Floating Shrine

Low-Poly UE5 Environment


5/30/20223 min read

Project Brief

I constructed an environment with UE5 with a floating wooden shrine. My goal for this project was to familiarize myself with Maya, Substance Painter and Unreal Engine 5 and the PBR workflow. I attempted to build the shrine as a modular building to assemble in the engine, and utilize the foliage tool to effectively crowd the scene with minor decorations.


I took inspiration from traditional buildings from Korea, especially how the ornate buildings on the Buddhist temple sites looks like. The design of the temple and the overall scene was inspired from the Chinese lantern festival, as the idea sprung up from how the old wooden structures appear lit at night. I researched the structures of Hanok(한옥) and how they are built to be able to re-create them as accurately as possible in 3D.

Stupa Top

I modeled the top of the wooden temple, called the 'top of the stupa(탑 상륜부)' before I started on the base structure. This was to better gauge the size of the entire structure and the amount of detail it could be put in. It was also due to this project being the first time exposing myself into a professional 3D modeling tool. While the maximum budget for this model was 30,000 polygons, I created 3 LOD models, and textures for each LOD. I textured the top in Substance Painter, and this was also my first time using this tool.

Wooden Shrine

Referencing from the size of the stupa top, I started creating the modular pieces in Maya to be later assembled in UE5. The polygon budget for the entire structure was 100,000 polys, in which I had already exceeded by 2847 polys. Due to this, I had to add the details of the window and the roof by baking the normal map. After creating a high-poly version of the roof with the roof tiles, I baked the normal map onto the low-poly version. For the wooden window, I custom-made a transparency map in Adobe Photoshop to make it appear transparent only in certain areas.

Assembling the Environment

After making sure all models were ready to be imported to UE5, I created the surrounding environment inside the main level using Dynamic Sky, foliage tool, landscape sculpting, and custom materials for the water surface as well as the shrine.

This is an example of one of my custom materials I created for the waterbed. It is adjustable and made to avoid visible repetition by blending multiple textures using linear interpolation(LERP).

Additional Props

I modeled some additional props to crowd the scene, all modeled in Maya and textured in Substance Painter and Adobe Photoshop.