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(WIP) UE4 Colonial Kitchen

Hi everyone! I'm taking the UE4 Modular Environments course from CGMA and I wanted to document my progress since it's been a while since I've made a project of this scale.

My environment will be a latin american colonial kitchen interior, with some of the outside corridor that the houses of that periodused to have. Though my focus is on the kitchen and the story in it. The path and part of the patio in front of it is to help it feel grounded. For the story I want it to be a cooking scene where there a hallacas/tamales being prepared. 

Here's some of my references. You can see more of them on the Pinterest board I made for the project

For Week 1 we had to turn in the block out of our scene as well as a few screenshots. Here's the one I had at the time.

For Week 2 we have to import the meshes to UE4 and test them, building up the environment in the engine. So far I haven't imported the models yet since I'm working on the models, specially the walls, floor and ceiling following the feedback the professor gave me.

In contrast with the first block out now there are less modular pieces so as to optimize the environment. I still have some secondary assets that need some polishing but I want to take what I currently have and test in in Unreal. Specially since the professor told me to focus first on getting the modular pieces right before getting into the minor details.

I feel that I might need to expand the space of the kitchen since I'm not sure if the player would be able to traverse in it, but that's something I'll see once I test it all in Unreal.

I'll keep updating this thread with the development of the scene. If you have any feedbacks or comments do let me know!

You can also follow the development of this project on my Instagram and Twitter


  • mar_torrales
    Hi! Update from Week 2. I've polished some of the models more and now I've assembled the scene in UE4.

    For this week's assignment it was mostly exporting the assets and testing them in Unreal and making any kind of changes necessary. I still have some assets as a block out though, like the lamps.

    I'm thinking on extending the kitchen a bit, cause it feels cramped and without enough space for the player to freely move around. I'm also thinking on adding a small dining area conected to the kitchen. Like a smaller room to quickly grab a bite, not an entire dinning room as that one would be a separated space in the quinta. That way I have more space to work with.

    I wanted the story behind the scene to be cooking related, with the hallacas and different ingredients. Maybe by adding this adjacent room I could play more on that idea, like the finished meals are gettin ready to be served in the fancier dinning hall and such. I don't want to shift my focus too much from the original idea since it'd mean extra work and I really want to keep the scene focused and manageable.

    Also you can see the Pinterest board I've been making for this projects and all the references I'm using.

    If you have any feedback on what I have please let me know! It'll be appreciated.
    Now that I'm on to week 3 I'll be working on some trim sheets and defining the materials for the scene.

    You can also follow the development of this project on my Instagram and Twitter
  • mar_torrales
    Hi everyone! For the 3rd week's assignment we had to create a trim sheet for our scene as well as start working on the high poly meshes of our props. I created a trim in Substance Designer with the diferent materials I'll need for the wooden ceiling as well as for other smaller props. Tho after some feedback from Taylor Brown ( the professor) I'll be making some changes so the PBR materials can be read better.

    I also went and test the materials in UE4 and I'll be makig some changes after that too. So far they are all just wips, a base for me to later work on and refine. Say a block out of the trims.

    Working on the patterns was really fun. Though I need to polish the masks to get them to perfectly tile with eachother, specially in the painted ceramic.

    For the high-poly mesh I worked on the cupboard and after some feedback I'll be making some weel needed changes to both the HP and the LP.

    In UE4 I also got around to expand the scene a bit by adding an adjacent open room that'll be the dinning room I talked about before. I love the feel it gives the entire scene to have that extra space.

    As always If you have any feedback on what I have please let me know! 
  • mar_torrales
    Week 4! With it came a good amount of headaches since it was baking time and I realised a good amount of my UV's had issues. It was a big back a forth for a few days between fixing the UVs and testing the bakings. As well as having to rework some models that have a few issues too.

    I also got around to start working on the final materials for the trim sheet as well as the tileables for the walls and floors. They still need some work to be done but it's heading in a good direction.

    Other tileables I'll make will be another terracota floor, as well as another wall material for the exterior walls. Might also do another one for the small dinning room walls since I want them to have more visual differences.

    Another thing I got around was modeling the arch that separates the kitchen and the dinning room, so now the scene is looking like this.

    For week 5 I'll start working on texturing the different props I've baked and I'll keep working on the trim sheet.

    As always If you have any feedback on what I have please let me know!
    You can also follow the development of this project on my Instagram and Twitter
  • mar_torrales
    Hi everyone! Week 5 and 6 update!

    For Week 5 I worked on texturing the cupboard and mortar in Substance Painter. After some feedback from the professor and classmates I ended up with a look that I really liked for both of  the assets.

    I also began polishing some of the wall modules that I had left. Like deleting backfaces, making sure everything snapped correctly, and such. I also decided to separate the window from the wall so I can have more control on where and how I want to place the windows.

    Besides texturing I also worked on fixing up the albedos of my trim sheet, since they were too dark. I also got around to update some of the materials to their final state, tho there are a few that still need some working like the dark simple wood, and the ceramic tiles.

    On to Week 6. Here I started working on decals to mask the sharp edge corners of the walls. It was my first time using decals and it was quite an interesting thing for me. I also got around to fix the tiling on the walls and I started modeling some of the other assets to finally replace the block out versions. I want to focus on modeling all of the assets that I have left so I can focus on texturing them. Instead of modeling one and texturing one and so on.

    Here are some of the ones I did last week!

    I really like how this scene is slowly coming together. I can't wait to see how I'll loof after all the assets are done and I start to work on the lighting.

    There are a few things that I'd love to add at the end, like some climbing weeds on some of the walls/ pillars, potted plants, and so on. Though that's something I'll be adding at the end of the course since I gotta stay focused on finishing the base scene.

    As always If you have any feedback on what I have please let me know!
    You can also follow the development of this project on my Instagram and Twitter
  • mar_torrales
    Week 7 Update! This week I finally started to work on the other materials I want, like the corridor tiles, though after some feedback I still need to work on it more and make some changes. Same with the kitchen tiles.

    I also got around to finish modeling some of the other props like the lantern and wall shelf. Finally I've modeled almost all of the props I wanted so this week I'll work on texturing them and etsting them in engine. Some I still have left to do like the plates, skillets and such, sut since they are more for set dressing I'll focus on them later.

    Something that I'm really happy about was learning how to use displacement with the height map. Seeing the roof tiles behave how I wanted them was amazing. After some talking they wont be used in this scene since they are more expensive to compute and wont really be seen by the player. Thought now I know that it'll work wonderfully on the Casco scene I was working before starting the course.

    I also started working on making the master materials and trying out some props from Megascans that'll use for set dressing. With those one I need to re-texture them since they look just like real life and I don't want that contrast to be to the detriment of my own textures. 

    I still have a lot left to do and this past two weeks I havent been able to work on the project as much as I would have liked. So let's see how I fare this last 3 weeks !

  • mar_torrales
    Week 8 update! Finally I managed to have more time to work on the project so here's what's new.

    Most of my time was spent texturing the props I had modelled on the past two weeks. I also got around to learn more about decals so I could fix some issues I had with the plant leafes on the table, and that also let me start testing another decals I had gotten from Megascans.

    After watching the live session for this weeks class I finally understood what was wrong with the mesh decals I'm using to mask the sharp edges, though I didn't have time to apply the changes. Something to add to my to-do list.

    There's still a lot I need to do. Finishing some tileables and the trim sheet. Fixing the windows, texturing the props I got from Megascans, and creating some set dressing props for the storytelling bit.

    Storytelling wise, I currently don't have a strong set idea in mind. Mainly I want my scene to feel warm and familiar. An afternoon at the Quinta, where the cooks are getting the food ready for the family. Having the table half set with the other utensils close at hand. The food being mostly prepped. I'm also thinking on adding some paintings on the small dinning room of old family members and other things to express the family that lives here.

    This week we'll be tackling illumination so that will help me a lot when it comes to the mood of the scene and the vibe I want to transmit.

    As always If you have any feedback on what I have please let me know!
    You can also follow the development of this project on my Instagram and Twitter
  • mar_torrales
    Week 9! This week's focus was on lighting. My lighting consists of a sky light and ligh source for the sun, and spot and point light for the inside lanterns and fire. I'm not 100% satisfied with the current look so I'll have to keep working on it. Maybe the post ptocessing will also help me to get it closer to my references and what I have in mind.

    Besides the lighting I also worked on the fire (from the Unreal starter content and then I just adjusted it to what I needed) and on fixing a good amount of things the professor had pointed out on the past weeks. As you can see the mesh decals on the edges are finally looking good.

    I also decided to finish up the corridor material and work a bit more on the kitchen tiles to make the transition from those two materials less jarring.

    Currently I only have one week left and I doubt that'll be able to finish the entire scene on the time that's left but I'll try to get it as close to finished as I can. Later I'll keep working on it to polish it more and to finish adding the things I want, like plants, paintings and wall decorations, to name a few.

    As always If you have any feedback on what I have please let me know!
    You can also follow the development of this project on my Instagram and Twitter
  • Elivenger
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    Elivenger triangle
    You're making good progress on your scene! One thing I think you can do to polish up your materials a little more is to add some subtle dust/wear and tear/buildup in the cracks/crevices/corners of your scene. Of course keep it subtle if you're trying to make this environment look clean, but even clean environments have just a tiny bit of dirt buildup. You can also add decals with little imperfections where the ground/ceiling and walls/pillars meet. I think it would really help to further give the scene that authentic look.
  • Elivenger
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    Elivenger triangle
    To further clarify, I think you could achieve some dust/imperfection with decals slapped onto parts of your scene. Maybe a bit more in corners than in the middle of the floor for a less uniform look.
  • mar_torrales
    Hi! thank you for the feedback! I hadn't though about the dust and wear on the corners and such, I'll definitely try that after I finish with other parts of the scene.
  • BradyJ
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    BradyJ triangle
    I like what you have so far ,some things I would be thinking about if I was making this scene:
    - What is the focal point? I think this scene needs something to grab my eye right away.
    - What is the story in this place? Is it a nice family who lives there? Or a hermit who lives by him self? Or a grandma taking care of her kids? As a viewer of this scene it's hard to tell. I am guessing a family but other than cookwear  and the food its hard to tell who lives there. I think if you answer those questions in your head it starts to show in your scene.
    - I would work on the material variation, the walls might be a bit old and the paint is kind of chipping off, or the fire from the stone oven would burn the tiles a bit and darken them, or like @Elivenger was saying have some grime build up on the ground, or maybe some crumbs. I am not sure what your skill level is but an easy solution would be to make a variation of your wall texture in substance, and then paint a vertex colour mask on the wall and use that mask to sample your new texture.

    Anyways that's my thoughts, keep up your work, I can tell you have put lots of time into this project!
  • mar_torrales
    Hi there! Week 10 update. This is what I turned in as my lastsubmission for the course. I couldn't finish the scene on the 10 weeks so I'll keep working on it and applying some feedback, both the ones recieved here and by my professor and classmates. So thank you for the feedback given!

    Not finished but going very well. I'm really excited to keep working on it and see how much I can push this scene! Rn I'm taking a break after working non-stop for 10 weeks on it. So rn I'm gathering as much feedback as I can as well as my own observations so I can have a clear list of the things I want to add and refine.
  • mar_torrales
    Finally got some time to keep working on this project! One of my main focus was to update the floor materials after some feedback from my professor.

    You can see a more in depth look to them on ArtStation here !

    As well as downloading the square terracotta tiles for free here and here!

    After I just worked on fixing some textures before I started to add new models to the scene. At this point I'll start to use more props from Megascans, thought I re-texture them in Painter before importing them to Unreal since the scanned textures would clash with the ones I've created the scene.

    So far I've been able to add the paintings and frames to the dinning room. I'll focus on bringing in all the assets that are left before I start to work on the other feedback I've been given both here and by the professor.

    As always If you have any feedback on what I have please let me know!
    You can also follow the development of this project on my Instagram and Twitter
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