Home 3D Art Showcase & Critiques

[UDK] Volcano Environment

Offline / Send Message
System admin
Okay so, I started work on a volcano environment in UDK.

Here it is so far. Still wip working in a cliff to stand on and look over and some more detailed materials for lava flowing at the base.


Looking for some crit/comments!


  • Tigerfeet
    Offline / Send Message
    Tigerfeet Polycount Sponsor
    I'm not familiar with the limitations of the engine for creating environments, but the lava looks very wispy, almost like it's a glowing fog rolling down the mountain.

    It looks like you're trying to get the lava to look like this:

    But from just doing a quick image search it looks like flows more commonly look like this:

    Note how it's only really bright around the edges and in areas of cracking. The top, exposed to the air will cool and harden more quickly than the stuff underneath that's still very molten.
  • Butthair
    Offline / Send Message
    Butthair polycounter lvl 8
    Tigerfeet has a point, not to be harsh, but I like everything but the lava. Right away it looked off, seems a bit smudgy or soft. Might want to find a good national geographic or something on volcanoes.

    Also, this. [ame=" Flowing Lava Vertex Blending Material - YouTube[/ame]
    If I knew the complete inner workings to this shader I would start rambling about it, but I can only guess how he's put it together.

    Anyways, see if you can get a video or something simple, it might not be doing the magma (or is it lava?) justice in a static shot.
  • System
    Offline / Send Message
    System admin
    Thanks for the crits guys. I definitely agree about the lava. Im still trying to tweak it. Im slightly limited as this is all in the landscape mat so I can only use 11 texture samples, but Ive made some changes it looks way better in realtime.

    Ya ya, haha I love Virtuasic's material for the lava! Im going to integrate some statics for more detailed lava. Again right now on the mountain I have to trade with the landscape in terms of resources.

    Any better now? :/ I think Ill change some settings the post because its pulling some of the saturation out of the lava.

    Setting up some prelim particles as well. Still very wip.

    Keep the crits coming!
  • System
    Offline / Send Message
    System admin
    lava still looks crummy :(
  • System
    Offline / Send Message
    System admin
    finally a wip of the cliff that the "player" will stand on
  • Jessica Dinh
    Offline / Send Message
    Jessica Dinh polycounter lvl 10
    Well this looks pretty nice so far! When you get the lava working I think it will be great :D Sweet terrain sculpting :0
  • Xendance
    Offline / Send Message
    Xendance polycounter lvl 7
    Don't use terrain material for the lava, just make a static mesh for it and slap on a panning lava material.
  • System
    Offline / Send Message
    System admin
    @jessica thanks!
    @xendanceeventually thats the plan. Id like to keep if for the top of the mountain if I can. I dont really want to model planes to match the sides of the mountains.


    and where I hope to take the map
  • gateian
    Liking it so far. I think one of the things that I think is not working with the lava is that there is an opportunity to make it very contrasting with it's surroundings. If I do a quick google image search of volcanoes. Then I notice that the lava in them is really very saturated and bright, even during the day.

    It could be glowing brightly in your interpretation, which would look great.

    I agree a backdrop of some really moody, stormy clouds will look great. How about really pushing the boat out and having lightning? It's quite common around volcano eruptions. :)

    Good job.
  • Oniram
    Offline / Send Message
    Oniram polycounter lvl 14
    looks awesome. i really like where this is going. Gateian's suggestions about the lightning sounds cool as well. any plans to put in trees?
  • cmc444
    Offline / Send Message
    cmc444 polycounter lvl 9
    I saw this the other day in Charles's Class. It was looking good. A couple things that I could say right now to be aware of is how wispy the ends of the lava poking through the surface is looking right now. Usually it is a little more blobish.

    Also kill the stars in the background. You can use stars but do a quick map yourself to change those stars because they the defaults from udk and they look hand painted. I told charles about a starmap making program the other day and I dont know if he told you all about it, but you can easily use this site to make a better looking star map and just update the one your have now.


    check it out and goodluck.

    I look forward to more updates.
  • System
    Offline / Send Message
    System admin

    Heres an update ive added some wip trees using particles on the ground. still playing with ideas for those.

    Working a lot on the foreground elements. UDK tree.

    Unfortunately due in 2 weeks so cutting corners on areas. but will go back and fix them during break.
  • dpaynter26
    Offline / Send Message
    dpaynter26 polycounter lvl 11
  • brandv3d
    Offline / Send Message
    brandv3d polycounter lvl 10
    I really like the tree in the foreground, it really makes the comp a lot better to look at and feel in the overall picture. The lava does still look a bit blurry and washed out. Here is a lava tutorial my teacher did you might want to check out.


    It shows how some rocks have hardened and what brightness lava should have. Also I did a volcano diagram a while back for a geology class that I did in Maya but it is relatable as I used maya nodes, which I belevie is how you make textures in UDK.


    Just look at the geology video at the bottom by projects.
  • Vonklaus
    You got a nice start to the foreground and obviously the background will be the volcano but what are you planning on doing for the in-between levels of depth.

    I would recommend to do something to the mid area to help give this scene something unique. Right now it is kinda boring. What is the story you are trying to convey with the scene? Anything you can do to make this more interesting than just a normal volcano would help. Have a charred forest on the mountain where you can help sell the scale of the mountain. God rays can always help too, lol. Yea, it can be cliche but having clouds of smoke getting hit by a spot of intense sunlight can sometimes be enough to move away from the cliche. I would start building your focal point with some rough lighting. It can really help pull a scene together.

    Just some ideas, keep it up!
  • System
    Offline / Send Message
    System admin

    Updates! :)

    @dpaynter26 - thanks:)

    I worked a lot on middle ground and foreground elements recently, so hopefully I took into account some of your suggestions about the composition.

  • Fred2303
    Offline / Send Message
    Fred2303 polycounter lvl 7
    love the atmospher. good stuff!
  • PixelMasher
    Offline / Send Message
    PixelMasher veteran polycounter
    wow those last screen updates are a wicked improvement. I did a quicky paintover to show some suggestions that you could incorporate in the final tweaks, just some ideas that popped into my head at 1st glance.

  • Paunescu.Daniel
    Mordor right there, looks great, keep at it
  • Shogun3d
    Offline / Send Message
    Shogun3d polycounter lvl 12
    Hey Chris,

    That looks awesome! Couple questions as i'm trying to get back into the swing of things with UDK. Is the Volcano a terrain layer controlled by a heightmap? (How did you make the volcano texture top left of your map you showed?) and how did you approach setting up your shader for the volcano?

    If you could provide some insight, it would be appreciated! Thanks!!

  • System
    Offline / Send Message
    System admin
    @Fred2303 - Thanks!

    @PixelMasher - Wow, haha when I loaded up the image you posted I was blown away, you took my environment and made it way more intense. :) Thanks Im working on integrating those changes now thanks for the paint over!

    @Paunescu.Daniel - Thanks I love LOTR! :)

    @kaburan - Thanks! The volcano is a heightmap imported for world machine with some details painted inside the engine. The texture at the top left was also generated in worldmachine with tweaks in PS with the flow map generated from worldmachine also.

    In terms of the shader, Ive got a lot of experience with landscape materials, basically, it comes down to having a strong set of textures for the various different levels of terrain and some shader love. The most difficult part is honestly trying to fit as much info as possible without blowing up the instructions or passing the 11 texture calls. (RGBA packing comes in super handy here) Almost all my normal maps have alpha masks packed into them.

    Hopefully that answers some of your questions! if not let me know and I can be more specific hopefully!

    Thread updated with breakdowns also!
  • johnnybrach
    definitelly a nice composition. I think the lava is a bit overpowering, but I could be wrong
Sign In or Register to comment.