Environment & Prop Art - 2020
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Environment & Prop Art - 2020

Sebastian Roland
by sebastiandroland on 1 Jun 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

A collection of environment and prop art I created for the the Game Art Immersive course at Vertex School. I’ve learned so much over the past few months, thanks to everyone at Vertex School for the support! This truly feels like a dream coming true.

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Desert Ruins - Spring of The Fates

A mythical courtyard inspired by ancient greek architecture and dedicated to The Moirai, the goddesses of fate who spin the thread of life.

This project has been a huge learning experience, and is one of the largest environments I’ve created. The entire concept takes place on a floating desert island, but I started with a narrowed focus on the courtyard to develop the foundation of the architectural design.  

The courtyard is a mystical and mysterious place. The broken crater in the center represents past destruction and chaos, but has been filled with water and replaced with new life and beauty- reborn again. The sealed door in the back of the courtyard is designed to be attractive but ominous; something is behind it that shouldn’t be released.

To carry on the theme of the three fates (birth - the spinner, life / destiny - the measurer, and death - who cuts the thread of life) I tired to keep elements throughout the scene in sets of threes to represent the balance of the three stages of life.

The gold used throughout the scene added a nice accent to the rough stone, and married nicely with the dark red banners. I also used it as a subtle nod to the symbolism of Gryphons, who were thought to guard gold and treasures. 

Concept sketches and progress shots.

Architecture - Modular Kit

Starting with the architecture in the courtyard, I built out a modular kit that I could use to quickly update pieces and snap together in Unreal. The kit also helped keep the appearance of the architecture unified.

Breaking down the kit: 

1. Walls: The walls were textured using Vertex Painting in Unreal. The textures were created in Substance Painter with variations for higher or lower walls so additional grunge and wear could be applied based on the wall’s position.

2. Door and Window Frames: The main structure of the frame came from the largest archway, and was then broken down into smaller pieces to build additional frames. 

3. Ground Stone Tiles: To break up the courtyard stone texture, I created a stone tile that I could push through the ground. This was especially helpful around areas where the damaged ground around the water met with the stone tile texture.

4. Sand Piles: I created a set of sand piles using an opacity mask that I could place throughout the scene to show sand buildup. The masking was crucial in certain areas to help blend the sand with the ground.

5. Trim: I created multiple variations of trim that I could use through the scene to break up the uniformity of the walls.

Props and Set Dressing

The collection of smaller props and set dressing assets that I created to to accent the architecture. 

Blueprint Actors and Small Set Pieces: I created the gold threads and cloth as spline meshes in UE4 to allow more modularity for draping them around the environment. The lantern, fire basin and candle are blueprint actors with exposed parameters to allow for quick editing of lighting and materials. 

The banners featured throughout the environment contain a gryphon, reminiscent of the entrance arch.

Entrance Archway: Inspired by the arch at the Temple of Bel, I wanted the entrance to the courtyard to feel grand and significant. The gryphons at the entrance are represented as guardians of the ruins. 

Additional credits: Rocks, cliffs and various debris are from Quixel Megascans, Foliage is from the Temperate Vegetation: Optimized Grass Library, Mediterranean Vegetation: Giant Reed,  and the Nature Package.

Uncharted 4 Fan Art - Panamanian Cat Treasure

A detailed prop dedicated to the love of an Uncharted treasure collector.

One of my favorite things about the Uncharted games is collecting and examining the treasures scattered throughout the world. As part of the Vertex School Game Art Immersive program I decided to make one of my favorite treasures from Uncharted 4, the Panamanian Cat Pendant. I took some creative liberty with exploring different material types and exaggerating the scale a bit. I also decided to put the treasure in a scene to give it a bit more context, and I recreated a treasure map from the game to help develop the story of the scene.

In addition to clean bronze, I tried out gold and patina material variations.

Lighting Test - Eternal Garden

A forgotten sanctuary; designing and lighting an environment using a provided modular kit.

I made this scene as part of a lighting art test for the Vertex School Game Art Immersive program. The assets in the scene are part of a provided modular kit, however I designed the environment layout and lighting in Unreal Engine.

The scene is inspired by the lush and vibrant environments commonly seen in the Uncharted games. While the scene is in ruins, I wanted to give it some life and activity. It is overgrown and lost to time, not many find their way to this place, but an individual has found solace here.

Additional credits: Rocks, cliffs and various debris are from Quixel Megascans, Foliage is from the Temperate Vegetation: Foliage Collection, the vines are from Procedural Nature Pack Vol. 1, and some of the ivy is from the Ivy Foliage Pack.


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