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Temple of Utu - Unreal Engine 4 env for Polycount's Throne Room contest!


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Hey guys!


I just submitted this, thought I'd post it here too :) This was a collab with a buddy from work Martin Holmberg. Make sure to check out his art, he's a beast!


Temple of Utu
Our environment takes place in a distant planet where a civilization was built upon a complex mythology based on the worship of their host star, Utu. This planet is surrounded by several moons each represented by a specific deity that plays a major role in controlling the planet's natural cycles. On the 333th day of each year, the rising sun shines directly on the throne, signaling the beginning of 7 days of darkness. This period which is believed to be the Underworld god Nedu returning to judge the recently deceased is in fact caused by a huge moon (also known as Nedu) eclipsing the host star and plunging the planet into darkness.
(Even though we didn't stick with the idea of the sun hitting the throne, the rest is still valid :) )
Software Used:
3ds Max, Zbrush, Unreal Engine 4, Xnormal, Photoshop, Bitmap2Material, 3D Coat, Quixel Suite.
I did experiment with Substance Painter for the Throne a bit but due to being super busy with crunch and GDC I ultimately dropped it since I'm not experienced with it yet. Still a great opportunity to get my hands on it and I'll be definitely integrating it into my pipeline!
Beauty Renders:
Throne Construction Shot:
Thanks Allegorithmic & Polycount for setting this up, We had a blast working on this! Really cool to see so many awesome entries and good luck everyone :)
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Thanks man :D Sorry I forgot to reply you on polycount regarding the plants, totally agree about them but I never had time to touch them up :( Time was running short so we had to pick our battles.


We used a ton of refs of course but mostly as inspiration or ideas for details. If I can say three things that worked out really well for us was:

- We had a strong blockout early on which helped us to always stay on track

- A simple mood board was put together with the main things we wanted to hit after jamming ideas for a few days. If you take a look you can definitely see the influence it had. We tried not to deviate too much from it.

- Most of the assets were touched by me or martin at some point so our styles blend really well together. It's not like I worked on asset X, he did asset Y and we just put it together one day, the scene went back and forth a few times and so did some assets. The throne area for example, Martin did most of the base work on that and I did the final polish.

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Awesome dude that's really informative. Love your moodboard, it's simple and to the point and really shows great progression! You kept to it really well :D


Don't worry about the foliage, it doesn't stick out as much as it used to.


Anyway, let us know when voting is up, you got mine :) This is probably one of the best examples of UE4 I've seen so far!

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Thanks everyone for the nice comments, it really warms my heart :)


Can I ask how you went about composing the elements in your mood board? Like where you drew inspiration from, where you gathered the texture refs, etc. I found that to be a strong starting point by the looks of things


Sure, this is something that was quickly done but now that I look at it it was indeed extremely helpful!


When we started we sat down to discuss ideas and to make sure that we were all in the same page. We jammed on a lot of ideas early on and progressively funneled down to a few big, easy to understand ideas. It's very important to be on the same page when collaborating with someone so the moodboard was curated by both of us and only contained the major hits we absolutely wanted to have on the scene.


One important thing to make clear is that a moodboard and reference pictures are two different things and they serve different purposes. The moodboard is a guiding light and should always be accessible. It contains the major ideas and most of the stuff you make should somehow fit on it. References on the other hand don't need to be curated and even random things that apparently have nothing to do with what you are working on can be helpful. We had a folder on dropbox where we dumped random ideas for details, structures, lighting, shapes etc... These folders were fed from several different places, whatever inspires you really. For us we got a bunch of stuff on flickr, concept art from my personal archives, a bit of game art (mostly as examples on how to realize something) and personal pics taken at a Museum. How awesome is it that a medieval art exhibit was going on in LA at the same time I was working on this :)


I think our main reference game art wise was Castlevania Lords of Shadow. That game has great atmosphere and details and represented the kind of quality and look we were going for. Those textures at the bottom of the moodboard were all from artists who worked on that game. Even though we were not looking at Castlevania when we made this, when I see the final pics I can see that we managed to integrate what we liked about that game into our work, instead of being guided by it.


By the way, this is my personal opinion, but I avoid using other games as direct inspiration. We live in such a vast and varied world, being inspired only by games really limits your scope!


Here's the moodboard again, if you look at this you can totally see that it describes our ideas in a easy to understand way:


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