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An artist showed how to build a dystopian sci-fi city using Unreal Engine 5 and Nuke

Gal Ravid-Tal, an experienced 3D/Unreal generalist and composer at Platige Image, gave us a behind-the-scenes look at his latest project, a mesmerizing sci-fi city rendered in Unreal Engine 5 and Nuke. He provided a comprehensive description of the creation process, sharing invaluable insights at every stage, from creating height textures to final layout and lighting.

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Building a city from scratch starts with creating elevation textures. To do this, Ravid-Tal used Jsplacement, a free procedural displacement map generation tool that can create detailed height maps. This laid the foundation for the landscape, setting the stage for the metropolis that would grow out of it.

He then continued to work with the offset planes using height textures. This technique involves mapping or “shifting” texture onto a surface to create a realistic 3D appearance. The result was a deeper, more detailed landscape that added authenticity and complexity to the city’s topography.

 

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What followed was an important phase of lighting testing and look development, where Ravid-Tal experimented with several lighting scenarios. When developing the style, he adjusted the appearance of the city under different lighting and environmental conditions, ensuring that it looked beautiful and believable.

The city’s infrastructure was then developed using a combination of Kitbash and CGTrader models. All of these models were textured using a procedural material master layer, meaning that the textures were generated using mathematical algorithms, resulting in a highly detailed and realistic cityscape.

With the models and textures in place, the focus then shifted to Unreal Engine 5 for final layout and lighting. Known for its powerful real-time 3D rendering and creation capabilities, Unreal Engine 5 allowed the city to be assembled, complete with dynamic lighting that highlighted the details of the sci-fi setting.

Finally, Ravid-Tal used Nuke for post-production. His Nuke script helped enhance the visuals and polish the final result to meet the high standards of professional, realistic 3D rendering.

 

Naturally, such a result will not look good upon closer inspection, but as a general background scene it will be quite suitable.

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