Project Bananas Re-Design and Back to Personal Work!

Work In Progress / 22 November 2020

Hey Guys! Long time no chat, between working for a little while at High Moon Studios on the latest Call of Duty and then moving an entirely different direction with my amazing new job at Happy Mushroom. I've been there for almost five months now and it's been an incredible and wonderful experience and I've learned so much that I get to bring forth into this project. It's been on the backburner for awhile with the busy-ness that life brings such as constant moves, new jobs, new people, and awesome challenges, but also with the downside of health complications. Those have since remedied themselves to a degree that I've been able to get a bit more into the positive mindset again personally and get back into personal work. This is a piece that im hoping to have done to the level I want by summer or so of next year. There's tons of things like cinematics, and presentation, and lighting, and all of that that I really want to make this my best and biggest piece yet. I'll be using PHG, splines, and really pushing myself to learn some technical additions to my toolbelt. Without further ado I hope you enjoy, and as always please feel free to leave a comment or suggestions, or anything really! Cheers!
Next Steps: Assetize new Bldg, uv, lightmap, texture in painter

Set Up Street System BLO for BP Prep

Place Modular BLO bldgs to be re-modeled off Ref

(Same Silhouette)

Fix Sidewalk - Right Side - Gas Station

Top Down Map of street Layout to Organize

turning lanes, decals, etc. - Photoshop

Test BLO - Train - Beach Area?

Assetize List




Windows Skyscraper

Sewer Cap - Secret Base

Floor Tiles








Well Hi there folks! Project Bananas Update!

General / 26 October 2018

Screenshots Heavy

Hi guys,

Sorry, I've been away for so long, between the job search, full-time graduate studies, and keeping up with the standards of my thesis has kept me sleep deprived, to say the least! But I finally have some results I can dig as a first pass! I hope you guys enjoy the current progress update! As I move forward I plan on completing the first building that includes the shop I am currently working on.

Important Notes

  • Gorilla Joe's Workshop is a front in the fight against the government.
  • The government has managed to shut down all forms of mobile electronics and devices as a form of mobile censorship
  • This is based in the city of Los Angeles or close to as coastal california as I'd like to go artistically
  • Inspired design and layout wise by Japan and Chinatown Architecture
  • Chinatown plan has been switched to Japantown style due to more formal definitions in Japanese Language for the signs I've created.
  • I am starting with the first and largest architectural building piece first as a way to discover my own workflow
  • This will be the first project I've actually used ZBrush on! This boggles my mind why I always stray away from it and keep all my work in Painter, but now working in tandem with Zbrush and Painter it's allowed me to derive much more information from maps such as cavity, thickness, position, etc. Pairing that with the organizational capabilities of finally also using Material ID Maps, dare I say I finally feel like I am giving my craft the chance to reach it's potential and my hopeful standards.
  • INSPIRATION: Blade Runner, 1984, Jet Set Radio Future, Dystopian cityscapes, Ghost in the Shell.
  • Most of my time is being spent organizing blockouts based on design sheets, matching it with reference, and then finally moving onto the detail stage. From there I now approach Zbrush detailing my Props into organized Prop Sets and detailing them as separate subtools in Zbrush.
  • Exciting Tidbit: I GOT A JOB! Can't say where yet, but needless to say I am so darn excited! Tons to learn and tons to offer. Without further ado, let's get the thing!

Unreal Screens



Maya Screens

NOTE: Some assets are not made by myself and are for storytelling purposes; such assets include the vehicles, the gorilla in the shop, and the trash bags. The remaining work has been done by myself and generally taken from a low-poly block-out to a detailed mid-poly before adjusting and detailing in ZBrush.

ZBrush Detail: Rendered in Marmoset


Substance Painter

Early Design Blockouts

That's all for now folks!

Take care of yourselves, and keep that grind on, passion projects can be great forms of relaxation!




Project Bananas: Progress Update!

General / 10 October 2018


Personal Update: Lots of potentially exciting things on the horizon as of late which has left me trying to scramble to try to put some semblance of a thesis together and it's finally starting to shape up as I've managed to cobble together some base lighting in maya and finish the first floor and few shops pass. 

Life-wise has been exciting as well as I've been going through the paces interviewing for Environment Artist positions. With some advancing into the final stages it's incredibly exciting to think I have another shot getting back into the industry and getting to work with more colleagues again.

Lastly, the exciting thing is after an incredibly tough past year and a half with many complications with my health and auto-immune flare-ups I'm close to being back to full health, which last happened around Spring 2016, shortly before I entered the Rookies challenge as well as moving to Burbank to work on Spider-man. I certainly couldn't have done it without the constant support of the art community, and especially my incredible girlfriend who's constant check-ins, homecooked meals and night's rubbing my back like she's trying to get a ticket to the s.s. anne. It's been the toughest of roads I've experienced personally, and what it's brought into crystal clear focus a deep found appreciation for the two sides of the coin that life can bring. Moving forward with my art, personal life, and career it's a manic-like focus and an unending quest to hear, tell, and experience all the stories from a variety of walks of life, to not just listen but to hear what's been said and digest, grow, and improve in my quest to tell passionate and inviting stories in the environments I craft.

With all of that out of the way onto the art shall we?


Wow man, this project has been quite the undertaking and has challenged me personally on a level I really wasn't sure I could achieve, but setting aside the constant unfinished projects I decided no matter what that I would see this through to completion, and I plan on it =). With that said the overall story for those who haven't followed or may have forgotten is really a message in the fight against censorship that this particular government happens to excise over its citizens. What that means is in this world the citizens of this beachside city are being censored by the satellites found in previous screenshots. These satellites turn off all mobile electronics in this neighborhood in Los Angeles. Themed to Chinatown-like architecture I really wanted to go for a 1984 (the novel) themed setting. Gorilla Joe's Scrap station is then responsible for taking the hand-held electronics that are forced to be turned into government scrap shops. But this shop isn't like the others. They take handheld electronics and under the guise of their building and field of work they repurpose the electronics into weapons such as tasers, wifi-communications receivers and blockers, as well as the more, let's say forceful weapons. At the end you'll see the main building and gorilla joe's first rendition I mocked up and tossed in unreal to get a feel for things, that main building will be replaced by these one's I am crafting and detailing and it's exciting to see my vision come to life. NOTE: The apex gorilla art, and billboard art, as well as the gorilla in the shop are placeholder art or assets derived from commercial-free sites such as turbosquid, etc and are there primarily for the storytelling theme of the universe I'm trying to craft. 

As always Critiques, Comments, and Concerns always welcomed and greatly appreciated! Cheers guys!


Project Bananas Update

Work In Progress / 06 October 2018

At home sick with celiac bs and plugging away modeling. Here's what I've been up to recently. Designing the first major architecture for my thesis. It's been challenging and fun and it's certainly been a good way to evaluate ways to improve my workflow. 

Going for a Sleeping Dogs meets Watch Dogs vibes set in the theme of the novel 1984 (all the doges). Critiques and comments always welcomed! I hope you guys dig it, still so much to do!  -_- 




Project Bananas V1.3

General / 26 June 2018

Lots of decals added, more asphalt and grounding elements, and some really cool photogrammetry elements as well! The trash bags are an incredible asset I found on sketchfab, courtesy of Bohdan Lvov. You can find them here: I changed the materials however to better suit the lighting in my environment. Pretty satisfied with the direction this project is taking so far, next steps are the railroad tiling texture and set dressing before moving on to my major architectural pieces which still require modeling, baking and texturing. Enjoy!

Project Bananas V1.2

General / 24 June 2018

Current progress after combining some normals, a variety of anti-aliasing testing, some lighting and background silhouette changes. Today I dialed in the first pass on two versions of asphalt and thanks to defco12 and substance share found here: for a sweet asphalt texture. This paired with my own zbrush high poly sculpting with various macro and micro details helped me settle on a result I'm relatively happy with so far! Hope you guys enjoy!

Project Bananas V1.1

General / 21 June 2018

Hey guys updates! Dialed in some emissive materials, imported the speed tree with proper vertex wind shaders and added in the wind as well. Added in additional point lights for the lamp setup, added in vfx as well for the blockout placeholder. In addition, edited temporal aa in project settings to MSAA for a bit sharper contrast for my personal taste and pop. Imported some photogrammetry assets and smoothed the normals as well on the delorean model I acquired from turbo squid. Next Steps: Finish implementing the tree foliage for the street prop assets and then start actual design work and modeling on the gas station! This has been such a fun foray into my own little cyberpunkish beach town. Can't wait to dial this one in!


Project Bananas WIP V1

General / 20 June 2018

Gorilla Joe and Project Bananas reporting in with screenshot updates! Today was implementing my level block-out of the city, playing with composition, and adjusting my cameras and HDRI. 

Right now this is super rough level layout and light layout design and the screenshots attached are (detail lighting) in Unreal Engine 4.

Without further ado Project Bananas V1

Project Bananas Quick Update

General / 17 June 2018

Just a quick update to the city. Fleshed out more architectural background elements, toned down the huge composition crushing of the Blackcloud Satellites in the background. Added in my Futuristic hot air balloons which I plan on using a panner for the dangling ads below the balloon silhouettes. For the remainder of this project, I plan on taking the time to move beyond just interesting silhouettes and images that look cool from afar. The next step is to export out each group into Unreal 4, test some base lighting ideas (night, sunset-purplish orange), and then starting from the main hero prop building (Gorilla Joe's Scrap Station), detail out the interior loft and shop, zbrush the high poly modular pieces such as window and sign trims, and then break down which areas can offer areas of rest with repetition. E.g. Tiled walls. This process will be repeated for the gas station as well as the clearview hotel and cyberpunk favela in the background. I will have lower detailed generic pieces for the background buildings which will allow me to embellish some of the closer in frame elements. Like up-ressing the photogrammetry assets I'm using on the bottom left side (beach sand, rocks, and palms).

Compared to before I feel it offers a bit smoother transition along the skyline. While alot of the focus will remain in the foreground it's important to not do what I usually do which is over detail as a whole and have a tendency to get lost in framerate optimization as well as having a well done composition.



Project Bananas Maya Base Blockout Complete!

General / 17 June 2018

Project Bananas

This project has been a pretty fun foray into the exploration of storytelling in a sci fi universe. Sci-fi really captured my imagination as a child and at one point I was fascinated with everything about the stars. For me the heaviest lifting on this project is in the base exterior. 

Reasons: Exterior Scene: Extremely Large footprint, even by modular standards:

It's a concern because even with modular trim sheets placement, building, optimization, etc will all still be required and factored in on engine side. Maintaining a general balance between optimization and my own little artistic embellishments.

What I added and some General Story

The larger my scenes and ideas become the easier I let myself be in regards to the use of pre-rendered assets. Personally, and agreeably so alot of the pre-rendered assets give a mis-leading idea of skill level in one's portfolio. After all can't anyone make a really cool piece given enough polygons? So limiting myself to the use of assets for background elements was key for me. 

Story: The major story for this scene is the setting of los angeles along the coastline. The buildings and architecture resemble a similar chinatown style kit, whether based in los angeles or san francisco. The rather large satellites and delorean's are some pre-rendered assets I found on turbosquid, lastly paired with the photogrammetry asset of the beach. These sattelites are responsible for the mobile censorship that occurs in this storied universe. There are no mobile technologies and the major hero prop building in this scene, Gorilla Joe's Scrap Shop takes broken mobile handhelds and hack's them past the floating sattelites in the sky.

Current Progress

Moving Forward:

My next steps are to take each building and hero prop which I have subsequently placed into accordingly channel layers. This helps to expedite my process of exporting the assets as fbxs for testing look dev base lighting in Unreal Engine 4. From here once I have exported each set into Unreal into organized folders I will begin to address in order of importance hero props. From there I will take individual kits and begin to sculpt detail on top of them in ZBrush. Baking in either painter or marmoset I can then proceed to replace the fbxs accordingly in Unreal. From there I have a final prop-set of storytelling elements I would like to add, one major one being floating mechnical hot air balloons with neon ad's attached by metal clasps.

Cheers guys and have a wonderful rest of your weekend!

Corey Hill