yo, I went to the art institute for 2-3 years in hopes of being into game art and design however the school was terrible and refused to teach us anything new and I taught myself basically everything I could while doing repetitive assignments about really easy things. I have been to nervous to post any of my stuff. So here it is tell me where you think I am I know im not professional but what do you think I need to do to get better at this?
its pretty good, for a ps1 game
your colors and textures are a bit noisy and contrastey, like each texture is screaming "LOOK AT ME" and it makes them all look messy. the colors could be a bit more muted and you could use some color correction and postprocessing effects to make it look better. these look like videogame models as well, I'm assuming this is for a videogame? another issue is that you seem to be just putting rust and dirt flatly over all textures
the models are pretty decent. I would say this is not the main issue, as improving your modelling skills is not so hard to do. It is for a large part a technical thing and there are enough tutorials, books and online courses that can help you get better with that.
The main issue is the overall set design, or lack of it. This has to do with visual communication / visual storytelling. It is a meh environment. I can see all the objects, but I can't tell what's important and what's not. It has no personality, there is no clear story here.
Lighting is very important. It sets the mood, adds drama and can provide the player information about which way to go and what's important. In your image is very little light information. Everything is uniformely lit, telling me nothing. The only brightly lit areas are around the empty chairs and empty bar. I am visually drawn towards these areas, but there is not much to discover. No jacket tossed over a chair, no keyboards or computercases or anything of real interest. The top of the bar is empty as well. No tipped-over shotglass and empty vodka bottles, filled ashtray or anything that can tells us about the person(s) using this place.
Colours are also important. Different colours have different meanings (red=danger, blue=calming, purple=royalty, or death) and highly saturated colours immediately draw the attention. In your image I'm again pulled toward all the wrong things, the super saturated bar stools, the tool boxes, the yellow container, and nothing interesting happens there.
Texture tells us a lot as well. not only can it be used to contrast things (the ancient Aztec pot in the sterile minimalist home, the sleek, silvery lasergun in the rusted bin) but it also evokes emotions. Shiny smooth surfaces are artificial, sterile, inhuman. Rough surfaces are more alive, organic, random. In your image almost everything is very rough and rusted. Even the canopy looks like rubber. Only the barstool padding, toolboxes and lamps look brand new. Which draws attention to the wrong things.
So, what I would do with this scene is think about the focal points and the story I want to tell. I would make the racer the center of attention. I'd put it on some type of mobile lift, so that it can be moved around and lifted up for a mechanic to work on the bottom. This also puts it more in our field of view. I'd give it a stonger, more saturated colour. It can be blue, but should definitely be stronger and contrast more with the environment. I would put some lights on it so that it pops, while I would greatly reduce the overall lighting to reduce focus on background objects. In any brightly lit area I would add some more details. Not just big objects but smaller personal thing to make the environment more personal and human.
tl;dnr focus more on visual communication, not on modelling.
The key is not to spread objects uniformly around a big space, just to fill it up. Use lighting or composition (big object vs. small object) to divide a big space into smaller areas, and cluster objects in those areas. The space will still look full, but it will be more dynamic by the more interesting placement of items.
If you gave your models as they are, this is what I could come up with in Unreal engine.
Previous anon gave good points but tl;dr of it would be:
>too much saturation on everything
>not enough contrast between dark and bright areas
>no focal point
>no good variation in textures
Also, cant really see it that well from your pic, but are those holes in steel beams are modeled or are they done with alpha mask? Because if those are modeled, then you just wasted poly count on useless part, but made your chairs and some other stuff look like from 2001.
You're correct in that art schools are dogshit, but you need to improve a fuckton more to be hirable. Your stuff looks like bad 90s cg, and this should be evident to you by looking at any professional movie or game.
Not OP but these tips are good thanks