Creating Delicate Virtual Nature

Creating Delicate Virtual Nature

Filmmaker Peter Piwowarski talked about the way you can create detailed forest environment in Unreal Engine with Speedtree.

Filmmaker Peter Piwowarski talked about the way you can create detailed forest environment in Unreal Engine 4 with Speedtree.


My name is Peter and I’m 25 years old. I live in Poland. I’m a movie maker and animator. Most of my works are trailers / teasers for different kind of games. I have about 11 years of experience in movie making, so I decided to go on higher level. I did also some differet projects on Unreal Engine 4, mostly animations (for example Star Wars animation, II World War animation and some others).

Forest Scene

1 of 5

Main things which I wanted to practice on the “Forest” scene was lighting. Tried to do something realistic as good, as I can.

I started with 3D models and SpeedTree creation. Next step was creating material for each object. When results matched my needs I started to place some objects at the scene and add effects like PostProcess, AtmosphericFog,

ExponentialHeightFog, SkyLight. When I finished with effects, I started with landscape and placing rest of 3D models and foliage.

Most of the assets were created by me and taken from SpeedTree. There is an option where you can draw your own tree. For foliage I used “Two Sided Foliage” option which is good feature from Unreal Engine 4. When you’re exporting a tree from SpeedTree it comes with material which you can immediately use. I just added a few more things to have more realistic feeling.

Creating Delicate Virtual Nature

EVERYTHING in my scene is movable. I did not use “Build lighting” option. Most of the time to achieve that lighting I used PostProcess and ExponentialHeightFog. Rest of effects are just basic settings. Sure thing that you need to work also on 3D models / materials but you can take a look on some Epic’s templates and how they did a few things.

Creating Delicate Virtual Nature

The Size of the Scene

My scene is not big at all. It’s about 30×30. If I would like to create something bigger, it’s is possible but I need to focus on optimization of SpeedTree and grass. For example my grass Density / 1Kuu is 1,500 / 2,000. Unreal Engine 4 is for me best engine to create natural environment, even with basic lighting you can achieve something great.

Creating Delicate Virtual Nature


SpeedTree is “cherry on top of cake” if we talking about trees in Unreal Engine 4. I have not encountered problems while importing / creating trees. On YouTube people can find a lot of tutorials on how to start with SpeedTree. Best thing in

SpeedTree is the ability to make hand drawing trees. If you will use that tool, you can be sure that no one will have the same tree like you have.

Creating Delicate Virtual Nature

For Matinee / Camera I did just few things. Here is my Level Blueprint. I just did TriggerBox which on collision playing my Matinee. I also added slow motion for better effect:

Creating Delicate Virtual Nature

About light positioning, I did something like you see on the screenshot.

Creating Delicate Virtual Nature

Overall I’m happy with the result and the kind of light i got, but you can always aim a little higher.

Peter Piwowarski, Artist/Filmmaker

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