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Environment Design for Virtual Production in Unreal Engine 4

Creating Real-Time Environment Art With Vladimir Somov


Virtual production is an emerging filmmaking method that uses real-time rendering to combine live-action footage with CG, first used on films like The Lion King and The Mandalorian TV series. In this 2-hour workshop, Vladimir Somov, former Principal Cinematics Artist on Assassin’s Creed, For Honor, and Far Cry, shares the core concepts and techniques required for creating Virtual Production-ready environment art using Unreal Engine. He walks through the entire pipeline of creating the exterior and interior sets of an ancient temple — an environment that allows for the exploration of two scenarios for lighting and mood, so you can learn how to set up and tell a story with lighting and post-processing for different environments. 

The workshop begins with a lesson on understanding how to work with references and shows how to create a custom construction kit and a trim material. You will learn how to set up Unreal Engine, what project settings and plugins to use and why, as well as how to organize and structure Unreal projects. Vladimir provides both practical and theoretical advice on effective and believable set dressing and lighting, and offers techniques to profile and optimize performance with tools like Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) from Nvidia. The workflow also includes a look inside the techniques used for capturing a basic cinematic with an animated character and a virtual hand-held camera operated by using a smartphone as a tracker. 

While this workshop is targeted at beginners, some basic knowledge and understanding of Unreal Engine and 3D modeling is recommended before starting. 3ds Max, Quixel Bridge, and Quixel Mixer are used in conjunction with Unreal Engine 4. At the end of 2 hours, you should have a strong understanding of the entire process involved in creating real-time environment art, and feel confident with techniques that can be scaled up and applied to anything from a full LED volume Virtual Production to Cinematics and Post-Visualization.

Duration: 2h 07m

Format: HD 1920x1080

Vladimir Somov

Senior Generalist & Concept Designer

Vladimir Somov is a Senior Generalist and Concept Designer with over 7 years of experience working in cinematics across multiple industries. During his time in Ubisoft, Vladimir contributed to cinematics for Assassin's Creed Unity, Far Cry Primal, For Honor, Far Cry 5, and Far Cry 6, before transitioning to cinematic art director and consultant. 

Vladimir graduated from Sheridan College where he studied traditional art and design. While taking painting and drawing classes during the day, at night, Vladimir was learning digital matte painting and concept art from The Gnomon Workshop.

  • Vladimir is always interested in producing the best quality of work for any given project or assignment. His attention to detail and creativity makes his art unique. As a fellow artist, it has been a pleasure collaborating and exchanging ideas with Vladimir to push the boundaries of digital art.

    - David Baylis
    Technical Marketing Consultant at Epic Games

  • Working with Vladimir is always rewarding and inspiring. His attention to detail and his strong cinematographic eye makes collaborations joyful and exciting.

    - Victor Bonafonte Morales
    CEO, Creative Director & Architect at Beauty and The Bit

  • Vlad’s thoroughness, technical knowledge, and design expertise make him a pleasure to work with — but it’s his impeccable taste that cemented my professional crush on him . . . and his mustache!

    - Grant Harvey
    Filmmaker & Video Game Cinematics Director at Ubisoft

  • No matter what software or engine he's working with, Vladimir has a knack for honing in on the best tools and tricks to create beautiful, photographic content. What he does with his tutorials is give you a glimpse into that mindset, and it's an amazing way of both giving back to the industry, and helping up-and-coming students and hobbyists.

    - Marco Barrettara
    Character Artist at Ubisoft