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[Finished] [UE5] Overgrown Cathedral

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Mr_Nova polycounter lvl 3

Hey everyone, awhile back I started branching out from just props to trying my hand at making environments for games. I figured it would be a great opportunity to learn Unreal Engine 5 while I was at it because it's just another tool in the shed and making me more versatile.

This is my first ever attempt at environment building, so I'd appreciate some feedback on anything I can do to adjust my scene to really make it pop in a portfolio. I'm still a way out from making this a final piece as I've got a lot of adjustments to make on how I hope to display the set dressing and overall foliage.

- 21 Modular pieces make up the Cathedral, composed of 2 Trimsheets (2048x2048) and Foliage is Megascans

- 2 sword props on one texture map (2048x2048) and Banners (2048x2048) made by me as well

*I will add more detailed breakdowns once i'm finished. But i'm just concerned making the display look as best it can

Let me know what you think! been really digging learning environments, it's a lot of planning but its really fun.


  • Klawd
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    Klawd polycounter lvl 7

    It's a nice concept! First feedback that comes to mind is that the architecture is way too new and undamaged (both texture wise and model wise). Having a tree that big there means it's been abandoned for at least half a century!

  • teodar23
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    teodar23 sublime tool

    The stone columns are very shiny for some reason and as mentioned above very clean/new.

    The fill/fake lights are very noticeable especially the one near the camera. I would turn them down a bit or add them in a way that they are not so noticeable.

    But overall good start!

  • Mr_Nova
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    Mr_Nova polycounter lvl 3

    Hello! and Thank you so much for the feedback, I really appreciate it.

    Yeah I feel kind of dumb for not really giving that too much thought, hah. I think I got so focused on making it all piece together the first time that I didn't consider making it make sense for how everything looked. However, shouldn't be a problem at all updating the textures as I keep substance files for fixes. I'm sure I can figure out a way to make some variations that are crumbling or have some decals I could add.

    I noticed that as well with how shiny my stone texture was. Because I'm going back fix the textures I'll have to check and see if something weird is going on with the roughness (*Edit, it was. Fixed it.) As for the lights, I hope to add some outside trees to obscure how direct the rays of light are and direct the main light towards the giant tree :)

    Thank you! I will make those changes and eventually have an update way later on. Got to keep learning.

  • Mr_Nova
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    Mr_Nova polycounter lvl 3


    + Went back and sculpted damaged variants of about 6-7 modular assets that are now included

    + Updated all the textures a bit to be more dirty w/wear and tear on the stone walls and columns (still WIP, may change again)

    + Tattered up the flags and reduced the roughness of the material, still needs some work but I do like the look. (got the Opacity maps included now! so that's good!)

    + Reworked the grass to be more dense, still hoping to add more vibrant flowers in the mix along with some small foliage to be climbing/wrapping around the swords

    + Cracked ceiling with paneling

    + Some rubble (will be adding more)

    I still have a lot to go through still, tweaking the lighting and adding trees/ dust particles when I reach closer to the end of what I hope to be a really solid environment piece :) Unreal is really fun. However! lesson learned i'm taking reference and concept ideas from actual good artists in this and not making up my own makes (hah) but a small bit of frustration I imagine is part of the learning.

    i'm having fun.

  • Mr_Nova
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    Mr_Nova polycounter lvl 3


    + Updated world lighting ("Blue Hour" for the world), added spot and point lights for points of interest

    + Added Fog Cards

    + Added particle effects (falling leaves and fireflies)

    + Adjusted saturation and contrast w/ the post process volume in engine.

    + Sculpted a Ent creature to be fused into the tree, Textures are up in the air right now as I may make some small changes

    + Adjusted my sword props as they don't really stick out. So I made one a giant sword in a fallen stone and the others in clumps lit by soft lights to be points of interest but not to (hopefully) overshadow the focal point(s)

    + Contrast lighting between Sword and Ent. My hope is the Blue and Orange to lead with each other. Hopefully it flows well, I think it looks dope ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ fake it til' you make it

    + Added some 'sexy' trees to make my exterior believable I suppose. Not really the focus but it's not too distracting with a empty light void outside

    Just following up trying to make this scene interesting, considering I kind of just made this whole scene up and I've had to make a ton of changes on presentation.. However, I like it and I think I'm getting to a final scene soon. I want to polish a few things and learn how to actually render cinematics for this (I've had to learn a lot these past few months working on this stuff.) My computer isn't a beast so rendering high res images is kind of difficult... but I will make it happen in the end.

    Would love some feedback on my scene, presentation, etc. Thanks! and if you're just lurking that's cool too :)

  • Sequence
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    Sequence triangle

    Looks great! Love the atmosphere and especially how the ent fuses with the giant tree in the middle.

    I think the swords, or at least the smaller ones, could be a bit more weathered though since they seem to contrast with the surroundings. The larger one I can see as a center piece so I think that's fine.

    Looking forward to the final renders!

  • Mr_Nova
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    Mr_Nova polycounter lvl 3

    Appreciate it! I'll also keep that in mind for the smaller swords, I've been meaning to touch up those textures a bit more so I can probably make them more weathered :)

  • Mr_Nova
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    Mr_Nova polycounter lvl 3


    I ran into some trouble with rendering but I (hopefully) figured it out and will proceed forward. Just had to tweak some settings following tutorials and just understanding all the insane settings UE can do. I think I've reached a final touches phase which I'm excited for and making any small changes.

    Small changes I added so far was:

    + Tweaked my lighting setup for the world and additional spotlights

    + Scattered my smaller swords around a bit more

    + Tweaked the texture of the Ent creature to not be super distracting in the bad way I suppose

    Still unsure if I can make a nice video queue render of everything in motion with the particles but I'm not too bothered as it's not a must. Not too much to add anymore so hopefully the next update will be the final one for this piece and I can lay back knowing I finished my first environment!

    Inserting a recent change screencap too, because why not?

  • Mr_Nova
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    Mr_Nova polycounter lvl 3

    Final Update:

    Well I finished it. It may not be the best piece by a long shot but I'm happy I at least finished in the end. Not bad I suppose for being a first attempt in environment art, I've got a lot to learn but I do enjoy this side a lot compared to just props. I'll post the renders here and the Artstation.

    I appreciate all the critiques and support I got on this whole thing as it was definitely very frustrating and kind of a humbling experience to go through it all. I'll keep working on new environments soon. Using most of these posts to journal the experience for myself. I'll keep going.

    Artstation Link: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/03Zlyw

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