Denis Rutkovsky briefly talked about his Fantasy Castle Kit for UE4 and its production.
How the Environment Started
From the very beginning, I had a couple of images I wanted to recreate in my mind and I certainly love Dark Souls for the great atmosphere. For the Fantasy Castle Kit, however, I focused on the idea of making something in the style of the church from The Revenant. I like this film a lot by the way! I also wanted to have bright and vivid colors which would work with the overall feeling of emptiness in the environment.
Stepping aside, I’d like to say that I really enjoy the process of making environments nowadays. I’ve been working as a 3D artist for over 10 years and focused on different art directions such as vehicles, props, characters, etc. Now I consider myself rather an environment artist. I don’t even like to play video games that much. Making my own environments and exploring them is more fun for me.
But let’s get back to the level. I noticed that you don’t really have to have a key idea to start working on the environment. You can start from pretty much anything random and the environment design will start growing very fast in your mind during the process. The process creates inspiration.
For the tiled elements I also used blend materials a lot, they are especially great for filling large areas and avoiding repetitive patterns.
I made the stones in one pass having them all together in ZBrush. I do not consider myself as a great sculpting specialist but I have a few techniques that work for me pretty well. First, I use Trim Curve brush to prepare the surface for further details. It helps to give the surface a more solid stone-like feeling. After that, I add details such as surface noise and cracks with the help of custom alphas and brushes. There are plenty of them available online, so I don’t have any special suggestions. Just google and find the ones that work best for you.
I use Decimation Master for sculpts which gives pretty well-optimized geometry with all details in the silhouette as well as saves a lot of time. It’s useful especially when the object is not going to be animated which mean you don’t have to get a correctly structured topology.
In this project, I wanted to have some nice warm orange lights all around the arches even if it looked a bit unreal in combination with sunny daylight. I used one good lighting mood reference as the starting point. Lighting is something that works really well only when the rest of the details are set properly, especially the atmospheric fog. It influences the scene a lot.
I wanted to make sure that the mood is set correctly, so I created a detailed landscape and filled it with details such as grass and stones. Even without the castle, this environment looks finished.
Where Do I Get the Pack?
This pack is available on Unreal Marketplace so if anyone interested to try it out, check the pack here!