Fan Creates Realistic View of the Barrens in Unreal Engine - Community Spotlight
We have aimed the Community Spotlight at quite a few fans who have done their part to show us a real-looking Azeroth. Today's addition to that very special club is Justin Mills. Mills has used Unreal Engine to create a gorgeous view of the Barrens. You can almost smell the dust and feel the heat rolling in off that sand. The process animation really emphasizes the work and ability that goes into a seemingly simple image.
I've always wanted to make a realistic reinterpretation of World of Warcraft and decided to choose the good old Barrens as my location. I have lots of fond memories and countless hours spent exploring and leveling in that zone, and overall I think it's one of the most iconic places in the game.
I had lots of goals (both technical and artistic) with this artwork, but primarily it was to improve my compositional, lighting and storytelling skills plus see my own original concept/idea through to the end.
I went through quite a lot of iteration with the composition as you can see in the GIF breakdown process below, mostly in trying to strike a good balance between the opposing alliance sword and the horde tower, whilst incorporating the surrounding story elements without things getting too cluttered.
The scene is rendered in Unreal 4.26.2 using the Movie Render Queue feature and I used World Machine to generate a heightmap for the landscape. The road was made using the neat Unreal Landscape spline tool with plenty of temporal dithering + rock & sand terrain layer painting to blend it in with the landscape itself. For the fog, I utilised exponential fog as well as additional hand-placed fog cards with a panning texture for the moving dust. The organic assets and materials in the scene such as rocks, foliage and cliffs are mostly comprised of Quixel Megascans assets.
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