Elective | 3D Classroom. CG Master Academy
Vegetation & Plants for Games
Registration Starts On
Monday, Feb 26th 2018
Class Begins On
April 28, 2018
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Jeremy Huxley
Senior Environment Artist
Jeremy Huxley has been working at Naughty dog for over 6 years on the Uncharted franchise, and 13 years in the industry total. He has worked full time and contract in multiple cities and countries around the world. Some of Jeremy's experiences include projects for Naughty Dog Inc., Runic Studios, Flagship Studios, Planet Moon Studios. Previous work includes: Uncharted 4, The Lost Legacy, Uncharted 4, Uncharted 3, Torchlight 1, Pre Production for Torchlight 2.

Course Description

During this course, students are going to create an environment for games, with a heavy focus on vegetation and plants. Over the course of 6 weeks we will be going over the creation of plants, trees, rocks and a few blend textures, importing them into the Unreal Development Kit and composing a final, lit scene. We will be using various tools, including: Maya, Zbrush, Substance and the Unreal Development Kit to accomplish our goals. I will provide my own examples and help the students to narrow their style and focus on specific details that will help to create a stronger final piece. We will discuss colors, composition and shape language in order to form a cohesive look. This will serve as a valuable learning exercise which can then translate directly to modern studios. At the end of the class, students will have a final piece which can be used for their portfolio and a knowledge that will serve as a great foundation for their careers in games.

Skill Level: Intermediate

Pre-reqs: Knowledge of Maya, ZBrush, Substance; Intro to Production Modeling course

Course Format

Course Format: Standard
Duration: 6 Weeks
Lecture Type: Pre-recorded
Assignment: Deadlines each week.
Feedback: Individual Recordings
Q&A: Once a week. 

*For classes with fewer than 6 students feedback may be provided during the live Q&A session.

Estimated time for course work: 10-20 hours per week

Course Outline


Introduction/ Reference Gathering

  • Gather reference 
  • Pinpoint key elements 
  • Creation of plants in Zbrush
  • Isolate 5-6 plants and textures on you style guide including small, medium and large plants along with any ground, moss or rock textures.
  • Create two or three plants from your guide, for now focus on simpler ones that aren’t too complex, to get used to the creation process. We will work from Maya, Zbrush, Substance and UDK. (I will be providing videos of my personal workflow as a guide)
  • Layout your plants to bake out texture sheets and export from Zbrush or Substance.
  • Create plant variants in Maya using the textures you have exported
  • Save and upload to the directory which we will provide, under sub folders titled Screenshots, Assets, Reference and Textures, please include a few shots of some of your favorite plants in maya.


Creating your base toolkit of rocks and trees

  • Rocks and trees as building blocks for our scenes
  • Sculpt rocks in Zbrush 
  • Retopologize the rock iand bake textures
  • Import assets into UDK and set up our scene; create materials and meshes
  • Begin composing our scene while referring to our style guide
  • Create large trees in Maya and import them into our UDK scene


Creating a canopy and more supplementary details for the scene

  • Create canopy texture in Zbrush
  • Lay out canopy and export texture
  • Create tiling bark texture
  • Create canopy cards
  • Creation of a branch and assembly of the final tree
  • Update the UDK scene with new assets and create foliage materials for the plants and canopies


Substance and Zbrush

  • Sculpt large and small ferns and Zbrush
  • Sculpt a grouping of weeds in Zbrush
  • Create base rock material, grass or moss material, and medium-sized rock material in Substance
  • Render out all textures


Create a point of interest to compose your scene around and tell a story

  • Explore ways to create points of interest and tell a simple story to keep your viewers engaged
  • Examples of environments that successfully utilize story telling, focal points, and atmosphere to support a specific mood


Finalize the scene

  • Discuss the decision on what to polish and what should be cut
  • Final adjustments of props and the scene in UDK


  • Environment Artist
  • Visual Development Artist
  • Layout Artist
  • Concept Artist
  • Game Artist