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UE4 Modular Environments

A 10-week course focused on developing a fully-realized environment by using modular parts in Maya and Unreal Engine 4

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Create beautiful environments with UE4

In this course, students will be taught how to break down reference and develop a list of reusable assets. With this list, students will then use both Maya and the Unreal Engine to create a fully realized environment with portfolio screenshots. The class will cover: - Unreal Engine 4, Maya, Quixel Suite, Photoshop, and Mightybake (optional)


Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded
Feedback:   Individual recordings
Duration:   10 weeks
Assignment:   Deadlines each week
Q&A:   Once a week
Materials:   Maya (or equivalent) Unreal Engine 4 Photoshop
Skills level:   Intermediate to Advanced
Prerequisites:   Knowledge of Maya, ZBrush, Unreal Engine, Substance; Texturing and Shading for Games

UE4 Modular Environments WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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Students will learn how to observe multiple references and break it up into repeated textures and assets. They will then begin with a basic block out of their scene creating and using modular pieces to fill it up. Throughout this process it will be important to think about breaking up the textures into main textures, secondary, and decals. We will also look at the tools Maya offers for modular workflows.
Students will begin importing their initial blockout meshes into Unreal Engine. We will cover basic Unreal 4 tools, grid snapping, and using our modular meshes inside of Unreal 4 to build our scene. Students will also begin to flesh out their visual narrative aspects of the scene.
Students will take the plans they made in weeks 1 and 2 to start to break up their models and their respective textures into two lists: ones that they would like to tackle as tileables and the others as uniques. Students will also take note if any large-scale sculpting is needed from ZBrush.
Students will learn how to create repeatable textures using a Maya and Photoshop. With emphasis on ensuring repeatability without making it obvious across large surfaces. We will first establish our normal, metalness, and ambient occlusion we will be using for the final textures.
Students will learn how to create textures using Quixel Suite for both tiling and unique texture sets. We will add interesting “story” elements to textures (such as wear, decay, scratches, dust, etc. that tell the story of the texture): albedo, roughness, specular, metallic, normal maps.
Students will apply their new modular skills and learn the importance of modular modeling and re-use within assets and architecture. This process will also cover applying our tiling textures to the models(UV mapping) while we are finalizing our models and creating simple Unreal 4 shaders for our models in the engine.
How to create more advanced shaders that can be used for vertex painting, color variation, and exposing parameters in material instances. We will also look at creating a master material to ease the control of the majority of the assets within the scene. These features will help us to make our modular pieces look more unique and less “tiling” inside of the engine. We will also cover setting up our decals and the thought process behind what should be a “decal” and what can be “vertex painted.”
How to add secondary details to your scene, such as wires/cables,signs, small props, and storytelling: Students will also spend time focusing on development of the visual story elements within the scene. Lastly, we will be creating some additional modular models that can be used as secondary details “on top” of our large modular pieces for variation and asymmetry within our scene.
Students will begin adding lights to their Unreal 4 scene and recognizing the importance of colors. We will see how to break up the repetitiveness of the scene with different lighting environments and how shadows can work to our advantage. At this point we can also begin looking at composition for our final renders within the scene.
In week 10 we will use everything we have learned to add any additional details, decals, props, vertex painting, and lighting to “finalize the scene.” We will also learn how to take the highest quality screenshots within the Unreal Engine and see how “post process” volumes can add a great deal of interest to our scenes. We will also cover simple post process tweaks of our screenshots inside of photoshop. Students will have between 4 - 5 final images of the scene they have created at this point, as well as a handful of textures/re-usable assets for future scenes.

Bringing out the best in talent

Lectures by Clinton Crumpler

Clinton is currently a principal artist at Midwinter Entertainment. Formerly a senior look development artist at Microsoft Studios: The Coalition located in Vancouver, BC, working on the Gears of War franchise. Clinton is also the founder and owner of Dekogon Studios, an artist collaborative studio. Previously an artist at Bethesda's Battlecry Studios, KIXEYE, Army Game Studio, and various other contract projects with independent studios. Clinton’s primary focuses are environment art, shader development, and art direction. In 2016 he released a textbook with Sam's Publishing with a focus on game art development for Unreal engine.


July 21st!

winter TERM Registration

May 14, 2019 - Jul 23, 2019




July 21st!

Pricing & Schedule

Even though our courses are the most affordable for the quality of education.

These Finance Options allow you to focus on your goals instead of the barriers that keep you from reaching them.

Employer Reimbursement

Animation Guild CSATTF

Payment Plan

Companies that hire our students

  • Naughty Dog
  • Luma Pictures
  • Google
  • EA Games
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • Blizzard Entertainment

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