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Roman Villa Post #01 - Gathering Reference

General / 10 March 2018


So I'll be graduating university soon and as I'm starting to apply for jobs I figured it's be a good idea to put up some of the stuff I've been working on even if it's not quite finished. I would just make a regular ArtStation post but I'm paying for this blog and might as well use it. 

To begin with I'll just be dumping a lot of my process work and research from the past few months all at once and then continually updating it from here on out. I'm working on two environments at the minute so I'll do one and then the other.

The first project I'll be covering is my Roman Villa...

This is for my honours project at uni. I chose it because I love the architecture and material work, and also because they were very naturally enclosed spaces, walled off in every direction with no outward facing windows to prevent theft. This seemed like a perfect fit and I was excited to get started.

After doing a whole bunch of research I decided to focus on just the main atrium as I wanted to be able to polish it as much as possible. I went ahead and gathered a ton of reference from all different sources to try and get a feel for how I was going to lay it out.


The first place I looked was ruins. This was all about getting a good idea of the architecture, layout and scale. Rooms were a lot smaller than I anticipated but I decided to ignore that as I figured a larger space would work better for a game environment. Obviously this wasn't a massive help in terms of materials and surfaces as a lot of  it has crumbled away but it provided a solid foundation of real world inspiration.


My next port of call was to look at sets designed for film and TV. This was pretty invaluable information and a lot of my project has been built upon this side of my research. In particular I looked at the set design for the film, 'Agora'. I haven't watched the film so I don't know if it's any good but I love how it looks.


lastly, I looked at video games to see how other teams of environment artists have tackled the same challenges. This bit is always the scariest for me as the bar is usually incredibly high,  this time however I was pretty excited by what I saw. The main game I looked at was Ryse: Son of Rome. Crytek did an amazing job on the artwork for this game, some of the screen shots and vistas are breathtaking. Looking at their work gave me a good idea of what direction to go in regarding my material work and lighting, lighting in particular as it's one of my weaker points. Here's a link to the art dump to see more -

That's it for this post, next I began blocking out in UE4 so I'll make that separate!