21 September 2021

Large Game Environment Creation – Fast Track Tutorials – 25% OFF

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Introduction

Hi there! My name is Emiel Sleegers and I am the owner and main tutor of FastTrackTutorials.

I have been teaching for around 7 years now and next to this I have been an environment and material artist on some large-scale games like Forza Horizon 3 and The Division 2 (and some unannounced projects).

 

Let’s talk about our biggest tutorial course to date!

In this article I want to give you an overview of the largest course we have ever made!
Large Game Environment Creation – In-Depth Tutorial Course [UE5]

At the end of this article, you will have a sense of what kind of techniques you can use to create huge environments for both games and film.

 

Topics that are covered in this course

  • Creating environments based on concept art
  • Creating highly modular assets that can be used to create large environments in a short time.
  • Creating complex models and sculpting them in Zbrush + Texture Baking
  • Creating Procedural master materials that can be used to texture 80% of an entire environment with a simple material.
  • Planning and level art/ object placement in Unreal Engine 5
  • Using the new Lumen system in Unreal Engine 5

The goal of this course is to show you then entire process from start to finish on how to create large environments in Unreal Engine.

Creating environments based on concept art

This environment is based on the amazing concept from Luis Medina

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In this course we will go over on how to closely follow a concept art to get the general feel and look the concept artist has in mind.

However even through concept art is often amazing it is not always 100% logical to real life. This is why we made sure that the environment would still be playable in a game while still looking like the concept art.

Creating highly modular assets that can be used to create large environments in a short time.

As you can see from the concept art this environment is huge! But what if I told you we can make this entire environment with just 10-15 models…
This is why the modular workflow is so awesome! By doing some good planning and a bit of messing around with shapes we are able to only create 10-15 simple models and turn those into this entire environment! Add a few default cubes in the mix and some special shaders and there you go! 1 large environment.

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Creating complex models and sculpting them in Zbrush + Texture Baking

Next to the modular workflows I also wanted to go over some more traditional game art. And I felt that creating the pillars was a perfect model for this. Since the head of the pillar is quite complicated and full with flowers etc. I wanted to show how to create a simple mesh in maya and then use the power of Zbrush to turn it into that classic worn down concrete feel. The techniques I used can also be applied to everything from concrete meshes to rocks to organic shapes.

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Creating Procedural master materials that can be used to texture 80% of an entire environment with a simple material.

Materials can be quite time consuming to make. And when making a large environment like this for a tutorial every minute counts. So, I once again wanted to show the power of Substance Designer and show how with one simple material we can create everything from plain sandstone to brick walls and everything in between.

Add on top of that a procedural sand and metal material and before you know it you have enough materials to create massive environments within a short time. These techniques are great if you also just want to get a quick concept or feel for the environment so in the end it does not matter if you are a concept artist, a game artist or work for the film industry. Procedural materials are amazing!

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Planning and level art/ object placement in Unreal Engine 5

Because this environment was based on a concept art we had to make sure that the level art and object placement was very similar. We started by setting down the main focus points like the front pillars and the stairs and slowly started building up from there. Starting with the big shapes first and then moving to the smaller shapes.

Next to this because it was a tutorial and I has limited time I also made sure to only build the things the environment can see. Because for me there was no points in spending time on things you can never see. This is always interesting to see because from the main camera angle everything looks massive but as soon as we change the angle it will look something like this:

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Using the new Lumen system in Unreal Engine 5

This course was also my first-time using Lumen in an actual full scale environment. And I must say it did not disappoint! The new UE5 Lumen system is super easy to use and gives you amazing results pretty much right away. Although for now it still has some small limitations that need some more technical knowledge to overcome like low-res shadows or very far distant AO missing, I am sure that all those problems will be solved when the official release of UE5 happens.

I highly recommend you playing around with it!

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Conclusion

At the end of this course, you will know everything you need to know to create large game environments, creating highly modular materials, Using the new Lumen system in UE5, Doing level art, lighting and post effects and a whole lot of other techniques from sculpting to baking to vertex paint and material creation.

You can find this course and many more on the https://gamesartist.co.uk/ marketplace or by going to our ArtStation: https://www.artstation.com/a/7765185

Feel free to join our Discord! https://discord.gg/kAsVU4e47h