Professional Services
Order outsourcing

Recreating A Rural Korean Traditional House With Unreal Engine 5

3D Environment Artist Um Joo-rin has talked about expressing Korea undergoing a modernization of the hanok architectural style in the '60s in 3D, recreated in a cozy, nostalgic traditional house with several lighting scenarios with ZBrush, Substance 3D Painter, and Unreal Engine 5.


Hello, I'm Um Joo-rin, a 3D Environment Artist. When I was young, I thought about what I should do to develop a video game, so I learned the most interesting 3D graphics technology among them, and I have been working in the industry for 11 years now.

Recently, I joined ReG Studio and participated in the development of a game for the Switch platform called The War of Genesis: Remnants of Gray.

1960 – Korean Traditional House Project

Hanok is an architectural style that has developed independently in the Korean Peninsula for thousands of years. I wanted to express Korea's 1960s undergoing a modernization of traditional hanok and decided that Unreal Engine 5 was the closest tool to art trends these days.

By chance, while looking at Nomad Photo Reference's profile on ArtStation, I fell in love with this hanok and wanted to implement it in 3D and didn't hesitate to buy the reference.

The reference was excellent, so I was thinking of implementing the main shot as it is. Accordingly, the pillars were built first, and the basic framework was established.

Following the advice of my colleagues, I got the idea of items to add. I arranged it in advance with box modeling, organized the items I needed, and collected more references.

The important part of this work was to divide the asset that would save detail and the asset that had low weight. If you increase the details of the props that take up a small part of the scene, you can't see the details in the shot, and you'll get tired during the work. The main pillars, roof tiles, floors, fans, and faucets, which are the points of modernization, are detailed assets.

Modeling & Texturing

The asset production process wasn't much different from the usual way of working. To check the size, simply model the silhouette in 3ds Max and move it to ZBrush. Since I used Megascans textures as the base, after sculpting the silhouette in ZBrush, I came back to 3ds Max and finished low-poly and UV work. Baking and texturing were done in Substance 3D Painter.

The wooden pillars are made of two types of non-mild shapes and two types of relatively normal shapes. A similar base texture was applied by searching the texture on Megascans, as this process significantly reduces working time. Then I added layers of materials on top of that.

For naturalness, Meju added strands that were caused by a broken rice straw to the modeling:

The roof tiles were made, stacked, and modularized by binding them with Blueprints. I also added material to do color variations.

The original tile-roofed house has a plaster finish or an antefix tile, but the antefix has the disadvantage of being expensive and I wanted to portray a country house, not a rich house. I chose it because it was natural and more attractive to see the soil in the tile.

The electric fan was made by referring to GoldStar's design released in the 1960s. It's a prop that came to mind while thinking about the symbol of modernization.

The overall color of the scene is low, so the translucent blue of the fan was supposed to be the point color of the scene. The body was painted on a metal frame and the part wrapped around the motor is made of plastic that is easily discolored.

The two parts were similar in color and tone, but they give a different feeling of material. Also, we added simple animations.

Rendering & Lighting

All Koreans would agree, when I went to a rural house when I was young, I always saw dried peppers in the sun. I wanted to create such a friendly grandmother's house.

The props were modified by putting only colors in the stages before detailed texturing and proceeding with detailed texturing according to the shot.

I placed small pots on the sunlit floor to photosynthesize. In order to translate the old architecture better, some of the pillars, walls, and roof tiles are expressed in disorder. In the case of the plaster wall, the two textures were blended and vertex painted, and the end treatment was expressed with a damaged decal.

To make the shadow silhouette of the yard fun, we placed fake shadows. The boundary stone in the yard was used by transforming the Megascans asset into a 3ds Max FFD tool. In addition, Unreal Engine Marketplace and Megascans assets were used to add density to the screen.

I tend to refer to movies a lot and for this work, I referred to the atmosphere of the movie The Wailing by Na Hong-jin.

I'm not a professional lighting artist, so I can't explain an effective and reasonable way to express the atmosphere and write down my own way of doing it.

For daytime, I strongly adjusted the indirect light of the directional light to make the interior look subtly bright where direct sunlight is not shining. I raised the source angle to prevent the shadow from falling hard and to brighten the overall tone, we gave it a strong Sky Lights with a light sky blue color. It's a bright day, so I expressed the fog value very slightly. The shadow tone was adjusted brightly with post-process exposure values.

I wanted to express that as the sun sets, it comes deep into the floor. I made the color of the sunset with Directional Light and deep and dark sky blue with Sky Lights. The post-process strongly boosted the Bloom effect.

For the evening, I adjusted the light color of direct lighting to get the overall tone and feel. I expressed the moonlight with Sky Lights and strongly adjusted it by holding it with the complementary color of the directional light color.

Because I wanted the light bulb to be gently illuminated, I installed a Point Light near the light bulb, narrowed the radius, and set the indirect light high. Finally, the post process strongly raised the vignetting.

As for rainy days, the color of the Directional Light and Sky Light, and the dark blue-green color with similar but different tones, created the atmosphere. The Volumetric Fog is strongly expressed to add a bleakness.

The expression of rain was used by purchasing Unreal Engine Marketplace's Animated Rain – Waterdrop Material & FX, a tool that simulates rain very easily and quickly.


I've been working on this project for about a month and received a lot of help from people around me. Since each person has a different perspective, there is a great advantage in that you can receive advice on what you miss during work.

Personally, I tend to hesitate to share my work with the outside world. However, it's better to let people know and get feedback as much as possible and it's important to have an acceptance mindset. I recommend that you always appreciate amazing work on the ArtStation and 80 Level and don't miss out on finding out the trends.

Um Joo-rin, 3D Environment Artist

Interview conducted by Gloria Levine

Join discussion

Comments 2

  • Anonymous user

    This is so beautiful, amazing work! Joo-rim, I instantly recognized this hanok -- it's in Seoul, in front of the Folk Museum by the Gyeongbokgung palace. I visited it in 2022 with my mother and took several photos. I loved seeing your reconstruction of the beams, and your idea of making it a "grandmother's house".


    Anonymous user

    ·16 days ago·
  • Anonymous user

    good jab~!!


    Anonymous user

    ·23 days ago·

You might also like

We need your consent

We use cookies on this website to make your browsing experience better. By using the site you agree to our use of cookies.Learn more