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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 purchased the Dunes, mountains, tropical, shader, natural roads, desert mts & canyons pack for UE4 but I get error messages when installing Dunes, tropical, shader, and mountains to my unreal project.

Would you have any suggestions on why this is happening?

I feel like I'm following the tutorial to the letter, and I tried it on 4.25 and 4.24 but I keep ending up with a scene where I can only see lighting from the skydome or from the sun but not both at the same time. If I enable the skydome it effectively cancels out the sun.

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Thanks Joe. I might try that or hope that Joe G can chime in about that. I'm sure he's watching the discussions closely and making sure all is well. Learning quite a bit and like the course.

I installed 4.22 and ran through it again and everything works just like in the tutorial. Weird... the good thing is that now I know it all by heart so I didn't even have to watch it again...

Ok so if I disable "cast shadows' for the skydome I get sun light. I think this is what we want?
Graeme H, I'm not sure to be honest. It seems to me that the fog settings are super finicky. Mine seemed weird and then I watched exactly where he put the Sun Multiplier on the Atmos Fog and the Fog Density and Fog Height Falloff on the exponential Height Fog Detials settings. Then it seemed closer but still not quite right for me. I was on 4.25 and then 4.24 but now I'm going to 4.22 because I think that's what he is using...

Hi Joe. I turned off all of the lighting and my landscape was still lit up but not sure from what. I'm on 4.25 and seeing some differences. You wouldn't know how to get the landscape to go black like in the video with most of the lighting disabled, do you?

Anyone know why my default layout doesn't match what I'm watching. Also, I used to remember the modes on the left hand side but now it's at the top. I can't drag and drop a landscape like in the video. What am I missing here?

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Gotta say this is the hardest tutorial Iv ever done even though I know its basic stuff. Iv learned Blender and After effects with tutorials and doing it for a living but in this tut Nothing is where its supposed to be. Maps, assets you name it. When its time for alpha brush I can't choose it coz the option is not there, and so forth...pew

thank you joe that works!! (also, would there be a more procedural way to do that using the spline itself and blueprints? ideally i wanna move the spline around without having to re-paint the foliage)

Hey, yes.
1. Go to Paint layers and find the 'RemoveProcedural' Layer.
2. Click the + Symbol and add a Non Weight-Blended layer.
3. You can now paint down that layer to remove procedural foliage.

I'll record a video for that soon!

I've been building my UE4 Project from scratch, so I haven't been using the downloaded project. I am working with the splines for a dirt road. I updated the Natural Roads Package before I added it to the project. When I go to edit the the Pebbles Material, there is no edge blend option for me to blend the road into the landscape. I am using Unreal 4.25.4 Has there been something changed in the Pebble Material to do the Edge Blend, since mine is not available?

Dean Deakyne

When doing my level creation exercise, I chose the Desert Mountain material for the landscape but for some reason it has a pixel - like ground for some reason .

Is anyone else having this issue?


Lesson Plan