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CAVE
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CAVE

Maria Cristina Saavedra Gonzalez
by Criss on 9 May 2024

Dive into the depths of a dark mysterious cave, a place where scientific experimentations used to happen, now abandoned after a catastrophic accident, it has become timeless surrounded by magical mushrooms and glowy crystals.

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Dive into the depths of a dark mysterious cave, a place where scientific experimentations used to happen, now abandoned after a catastrophic accident, it has become timeless surrounded by magical mushrooms and glowy crystals. 

Render View Modes 

Environment assembled in UnrealEngine. All assets created in Zbrush and Maya, then textured using Substance Painter and Substance Designer.


BLOCKING AND PLANNING

My creative process began with the creation of a concept board. I gathered all the reference images of the objects I wanted to implement in my environment. 

Then I proceeded to do a simple blocking in Unreal Engine to measure the dimensions.

I divided the assets in four categories: Hero Asset, Structures (organic and inorganic), Decorative Props (organic and inorganic) and Plants. 

MODELING

After this I proceeded to Model all my assets in Maya to get the LowPoly and UVS, and then I transferred them to Zbrush to get HighPoly details.

Depending on the object I switched between doing the HighPoly first and then Retopologizing for the LowPoly in Maya, this method gives me more freedom especially with organic assets. 

MODULAR KIT

HERO ASSET

ASSETS

TEXTURES

When I had my meshes I divided them in two categories, the individual unique textures and the assets that would use trim sheets. 

For the individual assets in textured them in SubstancePainter, I wanted to create a contrast between the natural parts of the cave (which give a more mystical vibe) and the assets that were “abandoned and more inorganic, the metal objects”. The nature assets have more emissives which gives them a magical effect, while de inorganic metal objects are rusty and with lots of roughness.

TRIM SHEETS

For the trim sheets I used Substance Painter and Substance Designer, this last one was really important, especially for the rock wall texture of the cave. 

UNREAL ENGINE 

After having all my assets with their texture I proceeded to import them to Unreal Engine.

(This softer was new to me, so I had to learn how to use it in a matter of days. But I soon realized that it is really intuitive.)

It really helped that I had my Blocking prearranged, that way I already had an idea of the dimensions and the placing. 

Finally I was able to add the last details, such as making it look like it was a dark cave in the night, as well as some flying particles. I added a directional light to simulate the moonlight coming through the opening of the cave with the help of the volumetric fog. And some flickering point lights to enhance the theme of the abandoned cave.

I also added some water and adjusted its settings so that it appeared as swamp water. 

LIGHT

VEGETATION

PARTICLES SYSTEM

WATER

For the water I wanted to create a pond inspire look, and so I created my own water material. For that I used various Functions to control de diferent water parameters, such as the Waves, Color, Opacity,Refraction, Caustics, Foam, Ripples and Vertex. This was a huge challange because  I had never used functions in Unreal Engine, but I think it turned out pretty good, although there is always room for improvement. 

Although I had to learn a new working process and a few new programs I learned a lot. I had lots of fun, it is always amazing to see your own vision come to life. 


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