Photo-realistic Environment with Unity

Photo-realistic Environment with Unity

3d artist Renato Aruffo de Oliveira showed how to achieve photo-realistic results in environment design with Unity.

3d artist Renato Aruffo de Oliveira showed how to achieve photo-realistic results in environment design with Unity.


Hello everybody! My name is Renato Aruffo de Oliveira. I am from Brazil. I am a generalist, technical artist and game designer. I graduated from Gnomon School of Visual Effects last year and have been working as a visual contents developer, creating environments and characters, special effects and shaders (nodes and HLSL/CG coding). I also create in-engine tools within Unreal and Unity.

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I have always loved the general development of games, the artistic and the technical side, thus I love scripting, as well modeling and sculpting.

I would like to talk a little bit about one of my projects, the Victorian Room. It is a real time environment I developed to show my artistic and technical skills in my demoreel.

Victorian Room

First of all I started researching, collecting references and ideas I wanted to develop. This project was heavily influenced on the game, The Order 1886. The game is amazing in its technical aspects and visuals. I started researching about their engine, the art period within the setting the world took place and the tools they used to create the game.

My initial idea was to create a Victorian era scene. I am fascinated by all the details and ornaments of the furniture and home décor within the Victorian era. I wanted to show the intricate details of these objects in real time. I started to create quick sketches and collected references of each object that I wanted to create.

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Production Time

After the research is done, it is production time. The first prop I created was the chair.

I started blocking the chair out in Maya by poly modeling. Next, I brought it to Zbrush to sculpt the details. I decimated the mesh and brought it back to Maya to fix the improper polygons. I Uved the chair and then brought it to Substance Painter to start texturing, and finally exported everything to my game engine of choice, Unity 3D.

(This is the final result of the chair inside the Unity 3D) 

I was really excited to create the lamp. I love creating characters and developing my anatomy skills. Sometimes when we start an environment, we have to focus on it for a long period of time, not giving room to practice other things, this was a huge opportunity for that.

I started it on Zbrush. I created a cylinder and sculpted the general shapes with radial symmetry turned on. I didn’t want to use alphas or poly modeling because I wanted to avoid creating perfect shapes, this is so it gives the lamp a more handmade feel. Later, I started sculpting the small details with some custom height maps that I extracted from sculpted shapes I did on a planes, and just like the chair, the same process of decimation, uving and texturing in Substance Painter was done afterwards.

(In Unity 3D)

All assets in the scene were created in a very similar way: Maya, zBrush, Substance Painter, Unity 3D.

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My engine of choice was Unity 3D, the reason is that I wanted to test the new Volumetric lighting, real-time global illumination with Enlighten, the new GGX within version 5.3 and the new post processing effects.

My engine of choice was Unity 3D, and the reason why is that I wanted to test the new volumetric lighting, the real time global illumination with Enlighten, the new GGX within version 5.3 and the new post processing effects the added.

The real time global illumination is very subtle in the scene, since most lights doesn’t move, but it was great to test and learn how it works and all the possibilities it brings. The volumetric lighting was something that I was amazed by, it adds more atmosphere to the scene. While I was reading the technical documentation from The Order, I saw how all these aspects were important for their game and much difference it makes.

Here is a small scene with the effects working, I love how the shadows react to the light fog, generating this beautiful volumetric light.

Sketchfab view:

Victorian Room by Renato Aruffo on Sketchfab

Renato Oliveira, Environment Artist

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev

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Comments 1

  • Kamran

    Hey Renato,

    Your job is amazing. That is my dream to make scene like this for VR. I work with 3D MAX and I recently start learning Substance softwares. Is it possible for you to teach me how to create photorealistic scenes for VR in few hours? I am willing to pay for it.



    ·2 years ago·

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