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Epic Re-Creation of Minas Tirith (The Lord of the Rings) In Unreal Engine 5

It is finally finished! I have been deep in 3d world for many weeks, re-creating Minas Tirith from The Lord Of The Rings. It was an awesome challenge that I *mostly enjoyed. The good news is, I think it resulted in a great video for all of you. I learned so many things through the process, and I documented everything. I think you will love the final result as well! Keep reading for some of my key takeaways, and to see the final video.

Before I even started, I knew this was going to be a big task to take on. After all, I had to create a large chunk of Gondor to make this work. Also, I had to model an entire city in 3ds Max. It turns out that the modeling was the easy part! It was tedious, but not outside the realm of my daily archviz skills. The environment was a different story. That was a new domain for me, and I was outside of my comfort zone. Thankfully, Unreal Engine 5 has all the tools needed to pull it off in epic fashion -- I just needed to learn how to use them.

Some key takeaways:

  • 3ds Max performed great for creating a very large model of this Gondorian city

  • Unreal Engine 5 (UE5) is fantastic for lighting and animating the scene easily and intuitively

  • UE5 also has amazing tools for building environments, but I has not super familiar with a lot of them before starting this project

  • Texturing in UE5 is very capable, but texturing this entire city was also quite a chore

  • Datasmith easily translates my 3ds Max / Vray scene in to UE5 without issues

  • This workflow is very fun, especially when animating in real time

  • Plugins and purchased assets for UE5 were critical here for extending the capabilities of Unreal

  • I learned a ton of new things and ended up with very satisfying results

For the full breakdown of how this project was created, and to see the final cinematics, here is the full video:

If you want to download the finished model of Minas Tirith for yourself, go HERE.

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