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2023 Projects

2023 Projects

Catharina Broes
by catharinabroes on 31 May 2023 for Rookie Awards 2023

This is a collection of the projects that I've been working on in 2023 so far. I am still in the midst of learning and I am enjoying getting better bit by bit.

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The Cave Exit

This year I challenged myself by making a scene in UE5 relying mostly on my own intuition. This started out as a study of the Cave Exit concept by Patrik Pulkkin (, but I very quickly diverged from that reference. I played around with the lighting, the mood, the story and the composition. I learned a lot about the properties of dynamic lighting and improved upon what I already knew. I also created my own RVT to blend materials better and expand my technical art skill-set.
Overall I'm pretty satisfied with the result and I can't wait to bring my new knowledge to the next project.

Learn more about this project on my Artstation post:

Fish Stand

The second challenge this year was to create a stylized environment. This is a big project that I split up in two parts: 1.) To practise my modeling and hand paint texture skills and 2.) To create a modular, cyberpunk scene. This Fish Stand, based on the concept of Alexandrin Damascan (, is the first part of that plan and will serve as the hero piece in my environment. 

It took some time to adjust my usual, hard-surface PBR pipeline with a more free-spirited mindset. I, for example, experimented with using a metal map, but ultimately decided against it because I felt like it was taking away the cartoon-like charm of the design. I also used both vertex painting in Zbrush as well as hand painting the base color in Substance Painter. I found out that I personally prefer the latter. It's with small self-discoveries like this that I continue to move forward as an artist and find what fits me best.

The scene I will create for this hero piece will take thematic inspiration from the video game Stray. I wanted to keep Alexandrin's style however so I started experimenting with post-process outline shaders that I blueprinted in UE5. The results so far look promising and I am very excited to continue to work on this.

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