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Settlement of Celestials
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Settlement of Celestials

by emyml on 29 Apr 2021 for World of Real-time Discoveries

Unexplained man-made supertrees materialising in the middle of nowhere.

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Update - 15 May 2021

Final Update

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Update - 13 May 2021


The foliage around the structure of the megatree is basically just an imported ivy mesh from Megascans duplicated and wrapped around the frame.

I tried a bunch of colour variations and settled with the former colour to stick with my original colour palette for the buildings.

I used a spline enabled Ivy blueprint from the community forums to have more pronounced ivy vines circling the frame since the vegetation at the bottom looked a little lackluster. I also modified the textures for the colours to match the original colour scheme.

The foliage on the ground was a mix of Megascans plants with the textures slightly modified.

The Good Sky BP was accquired from the marketplace with loads of tweaking around lighting to get the foliage to pop out at first glance. I ended up with a much darker sky for more dramatic effect.

Update - 10 May 2021


For the buildings and props I wanted a cohesive colour palette so I limited the colour scheme with seven colours with the reds and oranges being the main colours. I feel like vermillion colours can create a strong focal point when contrasting with green foliage.

Most of the base materials were accquired from Megascans and further modified. I used a plaster material for the walls and realised that having a flat colour for the buildings looked too dull. I have never made a gradient material before and decided to experiment just to make the material look more interesting.

Regular material vs modified material with colour gradient.

For the props on the rooftops I found some pipes from Megascans library and found some other props from CGTrader by aizen042. I had the pipes connect the props together as having the props stand alone felt too disconnected from the rest of the buildings.  I modified the original textures so they fit the colour scheme and added a gradient to further match the rest of the building materials.

For the edges of the buildings, I used edge normals using the Ultimate Trim Method from Sunset Overdrive. This technique basically creates a high poly look with beveled edges and can be reused on multiple objects, speeding up the texturing process.

I simply sculpted some wear and tear in ZBrush and baked the normals in Substance Painter. The normal maps then get imported into Maya to be UV-ed. I also made an opacity mask in Photoshop just by painting over the normals.

Update - 6 May 2021

Blockout Stage

I sketched up a few thumbnails on how the buildings would roughly look like around the trees. I mainly drew inspiration from Wall Town by Black Spire Studio and The Lord of The Rings: Orc City Gundabad by Ilya Nazarov.

For the mega tree models I found a model by Arsitek Desain and modified the model in Maya to fit the arrangement I wanted.

Referring to the thumbnails I sketched out, I modelled and blocked out the buildings using modular assets so I could reuse them around all the trees. I intend to add in extra props using Megascans assets to make the settlement look more lived in.

After arranging the buildings around the tree frame, I found a suitable bridge to use from Sketchfab: "Wooden rope bridge" by DonislavTodorov. I intially duplicated and organised the trees to form a circle formation in Maya, but then quickly realised it would be more efficient to texture and set dress one entire tree and duplicate it in UE4 instead.

Update - 29 Apr 2021


The main idea was to build these massive treehouses inspried by the Supertree Grove in Gardens by the Bay, Singapore. The purpose of these structures are used as small settlements near the tree tops with vegetation growing along the frames.

Concept Art

This was a really rough photobash based on the first thumbnail I did just to get a sense of the scale and colour scheme of the whole environment. The colour scheme is not finalised but the final composition would be fairly similar.