Render Queue. A lot of these settings where not really needed in this project but were migrated from a previous project and I thought I'd add them to the list.

Light Setup

Since all of the scene utilized raytracing, lighting it was a breeze and I had the flexibility to have many iterations. I tried for the first time to recreate my Marmoset Toolbag workflow. That basically means, start off with a low-intensity HDR to make sure I don't have completely dark shadows, continue with a basic three-lighting setup (key, fill, rim lights) & finish off with some "painting" lights to guide the viewer's attention to. Additionaly, I used exponential height fog to get that bright and vivid background color and used a strong vignette value in my post process volume to get a nice gradient for it.  In the gif below, you can see how the different lights help build up the scene bit by bit.

Standard Master & Ray-traced Glass Materials

There weren't a lot of changes to do with the standard master material because Grigoris had already done a great work with the texturing of all of the assets. I mainly exposed a couple of intensity parameters for Base color, Roughness and added a small subsurface intensity value. Most of the meshes were exported separately so I had the flexibility to do slight changes in different assets to get more consistent values throughout.

The glass shader was a bit more tricky but connecting the refraction nodes to the specular input did the trick. Some of its setup is not super intuitive, and a proper stylized glass material is still on my list for any future projects.

Kuwahara filter

Kuwahara is a neat, little filter that I've come to love in recent times. It performs a certain screen-space effect that gives everything a slight brushstroke look. Its main limitations are 1. that a stronger intensity effect is very heavy in terms of performance and 2. it's really resolution-depended so you really need to be careful with the radius value of the effect. For ease-of-use, I set it up in its own post process volume and made sure to enable it only when it was time to do the final renders. Below you can see some closeups of what the effect achieves. If you're interested in recreating this effect, check out this awesome youtube video!

That's all for this time folks! See ya all on the next one.