Rookie Awards 2024 - Open for Entries!
Stylized Environment Collection

Stylized Environment Collection

Silke Van Der Smissen
by SilkevdSmissen on 23 Apr 2022 for Rookie Awards 2022

A collection of stylized environments created between June 2021 and now. I love creating stylized, colorful, fun environments, with modular, current workflows in Unreal Engine.

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'Hey everyone! I'm back again with my final entry. Last year I was lucky enough to become a finalist and eventually even get 'Highly Commended' in the Game Development category, so this year I decided to give it one final go! I haven't been sitting around this past year. So, I have lots of new stuff to show you that I'm super excited about! While last year I had mostly realistic stuff, and it was all about learning how to create game ready assets, and creating environments with megascans etc. This year, I have started applying all of those skills I learned into creating fully realized stylized environments, where I made everything myself, from scratch. I've been getting better at creating Substance Designer materials, modular kits, trim sheets, and most importantly, getting it all together in a game-engine and topping it with that beautiful delicious magic Shader-sauce. I've learned to love shaders and the power they hold, and as you will see in my 'Lost City' entry, based a huge part of my Graduation Project on them. I hope you enjoy reading through my entry!'

Paris Street

Paris Street is my first personal project I ever completed as well as my first project in UE5. It's based on the wonderful concept by the amazing Robin Lhebrard

With this project, I wanted to challenge myself into creating a project fully from scratch, from start to finish on my own terms. I had been wanting to make a stylized "city" environment for a long time. So, when I saw Robin's concept, there was no doubt in my mind that I had to recreate it in unreal!

Throughout all of my projects, I try to keep modularity in mind and make building blocks to build up the entire environment with. On top of that, I use some shader magic to get the most out of my materials and break up the tiling, repetitive nature of 3D materials.

Medieval Village

For this project, I wanted to apply the skills I learned in a different project where I used a trim sheet to make a modular asset kit in a realistic/sci-fi environment to a highly stylized environment this time. 

I based myself on this gorgeous concept by Roman Kuteynikov. Mainly focusing on keeping the composition and lighting similar, but exaggerating the shapes even further to get more of that warm, cosy, fluffy, stylized feel. 

The most challenging thing about this environment was the time constraint. I had a little over a week to complete this entire thing so I had to work efficient and smart. I had the wonderful opportunity to write all about it in this 80lvl article so feel free to read up on it!

Lost City

For my graduation project, I wanted to create a stylized environment that is fully textured In-Engine using the Material Layering tools in Unreal Engine 5. For this, I was able to base myself off of a concept by the amazing Elodie Mondoloni.

Instead of texturing each asset one by one, I used noise textures that I made in Substance Designer to build up a material library that I would be able to use across the entire environment. I only used Substance Painter to bake my normal maps and allocate masks. 

For this project, I wrote an entire breakdown article that goes very deep into how exactly I used the Material Layering, and how it affects performance/what benefits there are and what the disadvantages are. I placed some excerpts below, but I highly recommend you to skim through it if you're interested in this type of workflow! 

Full breakdown here.

Curse of The Pyramid

Finally, a rather "small" environment I made for a group project. For the group project we had to create a game in just a few weeks. I was in charge of the environment work and created this environment mainly as a title screen. 

I only had a few days to pull this one together, luckily I was able to reuse a lot of assets I had already created for the "inside" of the pyramid where the game actually takes place. 

The goal here was to get an interesting composition for the title screen that already tells the story for what the game will be about. And getting across that warm dry desert mood. 

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