One of the most exciting features of Unreal Engine 5 is the immensely intelligent lighting features. With its latest increment, Unreal Engine has fully integrated the Quixel Bridge plug-in, a free plug-in that allows seamless importation of thousands of assets into the engine.
Today, we’ll look at how to compose a realistic scene in Unreal Engine 5 using Quixel Assets, and set up the skybox to create a jaw-droppingly realistic environment.
*There are a few variations of each of these under the same name; grab a selection of whichever look good to you.
This will take about 10 minutes to download - Nanite assets are extremely highpoly. If your PC is low on storage, opt for a lower quality. When they are complete, add them to your project. They will then appear in the content browser.
Reusing the same asset like this works well to build a quick surface for our tundra effectively. move, rotate and scale each piece by using W, E and R, respectively. The meshes will automatically seam into one another, creating a smooth and realistic looking ground.
Keep playing around with this, using the hotkeys, to avoid repetition; use the scale and rotation tools to create height. Repeat until you have a good amount of ground cover.
HOT TIP: Unreal Engine has snapping switched on by default. You can turn this off for each rotation, scale and here:
How to blend Quixel assets:
Do this by combining the ground assets with the larger ones; use the rotate and scale tools for this.
When you’re happy with your lighting, go to SkyAtmosphere in the outliner. Here, go to Rayleigh Scattering under details. This changes the colour of the sky, as well as the light it casts - which means you can get some pretty cool results by playing around with it.
However, for this scene, we will set it to white; this will create a cloudy, overcast effect. I like this as it is quite cinematic, without being too dramatic.
Secondly, under Atmosphere - Mie, change the scattering scale. This effects the “fuzziness” of the sky, as well as the overall brightness; by making this higher, the sky will be darker and dimmer, casting less light. I set it to 0.5.
It’s that easy!
This already makes a huge difference to the scene.
However, we can amp this up a bit. I increased the fog density and set the fog start distance quite high, as I wanted fog purely on the mountains in the background.
And here’s the result: