I draw a lot of my inspiration from the mystical experience and I really want to push that in all of my work. I’m currently trying to build a coherent portfolio based off of this, so I’m constantly reading into different types of religious/spiritual experiences, meditation, philosophy and so on. For this gaming environment, I wanted to keep it more traditional and true to the Chinese/ Japanese culture.
Concept is by Jae Park
Usually, when I start a project, I gather a lot of reference and pin it to my Pinterest or create folders on my desktop. I think Pinterest is a great way to build a library that you can always go back to. Here is an example of some of the reference I gathered for this project.
Blocking out the environment
It’s always good to get a sense of scale as soon as possible, so everything is proportionally correct. This will also help boost your creativity. I quickly blocked in the environment with cubes and sculpted a rock to get a sense of scale. Once the rock looked okay, I began to push it further and created three more variations to bash together to create the cliffs.
I used UE4’s terrain tools to sculpt the ground and also used Zbrush’s stock model to help with the scaling.
Modeling & Sculpting
All the modeling and sculpting were done with Maya, ZBrush, and SpeedTree. I built simple geometry in Maya and imported it into ZBrush to create the final piece. Some of the details I was able to push further with Substance painter’s texturing tools. I don’t think modeling a box and slapping a wood texture on it is enough to make it look good. I love to dive in and start sculpting; I can always use photos during the texturing process to enhance the realism.
Substance Painter is such an amazing program that no one should pass it up
I used a ton of ZBrush on this project from sculpting tileable textures to creating my own IMM brushes. I want to enhance my sculpting skills so I can create my own unique textures and models. The modular wall for the main building is an example of using ZBrush for environments.
I used Substance B2M & Substance Painter for all the texturing for this project. It’s such an amazing program that no one should pass it up. It’s super easy to create your own materials and use them anyway you want.
Related link: Mechanical Bug by Cati Grasso
For some of the wood pieces, I created my own material and used the Tri-Planar projection to blend the seams and mask to erase some of the material. It allows you to blend textures, so it doesn’t over power your sculpture detail. Painting normal map detail and projecting images onto your work is a breeze with Substance Painter.
As I went on I kept creating each asset and breaking down the environment into sections. I started with the block out> moved to the cliffs> terrain> Buildings> and then the foliage which was created with SpeedTree. To enhance the overall feel of the environment, I added some color grading which can be done with Photoshop and imported back into UE4 as a “color lookup” bar. I dove into cascade to create pollen particles and fog, and to top if off I added some audio!
This was a huge project for me, so I want to thank Mark Fitzpatrick for all of the critiques he gave me and my school in general for getting me this far! I’ve learned so much during my time at CCAD that I would like to give a big shout out to them and my friends who’ve taught me something over the years.