3D environment artist Jacinta Vu sets the scene in the NVIDIA studio

Editor’s Note: This post is part of our weekly In the NVIDIA studio series, which celebrates star artists, offers creative tips and tricks, and shows how Nvidia Studio technology accelerates creative workflows.

3D environment artist Jacinta Vu joins us In the NVIDIA studio this week, showcasing his video game-inspired scene royal library and 3D content creation workflow.

Based in Cincinnati, Vu specializes in transforming 2D concept art into 3D models and scenes, a key contribution she has made to The Dragon Prince by Wonderstorm Games.

Vu’s work emits a variety of colors and textures, from models to fully fleshed out scenes.

His artistic endeavors often begin by hand-drawing low-poly game elements that look like beautiful paintings, his original intention to stylize royal library.

“Around the time of royal librarymy style was very hand painted and I wanted to work more towards League of Legends and World of Warcraft styles,” Vu said. “However, my vision for this project was very different. royal library is based on concept art and very different if you compare it.

Attention to detail on individual models is the basis for creating a stunning scene.

Vu began his creative workflow by creating 3D models in Autodesk Maya, slowly building the larger scene. The deployment of its GeForce RTX 2080 GPU unlocked the GPU-accelerated viewport, allowing Vu’s modeling and animation workflows to be faster and more interactive. This left her free to imagine and unleash her creativity, while saving precious time.

“Being able to make these quick and precise adjustments was really nice,” Vu said. “Especially since, when you create a modular kit for an interior rather than an exterior, there is less room for mess because the buildings are made to be structurally perfect.”

It is practice makes perfect. The NVIDIA Studio YouTube channel hosts many useful tutorials, including how to quickly model a rendered scene using a blocking technique in Autodesk Maya.

Vu then used ZBrush’s customizable brushes to shape and sculpt some models in great detail.

Next, Vu deployed Marmoset Toolbag and quickly baked their models with RTX acceleration in seconds, saving render time later in the process.

Vu then moves on to lighting where her mentor encouraged her to go big, literally, saying, “Wouldn’t it be cool to do all this bounced lighting in this big, expansive building?”

Here, Vu experimented with lighting techniques that take advantage of several GPU-accelerated features. In Unreal Engine 4.26, RTX-accelerated ray tracing and NVIDIA DLSS, powered by AI and Tensor Cores, make scene refinement easier and faster. With the release of Unreal Engine 5, Vu then tried out Lumen, UE5’s fully dynamic global illumination system, which gives him the ability to illuminate his scene in stunning detail.

Composition is a key part of the process, Vu noted, “When constructing a composition, you really want to look into the natural lines of the architecture that lead your eye to a focal point.”

Normally, Vu would apply her hand-painted texture style to the finished model, but as she continued to refine the scene, it made more and more sense to lean into realistic visuals, especially with RTX GPU hardware for support his creative ambition.

“It’s actually really weird, because I think I was stuck in the process for a while where I had the lighting set up, the camera, the models were done except for the textures” , Vu said. “For me, it was difficult, because I come from a hand-painted background and changing textures was nerve-wracking.”

The application of realistic textures and precise lighting bring the Royal Library to life.

Vu created his textures in Adobe Photoshop, then used Substance 3D Painter to apply various colors and materials directly to his 3D models. NVIDIA RTX and NVIDIA Iray technologies in the viewport allow Vu to edit in real time and use ray-traced baking for faster rendering speeds, all accelerated by its GPU.

Vu reverts to Unreal Engine 5 to animate the scene using the Sequencer feature. The shimmering effect comes from a godray, amplified by particle effects, combined with an atmospheric haze to fill the room.

Only the final renders remain. Vu renders his scene in full fidelity at lightning speed with UE5’s RTX-accelerated Path Tracer.

Finally, the royal library is ready for visitors, friends and distinguished guests.

Seen, proud to have finally finished royal library, reflected on her creative journey, saying, “In the final stretch, I said, ‘I really know how to do this.’ Again I was in my head thinking I couldn’t do something but it was liberating and it’s the kind of thing where I learned a lot for my fellow man I know I can do much more much faster, because I know how to do it and I can keep training, so I can get to the quality that I want.

NVIDIA Studio exists to unlock creative potential. It provides the resources, innovation and know-how to help passionate content creators, like Vu.

3D environment artist Jacinta Vu is on ArtStation and Twitter.

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