Building and executing a large indoor environment

polycounter lvl 11
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woody polycounter lvl 11

First of all I specialise in 3D mainly but haven't dabbled in creating levels before, even though I'm proficient using Quixel and substance painter. 

However we have  a VR project in from a client and they want to show a futuristic environment like this one, which we are aiming to build in 3Ds Max or Cinema4D. Then get it all into Unreal engine.

I've been researching the best way to approach level creation and texturing for something of this nature and of course modularity is something which I understand for most scenarios, however this type of environment seems impossible in my mind to break down into modular pieces with UVS enabling us to texture the actual level, and textures to actually correspond with the curved shapes of the environment, not so much individual assets such as furniture. Assets do not bother me too much, it's more the long balcony areas, large continuous meshes with unique texture detail. 

Do I create the whole level to a grid then attempt to slice up into chunks in order to texture?  I attempted this but it felt messy in terms of UVs.

Please ignore things like trees and foliage as we can grab some assets for that. It's just the best way of modelling the basic structure to allow us to texture the larger shapes of the environment. 

This was really hard to explain but I guess the question is, what are the best steps and methods for creating an environment like this? How would you approach it? Any info will be much appreciated.


  • PatrickSF
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    PatrickSF triangle
    You could try and break it down into its constituent parts. Metal, plastic, dirt, glass, etc. try and plan for what type of tiling textures you will need. Ask yourself: Does the object have unique parts to it and could they be deferred components like a screw or a wall socket... etc.

    Using a combination of a trim sheet texture with lots of unique trims (sci-fi platting, edge trim, paneling etc) and a tiling texture can go a long way to creating the larger structural objects in a scene. anything that is large and has a tilling texture would benefit from using vertex paint to break up any repeating patterns as well.
  • KurtR
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    KurtR polycounter lvl 5
    You got a lot of symmetry going on in there, which makes you able to just model some of the parts once. Most of the core structure seems to be just half the building symmetrical, so you can cut a lot of work in two just there.  For the bigger pieces, like those long stairs, just break them up in parts if needed to get the proper texel density, then assemble them as blueprints so you can easily copy and move them to the other side. I probably wouldve color coded the image first in: core structure that can be duplicated to the other side, big parts than needs to be broken into 2-3 pieces, smaller parts than can be duplicated and finally unique parts. I would also do, as PatrickSF suggested, make a chart over what textures are needed before I got going. Really cool project though, loved the concept art.
  • KurtR
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    KurtR polycounter lvl 5

    This is what I am currently working on, which is probably close to what you are doing. In my case most parts of the building is actually unique. I've broken up all the walls, floors, ceilings, windows etc. Mostly because I want them unique. I then assemble them in the blueprint. This makes it easy to handle UVs as well. But the workflow I am currently refining and trying to optimize is based on getting quickly into the engine. I use TS tools (for max), which in my case is a must. This lets me change walls around on the fly, then just export through ts tools then reimport and my building is updated in the blueprint. There were a couple of windows I wanted to change size and placement of, it took me less then 15 min to do the change and see the update in unreal, and that is what I love about this approach.  Having it in the blueprint prevents me also from having a lot of objects in my actual scene. I can move the complete building around in the scene, and I can easily remove or change parts of it in it max and just export and reimport on the fly.

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