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.


Week 1: Pre-Production

As an aspiring environment artist, I naturally wanted to create an environment for my final year project. This will give me a good opportunity to showcase my skills and ability, as well as learn new techniques to become more efficient and push my artwork to the next level. 

The Idea

Artwork by Dan Iorgulescu

The environment I am creating is inspired by Dan Iorgulescu’s Mind the Gap – subway station refugee camp concept. I am also using the game The Division as a source of inspiration too, as the concept piece has the same kind of gritty realism that would be seen in the game. So my main goal is to take Dan Iorgulescu’s concept art and bring it to life within a Division style game environment within Unreal Engine 4. I thought that this environment could act as a safe zone like the ones in The Division.


My first task was to make myself a weekly plan to stick to, I set myself realistic goals to achieve each week. I purposefully made a few weeks in the project lighter than others, this was just in case I run into any problems when experimenting with new techniques. 

Moodboards & References

Moodboard for the overall art style
Moodboard of real-life locations

I also made a moodboard for the level of quality I wanted to achieve.

I spent some time collecting references for lots of different assets that would be in the scene, as well as real-life locations and screenshots from The Division. I then organized them in Pureref into different categories, This collection will grow quite a lot as the project progresses and more assets are identified. 

Plans for Next Week

Next week I plan to get the environment blocked out and a rough lighting pass to get a good idea of composition. Then I can make a list of assets and main base materials that will be needed for the scene, I can then make a start on the trim sheets that will be needed for the larger assets.