Stylized ‘Ghost House’ Breakdown

Gannon Faust Jaspering showed some of the amazing stuff he’s doing with stylized architecture.

Gannon Faust Jaspering showed some of the amazing stuff he’s doing with stylized architecture.


Hi! My name is Gannon Faust Jaspering, I work at Hi-Rez Studios as an environment artist on Paladins: Champions of the Realm. I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri, and I went to school at the Savannah College of Art and Design for a degree in game development.

The scene

This project actually started out as a student project where I made a small game using a few unfinished assets. Using the mouse, you would pivot the camera around a fixed point in the scene, searching the environment for items to enter the house. The original footage can be found here:

I really liked this project but the environment sat around unfinished for 2 years.

As for the theme of the scene, while living in Savannah I was really inspired by all of the historic buildings and ghost tours that would happen every night around town. I used two specific buildings for reference that I would pass everyday while walking my dog. 

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The house is the focal point of the piece, but in the initial block out I had much more terrain surrounding it. All the extra space ultimately took away from the smaller details on the house, so during my rework of the scene I reduced the size of the terrain considerably.


My modeling workflow starts with blocking things out in 3ds Max and moving pieces around to get a composition that I like. Next, I go in and add larger details where needed (like modeling the tiles on the roof), and I try to determine how many unique textures I’ll need. For the house itself, I needed three unique textures: one tiling wood texture for the sides, one for all of the trims/roof tiles/porch boards/etc, and one for the emissive windows. I layout as many of the pieces on my uv sheet as I can to see how many can use the same area, and once that’s done I take that uv sheet and make blockout textures to see if it all works. If all that goes well, then I start to paint finalized textures and tweak colors.

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Because of optimization considerations at work,  I don’t often get to model out smaller details like roof shingles and siding on buildings. These would usually be taken care of by a tiling texture with some normals. A big part of why I like this piece is all that crisp modeled-out geo.


Before I begin modeling most of my scenes, I take time to sketch some quick ideas. Sometimes these sketches have color, and sometimes they’re just basic shape blockouts. I usually tackle each of my scenes like they’re an illustration, even if they’re 3d scenes. This helps keep the composition balanced and makes it easier to place items in the block out phase.

I pushed and pulled and twisted the structure to give it the slightly disproportioned, skewed look. But in my personal work I tend to avoid making everything super “wonky,” where every part of a building is bowing and each beam is zig-zagging and bending all over the place. Too much exaggeration starts to make a building seem completely unusable, and takes away from its visual clarity. A little wonk is fine, but I try not to get carried away.


I’ve been assigned a lot of the vegetation in Paladins: Champions of the Realm, so that’s helped me practice and figure some things out. I’m still fairly new at it, so I appreciate the compliment. Foliage is real tough and each bush/tree/flower can be tackled a lot of different ways. I’ve found that ‘less is more’ with the diffuse for foliage. It’s tempting to jump in and really go to town painting every leaf on something, but a nice subtle gradient with just a bit of variation usually does the trick. A lot of stylized games just go with a flat color and let the shape of the mask do the talking. I try to strike a balance between those two techniques, but looking at this project in hindsight, I think I could have gone even more subtle.


This is an easy one! For this scene and most other scenes I only use flat round brushes with pen pressure transfer, toggling through different softness and hardnesses. No fancy tricks there. If I want a chip in the paint on my building I’m going to have to go in and render out a big chip of paint. My Photoshop and ZBrush brushes don’t have any noise or texture in them, which gives everything a nice clean and soft look that I personally like.

I took the gravestones into ZBrush, dented and cut them up, and then moved them to 3D coat to paint.


I made a mesh over the landscape and applied a flow map (that I generated from flowmap painter, an awesome program you can find here)  over a cloud I generated in photoshop. For the opacity, there’s a depth fade that I can paint in and out with vertex painting to give me a bit more control. There’s a few different material things I did in UE4, if you want me to share the material I would be more than happy to.

Rendered in UE4. I like rendering in UE4, it takes a lot of tweaking but I always feel like I have the most control.

Gannon Jaspering, Environment Artist for Paladins at Hi-Rez Studios

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev 

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Comments 1

  • norma

    sick work bruh



    ·6 years ago·

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