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Game Development Journey

Game Development Journey

Caio Mesquita
by caiodealmeida on 24 May 2024 for Rookie Awards 2024

My 3D journey

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Here are my 2 projects I created during my second year at the M3DS Academy. A special thanks for my instructors, Mario Stojanov and Simon Zafirovski for guiding me during the process.

This is my first real time environment made in Unreal Engine 5. My inspiration was based on the beautiful house concept from Sean Andrey Murray. To explore the many workflows and possibilities, I situated the house in a stylized environment after collecting many ideas from different concepts.
For this project I used UE5, Maya, Substance Designer, Substance Painter, Zbrush, Speed Tree, and Photoshop
All assets and textures were made by me apart from the big rocks, particles, and the fog cards.

Close ups - Night vs Day

Here is where the inspiration came from, concept from Sean Andrey Murray



some of the props were refined in Zbrush to give a more unique shape to the project.


All the foliage was made in substance designer, where I could explore different ways to create shapes, using combinations of gradients to achieve the forms (1,2). For the colors I started by using a technique that I learned by studying the work from Jimmy Malachier, where I used some brushes to add different colors and shapes before I warp it on the height map. After that, I explored ways to extract different masks to make the foliage unique (3).

With the foliage done, I went to Maya to build the foliage assets, except for the bushes, that were made in Speed Tree, as seen in the sequence's last picture.

Tileable Materials

To add water to the textures I used the inverted curvature to create a mask. I used blurred and sharper variations of the mask to be able to get a smooth transition on the albedo and roughness.

For this ground texture, I created 2 types of rocks using multiple warps, slopes, and flood fills (1, 2). I used both tile sampler and shape splatter to scatter the rocks, twigs, and leaves across the texture. For the leaves, I also used a tile sampler color to be able to cut the leaves normal and eliminate the noise underneath it (3, 4,5)

To make the stones I started by creating a round shape and using a flood fill into multiple grayscale height variations so I could have a clean cut. A non-uniform blur and slope blur will help to add volume and roundness to the shape (1). After that, I used a series of slo[e blur to add circular damage on the side of the stones (2). I used the same shape of the grass texture and a tile sampler to scatter it in the cavities between the stones.

For the colors, I used the same technique from the foliage. I started by making a color palette by using a couple of brushes, sloping with variations of crystal 2 to have a paint stroke feeling and warping it with the ambient occlusion (4). Then I created different masks using the light node, so I could paint the shadows and lights in the direction I wanted (5). 

For this texture, I started by creating a random tile and adding cracks to it. After using the distance to tighten the rocks I used a normal and curvature node to extract an accurate flood fill (1).
I ran the flood fill into multiple grayscale height variations so I could have a clean cut on the rock edges (2).  Another interesting process was to use a tile sampler with rock inputs to add volume to the texture (3).

Here are some full resolution images of the Materials used in the scene

here are some examples from the graphs created, respectively 4, 6, and the last

in these screenshots, it is possible to see the creation of the trees as well as their branches and atlas. This was my first journey with Speed Tree and it was really interesting to dive into the many possibilities it provides.

Jinx Fishbones Blaster

(League of Legends Fan Art)

My second project was made to upgrade my hard surface modeling and texturing skills. I did all the modeling in Maya and brought the project to Zbrush to apply the booleans and make a couple of minor details. All the texture was handpainted with the help of some generators for some small details.

In this project, I tried to follow the reference as closely as I could. 


started by creating the low poly version in Maya. I kept some bevels because I knew I would send it to Zbrush to add details.

Zbrush was very useful to add the booleans, some minor scratches, and soften some edges a little.

Since I wanted a really good quality on the asset I decided to do the retopology and stay away from sharp edges, so I went back to Maya for it.

After opening the UVs it was time to start texturing it. In the next slides, I will present the procedure I did to handpaint the metal and the leather. 

I started by using a couple of generators to get a starting color and some small edge damage (1). Here I started to handpaint by adding the main shadows as well as some reflections, scratches, and leaks (2). At this point, I focused on adding darker leaks, creating some desaturation. I also painted the eyes and kept on adding reflections and shadows (3).

After creating the emissive color on the eye, I gave some love to the middle section by adding a green color as a soft light and kept on adding more light and shadow details (4). To finalize the purple color on the piece closer to the tail it was a mix of trial and error to get as close as possible to the reference (5)

For the leather it was a similar process, I started by using some generators to get an initial color (1). Then I added some shadows and color variation, also made the shadow and light for the holes (2). With a mix of generators and handpaint I created some scratch damage and more shadow variation (3).

The metal piece I followed similar steps. Base color with some initial scratches (1). Then some color variation and grunge details (2). To finalize I added roughness variations and painted all the shadows and reflections of the metal (3).

for the rest of the parts I followed similar steps, always looking to add more depth with shadows and reflections along the texturing process.

This project helped me to push my texturing skills.

Here is the only reference I had to create this prop.

Thank you for taking the time to see my projects, I wish good luck to all contenders.

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