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3D Environment  |  The Rookies 2022  |  Guiding Journey

3D Environment | The Rookies 2022 | Guiding Journey

Nadja May Kramer
by maypledew on 14 Mar 2022 for Rookie Awards 2022

Being a concept artist was my dream but this year (2022) I decided to switch to 3D environment and prop art. This is my first environment created as a student for a school project, Guiding Journey. Please use the sliders below the images!

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Concept art

Below you will see 3 concept art pieces in a slider I made for the environment. A big inspiration was Kenya, I did a lot of research about the country and it was really interesting. The colors are based of some pictures I found online of Kenyan landscapes, sadly I didn't have enough time to turn the colors into color blind accessible colors but I do want to keep that in mind for the next project.

Plants, trees and flowers

I had to make the environment a bit lowpoly because the game was going to be a browser game, we also wanted it to be playable on mobile/tablet. The last part didn't work out and the tree models aren't as lowpoly as I wanted but I learned a lot during the creation on these assets. It was a lot of fun to research trees, plants and flowers and to make a set of my own.

In game version.

Rocks and stones

I made a set of lowpoly rocks and stones, I made these by sculpting a stone-like shape and after that I made the polycount higher and remeshed it and turned the option on that it will follow the curves of the shapes. After this I reduced the polygons again and again and after a few times and moving some edges I ended up with a nice lowpoly rock/stone. 

The first image in the slider down below is the process and the second slide is a set of different rocks/stones.

In game version.

Other assets

The creaton on the farm assets was really fun, I want to make a complete farm environment someday and this was a great practice. It cost a lot of effort to make the vegetables looks good but in the end I think it looks good, on the left side are the carrots and on the right side green beans.

The environment still felt kind of empty so I made some tents, flags, boards and more equipment for the farm. For the cave I also created some props like the lamp and the cave entrance.


I made a few VFX, a digging VFX for our main character, a visual noise VFX and a campfire. For the Rookies post I wanted to show you the campfire! I made this with a sprite sheet and animated this slowly upward, this effect has 2 layers. One layer for the mid/end fire and one layers for the start of the fire. I made multiple color versions but the 'normal' red/orange/yellow color was the best fitting in the environment.

Textures and shaders

For the textures I used one texture map and I UV mapped/unwrapped everything on this file. I used this method to make the game run better and to make it easier to assign textures, this is because now we only needed one material for everything in the environment. It also worked great with gradients, it added more depth to the models. In this project I used a basic toon cell-shading shader in Unity, I tweaked it a lot and it didn't take long untill I was satisfied.

In Game renders

Everything you see including the terrain and paths are made by me. I painted the terrain by hand with the tool in Unity. For the paths I used png images, it was the easiest way for me to create a quick path in the short time we worked on this project. ( 5 months )

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