Art Spotlight: Fantasy Game Environments

Back to overview

In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.

Hello fellow Sketchfab Users,

My name is Peer Draeger. I’ve been working in the games industry for over 8 years years now, with some excursions into the world of visual effects here and there, mostly for German television history documentaries and museums. I’ve worked on many platforms, from pc to, handheld consoles, and lately mobile games at german publisher flaregames.

First of all thank you so much for the many likes and the staff picks I received on the hand painted texture environments. These were originally part of a mobile game, which sadly never saw the light of day. It was supposed to be a fully-fledged rogue like dungeon crawler, and we had a ton of different environments, monsters and loot to find.

It was actually not very far from completion, but the publisher changed its mind in terms of what their audience was going to be, so we had to cancel the entire thing after over a year of development. At the end of development the team was nearly 30 person strong, with me leading the art team. Although we never saw our worked released, we had a ton of fun.If we had finished the game, it would surely have been a more complete game experience than most free2play games offer.

I took some of the environments I did, and improved them for a better presentation. For the versions here, I took some liberties, assembled small scenes and created some additional props.

This looks slightly better than the version we had running on mobile, mainly on the lighting part. The levels were randomly generated, so everything is based on tiles and we could not bake lightmaps for ingame use.


My main tools are 3ds Max for modeling and Photoshop for texture painting.

For painting textures I’ve also deeply fallen in love with 3DCoat. I’ve been looking for a software that that has a good connection to Photoshop and 3dsMax, and 3DCoat has very simple one click solutions for both.I recommend having a look at Kevin Tan’s tutorials on Gumroad if you haven’t considered using 3DCoat for texture painting yet. That will probably convince you.

The textures look very soft, so what I wanted was an equally soft and warm lighting.I usually prefer baked lightmaps for these kind of environments, as you get a far better control.
You can use a second UV channel for a lightmap when using the “classic shadeless” mode in sketchfab. To layout the UVs for this channel, I just ran an automatic unwrap.
The bake of the lighting was done in 3dsmax with a couple of simple lights using global illumination.

On top of the lightmaps, I did some further color correction to give more mood to the scene, especially lifting up the blacks and tinting them slightly purple.

The desert sand was created with free modifier for max called Houdini Ocean. It can create super nice ocean surfaces, and I just threw an optimized modifier on top of it to crank down the polys.

The process with creating the assets is pretty straight forward. I didn’t keep any WIPs of the environments, so I quickly made up a chest.

  1. Concept for getting the general idea and establishing a color palette. 3D coat can actually load in an image for color picking, so this becomes very handy there.
  2. Modelling and unwrapping
  3. Laying down base colors on separate layers. This will make it a whole lot easier in 3DCoat. There’s a nice addon for the 3dsmax UV unwrapper called Polyunwrap
    which lets you render UV islands pretty quickly.
  4. Texture Detailing in 3dCoat and some touch up afterwards in 3ds max.

You can see the finished result here:

Big props to Sketchfab for creating such a great platform to showcase and share our work. It’s a huge inspiration for me to come here and browse all the great artworks.
Since I found Sketchfab over a year ago I’ve converted many of my artist colleagues into using it for their portfolio. There’s literally no reason have a to have a portfolio with static images. The usability of the editor is fantastic, and I was able to grasp everything instantly.

Right now I’m working on an indie game called Neo Wars for mobile to be released early march as well as dabbling around with VR using Oculus and Smartphones. I’m very excited about the newly added VR features. It would be great to be able to export a camera fly through – but I guess it’s only matter of time until sketchfab implements this.

Check out my portfolio on Sketchfab, ArtStation and follow me on Twitter.

Thanks Peer!


About the author


Bart Veldhuizen

Head of Community at Sketchfab. 3D Scanning enthusiast and Blenderhead. Running BlenderNation in my spare time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Related articles