Before 3D artists can touch a map, our Art Lead and Creative Director work very high level with the concept artists to iterate on finding an iconic look for our maps using a series of blue-sky concepts. At this stage there's a lot of back and forth between the artist and project leadership to make sure the map follows the VALORANT narrative, is marked by visual variety, and most importantly, is something the team is really excited to be working on.After a high-level direction has been locked down, concept artists begin to tackle specific locations and call-outs on the map based on the greybox layout. At this stage, the concept artists try to get as much coverage on the map before the 3D artists jump in and begin modeling the basic shapes of the architecture.
We try to model and get the basic architectural shapes into the map before starting to unwrap and texture them. When we start to add colors on the meshes, we make sure that they aren't too dark, especially in interior spaces. The objective here is to maintain gameplay integrity by making sure that the environment doesn't impede with clarity, and that the characters are always clearly visible.As far as texturing goes, we primarily use tiling textures and trim sheets on our buildings and large structures. These are created using a variety of programs such as Zbrush, Substance Designer, Substance Painter, and Photoshop. We do use custom textures on props when needed, such as the coffee machine in the kitchen, or the forklift near A-site.[...] To help with visual noise, we make sure that our materials are similar in value and there isn't too much contrast or darkness. We can also improve clarity by using lights to illuminate dark areas, or to spotlight spaces where you would want the most visibility possible, such as a Spike plant site or a commonly peeked corner.