Dark Souls 3 Environment (image heavy)

This is a re-post from my original polycount thread, sorry for those who frequent both forums!

I have been working on a small section of an Environment from Dark Souls 3 as a portfolio piece. While playing this game I have continuously been amazed by the detail and style of the environment artwork, even in sections that seem unimportant. I realize that they do this through clever use of efficient modular assets.

Anyway I have chosen a small hallway area that leads up to the Abyss Watchers (for those playing) shown in red below (Primary Section). I broke down the area into the pieces I will have to make and now I believe that I can extend the environment to the blue area (secondary section) with the same assets. However I will focus on finishing the red area to make sure I am not taking too much at once.


This is how I identified the modular pieces I would need. I have had to have the game running in the background to gather reference (and a ton of cracked red eye orbs thanks to near by enemies) while taking screenshots.


My goal is to create this with about 90% accuracy to the in game assets in Unreal Engine 4, with about 10% added or slightly altered pieces and my own ideas. This means I will be making it as if it was a small section of a much larger world like it is in the game. I will be placing a high emphasis on efficiency such as UV space, substance files and reusable textures.

The software I am using are 3ds Max, Substance Designer, Quixel Suite, Zbrush and of course Unreal Engine 4. Here it what I have so far:




Scale is very important for this project and it has proven to be very difficult as I have to compare in game with DS3 and then in 3rd person view within UE4, luckily everything is modular and somewhat easy to tweak. Also to add to the difficulties I am not sure on the differences with FOV and focal length etc of the cameras used in DS3 and UE4.

I am wondering if I should go ahead with basic lighting now or if I should start refining modular pieces/textures?

I will post my progress here as I go for anyone interested, and any feedback and critiques would be incredibly helpful, thank you very much!

Just blocked in the lighting, but i think its time to get some textures in:


And some comparison shots from the game:


nice. what ever this is XD nice

haha thanks! It is basically fanart from Dark Souls 3 for a portfolio piece.

I have added a few base materials to the scene (just plugged into the slots nothing special yet) I think I will try get the base materials in engine for just about every part and then begin a long process of tweaking/light adjustment to get closer to the ‘concept’.


Some parts are hard to replicate as I am using procedural materials from Substance Designer and trying to match the in game shots. Any crits/feedback are more than welcome :slight_smile:

I have also noticed that my version seems lower and wider than the original, so at some point I will make archways,columns and walls etc slightly thinner and taller.

Just some progress shots for anyone interested:



It’s definitely coming along, so far :slight_smile:

Are these meshe extracted from the game, they are really identical ?
If no, congratulation, you are a good 3d artist.

Thank you very much!

No I created everything here (except the flame effect from the starter content). I am glad to hear that as my main goal is to stick as close as possible to the game meshes, texture and performance. Thanks!

This looks great and is really coming along nicely. From someone with the exact same interest, of trying to replicate small pieces of game environments for portfolios this is nice. And I had the exact same issue with scale / fov. I found it useful to use a human body as reference when modeling and making comparisons.

Progress update; I have a basic texture on all elements now. I have also been playing with the lighting and fog to try and get closer to the original here:


Now feedback on lighting/fog and base texture values would be incredibly helpful from another few sets of eyes.





My next goal is to add the final static meshes (mainly around the ceiling area) and then get the foliage and ground clutter in. My textures now are far too clean so I will go over and dirty/moss them up a bit like in the original.

  • Another thing I notice is that the original ground tiles are not as flat as mine and they seem to have a bumpy surface. Perhaps I can use ‘Detail Texturing’ to achieve this effect?

  • Finally, ‘High resolution screenshot’ and what I am seeing in my view port are not the same, does anyone else have this problem?

Thanks guys!

maybe what you’re looking for is some displacement / parallax mapping? essentially it’s like normal mapping but it actually modifies the geometry at the cost of more performance.

I’m curious about your ground tiles, are those modular? how much of it was hand placed? are the spots where the tiles are really broken modular or made in such a way for easy insertion into new places? Because I bet that’s how FromSoftware did it. It would be interesting to see pics of those assets as seperate objects.

Really great enviroment, the thing that could use a bit more work might be the tiling brick texture on the wall. maybe destroy the pillars some more in zbrush. really looking forward to seeing some more progress!

That’s a good suggestion thanks! I was actually thinking of trying that with the wall texture too, even though the original does not use it.

Yes they are. I am trying to make it the same way as FS would have. I have about 8 unique variations of the tile, the broken ones are the same but just split in certain areas, so same UVs, material instance, texture etc. It was all hand placed so that I can match the original, but I had to make sure the repeating tiles weren’t too obvious. Ill try post a big break down of separate pieces later on if its helpful.

Thanks for the feedback! Yea I have noticed now that the normal map for the wall had the green channel flipped the wrong way, I will be tweaking it and adding moss too. I agree, all the pillars are cleaner than the ‘concepts’ but I am yet to do my polish on the textures, so I will keep that in mind!

Finally an update: I did the initial foliage pass on the scene, but to me it seems to contrast a bit too much with the stone props. I feel like part of this is due to the fact that the props have not yet had their dirtiness/variation texture pass yet as they do in the original ‘concept’. I am hoping after dirt, damage, moss etc will make the foliage feel more at home.

The foliage was a challenge and a half, I feel like I really have to fight with the engine to get the results I want. Having to use strange things such as emission and denaturation nodes. Does anyone else have a difficult time lighting foliage? I think it is difficult in my case because of the strange angle/contrast of my dark scene lighting, perhaps if it was an open broad daylight scene the foliage would be easier to tweak?





Anyway the foliage is still WIP and any feedback here would be incredibly helpful. The foliage is one of the few areas I am willing to push from the ‘concept’ and hopefully make it a bit better.


The environment looks great so far Benvox!

Any chance you could upload a screenshot of the assets in an asset map (laid out individually), would be awesome to see.

Thanks! Yes I plan on doing exactly that as soon as it’s finished, as well as a small breakdown.

Today I started to vertex paint in some moss on the walls. I think its a bit too bright/light but if I make the albedo any darker, it appears black in shadowed areas, might be time to adjust lighting yet again.




Thank you for sharing this progression! It has helped me visualize the process. Keep it up; good effort!

No problem, thanks for the comment and I am glad it is helping a little bit!

Just working on the materials: