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World Creation

Lesson 2 in Unreal Environments

Lesson Information

In this lesson, you will build a new level in Unreal Engine. Utilizing various sculpting, set dressing and lighting techniques, your level will progress from a completely flat plane to a beautifully laid out vista. 

Lay the Groundwork

Create a new level, with its own skydome and lighting. This will be the basis of your level going forward.

Moving Mountains

Duplicate the basic level you created earlier, and create a few different versions. In each, try experimenting with the various sculpting tools to create land formations. Pay attention to your landmasses, and make sure they aren't becoming unrealistic. When in doubt, consult your references.

The Joy of Painting

Paint some of the various environment layers into your scene. You can also try adding roads or water for an extra challenge. Don't worry too much about polishing or adding props to your scene. Now is the time for experimenting. 

Make It Pretty

Choose your favorite of the landscapes you created in earlier exercises, save a backup copy, and then dress the scene with props so it looks good from a single camera angle. 

Full Immersion

Add set dressing to your scene in all directions. Make sure to enter first-person mode and walk around your scene. Seeing things from human scale might expose new problems.

Share Your Work

Upload an image of your environment using the 'Upload Homework' button above, so your instructor and fellow students can see your progress!


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I must say that it has been the best course I have ever done, it is an easy method to use, with too good results. Thanks a lot to Joe for his feedback: D I'll keep practicing

This tutorial is impossible. Very disappointed. Very few things are working like in the video. When I add the S_Skydome nothing happens. I change the scale like in the video and all it does is stretch it across the landscape. I don't see it in the sky like in the video

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Hi joe, I'm an architecture student who is quite new to Unreal Engine (love your tutorial!!). When I'm sculpting the landscape, I found it hard to get rid of all the terrain inside my underground building...Since it's embedded into the landscape, what I'm doing right now is using the visibility tool, but this method seems quite hard to achieve an accurate result and will harm the surrounding landscape surface. I also know there's a plugin called voxel? but the pro version is too expensive for me...I wonder if there's an easier way to take the landscape out? (I want to keep the terrain above, no terrain inside building, and terrain again as general landscape) Cheers!

Does anyone monitor this anymore. I guess you get the money Joe Garth disappears and the guys he has watching this apparently have decided to take a vacation as well. I am bit over and considering getting a refund. I have been trying to get some answers and nobody seems to be interested. Seems like we are sort of supporting ourselves. I have even tried emailing on the contact page and I get and automated search forum for answers. I paid you. So here is my issue with programmers now, they seem to think they can put stuff out and not support it. I am pissed.

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Thanks to Joe for contacting me and straitening out the proper way to seek support. He did respond by email to my issues and we were able to resolve the things I was doing incorrectly and the proper workflow. Thank you Joe for your help it was awesome advice.

Hi Kevin, I'm really sorry for that.
you're correct the best way to get in touch is to email me directly.
This page isn't the best place to get direct help/advice as it's just a comments section so things get lost.
I've tried to reply to your email in detail and please let me know if there's anyway I can help directly.

Hi, that's not possible in UE4 unfortunately, landscape materials use a different system to usual materials based on the Landscape Layers node. The closest thing to an automaterial for normal objects is the Near Mesh shader, that's actually got a Slope based Cover system built into it for things like Snow, but could also be repurposed to become effectively an automaterial.

I tried this in 4.26 and it barely helpled - I still have most of it dark, but the square around the tree now lights up depending on how close I am. I can't get the landscape to all light up as in the video.

I can't seem to past a question to the comments I will have ask it here. When I try to I right click and try to isolate objects with out a focus button or to get the zoom tool speed up or slow down my camera nothing happens. The only thing I see when I right click is a drop down menu of assets, actors remote control and c++. It does not see like this menu even shows up for Joe. please help.


Lesson Plan