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Organic World Building in UE4

A 10-week course in which students will create a fully textured, game-ready environment in UE4

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Build the world you've dreamed of in UE4

In this course, students will create a game level from scratch in UE4. The course will cover UE4’s object placement and layout basics, foliage systems, and lighting systems. The course will help students better understand level and environment workflows, as well as how level designers, game designers, and environment artists fit into the game pipeline.


Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded
Feedback:   Individual recorded
Duration:   10 weeks
Assignment:   Deadlines each week
Q&A:   Once a week
Materials:   Zbrush (or equivalent) and Maya (or equivalent), Unreal Engine 4, Quixel Suite , Photoshop , Mightybake
Skills level:   Intermediate to Advanced
Prerequisites:   Must have a solid understanding of environment art creation; course pre-reqs: Intro to Environment Art and UE4 Modular Environments

Organic World Building in UE4 WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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Overview of what an environment artist's role is | How to build a plan for our environments | Figuring out what reference will help us achieve our goals | Understanding the importance of PST (primary, secondary, and tertiary elements) | Breaking down reference material into required assets | Planning our large-scale environments
Introduction to Unreal Terrain | Brushes and techniques to achieve your goals | Terrain shader | How to create terrain in Maya
Intro to Zbrush | How to utilize hero rock asset | Creating a 360 hero rock sculpt in Zbrush | Building out low-poly in Zbrush | Proper UV techniques in Maya | Sculpting boulders from zSpheres
Sculpting tiling rock texture in Zbrush | Creating rubble texture in Zbrush | Rock shader creation in Unreal | Unique vs. tiling textures for rock assets in Unreal
Learning Unreal's foliage system | Foliage volumes and creating procedural foliage | Unreal's foliage painting tools | How to break down the needed foliage for a scene | Create multiple variations of a tree asset utilizing the same shader
How man-made objects can be incorporated into your scene | How to highlight or de-emphasize the player's goal within man-made assets | Connecting nature and man-made objects
How to apply the technique of PST (primary, secondary, and tertiary) to assets in our scenes, and how this can help connect each area of our environment | Clumping our details into specific hot spots to either draw attention or fade into noise | Drawing the player with the clumping of organic and man-made assets | Blending out harsh contrasting areas of our environment, creating smooth transitions of visually appealing gradients | When and where to create areas of rest with our foliage and detail
The importance of story in your environment | Different ways to create inter-linking stories throughout our environments | Show, don't tell. How to tell a story in our scene without the need of characters | Creating necessary story-driven assets that will give life and something for the viewer to become invested in
Learning Unreal's Lighting for an outdoor scene | How to nail a mood that will help our scenes stand out | Creating atmosphere with fog, lighting, and particles | Utilize our understanding of mood to dramatically change the look of our scenes for multiple looks within the same environment
Going over the final polish needed for our scenes | Discussing what can help push our scene further | Rendering out our final beauty shots | How to show off your environment and its break downs in your portfolio

Real heroes don't wear capes they teach

Lectures by Anthony Vaccaro

Anthony Vaccaro is currently an environment artist working at Naughty Dog in Southern California. He started his career at Bungie working on Halo Reach after graduating and obtaining his bachelor degree in Video Game Art & Design. After leaving Bungie he joined the team at Naughty Dog where he has been for the last 7 years working on critically acclaimed titles such as: Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception, The Last of Us, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and most recently, Uncharted: Lost Legacy. While at Naughty Dog Anthony has specialized in creating the largest and most open organic levels from the ground up done by the studio.


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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