UE4 Modular Environments
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Registration Starts On
August 7, 2017
Class Begins On
October 9, 2017
Clinton Crumpler
Senior Environment Artist

Clinton is currently is a senior environment artist at Microsoft Studio's : The Coalition located in Vancouver, BC working on Gears of War 4. Previously an artist at Bethesda's Battlecry Studios, KIXEYE, Army Game Studio, and various other contract projects with independent studios; Clinton’s primary focus is 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.

Course Description

Inside Unreal 4 Modular Environments, you will be taught how to breakdown reference and develop a list of reusable assets. With this list created you 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
- Mightybake (Optional)

Course Format

Course Format: Standard
Duration: 10 Weeks
Lecture Type: Pre-recorded
Assignment: Deadlines each week.
Feedback: Individual Recordings
Q&A: Once a week.

*For classes with less than 6 students feedback may be provided during the live QandA session.

Course Outline


Observing Our Reference |
In week one 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.


Importing Blockout into UE4 |
In week two students will begin importing their initial Blockout meshes inside of the 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.


Building Our Textures |
In week three students will take the plans they made in week one and two 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.


Building Textures in Photoshop |
In week four 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.


Building Textures in Quixel |
In week five, 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.


Modular Application |
In week 6 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.


In Depth UE4 Shader Treatment |
In week 7 students will will learn 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”.


Secondary Details |
In week 8 students will learn how to add secondary details to their scene. Such as wires/cables,signs, small props, and storytelling. Students will also spend time to focus 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.


Unreal Engine Lighting Setup |
In week 9 students will begin adding lights to their Unreal 4 scene and recognizing the importance of colors. We will see how to breakup 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.


Finalize The Scene |
In week 10 we will take 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. And a handful of textures/re-usable assets for future scenes.


  • Hardsurface Modeler
  • Texture Artists
  • Game Environment Artists
  • Prop Artists
  • Architectural Previz