Diorama – aj-concepts.net

One of the pieces of work I’m most proud of from my time at MPC was ‘Diorama’. I had the opportunity to co-present this work at SparkFX in Vancouver, and at Siggraph 2019 in LA.

Diorama is an environment layout and set dressing toolset built on top of Unity, and integrated into MPC’s Genesis platform. I designed the tool specifications, and acted as product owner. All software development was done by John Vanderbeck.

Diorama uses a combination of static artist-authored templates and procedural rules to create a fast, art directable layout tool. In many ways it can be thought of as a 3D version of Photoshop’s bitmap-based brushes.

We had a lot of support on this project from Unity Technologies, particularly Mike Wuetherick and the M+E division.

I created this showcase environment to demonstrate the use of the tool. This was originally intended only for internal use, but ended up being the first part of our talk at Siggraph.

Each station demonstrated one of the features of the tool, including clustering, physical scatter and a quite advanced layer-based culling system.

For the second part of our talk I created a more realistic environment layout demo, inspired by an area of the Sunshine Coast. The assets are a combination of my own library and packs from ‘NatureManufacture’, who were kind enough to help us prepare for Siggraph.

Mid way through the layout demo (approx. 2 mins of work)

Final layout example from one of the demo run-throughs. Approx 4 mins of work (see the embedded video to see it done live).

Two other layout examples using the same Diorama Templates

Diorama was used in some way on most shows that came through MPC Vancouver – including 10,000 billboards for the Ryme City environment on ‘Pok√©mon’s Detective Pikachu’.

I really wanted to see how a Diorama environment would perform with realtime raytracing – these are my first tests with an alpha of 2019.3.

John and I were invited by Unity Technologies to present ‘Diorama’ at Siggraph 2019. Unity were kind enough to record and release the talk online.