Week 4 & 5 : The Train

The Train

The good thing about modeling a train is that there is a lot of repeating geometry. So in reality, I only really needed to model just over a quarter of the train, as a lot could be duplicated and mirrored.

Instead of going for the high to low poly workflow I decided with this asset being quite large it would be better to texture the asset using tiling textures within UE4. So the edges on the asset didn’t look too harsh without having a high poly bake for it I used a script in Maya to face weight the normals.

The inside and outside of the train were given multiple material id’s for texturing in UE4.


I textured the train using the same method as the escalator, making a library of material functions and blending them with masks. The top dirt mask that I used was able to apply the dirt to only parts of the asset that were facing upwards, to look like dust had settled on the asset. The good thing about this setup is that I can use this mask on any asset to get the same effect, and I have quite a lot of control over it.

For the more detailed dirt and graffiti, I will be using deferred decals so that I can get higher resolution. at this point, I only have the outside of the train with the finished material on. all the others just have a base material on at the moment, but with this first material made it should be fairly quick to get the rest done as I can reuse a lot of the elements like top dirt and other masks. 

Next Week

Depending on the weather I hope to get some photogrammetry done this week, getting some surface scans for the floor and tunnel walls, as well as some, scatter assets such as piles of rubbish. but if the weather is bad I will carry on getting the rest of the materials done for the train.


Week 3: Materials

Wall Materials

I started my week by jumping into Substance Designer and creating some tile materials for the walls. My idea was to create a clean tile material, a cracked tile material and a plaster material for where the tiles had fallen off, and use these as a tree way vertex paint for the walls.

Clean, Cracked and Plaster materials

However, once I created the 3-way vertex material and started to paint with it I quickly realized that the plaster material was not blending as well as I expected. So I decided to just use a 2-way vertex paint for the clean and cracked tiles as they seemed to blend together nicely and come back to the plaster later and maybe use it for mesh decals.

Vertex painted Tiles

Re-doing the Escalators

As I mentioned last week I used a trim sheet to texture the escalators as this was quite a large asset and I wanted to maintain the quality of all the assets. But after having a talk with my tutor, he showed me a technique to get even better quality by using material functions and material blending to get even better surface detail.

Material Graph

One of my goals for this project was to try and learn how to create more complex materials within UE4, and this material was a lot larger than I am used to. but I did learn a lot creating it and when creating a material instance it gives me lots of control over certain aspects like roughness to different elements, colour, normal intensity and being able to tile individual textures like normal maps independently.

Material Instance
Old Vs New

Next Weeks Plan

My main plan for the following week is to start modelling the train, as this is the main hero asset I want to try and get this done early on.


Week 2: Pre-Production Part 2

Blockout and Lighting

So I started my week by getting the main blockout done in Maya, I then imported it into UE4 to start adding my first light pass to get an idea of composition.

Blockout in UE4

I used cold coloured light source for the light coming from the outside to the escalators and the hole in the ceiling to try and create a winter feel. Whilst inside the station, I tried to use warm colours coming from the fire and the train.

Blockout with rough lighting

Asset and material lists

Once the blockout was done I made an asset list of all the assets I would need along with a material list, This will most likely be added to in the future.

Asset and Material list

Starting Production

I made a start on one of the assets for the scene the escalators, as this was a fairly large asset I created a trim sheet to texture the asset. I purposefully made the escalators look fairly clean to start with because I was using a trim sheet to texture it and I didn’t want the dirt, Wear and tear and other details to look repetitive. instead, I intend to add these details in UE4 with the use of a secondary uv channel to add some edge wear and decals to add more dirt and graffiti.

Escalators base texture

Plans for Next Week

My main plans for next week are to carry on with modelling assets and to create some tileable materials for the larger areas in the scene.