Small Italian Town Atmosphere Captured in UE4
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Doesn't they say the same thing about photography when it was emerging? ;)

Agreed. This is just depressing and is a detriment to society. If this keeps advancing at its current rate, good art will be so trivial to generate that it won't be special anymore. Art will slowly morph into a banal distraction, with creating an original piece being as easy as applying an Instagram filter. The role of the human artist will change from a craftsperson to someone who picks a bunch of parameters, gives it to the AI, and chooses the best output. This type of technology is a threat to the very existence of art as a craft, will completely devalue artwork, and will make the journey of training to become an artist obsolete. I hate these researchers for what they're doing to a field that I love.

I disagree. There will always be demand for real artists. Like any other digital software, this is just a tool with the possibility to help artists create compelling worlds faster and add realism that would otherwise have taken days to make using other methods. As a 3D character artist, I would love to use this to create quick backdrops to place my characters in to enhance final renders.

Small Italian Town Atmosphere Captured in UE4
6 June, 2018
Environment Art
Level Design

Chuang Ma made a short review of his marvelous Italian scene created with UE4. With this project, he became one of the NVIDIA Edge Program Recipients in April 2018.


Hello! My name is Chuang Ma, I live in China and I’m a senior level artist with 8 years of work experience in this field. I made an Italian town scene this time called Ancient Towns. Slightly saturated colorful walls, various flowers on the street, a few modern elements, a natural street, full of lively greenery on the walls. And serene, warm, vibrant atmosphere. All the details create a feeling of a garden or a small town where everyone would like to live.


Modeling and texturing approach

The best way to make a scene alike is using the modular approach. I made separate models of walls, windows, and roofs and used them to design different houses.

Stone and rock materials were made in Substance to achieve amazing quality and generate a whole set of textures.


I chose to create a small but relatively broad square as the main street and added artificial stone steps. I am attracted to both narrow and wide town streets and their variety, that’s why I also created alleyways. Some realistic elements like chairs, umbrellas, and water pipes were added to embellish the scene.


The scene takes place early in the morning, so I slightly increased the yellow color and saturation and tried to make the scene more transparent. Unreal Engine indirect lighting can bring amazing realism. I enhanced the number of light bounces and indirect light intensity. 

Post Processing

This scene is stylized and cartoonish to some extent. To achieve it I used a normal lighting environment and post-processed the scene in Unreal Engine afterward. During the latter stage, I applied Color Grading which is rich in different parameters. I focused on increasing saturation of the dark areas and enhancing the color plus adding some yellow to the overall tone.

Chuang Ma, Senior Level Artist

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev 

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