Building and Showcase TIPS! [Update!]

Building and Showcase TIPS - Welcome!~

Hi, I’m AerialsAbove,
I am the owner of Roblox Architects, The Magic Circle, Admin for Gear-Works, and patron of EBR.
I review a lot of new builders and their showcases on regularly and often receive mail and comments asking for tips, advice, and even how to join RAR, Roblox Architects, EBR, GWs, and TMC haha.

Here I am, writing a guide full of tips and advice for these said users to refer to.
Feel free to offer up your own tips and advice. Correct me where I am wrong. Share this openly with your friends and groups if you wish!

My Portfolio

Stunning Portfolio | Seven years in the creation | UGC concepts

Please forgive the spelling, grammar, and typos, I do most of this in one big go!
(Updated 5/13/21)


A bit about Showcases

As of late, showcases are becoming more widely known once again by the community. Awesome!
What is a Showcase a few of you may ask?
Showcases usually represent the Roblox equivalent of “good graphics,” “Hang-outs,” and even possible story driven worlds. However, often showcases are primarily a show of modeling talent and usually lack clearly defined game-play objectives beyond simple exploration of the world.
(Something that as a showcase creator, I feel is changing quickly in 2021)
Creators have invested hours into modeling and building up their showcase over a span of weeks to even several years, creating a layered and atmospheric world. Often these worlds are the very fore-front of modeling, story-telling, and atmosphere now-a-days.

However is important to understand that everyone has a different perspective of what a showcase or good builder is now. This is just my personal view of the genre as of 2021!

How does a showcase relate to me building?

Well, frankly, a good builder is someone who can create a showcase if they want at any time. These tips listed here in this guide/tutorial strongly benefit showcases and even more general building for things like games and or commissions.

Examples of showcases and great builders

A great example of showcase in my opinion is ‘RIP Ur Toaster’ by SE4RXH, previously know as OrginatedSystem or Shareurcups.
rip ur toaster(may or may not) join at ur own risk - Roblox

‘RIP Ur Toaster’ is a old but very great example to study if you want to make a showcase yourself.
For one this place has very solid architecture, you can clearly tell it is an old and run down building being taken over by nature.
Another element that defines showcases is the atmosphere in RIP Ur Toaster. You can see fringe of the fog and dust from one end to the other of the building. The sun rays pierce the fog highlighting the large ornate windows at the end of the hall. The fireflies add the surreal and untouched feeling nature has had on this building.

A great showcase builder you all likely know is SetDefault1, he often makes great use of Roblox’s lighting engine to make his worlds very immersive and jaw dropping.
Here is an example of some more moody but impressive lighting made by him.
• Totoro {SHOWCASE} - Roblox

Urbanize has created a great list of showcases just like this one if you want to take look at more examples!
The Great List of Roblox Showcases

Now for the Tips!

Now that we have discussed and shared the idea of showcases, let’s talk about some building tips.

Lighting and Atmosphere

Your world plus it's 'Future!'

Most Important Lighting Tips

  • Use Shadowmap, Voxel, or Future!
  • Experiment with your own lighting and colors.
  • Use the Color Correction features, playing with the contrast and saturation could make or break a great showcase!
  • Play with the atmosphere and fog settings.
  • DO NOT over do the contrast, fog, or most importantly the sun-rays and, exposure, and brightness. This has become a very common mistake most new showcases are all making now as part of some bizarre trend.

Here are examples of some lighting setting that only take your a few minutes to play with.

The lighting engines and their features quickly explained for you!

  • Compatibility: The old legacy lighting for roblox, no dedicated shadows or lighting. Old, outdated, don’t use unless you prefer this!
  • Voxel: A updated version of the lighting engine, more diverse colors, shades, and lighting and glare. Use this if you are concerned about optimization but want nice lighting.
  • Shadowmap: Voxel, but now with sun-cast shadows. Every object with ‘Cast-Shadow’ feature ticked on will cast shadows based on the suns position. Demands far more of your game than Voxel.
  • Future: Shadowmap, but now every light source such as ‘Point Light’ cast their own shadows. Demands the MOST of all the settings and can become a quick source of FPS drops in detailed areas of your world. Use Future sparingly and avoid point lights casting right beside complex and details structures.

I don’t know the most about lighting, so I could be wrong about these features mentioned above. Now for the tips and filters you can apply to your worlds.

Starting

  • For starters, begin with the lighting.
    After I made a quick scene with some past models, I took a picture with near default lighting. Set to Shadowmap with zero additional lighting features.

[The Result Pictured Below VVV]

The Lighting Folder

  • I start out by adjusting the ‘Outdoor’ ambient, giving off a rich warm general color.
    This setting is found in ‘Explorer’ down towards the bottom inside of your ‘Lighting’ folder.
  • Then we alter the Ambient, the darker your ambient the more intense your shadows will be.
  • Then we played with the Color Shift Top value, setting this to a very warm color usually gives your world a soft glowing sun effect. Great for out-door areas!

Apply Color Correction

  • Always tweak your color correction for best results! Work with YOUR world, not just a tutorial.
    Color Correction is an lighting enhancement you can apply to your showcase via the ‘Explorer’ tab found in the ‘View’ category on your default Ribbon.
    Simply open ‘Explorer,’ scroll to the bottom until you find ‘Lighting,’ which features a small yellow light-bulb. Right clicking onto ‘Lighting’ and looking for ‘Insert Object’ allows you to type on your keyboard “Color Correction.” Click on Color Correction to add it into your lighting folder.
  • Brightness: Alters your worlds lighting levels, useful for worlds far too dark. Alters the the lighting via layers, not based on the sun or other features.
  • Contrast: Capable of making the whites and the blacks stronger and stand out from one another more. The higher the setting, the more intense the values of ever color and shade becomes.
  • Saturation: Similar to contrast, but targets the hues/tints of colors and shades. Capable of making dull reds very bright reds and bleeding, or making dull reds very grey and brown. Great for dramatic grey-white moody scenes or warm-brown rusted cabins.
  • Tint: Overlays a colored tint onto your world. Useful for giving the world a hint of warmth, cold, or alien atmosphere.

Experiment with lighting themes and setting moods

  • A world with more grey, noir, mysterious-esc colors
    Here is the CC (Color Correction) at play to make a moody mysterious world.

Sun-Rays applied right!

  • Sun-rays are another effect similar to CC (Color Correction)
  • Creates dynamic rays of light that shine through as long as the sun is visible.
  • Looks great in forests or windowed buildings.
    Use sparingly! A experienced builder does not need to hide their lack-luster talent behind eye-blinding sun-rays. Besides, sun-rays show be an additional feature, not 75% of your scene or screenshots!
  • Intensity: Configures how powerful the rays of sun are and how quickly they disperse beyond the initial cast.
  • Spread: Configures how far and white the rays will cast in a cone. Out-door locations benefit with bigger spread, while more clustered areas benefit from more piercing lower spread numbers.

Depth of Field

  • Blurs out the distance and blurs up close areas.
  • Useful for far away scenery or hazy up-close horizons.
    You must be careful with DOF, as with the Sun-rays feature, these two are the most abused and lazy effects applied these days! Don’t be a noob, lesser is better with DOF.
  • Keep the intensity values low and keep their distance far away from the player.
  • Higher intensities and the closer they are, the more likely they are to cause player exhaustion and sickness. Think about the eyes and blur! You don’t want to blur out all of your hard-working talent.

Atmosphere

  • Works best when you have a skybox applied to your world via the ‘Lighting’ folder.
  • Capable of creating atmospheric fog with a gradient.
  • Awesome for creating smokey landscapes.
  • Works great for sandy deserts or rainy weather.
    This is the one effect you will have to experiment the most with to best fit your world. Our options are limited, but they are still powerful and can change a world’s lighting hands down.
  • Density: Configures how close the fog and dense it is to the player.
  • Color: The overall main color of the fog/clouds/atmosphere. Think blue and cold for mountains, warm and tan for deserts, green and humid for jungles, grey and blue for foggy areas.
  • Decay: Secondary to color, applies a gradient-esc value to color, for example, color being set to a dark grey and ‘Decay’ being set to a light grey gives your fog a lot more value and atmosphere.
  • Haze: Affects how strong the horizontal fog is and the intensity of ‘Glare.’
  • Glare: Alters the ‘Haze,’ ‘Density,’ and ‘Color’ of your fog based on the location of the sun/moon. Useful for realistic setting or rising suns.

Future Lighting and Dynamic Light Sources

  • Setting your ‘Technology’ in the ‘Lighting’ folder to ‘Future’ now allows all ‘Point-Lights,’ ‘Surface-Lights,’ and ‘Spot-Lights’ to create their own shadows like the sun does with ‘Shadow-map.’
  • This is a very POWERFUL feature for building and showcases, capable of high-lighting your builds and adding a whole brand new layer of detail to your worlds.
  • More on this feature will come soon to new guide I am creating for in-depth lighting.

Coming soon! A in-depth guide to lighting for your world similar to the link provided below!

Lolaphobia also has his own lighting tutorial to follow. :slight_smile:
How to make your lighting more realistic in shadowmap


C-Frame, Tints, and Buildin.’

Various tips I always offer up!

Tip 1:
Tip one is simple and maybe even a little funny sounding, but I recommend it. :slight_smile:
You should absolutely listen to music when you being to create in studio/blender. Not only can music set the mood, it can inspire you, motivate you, and improve you focus on your project.
Your choice in music is up to you, but if I could recommend one genre to you for building, it would be Chillstep. Electronic music with soft pleasing melodies and sounds.
Personally speaking, I am metal-head… meaning I listen to bands like Black Sabbath when I create my cutesy little pink and white flowers haha. The music often helps me relax and focus on the tasks at hand.


Tip 2.
Create a Pinterest account and start saving inspirational art. Sounds boring, right? It’s not.
If you have no clue what to create, going to pinterest is a good place to start. Typing in things like “Gothic mansion” or “fantasy concept arts” will provide you with a sea of beautiful artwork and pictures to draw inspiration from for you projects.
While you are at it, you should make an account and begin creating and saving boards for yourself. A feature pinterest has that allows you to basically book mark pictures you love the most. I got several boards full of random architecture, abandoned houses, mountains, clutter, and even various types of food for me to model at a later date. :slight_smile:

Try out Pinterest, you won’t regret the creativity it can bring you.

Follow me @AerialsAbove to see some on my pinterest boards and saves. You might even see something you’d like to create for yourself.


Tip 3.
Now for a studio related tip.
Organization and naming folders, models, and parts… seriously.
I have a seven year old showcase called Springs Rock with several thousand parts, unions, meshes, and models. It’s a honest mess to navigate and work with often, which is why you should start today by keeping your explorer tab organized as possible.

  • Name your models, parts, and meshes.
    When you create groups/models you should always invest just a few seconds to name that model. If you just made a bush model in Roblox, then name it “Bush_Small” or “Bush_Flowering.”

Why?

Because who knows just how many bush models you will duplicate and use? For me, a single bush model in Springs Rock has been duplicated 49 times.
Now imagine I needed to delete this bush model or change it.
I would have to select all 49 bushes to delete, rename, move, resize, or change in general… that is tedious as can be when you do it often.

Thankfully, me, and soon to be you, name our models

Instead of clicking 49 bush models, I can just type “bush_small” into my ‘Explorer’ tab, shift + click all 49 bushes that appear in said tab, and press ‘Del’ key on my keyboard and be done with it in less than seven seconds.

This is only ONE example of how naming your models can become quickly useful. Navigate your world AND your explorer easier.

  • Folders: One step further than just naming parts and models now.
    With folders, you can group hundreds of similarly named parts into one folder, one easy to sort and edit folder. You know that 49 bush models I just mentioned as an example above?
    I put all 49 of those bush models in a single, easy to work with folder. Now when I have 149 bush models in the future, instead of clogging up my explorer tab, I can just close the folder and free up screen space with a single click. :slight_smile:

Tip 4.
Highlights and tints in everything you build.
Here is a very useful tip for one of the first steps of building a new showcase. Often people like to create custom brick walls, or wooden plank floors. However they often miss out on a super easy build hack that will make their worlds not only more colorful but detailed with little effort.
Here is a example of a brick path. It’s all slate and all one color, light grey.

We are going to select a handful of stones from the path. The best way to do this is to hold down your SHIFT key and select each stone. Make sure you hold the shift key as you do so you can select multiple parts at once!

Select just a handful and do you best to select them at random. Treat this like selecting random lucky stones about to get a sun tan! :stuck_out_tongue:

Now while the Properties tab, which can be turned on in the View category; you can click on the grey box of color in the “Color” row. This will give you a separate color wheel with several options.
In this case we are just going to make tints and highlights.
A tint is a darker shade of a main color while a highlight is a brighter shade of a color.
As you can there is a white and black color bar to the side of the rainbow color wheel. Take the arrow and just barely slide it down to create a darker tint of the light grey stone bricks.

Press ‘Ok!’ and you have more natural looking path already. No one stone in real life is all the same color.

Repeat this step each time selecting just a few stones at random. This time dragging the arrow on the black and white bar up to give it more bright highlights.
You can do this as many times as you like to give your path more detailed colors with hardly any effort!

Final result:

Compared to our first path, there is a lot more going on here! You can use tints and highlights on just about anything really.
You could use this same method with any color too.
For example you can select tree leaves and give them tints/highlights for a more natural effect or wooden planks with a darker brown or lighter brown as if each plank was aged differently.


Tip 5.
Rotation!
Don’t forget to rotate your models. Seems like a weird thing to bring up, but trust me, if you have a showcase where you are copying and pasting assets, rotation and tints/highlights can make each model feel more unique.

Take the path I just made in the previous picture. Every single stone in the path is straight with no real variation outside of the color.
Let’s fix that.

For starters, I recommend setting your rotational degrees to ‘0’ for a natural feel.
Now just like selecting each stone at random for color, we will are going to do the same, but one stone at a time.
Just select one stone for now.

Make sure you press Ctrl+4 for the rotate tool, you have the ability to rate along X,Y, and Z.
I’m going to rotate my stone to stick further up from the rest.

The direction you rotate may depend on the axis of the path.
For my example I rotated along the blue curve so I could make the stone look sunken into the ground on end like you would see in real life.

You can do this at random from any direction as much as you like, here is a finished example.

I rotated several stones back and forth to give our path a more worn down and used look.
You can also rotate some stones along the green curved path, here is how it would look.

Noticed I rotated the loose stones at the end of the path? Now the path looks a lot less perfect and more fit for a path you might see outside in a garden.

The next step is another tip, but not quite worthy of being titled as the next tip.
You can use grass from the tool box or the nature package on my profile to create a more overgrown path.

Let’s say grass did grow on our path, it would almost certainly grow in between the cracks! Let me plant some grass and rocks. :slight_smile:

Noticed I use smooth terrain and painted the grass under the stones to the ‘ground’ material so our grass wouldn’t clip through our stones. Immersion break otherwise!

Now for a change in gears:


Tip 6. (I’m not keeping up haha!)
You know a few tips now on how to make lighting, some small tweaks and changes, and how to create basic atmosphere and where to even get inspiration from… but you don’t know what to build?

If you’re like me often you WANT to build but you don’t know what to build. :frowning:
Well, as I suggest in Tip one and two, they help a lot!
However tip five is usually how I start a new showcase.

I often recommend to people instead of trying to create a whole new showcase first, instead create models with a theme.

For example, create a table, chest, chair, and other furniture. Having these models may inspire you to go ahead and create an entire room and make a showcase out of it.

Here is my where I make my models!
Notice I have textures, furniture, even glass windows all stored here. That way when I begin to create a new showcase, I can have models to draw upon and help me fill the world in.
I highly recommend doing the same, if you can’t create a showcase, make some models that might belong to a world instead!
Models are just as important as the atmosphere and world building itself. :slight_smile:


Tip 7.
Give your world a story and it’s own lore!

This tip strongly favors the ones who love to write, create lore, or role-play. Seriously, however, this tip goes for everyone in my opinion. Being an awesome creator who is talented is only one half the story. Creating a world with a awesome story telling features or lore is a whole new, and hardly explored world to play with.

But, how do I tell a story if I can’t script?

Glad you asked. Story-telling doesn’t need to be just pen and paper, or narrated voices.
Story telling can come in the form of:

  • Environment and Atmosphere! Remember me mentioning the moody lighting above? Dark oppressive lighting can tell the player the world they are in right now could be evil, depressing, oppressive, or or demented.
    Bright, happy, and sunny lighting can tell a player they world is going great, giving a generally more up-beat mood and story.
  • World building with models! Imagine walking down a cobbled road, overgrown and littered with snarly roots. The player travels down the path and slowly emerges from a thick patch of trees and grass, only to find a old and abandoned shrine. A large face of a deity is carved into large stone. Who is this deity, what do these people believe in? You’re creating lore, story, and interest solely with models.
  • The music! Slow, slumbering music can tell the story of sad event or foreboding event. The sound of only birds chirping can create a sense of isolation or connection to the nature around you. Up-beat, good vibes music can create a sense of happiness or relaxation in the players. Maybe all is right in your world?
  • Crates, boxes, barrels, flower pots. You can tell a lot about the world around you based on the activity in it. You’re at a port, you see a ton of heavy machines, crates, and piles of coal. This must be a very busy and important port I am at.
    You are in a mystical forest, you find a ruined tent, knocked over camp-fire, and shattered belongings all over the ground. Do you feel unwanted now, or rabidly curious to find out what has happened?
  • Trash, litter, clutter.
    Just like the sub-tip above, you can tell a story alone from the litter a person left behind. Did they drink a lot of “water” and leave behind their bottles? Did they burn through a lot of candles? Do they not care to keep their books organized? You wonder why?

What about telling a story with scripting?

  • Perhaps the previous explorer or inhabitants left behind old torn notes on their adventures? Perhaps the notes just barely let onto what has happened to these people. They can ever offer a sneak-peak into the wacky and explosive life of a wizard, or pirate, or anyone you can imagine.
  • Cinematic camera moments, focusing in on a old barn, or a large mansion near the woods. Creating a sense of importance and focus for the story.
  • Intractable elements: Imagine you stumbled into a old library showcase… you fumble around until you pull a book out of the book case… suddenly a hatch opens below you. What in the world were they trying to hide?
  • NPCs, Narrations, Voices, and Text! This requires quite a bit more of scripting experience, but this would add a unrivaled layer of world building to your showcase/builds.

Tip 8.
Use free models. Yes. Use free models.

Commit the biggest sin in studio, open the toolbox, and allow yourself to see what’s in it.
Using free models is great for a handful of reasons.

  • Temporary objects: Useful for planting temporary trees in a front yard, reminding you to come back later and replace them with your own custom trees.
  • Filling a world in: Great for filling your world in with small things like flowers or rocks.
  • Getting inspired of getting ideas: Maybe seeing a free model mech or wooden cabin will spark a sudden vision or idea to create for yourself.
  • Access to hard to create items in Studio: Not everyone on Studio can create things in Blender or other software for modeling. Items like trees, rocks, or complex shapes are available in toolbox for these users.

HOWEVER!!

DO NOT be that user who only uses free models to build with. Please. Free models are here to assist builders and showcase creators, not be a clutch to so called “builders.”

  • Showcase creations are usually always a display of skill and talent, not a display of the tooblox.
  • You don’t learn how to create for yourself if you only ever use just free stuff.
  • Everyone is already using the same models and items as you.

Really, use free models sparingly. You’re not really a builder or showcase creator if you let roblox do everything for you, are you? Therefore this guide wouldn’t be for you.


Tip 9.
Badges, gamepasses, donations, and thumbnails.

A good showcase goes ignored and unvisited if it lacks some of these easy to implement features. Primarily the thumbnails and game icon part.

  • A thumbnail or two displaying your showcase or build for your game: This does wonders for sparking curiosity and interest in your building/showcase! If players see a default thumbnail, they might just think it’s unfinished, lack-luster, or a free model only dump.
  • A Game Icon: Similar to the thumbnails, this really can carry how much your game becomes ingaged with or visited. A good icon ignites interest. A bad one pushes players away. A default one goes un-noticed.
  • Badges: They only cost 100 robux, guys. That’s not expensive. You can add a new layer to your world by rewarding players badges for discovering secerets, meeting players, or achving goals like time spent or donations given.
  • Donations! The most fun part of this tip!
    Go ahead and set some donations up for youself. You can use any toolbox donation board and set it up with a 10 robux, 100, robux, 1,000 robux, and 10,000 robux game pass and slowly earn extra robux for you creations.

HOWEVER!!

  • Make your thumbnails pretty, easy to read and strongly related to your game. Do not give away false expectations or your game will begin to bomb.
  • Make your Game Icon easy to read, simple, and distinct. Keep the amount of text on it limited to just a title.
  • Do not spam or over do your badges. What is the point of handing a badge to a player as reward if every step they take, they get ten more? Ruins the little reward.
  • Be CREATIVE with your donation board, please. Donation boards get a bad rap as is, so if I recommend it, then you should at least take the time to decorate it, make it a custom board, and make it fit into your world, not a random untoched free model that just asks for robux… Yikes!

My Roblox Building Groups!

  • Still want more tips, feedback, help, or a community to join with similar interested and talents?
For more awesome buidling stuff

RAR

Roblox Architects will offer just that. Our group has been online since 2009, that’s a pretty long for Roblox time. We’re a dedicated group of builders, modelers, and creators who are happy to share more on building on Roblox. :slight_smile:

  • We’re an open group, as long as you follow our guide on entry, you’re welcomed into the community!

ROBLOX Architects - Roblox

The Magic Circle

TMC, The Magic Circle is my second group that focuses purely on fantastical and magical elements and building. Imagine Wizards and Dragons roaming wild and free in our group. We’re heavily themed around mysticism, runes, magic, and fantasy as well!
We nominated users based on their talents in these genres: Fantasy, Medieval, Nature, Rustic, Magic, Mysticism, and Fairy Tale-esc genres!

  • Want to join? Message one of our moderators for a review!

The Magic Circle. - Roblox


- Follow me here on the devfourms for updated guides, new guides, tips, and creations!

  • I have a Twitter related entirely to my roblox career! @AerialsCreation
    Follow me for screenshots of my creations and artowrk!

This is the end of the guide, thank you for taking your time to read this. :slight_smile:
Good luck on building and showcasing!


  • Coming soon: My guide on in-depth Future based lighting tutorial and tips!
127 Likes

Here’s the public link to a list of great showcases mentioned earlier.

15 Likes

Amazing tips!
Making me miss showcase making

9 Likes

thank you, aerial.
very cool. .

7 Likes

Especially like Tip 5. I feel like too many builders make everything perfectly aligned on the XYZ axis and it results in entire maps that would look amazing feeling “grid-y” and overly designed.

8 Likes

The lighting is helping me a lot with the showcase that I am making, and I tried to make a custom pathway like you did, and turned out way better then the others I made. I’d really suggest this to new builders. Great tip!

1 Like

thank you, aerial.
very cool. .

1 Like

I hope this is welcome add-on, if not please let me know;

Relating to organization and showcases I’ve found collectionservice to be extremely useful for my workflow recently. Using a plugin like tag editor allows you to mark objects without having to change their name or location in workspace. While working, this allows you to really easily get all the objects tagged (such as the bush example). Beyond this though, in showcases I think animation and movement adds so much. This is often done with things like particle emitters, but another example is the floating candles in Aerial’s spring rock showcase. You can easily create a script to loop through all objects tagged “Float”, and give them a tween to float. Now when you copy and paste that candle, it’s already tagged and ready to float. In my recent project I’ve used this to easily create scrolling GUI monitors, rotating gears, floating effects, etc. that are all done on the client (so no server impact) and it’s incredibly dynamic. Even if you’re not a scripter though, it may be good for your workflow regardless.

Thanks a ton for these tips and your work is amazing, I appreciate you sharing your art with us :slight_smile:

3 Likes

Not bad for metal-head. Seriously this is very helpful Aerials awesome job :sunglasses:

3 Likes