Fergrove started as an elven city in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign I ran several years ago, and served as the inspiration for this environment. The city was rendered in Unreal Engine 4, and was created using Maya, Headus UV Layout , Substance Designer, and Substance Painter. This project was an exercise in creating modular assets, as almost everything in it is made up of modular pieces. It was also an exercise in texturing using material layers.
I initially began this project by sketching a simple map of the entire city. The city was to be a circular structure with three tiers, building up to a legal district in the center. I then chose a specific area in the city to model for the environment, and decided on a section of the lower tier.
I then began to block out the level using simple shapes in Unreal to get a sense of scale. I wanted to city to have a very large and grand appearance.
Next, I began to model the modular kit to construct the city. I decided to look to Baroque and Romanesque architecture for inspiration, but decided to change some of the materials to better suit a city in a fantasy setting. I hastily scribbled notes over various buildings, paying special attention to the characteristics from which I wanted to draw. One particular example that I looked to the most was the Church of the Gesù in Rome. One regret that I have about this piece is that due to time constraints I was unable to integrate some of the more sculptural aspects of these buildings into my work.
Once I completed the modular kit, I began to assemble the city.
After that, it was time to focus on materials and on polishing the finer details. To texture each asset, I created master materials in Substance Designer, and then used substance painter to create masks that are later used in Unreal to layer the materials on top of one another. This allowed me to achieve rather high resolution textures with a minimal number of image files at a reasonable resolution.