Wrecked City

I’ve been creating a lot of singular assets but I want to make more buildings as we’re trying to bulk out our assets and put together a street scene. Since I’ve not made a city scene before and with broken buildings and rubble I was very unsure as to where I should start so I researched images of abandoned streets, they can vary largely from minimal damage to complete destruction. I found a few images I was happy with and started recreating them.


In the end I only had time to add textures onto one of the models, I had downloaded some materials from substance share for concrete and played around with the different values to create variation. I think there’s a slight risk of everything becoming more muddied so I’ll have to plan more where textures are going to be placed.




I was researching vehicles that I could possible model for the scene, whilst looking at photographs I saw that in a few of them there were motorbike/mopeds. 

Palmyra new town city Syria Syrian motorcycle young boy motorbike Stock Photo

A bomb shell that was recycled into a motorbike in Syria.Related imageA Free Syrian Army fighter rides a motorbike along a damaged street filled with debris in Deir al-Zor, Syria, yesterday. Photograph: Karam Jamal/Reuters

I thought this would be a useful asset to have in the background somewhere in the scene, either as part of wreckage or still functioning. I tried to find some models more specific to syria/eastern europe, there are a lot of older models and they can be similar in style, but this photograph was a good reference to work from.


When I’d finished modeling it, James showed us some ways that we could optimize our uv sets, by doing simple tricks like cutting a model in half and overlapping them if they are symmetrical, like the tires. Although I ended up with far too many textures and materials, but I found a way to use substance designer to merge my textures together that would make it far easier to apply.


I brought it all into substance painter which I haven’t used in quite a while, I watched a few of the tutorials made by algorithmic they’re really extensive and useful, I need to practice more with a PBR workflow and I found it difficult to create what would be a realistic build up of dust and dirt.

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Overall I think it’s a good first attempt at modelling a vehicle.






Apartment block

To test out some lighting in unity I made this simple scene that I then painted over to give a better representation how how colours may work in the scene.

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The entire story is set within an abandoned/broken down apartment building, and as Ryan and Ruxandra have been working on modelling assets for the room I though I may give making the apartment building a go. I tried to research different apartment block plans, I could only find a few and they didn’t exactly have a layout that would suit the needs of the story, but it gave me the idea of placing the staircase in the centre to create a lobby and then two staircases at either end , so we can have long corridors. In making the side rooms, they are all empty and I only needed to make sure you could see through the opening of the door to the window on the other side, this layout is slightly different from the boys apartment.


Tests of lighting and camera shots from within the corridor/stairwell.

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The outside is quite plane, I could probably have some it broken away if I have time to work on it, I have some other models I want to work on and finish.

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Concept Art

The style of this project is a lot more realistic that what is my usual style, so I’ve been trying out new techniques of drawing with photobashing as a way to create a realistic environment, it’s been experimenting with blending images together and I feel like I could work on these a lot more to make them look more realistic and atmospheric.

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I also did some drawing of the boy and the brother as I don’t believe their designs have been finalized, I’ll have to ask James more about the age range he wants for both these characters.



Progress on the composition and textures coming together. I spent some extra time creating uv sets, I wanted to optimize them as much as I could, I’m still learning a lot about the best way of handling textures. Most of the textures are hand painted in Photoshop but I did use substance painter as well to add some textures like wood grain.

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Some over all glow tests as well, so I can have it in a light and dark scene, it helps to highlight and bring out the stones.

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Magical Stones

This is an updated block out based on m new an improved concept.

house test

I have the house and the trees fully blocked out and now I’m starting to work on my magical stone that lay in front of the house.

These are soem fo the references I used, they’re called Hole’d stones and they appear at different sites around Ireland, I also looked at them to see what sort of design/ patterns were carved into them as I want to try recreating my own.

Photos Willi Adelung 2012


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I took my basic stone shapes into Zbrush

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I retoplogised and uv mapped it in Maya and was then able to figure out how to make normal maps by bringing it into substance painter and baking the maps there as well as texturing it. Unfortunately the seams are quite visible when I added the pattern as it runs straight down the middle, I tried different uvs but this version gave me the least distortion.


these the finished stones, which I really like. I could do more work in perfecting the pattern and moss, but I need to get onto texturing the rest of my models so this will work for now.

Whilst I’ve been developing my environment I haven’t been pleased with the ground plane, I don’t like how it a very definitive end of the scene, so after looking at the work of artist Anya Elvidge I’m going to be changing into a Diorama, so I’ve used the same workflow to create the ground/floating island.


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Anya Elvidge

Anya Elvidge is an amazing environmental artist, who builds their worlds in the form of dioramas.

I instantly loved their models, she talks about how she creates flow in her composition, having a set list of props to create and a very organised workflow. I like how much she can fit into a small scene and how she plays with the space within them, again there’s a vibrant use of colour and striking light.

She makes the good point of how dioramas are a good way of creating environments on your own rather than taking on a larger environment which I’ve been struggling with myself, I’m not liking working with a flat plane, I can’t find a way that makes it sit naturally and be appealing, it feels too chunky. I can definitely see how changing my scene into a diorama would help me concentrate on the details that I really want to t stand out and I’m not trying to fill as much empty space.I’m starting to realize to make my project work I do need to shift and treat the house as more of a character, focus on what I can add to it to make it more appealing.

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Abandoned Building Diorama

Here are some of her tips for making Dioramas

“I have a few tips regarding creating successful dioramas… They’re not the end-all be-all of successful diorama creation, but they’re a good start.

  • Plan everything. Like I showed earlier, it’s important to know exactly what you’re going to deal with and be ready for it.
  • Really think about the placement of everything. Might seem obvious, but it takes a lot of thinking about even the tiniest of things to create a successful diorama. The placement of a single group of flowers might just slightly tip the balance of your diorama and be more of a distraction than help.
  • Treat it like a character. Rather than thinking of a diorama as a platform for showing off some high-detail assets, create it as you would a character, where everything is of equal importance and detail. Everything contributes towards an overall final product, rather than fading into the background to show something more important off.
  • The platform is as important as contents. Don’t just go down the ‘house on a disk’ route, because it’s boring. Make the platform be as much part of the scene as the assets in it. My favourite way to do this is making a ‘tearaway’, where it literally looks like you grabbed a chunk of a larger environment; bricks are falling away, things have smashed, tree roots are coming out of it, etc. You could get really creative though, I’m sure.
  • Give it multiple levels. The most successful dioramas I see have multiple levels to them. This could be achieved with a stairway, a bridge, a treehouse. Anything, really.
  • Don’t terminate visual elements too abruptly. Don’t just end the edges of your diorama with no thought. Have water falling off it, or sand, or cloth. Let the bricks of a wall break away gradually.
  • Atmosphere is still really important. It’s easy to fall into a trap of not having any atmosphere on an area so small, but don’t be afraid to add fog, light beams, particles, and interesting lighting to your scene.
  • Keep it balanced. Again, like you would with a character- if you drew a line down the centre, does it look like it’s going to fall over one way or another? If you have a tree hanging haphazardly off one side of your diorama, make sure to balance it out or it’ll be difficult to take nice renders that don’t feel off to the viewer.”




Making the roof

I’ve been looking at a couple videos on you tube for making cartoon houses, a lot of them go for low poly style which isn’t exactly what I’m after. In this tutorial it has a very simple easy to follow way for creating the tiles on the roof, so they overlap together, I used the same method on my House model, but as my roof isn’t a uniform shape it needed extra tweaking and breaking it down into sections to make it fit together.


(separated into three sections)


Sculpting Wooden Planks

Anders Møker tutorial on sculpturing wooden planks.

I have these wooden beams framing my house and I was looking into creating some sculpt of the wooden planks and baking out the normal maps.

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I was able to follow along and create some nice wooden planks, but I couldn’t seem to get the projection onto a low poly mesh and the normal maps baked out correctly,I’ve been trying a number of different ways but it doesn’t seem to be working. I’m going to be leaving this for now as I need to work on other aspects of the house and hopefully be able to come back to this and figure it out.


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