Dark Souls 3 fan art environment

Dark Souls 3 fan art environment

Jack Shimield
by jshimield on 22 Nov 2020

For this scene I recreated a room from one of my favorite games Dark Souls 3. I really wanted to learn how to work mega scans and Quixel mixer into my workflow for this project. I found it was an efficient way to quickly create and blend materials for my scene.

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For this scene I started with a block out in UE4 before modeling in Maya, just to work out my scale. Having the advantage of walking around in the game made it a lot easier to get it right. 

For many of my materials I started with Quixel mega scans and then modified and mixed them to get the result I wanted. With the column and floor tiles I used Zbrush to sculpt some detail for baking and textured them in Substance Painter.

I also used a small handful of optimized mega scan assets for cups, plates, pots and decals. This saved me some time as I didn't want to get to hung up on modeling things that didn't draw much attention in the scene.

After blocking out the scene I focused on modeling the larger objects in the scene such as the walls, floors and columns.

For the walls I created a vertex painting material using a height lerp so I could get my top material into some of the gaps of the brickwork and give more variation to the blend. 

The walls also use tessellation and displacement, but to save on performance they are controlled by how close the camera is to the wall. This way at long distances, where the details cant be seen, the wall has a very low amount of subdivision.

I noticed the scene had a bunch of variations of rope and I decided to use this as a opportunity to learn about using splines in UE4 to generate different meshes. For this I started by making a tileable rope material using Substance Designer and used this to texture a small section of rope. Next I created a simple blueprint in Unreal that would allow me to drag out my rope section into any shape I needed.

I had been tweaking the lighting throughout the whole project, but after getting some feedback I decided it had become very weird and unnatural using point lights to light up some dark areas. To fix this I started over and just used a sky light, a directional light, light portals and three point lights. Using the sky light and post processing allowed me to brighten up some of the areas that were way to dark, without scattering point and spot lights all over the scene. 

To finish up the scene I added some particle effects for the fires, which have a slight flicker to them using a blueprint. I also added some floating ash coming through the windows, which made the scene feel more alive.

I noticed there was some ivy growing on the surrounding buildings in my original concept and decided it would make a good addition to my scene. I thought this would be a great opportunity to use Houdini so I created a tool that would grow a vine populated with leaves just by drawing a spline.

After creating the tool I built a node to hold various parameters that could be used to change the look of my vines including size, leaf amount and random seed.

After creating some ivy vines I baked them to a plane in Substance Designer and then cut them out in Maya before exporting to engine.

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