Creating a Soviet Apartment in Blender, Substance & UE4

A Level Artist Ostap Gordon has discussed the Soviet Apartment project, talked about the workflow in Blender and Substance Painter, and explained why the project was made in different game engines.

Introduction

Hi everyone! My name is Ostap, I am 21 years old, was born in Belarus, and still live here. I've been falling in love with art since 2019. I create models and various visualizations. I got into gamedev a year ago. My way has started with Unity, then I began to study lighting technologies in games and game engines very closely. At first, I was really interested in static lighting methods, for example, classic Light Mapping. A little bit later, I got interested in the Unigine engine. I have done my first more or less serious projects using it. I find this platform very convenient for a Level Artist like me.

I have never worked in any company full-time yet, although there were different suggestions in this regard.

The Gray and Sad Project

Work on the GAS (Gray and Sad) project has been started in 2020. This was just my first "serious experience" of working in game engines. At that time, I started in Unity.  In my work, I had several variations of this project on different game engines like Unity and Unigine, and here is the final version on Unreal Engine 4. Besides, this scene is a small part of my horror game.

As references, I used standard images from Google and various Russian trading platforms for the sale/rental of housing in not the most modern areas. I have also rented an apartment for a month in one of these areas and the reference was right in front of my eyes

Workflow

The scene itself was created in Blender. I made a box (rooms), then I assigned the materials.

I make props using the Blender\Marmoset\Substance Painter pipeline. Most of the objects in the scene have been recycled many times. Some were created from scratch, due to the fact that my skill grew during the work on this project.

The carpet mesh was created by myself in Blender. I also added details via Sculpt. I have just found its texture on the internet and passed it through Topaz Gigapixel, then processed it in PS. Then I did the same with the texture of the wallpaper. I was just looking at online stores with wallpapers, took it from there like .jgp (Often there is something like a pattern\texture pattern), but it is usually in very low resolution. Therefore, in PS, you need to configure the tiling and increase its resolution through Topaz Gigapixel. Then you can modify it a little in PS.

All assets in this scene are made by me personally, except for the old TV. Thanks to Vitaly Ivanov for providing me with the model. Basically, I set most of the details on textures through masks in SP and then modify them with my hands. There weren't any difficulties related to assets for me, on the contrary, I like texturing much more than making models, so I didn't have any difficulties with texturing assets in this project.

The posters are made simply, the Plane was slightly distorted by the Sculpt. I also found the poster images online.

I tried to fill the environment with details and general clutter of the environment as much as possible. The most obvious things in the most non-obvious places. According to the idea, an ordinary person lives in the apartment, eventually loses his mind, and falls into depression due to the routine of his life. I have planned several variations of this apartment that would be changed in dependence on the main character's mental condition.

Lighting

My past iterations of this scene were faded and clearly suffered from a lack of saturation. In the scene on UE, I decided to go the other way and set warm and lamp tones.

In this scene, I used completely static lighting that I got through the GPU Lightmass in 32 bounces. I didn't reinvent the wheel and just used a Sky Light with a slightly yellowish tinge. In the engine, I made the image slightly warmer through the white balance, removed the overexposure, and adjusted the exposure. In the screenshots, different exposure settings/FOV and other settings were used for each angle.

Then I modified the resulting frames in Photoshop via Camera Raw. As for the night version, I did not invent anything and just placed a Point Light with a warm shade in the corridor.

Conclusion

In total, I have spent a whole year on this project, constantly refining and improving it. I recreated it in different styles and on different engines. I was probably motivated by the fact that when I played games as a child, I really wanted to see a familiar environment and things in them. But even if I noticed them in some projects, they were not worked out as much as I would like. And once upon a time, a very long time ago, I set myself the goal of creating a game that will consist of the reality around me, which will most reliably reflect what surrounds me. In general, I wanted to put reality in a computer game.

Ostap Gordon, CG and Level Artist

Interview conducted by Arti Sergeev

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Comments 2

  • Anonymous user

    Great job! I want to play it.

    0

    Anonymous user

    ·a month ago·
  • Anonymous user

    Wow! This is fantastic)

    0

    Anonymous user

    ·2 months ago·

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