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Collection of Environments and Props

Collection of Environments and Props

Silke Van Der Smissen
by SilkevdSmissen on 24 Apr 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

This is a collection of environments and props I made throughout the year. All ranging from September 2020 to now (April 2021). I have a huge love for visual storytelling, and hope that that carries through all of my projects. Feel free to let me know what you think!

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Hi! My name is Silke Van Der Smissen and I am currently a 2nd year Game Graphics Production student at DAE in Belgium. Here's a collection of my work from the past year! All of this was made between September 2020 and now. I try to work with a specific goal in mind, and ask myself what exactly it is that I would like to learn from each and every project. I feel like everything I made so far has provided me with a new unique piece of knowledge that has helped me become a more well-rounded artist.   

Mercenary Hideout Spot

This project is probably one of my favorites so far. I wanted to create a fully game-ready, realistic asset that fit the theme "mercenary hideout". I chose to, instead of focusing on one object that could be found in said hideout, focus more on what this hideout could look like. This would provide me with a lot more freedom in storytelling and would get the idea across better to an audience. I was inspired by a concept I saw made by Alexander Pavlenko. I had never worked on multiple objects in the same setting before, so this on its own was already a challenge. The goal was to keep the models rather simple, so I could focus on the textures, storytelling elements and making the scene feel cohesive.

I envisioned a dystopian future where a catastrophic event occurred around the year 2006. This event led to a post-apocalyptic world where this mercenary created his little hideout spot out of scavenged, old pieces of furniture and electronics. I used the following workflow: 
- Looking for references, concepts and inspiration
- Creating a detailed mid-poly using ProBoolean
- Creating the High-Poly in ZBrush
- Creating the Low-Poly in 3ds Max
- Unwrap in 3ds Max
- Baking in Marmoset Toolbag 4
- Texturing in Substance Painter
- Realtime Rendering in Marmoset Toolbag 4

I got the wonderful opportunity to write an article about this project where I extensively go through every part of how I created this. You can check it out here if you are interested: 

Here are some of the breakdown images I made for the article!

Detective's Attic

This is an interior environment based on the amazing concept by Leo Aveiro. It was my first time creating an interior and the focus of this one was to familiarize myself more with baked lighting in Unreal Engine and the GPU Lightmass baking. To speed up my workflow, I used free assets I found all over the internet as this was not supposed to be an exercise on making props but rather set dressing, creating a cosy warm atmosphere and most importantly baked lighting. I also used this project as an opportunity to practice some more substance designer and created the material for the plastered wall, and the wood used on the roofing.

Lost And Found

I've been wanting to make a more post apocalyptic, outdoors, more natural scene for a really long time. I love the last of us part 1 and 2, and the last of us was actually a game that really opened up a whole new "genre" and type of games for me to enjoy and play. So when I bumped into Daniel Percy's concept, I felt like this was the perfect time to experiment and try making my own first outdoor environment. My goal for this one was to familiarize myself with the landscaping and foliage tools in Unreal Engine, focus on mood and lighting using only realtime, dynamic lighting and perfecting a singular shot. I made use of the megascans library and a bunch of other free asset packs that I found on the epic games store. For the house, I frankenstein-ed a bunch of megascans, with some of my own geometry and other assets I found online. The new release of the Medieval Game Environment by quixel together with the videos on how they created it helped me a lot in building this house out of megascans. To finish it off I also created the red wood siding material in substance designer.


This is a fully modular, sci-fi environment inspired by the submarine level from Wolfenstein! The goal for this one was to create a large, complex looking environment using small, simple, modular meshes and trim textures. This was my first introduction into creating environments in unreal engine, and was probably the biggest challenge yet. I stumbled into a lot of different issues and learning to work with the engine, while also figuring out shaders, trim textures, lighting, etc was definitely a lot to chew. But it definitely made me a lot more comfortable using unreal engine and taught me so much! Looking back on it now, even just a couple of months later I can already think of many ways that I could improve this now, but it served it's purpose well! And I am still happy with how it turned out!

Vintage Television - Panasonic TR-555

This is a portable vintage television made in the late 70s. The goal here was to practice the proboolean- dynamesh workflow and learn how to make Realtime renders in Marmoset Toolbag 4. You can inspect the textures, and check out polycount, topology, etc. in the sketchfab version of this model below!
- Gathering references, inspiration
- Creating a detailed Mid-Poly using ProBoolean in 3ds Max
- Creating a high poly in ZBrush
- Creating a low poly in 3dsmax
- Unwrapping in 3dsmax
- Baking in Substance Painter
- Texturing in Substance Painter
- Realtime renders using Marmoset Toolbag 4 

Wizard's Reading Nook

Aha, finally something stylized! I absolutely love making stylized stuff and loved working on this project! I wanted to create a small diorama and chose to create an old wizard's reading spot. For this one, the goal wasn't to create game ready assets but rather learning to use ZBrush, and the sculpting of hard surface objects in a more stylized way. I chose to do a quick ZRemesh and auto-unwrap so I could take it just one step further and get everything into substance painter and practice some stylized texturing in there, which was something completely new to me at that time. Workflow:
- Creating basemeshes in 3ds Max
- Sculpting in ZBrush
- Texturing in Substance Painter
- Realtime rendering using Marmoset Toolbag 4.

Thank you so much for getting all the way to the end of my entry. I hope you liked some of it! I wish you all the best!

Here are some links to the original concepts I used/was inspired by:

Alexander Pavlenko, Andy's Apartment. (Mercenary Hideout Spot main inspiration)
Leo Aveiro, Apartment Room and Precinct. (Detective's Attic)
Daniel Percy, Lost and Found. (Lost and Found main inspiration)

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