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VR Car Configurator, Fueled by Substance

Pierre Maheut on October 6 2016 | News, Stories, Film/VFX, Design
We had the opportunity this week to show a great VR experience at the Paris Motor Show Innovation Forum at Paris. The whole experience was created by Han YU to demonstrate the capabilities of VR headset for interactive product experience. In order to achieve photorealism and great immersion, Han YU used the Substance toolset for texturing; let’s have a look!
Who are you?
Hello, i’m Han Yu and I’m art lead and co-founder at Afun Interactive where I’m doing mostly look development, lighting, UI and UX.
You can find my work on my Dribble, on ArtStation or on my blog!
What is your background?
I went to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco for a VFX degree.
When I graduated from school, I worked on several films such as Wreck-it Ralph and Zootopia at Walt Disney Animation Studios. I also have strong passion for UI, and UX, and I’ve founded a few startups creating social media and AR over the past 3 years. I left Disney Animation 8 months ago and founded Afun Interactive, which is a VR/AR company based in Korea.
In general, I want to be a creative director being capable of creating a new world giving people inspiration and a great experience.
You previously worked at Walt Disney, Digital Domain and The Mill. Can you tell us what you learned during that time?
I was a CG generalist at The Mill and a texture painter at Digital Domain. I participated in small commercial projects and a Hollywood film, G.I. Joe 2. I enhanced my skills at Digital Domain, where I focused on texture painting. I worked in each of these companies for about one month, which was a significantly short time for me to learn something new and challenging.
In March 2012, I was hired at Disney Animation until December of last year as Look Development artist. I mainly worked on arts in featured animations, but also worked on the Special Project teams. The Special Project team forced me to consider various perspectives and think critically to be as efficient as possible. However, in the feature animation department, every single artist needed to produce the best quality work on tight deadlines.
The movie industry is a fast-paced field, so it’s necessary to completely understand the motive and atmosphere of the movie and the storytelling background before the project begins. This independence forced me to think fast and challenge myself to push myself within a limited time frame. Also, by watching my colleagues as they worked, I learned to adapt and approach my own work in much more efficient way.
Han Yu
You decided to create your own company. What was your key motivation for doing so?
My personal goal is to provide a new and fun experience with innovative contents for viewers to enjoy.
With Afun Interactive, I believe that I can provide people with the best VR/AR experience. Furthermore, I see an amazing potential in this market. Even though AR technology is not completely developed for the mass market , I believe we are not far away from it. VR/AR seems very different, but I believe these two branches will be developed simultaneously since they are still very similar to each other.
Tell us more about the VR Car configurator project. Describe your workflow on this project?
The AMG VR project is a car configurator that shows a variety of colors and selections of interior options.
Also, it features an experience that is as realistic as looking at an actual automobile at the dealership. In order to reduce the possibility of motion sickness, the frame and the quality were increased to maximum.
Han Yu
Furthermore, the workspace preview and 1:1 export to Unreal Engine 4 is an additional plus for an efficient workflow.
Tell us more about your workflow between Substance and Unreal Engine. How do you manage to get great results going from one to the other?
In order to get great results, the first thing we needed to visually check was the difference between Unreal and the Substance suite.
Unreal Engine 4 viewport screenshot
Han Yu
In Substance Painter 2.3
Han Yu
Unreal Engine 4 viewport screenshot
Han Yu
In Substance Painter 2.3
Han Yu
The majority of the standard platforms are divided into layers by geometric groups. However, materials in Substance Painter were divided by layers, which was unique. These differences did not affect production when working on the textures.
However, later in the process, I had to change materials and colors in Unreal Engine so some of the selective optioning elements (ex: leather aluminum, car paint, etc.) had to remain in individual materials.
Material separation by colors before working in Substance Painter
Five different materials for each door
Material separation by colors before working in Substance Painter
Five different materials for each door
Two doors, the trunk and the hood needed to be recognized by the engine in order to open and close properly.
In order to achieve this goal, I separated elements in order to retrieve several texture sets in Substance Painter. For each texture set, I exported the textures and plugged it in Unreal Engine. The majority of the work was done by Substance Painter’s tools while the flake pattern of the car paint and the leather pattern of the seats were created by Substance Designer.
In Substance Designer, it was fairly simple to create car paint flakes using Shape nope plugged to a Tile generator with randomness. From this, I computed a Normal map and a Roughness map to get a realistic car paint.
Han Yu
Han Yu
Han Yu
Han Yu
What did Substance bring to you compared to previous workflows?
The initial look development process does shading and rendering after the texture process, which means that the continuity of these two processes was limited. However, after using Substance Painter, the effectiveness of the outcome was greatly improved because the final results in Unreal Engine 4 and Substance Painter were similar.
What was the size of your team and the time frame for the project?
There were only two people working on that project: one programmer and one artist, which was me.
It took us about two and half months to finish the whole VR experience, with about a month and a half dedicated to the car. The modeling and UV unwrap took us three weeks, and the texture and shading less than four.
The Environment was about a week of work with the modeling, texturing and shading. The lighting, layout and rendering took us another 2 weeks
What is the next big feature you would like to see in Substance?
I always got confused while working on complex geometry; how I could not find the location I was painting on. It would have been awesome if I could have seen in the 3D view where I would paint before actually painting in the 2D view.
If Substance Painter allowed the use of rectangular ratio textures, the texture projection feature would be more powerful. Finally, showing and hiding geometry options would optimize the workflow. Improving these areas could only increase work speed and productivity.
What are your future projects?
We are currently developing a prototype of a VR game, and also working on AR content for clients.
Where do you think VR is headed in the future?
The VR industry is in its early stage as the industry itself needs more consideration and growth to figure out its audiences. Oculus and HTC began the trend of VR, but they are struggling. The lack of content for standalone headsets has turned people’s attention away from them, I think. Personally, I believe that VR’s road to popular success will be to start from mobile VR, such as Google Daydream.
If this happens, the public’s interest in high-end VR platforms such as Oculus, HTC, and PSVR could increase interest drastically.
For exemple, here is our experience working in VR!
There is a lot of potential and trial-and-error experiments to be mined in this field. As it represents something new and unfamiliar, many industries are striving to be here and desperate to find out more.
Of course, I can’t guarantee that these experiments will be successful. However, by fulfilling users’ needs, VR can powerfully grow in a matter of seconds. Afun Interactive is working harder everyday to better serve its users’ needs.
What do you do besides 3D?
I like to do UI and UX projects on my own, even though I currently do not have enough time due to VR. I would like to be a creative director, providing people with a better lifestyle and fun experiences for the future. VR and AR is a continuation of my goal and passion to make this possible.
Personnal UI work
Han Yu
Finally, could you send us a picture of you?
Han Yu
And could you add a picture of your work desk?