Home Allegorithmic's 'the THRONE ROOM'

THRONE ROOM – Algor Mortis – CrunchieNut


My idea for my Throne Room is Algor Mortis which roughly translates as the coldness of death.

I'm imagining a seat of power encased in an ice cavern. Mainly natural elements, maybe some carved rock etc

Main reasons for choosing this are:
Teach myself some new shader techniques, things like procedural snow shaders with world space masks etc
Learn a bit more of Unreal 4
Give the substance designer/painter pipeline a go!

Hopefully my imagination doesn't get carried away in the time given. Next step some rough sketches/reference hunting

Good luck to everyone joining in :)


Software I'll be using:
3D Max
Substance Designer/Painter

*Edit with Final Submission!*





Little gallery of start to finish


  • treasgu
    Hi! What 3D software will you use for modelling?
  • CrunchieNut
    treasgu wrote: »
    Hi! What 3D software will you use for modelling?

    Good point, just edited first post with the software I'm using :) 3D Max
  • CrunchieNut
    Some early thumbnail ish sketches. Found some nice ref for stalactites and glacier caves

    Thinking about having the throne domineering, silhouetted

    Man made tall thin arch in background, contrast nature?

    Probably wouldn't be this zoomed out

  • i772
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    i772 null
    Hey I have a quick question for your sketches, do you just grab art from online and paint it and compose it? Sorry stupid question. I am just looking for a fast way to do concept art.
  • Geno527
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    Geno527 polycounter lvl 8
    Can't wait to see the final shot on UE4 :D
  • EpicBeardMan
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    EpicBeardMan polycounter lvl 7
    Concept looks really awesome. It should look really good, especialy the ice.
  • CrunchieNut
    i772 wrote: »
    Hey I have a quick question for your sketches, do you just grab art from online and paint it and compose it? Sorry stupid question. I am just looking for a fast way to do concept art.

    Hi i772, yeah at this stage I just look up loads of ref, sketched a simple composition in black and white in Photoshop. Then I started overlaying some of the photos/ref to get a feel for the shape, feel, different elements needed etc. Then paint over em again a bit to sit it together.

    Started some ideas for the throne

    Some silhouettes made using Alchemy (great little free drawing program to stop you over thinking what you're drawing!)

    Most of them are "A" sort of shapes I guess, pointing upward, sitting above everyone else


    Sketched over some of these to get ideas.

    Sitting on a hand/fist chair.. showing power?
    Sitting inside a giant smashed head from some ancient statue?


    Off for a few days so wont get to update for a bit! Having fun though :)
  • ducckz
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    ducckz polycounter lvl 6
    really like the fist throne and heavy stone one
  • Samoyed
  • Scampbell
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    Scampbell polycounter lvl 7
    That fist would look bad ass. if you could get it to look functioning too that would be sick.
    i really like the Dominate eye logo though, put that on like a banner or something. that's a nice design with the cracks too.
  • Geno527
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    Geno527 polycounter lvl 8
    The sharp thin throne can be awesome in an environment like this one :)
  • CrunchieNut
    Thanks for the comments, after a little break away I decided to try out the fist idea. So I did a little sketching around in 3d in max to figure out what shapes I might need, or how I might construct the scene. Quickly rendered in max


    While playing around I thought maybe the fist was once connected to a vanquished giant made of stone.

    Over time the giant has crumbled and been swallowed by the ice. The fist has become the throne for the race who conquered the giant, the giant is just a shadow looming distorted in the ice now.

    Hmm.. thinking the platform the fist is sitting on looks weak at the moment and lacks weight. It might be more like a stacked pyramid shape when I make it. Arches etc are propping up the giant. Fist has sheared off from the arm over time.

    Fist needs to be a little more chair like. Not sure about the the path leading up to the throne, and the architecture of this magical race of people is a little vague. Now I just need to make all of this stuff! :poly115:

  • Lawrence Preston
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    Lawrence Preston polycounter lvl 5
    Great composition. I agree that the foundation of the throne looks a bit weak/insignificant. It's tough for me to get a read on the hand. Seems like an extremely awkward position if I'm reading it correctly. love the light and colors
  • SLOT
    stunning, wish u luck!
  • CrunchieNut
    @Lawrence Preston: Yeah, was struggling a bit with that one, decided to flip it round a bit and have the throne be an upturned hand.

    Hand is a bit mangled from a hasty skin job but the general pose reads better.

    Probably start moving into unreal next.

  • CrunchieNut
    Did some work on the throne modeling, little update with some preview renders in Zbrush

    Sketched out a real rough mesh in max, zspheres and making stuff in zbrush gives me a headache!

    Hand is made of carved stone, got some faces and animals in there. Need some better seams for how the blocks of stone were put together.

    I always end up taking too much at once into zbrush and then dealing with a billion polys >_< Will probably cut this asset at the wrist. Should probably section off some stuff like the chair now that I know it generally fits together and continue modeling. Probably need more softening/wear where the king would have sat and on the steps and plinth where his subjects come to beg.

    Trying to not put too many details into the high so I can layer on detail normals/ snow/ice etc in the shaders.

  • CrunchieNut
    Bit more work on chair high poly.

    I figure the King of this freezing land was a warrior, hence his throne is a bit of a trophy of all the beasts he's killed. The seat is the mouth of a bear with the pelt hanging down, some more beats built into the rest of the chair. rawr

    Still some rough clay strokes in there at the moment. Gotta smooth out/tame some of the noisey detail as it's getting a bit busy and harder to read from a distance. Also chair back needs a little straightening out, bit oddly sloped.

  • William3DArtist
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    William3DArtist polycounter lvl 10
    Oh man this is sweet!!! I like the hand symbolism carrying someone high up on a chair. Artworks great. Cant see bear head for now. But know it will change. I think what will help it is the teeth protruding out.
  • CrunchieNut
    So I spent the past few days learning some Designer and Painter.

    Bit of a steep learning curve!! What I like though is the idea that you can go back and forward in the pipeline without as much pain as usual.

    With that in mind I decided to leave my high poly for a bit and bash out a low and some quick UV's. I also wanted to see how robust the baking in Designer was. I wasnt too precious with these guys as updating the source assets/meshes seems to be just a click or two and you're all rebaked!

    Some retopo in max, forgot how much I hate this bit :P Some odd loops in there but meh, I can always go back.


    First import to Painter, woo!

    Playing around with Painter for an hour or two, made some base maps in Bitmap 2 material.

    Using two material ID's here (one for throne, one for hand) here, couple of weird setup things in painter with UV id's etc before I figured out how to get it to work

    Having fun so far, loving the substance mask effects and layers using the maps generated in designer etc. Havent even started painting anything yet. Its all a bit generic at the mo

  • hewitt96
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    hewitt96 polycounter lvl 10
    Looking pretty cool. :D The sculpt translates well to the engine (welp, painter at least). I'd be careful though about leaving ZBrush a bit too early. the clay tubes brush stands out in the render from the painter viewport.
  • Rhetorikolas
    Super awesome, really enjoying this.
  • CrunchieNut
    hewitt96 wrote: »
    Looking pretty cool. :D The sculpt translates well to the engine (welp, painter at least). I'd be careful though about leaving ZBrush a bit too early. the clay tubes brush stands out in the render from the painter viewport.

    Thanks for your comment and yeah I know what you mean. Most of the seat itself is a bit fluffy and indistinct at the mo.

    Part of why I'm jumping straight into UE4 is to test how painless it is to go back and finish that high poly, add lots more to the low and redo the UV's. Everything I've made the texturing/materials with so far has been input based using designer/painter so it should just work™ (famous last words). This is going to be the focal piece so will need a large amount of time spent on it, however I want to try flesh out my scene and the different component bits I need before finishing this guy properly. Either that or I'll run out of time and if so, the clay tubes were left in totally intentionally ;) hehe

    So I brought the model through to a blank UE4 scene and through a few lights at it. Not bad for just plugging the maps exported from painter straight into a material. Later on this guy will have ice/snow shader blends etc hopefully. As expected its a bit low res and low poly, but grand for moving forward with the scene :)

    I keep catching this model giving me the middle finger...

  • Espen
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    Espen polycounter lvl 4
    Ronan, a bit late with my first comment but I just wanted to let you know that I love what I see here. Very nice idea with the hand (maybe I borrowed some of that for my own entry?) I see you jumped right into execution and I am impressed by your paste and momentum (I always am). If you find the time to go back to composition again I suggest a few more shapes in your cave to make the depth of it read a bit better: foreground elements + a better definition of the sizes will help I think. Eventually a few more giant statue hints burried under the snow? Awesome entry - very mcuh loking forward to see what's coming next.
  • CrunchieNut
    Hey Martin, great to see you're entering, nice strong start you've got there :)

    Thanks for the feedback, great insight as usual. Yeah I think my last composition lacks depth and scale, hopefully I'll get some of that back as you say with more recognizable elements.

    I did some work on bringing the scene into unreal.I made some block bits for the arm that I used to build the support for the hand. Brought those through painter using the same layers I'd made for the hand


    I also made an ice shader from some sand textures I threw into bitmap 2 material. Tiling features are pretty handy in there! I used tessellation and displacement to quickly give shape to the tunnel/ice. in unreal


    I'll have to come back in and refine these ice meshes as they're being pretty distorted at the moment, but it help me to figure out some of the bits I'll need.

    Some screens from unreal




    And a little video


    -edit screwed up youtube link
  • CrunchieNut
    Sketched out some meshes for an idea for stairs, trying to bring back in some man made architecture. Added a placeholder statue head. I want the head to be bowing to the throne in reverence etc.

    Still playing with lighting ideas. Would like to get some dripping water/frozen waterfall from the ceiling in there somehow. Probably dripping off the ceiling onto the hand I guess, but when I join the ceiling to the hand it all looks a bit unreadable...
    Maybe water dripping form the eyes or mouth of the statue?

    Probably need more suggestions of what the throne was presiding over below, feels a little like some sort of tennis umpire chair at the mo! Might be the angle of the camera but it looks like its leaning a little far back too.

    For the life of me I cant figure out the softness of the shadow of spotlights. I think those are dynamic shadows because when i switch the light to static only I get a softer result that seems to be affected properly by the light source size. For now i have laser shadows... and I've messed with all the settings...


  • Spencer_Holmes
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    Spencer_Holmes polycounter lvl 6
    This is really nice, I like your work. Looking forward to the final piece.
  • LunaZ
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    LunaZ polycounter lvl 3
    Wow, it looks really nice. Looking forward to your final version.

    By the way, does the head and the hand belong to the same statue? Would be awesome though.
  • CrunchieNut
    Thanks Spencer/Angmarluna for the nice comments.

    Yes the head and the hand belong to the same giant statue. I'll probably suggest other bits of it at some point, maybe buried in the ice like the other arm or a shoulder etc.
  • defiantchild
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    defiantchild polycounter lvl 4
    This is awesome! Keep it up I am flowing with creative juices because of this.
  • CrunchieNut
    Little update - Been trying to understand lighting in UE4, slowly getting the hang of it.

    Starting to build some shader's for the scene. Beginnings of an ice shader made of three layers of bump offset; Surface, frozen bubbles and underlying lurking ice shapes.

    Maps are pretty placeholder, also lots of horrible sketch geometry in here. Some steps ideas :)

    Quick video

  • DorinD
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    DorinD polycounter lvl 5
    You Rock man! Keep it up!
  • whatever
    My concern is what is the story behind it?cuz i dont think anyone would rule from there,unless its old frozen kingdom,but than why isnt throne a bit frozen
  • CrunchieNut
    @whatever: yes good point, the plan is to eventually make it look abandoned and like the ice came after the throne. So I'll add snow shaders over the top, frozen material blends, more ice, break some of the stonework etc.

    @DorinD: Thanks man, inspiration comes and goes!

    So a little update, I worked on a set of steps for the throne. An image of it coming together:


    Also made some transparent godrays and played a little more with lighting. Cant use a direct light or the direct light light shafts because the direct light shadow is mega sharp and doesnt look great in here. Will probably rely on a snow shader to make some of this sit down and maybe not be so noisey on the detail.





    And a little vid to show some of the movement in action

  • dustykhan
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    dustykhan polycounter lvl 5
    The coldness has taken my breath away. Great work, love how its progressing.
  • cataev serj
  • CrunchieNut
    @dustykhan, cataev serj: Thanks for the encouragment!
    Working on some snow shaders at the mo that I can vertex paint on. Also need to give the throne more purpose and contrast to the rest of the scene. Maybe its some sort of worship point aswell? Something to bring it out...Gold leaf or maybe it was some place of sacrifice? Still thinking that one over...
  • CrunchieNut
    Few more updates, created the head asset. Will bring the gold leafed treatment across onto the throne now as it's getting lost a little bit. Made some waterfalls and still playing around with what bits I need to make up the ground, still a sketchy mish-mash at the mo



  • SeveredSon
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    SeveredSon triangle
    This is my favorite entry so far. Awesome stuff man. Can't wait to see the final piece.
  • CrunchieNut
    @SeveredSon: Thanks very much, keeps me goin!

    Here's a little progress breakdown of the head asset. Edge dirt was very handy in painter for masking the gold paint material alpha onto the high relief stuff, bit like dry brushing.

  • tobeeffle
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    tobeeffle polycounter lvl 5
    Impressive ;D Really nice work!
  • CrunchieNut
    @tobeeffle: Thanks, good luck with yours :)

    Quick render of latest, some quick water ideas, started some ground mesh for where the water is flowing. Added some gold to the Throne and statue.

    Youtube codec messes with some of the detail.




  • CrunchieNut
    Made a few more bits and pieces.

    Some rocks


    And a riverbed base mesh (need to paint out some seams like the butterfly in the middle). Shows my rough workflow for that one.

  • Orb
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    Orb polycounter lvl 13
    very cool dude, came out really good. Makes me wanna walk on that cave and climb the stairs in real time.
  • Geno527
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    Geno527 polycounter lvl 8
    Exactly the same for me. You've done an amazing job on this one :)
  • CybranM
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    CybranM interpolator
    Really cool! the materials look great and the overall idea is superb!
  • CrunchieNut
    @Orb: Thanks man :) Your crack brush has come over to join me for this one

    @CybranM: Thanks!

    @ Geno527: Thanks, I've been working hard on it. I think I've dreamt about it once or twice, probably not a good sign [email protected]

    So another update. I made some icicles and as usual had great fun on the high poly. Messed around with a few things in zbrush I've never touched like shadow box. I still have a love hate relationship with that program, I hate all of the move gizmos.. so weird.

    Low poly and unwrap were a pain. I wanted to make a clean mesh and not cheat with something like a decimated mesh. Was like unwrapping a load of hands for a character. At least I got more comfortable with pelt mapping in max though.

    This is an opaque version, but might do a translucent with distortion for some see through ice. Translucent is a bit of a pain so Im staying away from it for now. The subsurface shading is pretty nice, get some lovely light transmission with it.


    And some screenshots from the scene. I probably went a bit crazy with the rocks and the icicles once I made them. I think the scale of these needs to be more consistent when I get a chance, to give the overall scene scale. Plus the sharp icicles are maybe drawing some attention to random places, need to refine where they go later.





    And a quick render of the scene

  • Khadyko
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    Khadyko polycounter lvl 8
    Awesome! Great idea and Very nice progress!
  • Kazperstan
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    Kazperstan greentooth
    Looking really nice! Love the lighting.
  • AdamOstridge
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    AdamOstridge polycounter lvl 6
    Nice work, really liking the hand concept!
  • Grizzle
    The lighting just makes this environment so perfect! Keep it up!
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