Behemoth: Enhanсing Sci-Fi Environments
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Behemoth: Enhanсing Sci-Fi Environments
10 July, 2017

Laura Menigoz  and Mickaël Floury discussed in much detail the production of their stunning graduation project. 


Laura Menigoz: I’m Laura Menigoz, I’m 25 years old and I’m from Reunion Island (a French island between Madagascar and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean). When I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming an archaeologist like Lara Croft from the famous Tomb Raider series. Then I yearned to hold a camera and become a reporter like Jade in Beyond Good & Evil (I’m ecstatic Ubisoft announced its sequel at E3 2017!). I used to play Quake III Arena and Counter Strike with my father and brother, and I grew up watching my father play classic games as well. Growing up surrounded by video games and gamers really inspired me to work in this awesome industry!

Mickaël Floury: Hello, I’m Mickaël Floury, and I’m 26. I just finished my studies at New3dge school in Game Art specialization. The interior scene is related to a end of studies project called Behemoth. Our inspiration came from the video game Star Citizen to make the spaceship interior.

After high school, I left Reunion Island and first studied at LISAA Paris for a year. Then I went to New 3Dge in Paris, where I’ve worked alongside many other artists who’ve also been interviewed by At this new school, I developed a greater interest in environments and their unique ability to tell stories despite initially planning for a career in character art. Currently, I’m in my last year of my Game Art Specialization program at New 3Dge.

Since it’s my last year, I’m working on Behemoth, my graduation project, with my teammates Mickaël FlouryMadeleine Herold and Louis-Emmanuël Monlaü—we named ourselves Fat Space Otter Studio (haha…such a great name!). Madeleine works on the project as a character artist. Louis focuses on concept and weapon art and Mickaël contributes as a tech/enviro artist.

After the professional jury in June, I’d like to work as a 3D environment/props/texture artist.

Right now, I’m a 3D environment and props artist on our graduation project. Over the past two years, I also worked for a real-time architectural visualizations company as a props artist and as a volunteer environment artist on Frontwire Studios’ Galaxy in Turmoil.


Laura Menigoz: I worked on the scene with Mickaël. He helped me with some props, like the ceiling, the entry pillars, the warning sign, the orange engines next to the lockers, the little desk, the hologlass with visible information about upcoming monster and almost all the FX. He’s more so a tech guy yet very skilled and helpful! I’m incredibly lucky to have him and the others as my teammates. We eventually agreed it would be best if we prepared our pipeline beforehand, which led us to create our concepts at the beginning of the production process.

Our main reference for the project is the Starfarer from Star Citizen, with its black and orange metal materials. We modeled them with 3ds Max, sculpted some details in ZBrush and textured them with Substance Painter. I previously prepared a material library so it was quick and easy to make a homogeneous object. It was also non-destructive thanks to the Substance texturing system!

Mickaël Floury: The whole project was a 4 person’s work. Louis Monlaü (concept), Madeleine Herold (Characters), Laura Menigoz (environment lighting) and myself (environnement & tech). The objective was to learn and push further our personal skills. My personal goal on this scene was to create and use the VXGI in Unreal Engine version 4.16.


Laura Menigoz: The biggest challenges we encountered were maintaining a high-quality scene while having it stay optimized for real-time cinematics. With all of the materials already gathered and organized in a library, the act of making everything homogenous was much simpler and rather straightforward.

Yes, we reused some elements within this scene, such as the orange lamps and several screens at different scales. Some assets are basically the same elements but a bit deformed to appear new.

Mickaël Floury: Me and Laura worked together to create this scene. We shared the props, using the Id maps in substance painter to apply the exact same materials. Then, she created the scene’s lighting while I made the Shaders FX.

Here is an example of the props we used for the scene:


Laura Menigoz: For this project, I made them with Substance Painter. I used references from different games (mostly Star Citizen again!). I typically use a Substance material as a base and work on it to change the aspect and then shape it to fit a certain appearance. There are nine different materials in this scene, and I also prepared dirt and scratch materials so we could quickly add some logical dirt on the assets, especially when using the curvature and other useful maps.

Have you ever had experience with using scanned data?

Laura Menigoz: I personally never have. But, I once had some fun with 123D Catch (a program that captures objects and converts them into 3D models through one’s phone). Beyond that, I’ve never been further. About starting with a clean slate or not, it depends on the materials! I used a military metal, a Substance Share material, and it’s a really cool. It’s a dirty, grungy thing that I often incorporate into my productions.

Beyond that, as previously noted, I regularly use a base material on Substance and modify it with custom patterns in the normal. For example, I’ll change the roughness, the color and the noise among other details. In general, if I have to download textures, I use Substance Share. I’ll also check out from time to time.


Mickaël Floury: The main challenge about the hologram was to gather all the infor on a single sphere (an optimization thing)

Which gives the following shader:


Texturing Assets

Laura Menigoz: I texture my assets in Substance Painter and sometimes use Quixel’s NDO when I need it. For Behemoth, we had to make a real-time cinematic trailer in UE4, so everything was integrated in Unreal. I work with Marmoset Toolbag 3 in my workflow but only for the baking part (tangent and world space normal maps, AO map). But when I only have to present a specific asset, I usually make a render in Marmoset. Sometimes it’s just a screenshot and other times it’s an animated turnaround. I generally prefer the render in Marmoset, but with the appropriate post-process in UE4, we can make it good looking too!

For those who cry when they see their assets in UE4, here’s a tutorial that can show you all how to tweak the post-process parameters in UE4. It’s definitely useful and helped me tweak my own work!

Thanks for reading about my project,! Hope you learned something useful and are excited to take on your own next big challenge!


Mickaël Floury: The VXGI had to be tamed to give this rendering. Here is an example with and without VXGI in our scene.

The main aspect of this part is that it allows to the emissivity to have a true impact on the scenery (Take the neons for instance).

The shimmering has been realized by Laura with a Blueprint.


Laura Menigoz, Environment & Props Artist

Mickaël Floury, Student Tech Artist

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev

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Nice work everyone!