So, what have I done the past two days? Good question: this.
You can ask my poor neglected girlfriend how dedicated to this project I am as she sits and watches me stare like a zombie at the screen trying to figure out UDK (suppresses rage).
No, I don't hate UDK, but it's been almost a year and a half since I used UDK to the extent that I'm using it now and by God I forgot how much you had to know for this program. Mostly the shaders have been giving me a fit. For this project, I wasn't satisfied with slapping on a spec, diffuse and normal on OH NO. I had to go above and beyond to texture it like nobody's business, but, it is satisfactory. Now onto explaining what I actually did.
In the screenshot above, you can't actually see what I spent most of my time on because I was framing the shot with the two flames, which is actually the least appealing angle. However, I haven't even begun constructing the mountains and so this is basically all I have done. I did however nearly master the art of vertex blend shaders thanks to over a billion tutorials. I saw a TUTORIAL on making varying footprints in sand. However, the tutorial didn't cover actual vertex blending, which I scoured the internet for and never found a truly definitive tutorial. But after hours of labor, I came up with this:
This mess of cables is actually a relatively simple shader, but I simply don't have it in me to tweak it further until a later time. However, the result was great and I don't regret the long hours put into now such a seemingly easy task.
This is all one plane which has one texture on it. However, this was not done in the diffuse and is actually made of two diffuse maps and five normal maps. The sand is a simple base color with a noise filter in Photoshop. All you have to do is place the footprints as a normal map and voila, you have fake (and not texured) footprints. The actual making of the textures took about five minutes. It's very simple and was actually pretty fun making all of the different types of footprints.
**Those rocks in the top right hand corner are placeholders and came with UDK. That's why they don't match anything
After getting the shader up and running, placing those individual textures was all a matter of painting the vertex colors. It took a little tweaking, but I finally got it done.
Also, in the very top picture, those little orange things are just a particle effect I made which swoosh around the scene to replicate, well, burning stuff I guess.
So yeah, aside from COMPLETELY FINISHING POHATU (yay), I've moved on to UDK just to change the scenery from Maya a little bit. I plan to take a break from everything for a day and I think I will continue on to finishing the models I already created (Hafu, Hewkii, Onewa, and the Maha).
Thank you all for reading and if anyone wants a tutorial on the vertex shaders, let me know. I can't promise anything amazing, but its a start.