© Colin Rudd 

WWII LOOT HEADQUARTERS

A small environment centered on the Nazi's art theft that took place during World War II. The creation of this environment took place over a 10 week period with a focus on narrative elements, lighting, and materials.

 

Rendered in Unreal Engine 4.

Tools: Maya, Substance Painter, Bitmap2Material, CrazyBump, UE4

Responsible for all aspects.

June 2017

BREAKDOWN

ART DIRECTION

This scene was influenced by a variety of horror game environments such as the Victoriano Mansion from The Evil Within, the Spencer Mansion from the Resident Evil series, and Croft Manor from Rise of the Tomb Raider. When viewing images of these spaces, I recognized they all shared elements such as a sense of abandonment, ornate details, and a warm/cool lighting scheme used to create a somber tone. I used these references as my starting point, hoping to emulate their mood.

In order to develop my room, I researched many architectural styles that spanned the 18th and 19th century. Ultimately, I decided to create a library with Georgian architecture, while setting the location in Europe for narrative purposes. Research into European history helped frame my narrative further and that's when the Nazi art theft caught my eye. During the war, all looted art was hidden away in private homes or castles, such as Neuschwanstein Castle. I used this event as the narrative that would shape the environment.

MODULAR KIT

Designing the room began as a few thumbnail sketches, followed by laying out its shape on graph paper, allowing for easy implementation of modular pieces. I noted that Georgian architecture often had engaged columns, casement windows, carved paneling, and built-in book shelves. This repetition allowed for quick building and an efficient modular kit.

HERO ASSET & PROPS

In order to tie the room together and create a focal point, a Victorian chandelier was created and rendered in greater detail than other objects. Over two weeks was spent on this object alone, working in a high to low-poly workflow. 

The assets for this space were strategically blocked out to allow easy navigation and to present additional focal points, while hinting at narrative elements. Notable props include gold gilded frames, shipping crates, kerosene lamps, a camelback couch, and velvet curtains to tie together a heavy Victorian look.

Below are the smaller, decorative assets created for this environment. The ripped painted is made of geometry, while the other pieces of paper are a simple PNG with a normal map applied. Books were placed manually on each shelf to produce an organic, lived-in look.

Drapery and cloth were created in Maya using nCloth and a high to low-poly workflow.

RESEARCH

Above is a selection of images from the process book. My mood boards contained images of Croft Manor from Rise of the Tomb Raider and the Spencer Mansion from Resident Evil. Additional research involved antique libraries and lounges across Europe. This helped me establish how to furnish and decorate the space.

ADDITIONAL RESEARCH

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ENVIRONMENT ARTIST