Who are you?
My name is Sungwoo Lee.
Where are you based?
I’m living in Beijing, China.
How do you spend your time?
I’m an environment artist, now doing freelance work with a friend and making an indie game in my free time.
Where can we find your work?
What is your background/tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I made some custom Warcraft 3 maps when I was a senior school student. After making several maps, I found that the assets in WAR3 no longer fit my storytelling and gameplay. So I asked myself why I should not make 3D assets by myself. Since that time, my 3D career has begun. From my first steps up until now, I haven’t gotten into any academic instruction. I learned all these skills from books and the Internet. There are too many funny and painful stories on my learning path, and it still continues. I won’t tell all these stories specifically here, but I think that someday I’ll present them through a video game.
How did you discover the Allegorithmic tools?
I found a Substance Designer 4 video on YouTube a few years ago when I still had trouble with my texturing workflow. It looked so great.
“I chose Substance Designer and it helped me create these materials exactly the way I wanted.”
Tell us more about your project, Unknown Hallway.
I created this scene for testing PBR shaders and lighting. I didn’t find any clean PBR texture sources which could match this scene, so I decided to create one. I chose Substance Designer and it helped me create these materials exactly the way I wanted. After exporting the textures, I adjusted these textures in the Unreal Engine 4 material editor to approach the final result.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Unknown Hallway scene was inspired by a movie called The Signal. The hospital in that movie looks clean but uncomfortable. As for me, movies and video games are great sources of inspiration. Furthermore, fairy tales that I read in my childhood are strong sources of imagination. During these years, I just focused on my visual skills, so I didn’t build a world/scene that I imagined long before. But now it’s time to use these skills to build the world that I dreamed about.
“Substance Designer and Substance Painter are a great combination in my texturing. […] the nodes in Designer are very powerful and easy to control.”
How did Substance integrate into your workflow in this project?
Substance Designer and Substance Painter are a great combination in my texturing. I use Designer more than Painter because the nodes in Designer are very powerful and easy to control. For modern industrial game making (environment assets), composite controllable texture is more effective than a “static”texture, but this doesn’t mean “static” texture has no advantages.
Tell us a bit more about how your typical workflow looks like?
I use 3ds Max and ZBrush for modeling, and sometimes World Machine to build landscapes. Substance Designer, Substance Painter, and Quixel Suite are my main tools for texturing. As for rendering, UE4 is my first choice.
“Now with Substance Designer, it has become easy to get perfect match textures. Thanks to the PBR shading model that came out, I could use these textures on any projects.”
How did your use of Substance change your approach to texturing?
Before Substance Designer, the first step of creating textures is searching for textures on the internet. It takes a lot of time and it’s hard to find a perfect one. Now with Substance Designer, it has become easy to get perfect match textures. Thanks to the PBR shading model that came out, I could use these textures on any projects.
What was your biggest challenge and how did you address it?
For now, roughness value is my biggest concern when I make PBR textures, because each real-time engine shows different reflections and highlights with the same roughness value. Even within the same engine, this problem shows up with different reflection quality. For the moment, I haven’t found a perfect solution, but what I’m doing is making this roughness compatible in each game engine with minimum deviation.
Do you have any tips and tricks to share or just some things you particularly like doing with Substance?
The most interesting part in Substance Designer is “modeling” (building shapes and height map). Shaping is the first step and the most important step in texture creation. For shaping, I recommend using slope node, you can create miracles with it. I always use this node to find some interesting shapes – I really love it.
What are your next projects?
Personally, the final goal of my 3D career is to build a world or a scene that I dream about. As the first step, I plan making an abbey ruin scene, and I’m going to use Substance Designer for the entire texturing process. I hope you will like my new scene then.