Magic Collector's Shop

Responsible for all assets - except art in the paintings belong to original artists


Breakdown Blog

Magic Collector's Shop was made in a 10 week studio class. Based on a mash up of apothecary science, magic and mythology.
Programs Used
- Maya, Zbrush, Substance Painter, Photoshop,, and Unreal


- Summer 2019 -

- Rendered in Unreal Engine 4 -

- Responsible for all assets - except art in the paintings belong to original artists -

Mood Board

The inspiration for this environment came from Wunderkammer, a German word meaning cabinet of curiosities. Meaning more of a room of curiosities. The first five photos in the mood board show examples of it from history. The next thing my Inspiration came from was art depicting magic rooms that resemble the historical wunderkammer. Similar in nature except with potions, books and plants. The last influence is from apothecaries. Mixing magic, old medicine science and wunderkammer, the precursor to the museum, is what created this environment.

Original Concept Sketches

Below was the original sketches that were made before the block out. From critiques from my class, I dialed it back to a single floor so a 10 week deadline was attainable.


These photos are just a few of the many photos of equipment, furniture and architecture collected. During the block out I references some of the exact furniture pieces.

Block Out

Blocking out using Unreal geometry, just the basic layout and plan of architecture and large furniture to test movement of the character and general size of the room.

Modular Architecture Kit

After the Block out I started with the modular architecture. Rendered in Unreal with sample textures, in Maya to show wire frames and put together in final form in Unreal.

Furniture Kit

After the architecture, I created the furniture. Rendered in Unreal with sample textures, in Maya to show wire frames and put together in the architecture in Unreal.

Concepts for Cabinets

After the furniture was laid out and props were being added to the room, I needed to figure out the labels and the props in the visible cabinets. Going back to the original concept of wunderkammen, I concepted a magical creatures miniature museums in the display cabinet. The fairy cabinet came from getting a central prop to become a hero asset of sorts. In game play, it would be something a player would immediately know that it is why they are in the room. It wasn’t completely necessary to look up all the images of the plants on the labels but it did help to find a plant that would be perfect for the fairy cabinet - Brugmansia, the angel’s trumpet.

Display Cabinet

Most objects were modeled in Zbrush initially, low poly meshes extracted and high poly meshes baked into normal maps to keep poly count to reasonable level.

Fairy Cabinet

There is only two particles to make this effect, and emissive dust particle and a flickering light particle in the flowers.

Problem Solving - Opacity Issues

While filling up the room with props the first step was all the bottles. I made 6 types of ranging sizes and shapes. Each was modeled with inner geometry so the glass looked better. Originally the label was just a mask on the glass material, the inside contents was a separate mesh and from my tests it looked great. The problem arose when I gave the contents inside opacity. At certain angles the label also became translucent because even at 100% opacity, the material was on was on the material blend translucent. My first idea was just don’t look at it at the angle but from the characters point of view everything on the top two shelves looked like that. To keep the system of the label being directly on the surface of the bottle I doubled the mesh and only kept the polygons that that label was on.

Problem Solving - Lighting with Particles

Well. first of all there is a reason no one lights with just particles. I started experimenting with the candle flame particle and found that it is convenient to bundle the flame and light in one. Well for awhile it was totally fine until I realized that there was no shadows being cast. A few clicks later, found that you need two options checked - high quality lights - then shadow casting. Now Unreal does warn you that it is taxing on the system and it’s true. Don’t do that. Unreal was frozen for 10 minutes until it finally crashed. To get shadow and keep the flame lit, I added point lights over each flame to cast shadows.

Problem Solving - Revamped Lighting

For my first pass at lighting, I had the outside completed dark and relied only on candle light to light the scene. It ended up looking to manufactured. I started a whole revamp by changing the time of day and relying on the sun to provide some of the light to show more interest in the scene. Once I got the angle right it was just adjusting the candle lights and adding some god rays.