The Anvil’s Ford: Darksiders III Fan Art Breakdown

The Anvil’s Ford: Darksiders III Fan Art Breakdown

Check out Alisson Stirchler talk about a very cool new environment she created, being inspired by the new entry in Darksiders franchise.

Check out Alisson Stirchler talk about a very cool new environment she created, being inspired by the new entry in Darksiders franchise.  


Hello! My name is Alisson Stirchler and I’m from Cannes, the French city of cinema! Currently, I’m a freelance environment artist and work for Shiro Games in Bordeaux.

Video games always was a passion for me, I remember that I always loved drawing my favorites characters in my childhood, especially in my school book!

After graduating from high school, I moved to Nîmes in a 3D art school and I definitely found my way in video game universe.

I worked on mobile video games during two years, but I didn’t really appreciate that. That’s why I decided to focus on my portfolio.
Usually, I work on characters, but it’s hard to find a place in this job. So, I chose to change and created a big environment. It was very instructive for me.

The scene

For the scene, I used one of the official concept arts from Darksiders III, I changed some details like the wood barriers near the waterfall or the position of the wood structures above the lava.

I also added more chains/ropes and objects, like the sword and the hammer.

After collecting some references, I started to create very basic shapes in Maya, and placed them in UE4 to create my blockout. Then I added simple lights, water, and lava. The difficulty was to find the right balance between the upper light and the shine of the lava and candles.


Except for the vegetation, all the assets were created with Zbrush. I used standards brushes, but also custom brushes of the artists Jonas Ronnegard and Paul Tosca.

For a major part of the assets, like the rocks and wood planks, I used the Decimation Master for retopology. I wasn’t familiar with this method but it’s great for keeping a good shape of an asset. In that way, only small details are kept in the normal map.


For the textures, I used Substance Painter and principally worked with 4K, I first created some custom materials for rock and wood that I could use for my assets.

Generally, I work with the smart materials and add some generators to intensify the white/black edges. I paint on my model to add some details like color variations.

To create the vegetation, I looked for some foliage references and created the textures with Bitmap2Material.
Once the assets were imported in UE4, I created a moss material and applied it to my rocks and wood planks with the vertex weights paint.


One of the most challenging was the volumetric fog of the cavern. I have two big parts in my scene, the upper and the lower. The difficulty was to adapt the fog and the lights to both parts of the environment.

I used 3 main spotlights, the first is for the global ambiance of the scene and the second one for the focus on the Anvil. The third light is in static mode and was used to only illuminate the upper part of the scene.

On the lower, I used some points lights to increase the light of the fire (lava, candles, torch) and some parts of the scene like the face of the anvil or the waterfall.

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Using UE4 wasn’t very easy, because of my skills with this software. It was an opportunity to learn about it.
Special thanks to Alexandre Christmann and Julien Petitpas for their feedback on my work!

It was pleasant and really instructive for me to work on this project. Darksiders is one of my favorite games and I can’t wait to play the third episode!

Thanks for reading about my project! Hope you liked it!

Alisson Stirchler, Level / Environment Artist

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev

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