Ancient Ceiling

Material Breakdown

Nikita Belous


Nikita Belous

Environment Artist


Hello, dear reader. My name is Nikita Belous, I am a self-taught environment/materials artist.


Idea and References, Goals

The idea was that I wanted to create some highly detailed material with lots of patterns to improve my skills in creating patterns and blending them together.
The reference was a Rome ceiling that I found on Google. It has good visible basic shapes and lots of interesting little details. It became a basic guide.


I wanted to do it as quickly as possible, but at the same time show realistic and detailed result. That was my goal.


In the beginning, I always create a “Base Material” node with “Dielectric Material Preset”, a “Roughness” value of 0.6, and a “Height range” of 1. Plug the “Normal” node with 50 intensity, and “AO” node with Height depth and radius of 0.42 at 16 samples. These are my default settings with which to start any work.


Base Shapes

For the frame side, I created a capsule shape (which would be useful later) and stretched it and made some steps with a curve.


Transformed the sides and placed them as a frame. And cut little indentations in the center of the side. There is a mask that crosses the corners to make it look accurate. After that, I added a ledge by subtracting the edge detect of the base frame.

Placed a linear gradient like a base frame to add volume.


For the central fountain, let’s call it that. Paraboloid shape with curve nodes give two compatible parts. I separate them for better height control.


We’re done with the basics, next are the patterns. There’s a lot of repetition of the same thing, but I’ll show you the principles that will give you an understanding of how it’s all done.

Patterns and Details

Interesting realization of the waves on the petal. After that, I swirled them, and added them to the very center of the “central fountain”. I also reused the previous gradient and enlarged it.


An example of one of the patterns: I created a “Waveform” node and started to warp and distort it to look like a leaf.


The important part of the project is how to mix all these patterns and shapes together. To do this, I used the “Shape Splatter” (1×1 amount of added pattern, place pattern before adding it) node every time. There is a very important parameter there, it is “Conform to Background” and “Smooth Conform to Background” – this is just what will give a very soft blend, without masks and levels.


I said that we would reuse the very first capsule shape. Just add a swirl grayscale node to it, and we’ll get some interesting effects.


In this way, by reusing patterns and shapes, we can obtain new and unusual designs.

Micro Details

After I’ve completely finished all the shapes and patterns, I start adding the realistic look of the material, whether it’s stone, concrete or wood. The basis of the process is the “Add Sub” mode in the “Blend” node. The main thing is to be careful with the values. To smooth out the effect, even more, you can use the previous node as a mask


I used slope blur, and edge damages. You can start searching for “edge” and there are many variations, try them out.


There are many ways to make cracks, but I settled on this one. Connected different “Scratches Generator” – sloped and warped them a lo


The height, ao and normal are completely finished. We are almost at the end, the rest of the channels remain to be set up.


For roughness, I classically use the inverted and leveled ao. I also added some dust with the “Ground Dirt”.


Base Color

“Curvature Smooth” for color base. The color is taken from a reference. Made several variations and mixed them with an inverted mask from the height.


Added ao to the color. And the coolest part is the shadow! It should not be a lot, it can mess the perception if the light is on the other side, but in small quantities it will give a nice volume and contrast.


Next, I finish by adding dust and dirt, highlighting the cracks, and lightening up the bumps a bit.





I want to thank everyone who has finished reading this to this point. This project has provided a lot of detail that I have learned in the time that I have been doing it. I hope these tricks and explanations help you learn something new. So, I’ve shared what I use often. And what I find useful. I wish you all success in your beginnings and on your journey. I would also like to add some tips, which were not included in the main text.

1. You don’t need to be in a hurry or be nervous. You should relax as you create your textures. The longer and more painstakingly you look into the details, the more experience you’ll get.

2. Try to start your work with references and examples. This will help the final picture.

3. If possible, read articles, watch videos and chat with others. Share and learn experience.

If you have any questions, you can write to me on Artstation ( or Instagram (, you can also find my work there, they are updated quite regularly.

Download the graph here: