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Mario Leone | Environment/Prop Artist

Mario Leone | Environment/Prop Artist

Mario Leone
by MarioLeone00 on 15 May 2023 for Rookie Awards 2023

Ciao! I'm Mario and I come from Italy. My heart truly beats for Vfx - it's something that I'm super passionate about and I've been studying it for quite some time now. As a student, I'm eager to dive into the industry and start applying all the knowledge and skills that I've acquired. I hope you like my portfolio

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Sony Alpha

Beauty Renders

Welcome to my "Sony Alpha" personal project, I decided to model this camera because I am currently trying to enter the industry as an environment & Prop artist, and I wanted to challenge myself both in Subd modeling and Photorealistic texturing. (Time Spent: 1 month 15days) responsible for all aspects


I tried to achieve the cleanest topology I could, I spent some time practicing topology patterns in the past, while working on the model in Maya I applied a Blinn material to check any pinching issues

Camera UDIMs organized by channel

I did my texturing in Mari but I baked my Curvature, AO, Cavity maps in Substance Painter, I have also used Photoshop and Substance Designer to extract some alphas from the references and create Tilable textures

Photo references have been colour balanced and chosen carefully 

Take a look inside the lens...

Dust Generator 

Before starting the project I knew that the dust was a big challenge so I made a dust generator in Houdini, to increse the realism I have defined the scattering zone based on the Y vector and Ao. The scattered geometry has been created in Maya

Converse Shoe

The Converse Shoe is a School assignment I had the pleasure to do, the model and the references were provided by Think tank, made by Emily Bélanger, I am responsible for Uvs, Texturing, Lookdev, Lighting and Rendering with Vray (Time Spent: 1 month)

Beauty Renders


Showing the different texture channels on the model

When projecting details on top of my model I learned that consistency between references is key so I fixed the white balance in some pictures and made sure to choose the ones with the sharpest details

Inside the Canyon

Inside the Canyon is a personal project made completely in unreal without the use of external plugins. Usually when looking at canyon pictures we see them from the top and rarely from the bottom where there are rivers. I wanted to create an environment showing a canyon from the inside, hope you like it. (Time Spent: 1 month) responsible for all aspects


Assets are from Quixel megascans, I took care of layout, scattering, lighting, and achieving a high level of artistic control through the lighting system

I have created multiple light setups (Afternoon, Foggy, Sunset, Midday) and grouped each one in a corresponding folder in the World Outliner, this makes light switching as easy as hiding the current one and show the one that is needed.

I have used Nanite both on Meshes and Foliage

Scottish Highlands 

Scottish Highland is my first project in Houdini, My main references were photos of the Glencoe Village with its pine forests and heather bushes... (Time Spent: 1 month) responsible for all aspects

Beauty Renders

I have added atmospheric fog and rendered in HtoA. With this project I have learnt a lot about heightfields and scattering, I had used softwares as Gaea in the past so it was more of a translation act rather than completely learn from scratch.

Simulating different kinds of erosion on the terrain

First time using speedtree, I have loved it, so hard but so rewarding, I limited the geos to 100k triangles to reduce computing times in houdini and because they would have been placed in the distance. Optimization was key so I also used .ass files and the vegetation was treated as instances

"Sony Alpha", "Converse shoe" and "Scottish highlands" have been rendered in Acescg

It could seem that I did all of this just by myself but the truth is that I received lots of suggestions and encouragements so I would like to say thanks to:

Gizem Göktekin Richter for helping me with topology issues in my camera model, you are the best, my mentor Jakob Kousholt for giving me technical advices on how to improve my works, Maxine Schnepf for giving me tons of advices on how to present my works and for being a great friend, My friend Roberto Russo that lent me his camera to shoot photos of my camera hahah, Ben Fox for helping me troubleshoot issues with my "Scottish hills" project, Miguel Garcia for being a wonderful person and for inspiring me throughout my journey as 3d artist and so many other people that have been following my creation process on my instagram page, encouraging and supporting me, I love you guys

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