This week, we released Shogun, a 3D asset Kit featuring the structures and props of the Edo (or "Tokugawa") period in Japan. Shogun's models highlight the elaborate carving and exaggerated curving lines of the era's architecture, a time when the disciplined ideals of the samurai clashed with the hedonism of the ukiyo, or “floating world,” lifestyle.
To learn more about the development of the Kit, we talked with the KitBash3D team members behind it. Read on to hear about the process for creating the models, textures, and more from the creators that brought this vision to life.
What's the story behind Shogun?
"The time of the Tokugawa Shogunate, or Edo period, brought with it peace and prosperity across Japan. This Kit is all about the serenity of daily life. Small fishing huts and market stalls contrast large palaces where Daimyos reside. It's rich and vibrant in tradition, as the last of the Samurai transition out of their military roles to a different role in society. Our team spent countless hours researching, adding meticulous details and craftsmanship to every corner, and building authentic stories from this era. We can't wait to see what worlds you'll build with Shogun!" - Maxx Burman, Co-founder of KitBash3D
What was your favorite part about working with the Shogun Kit and why?
"Researching the history and coming up with all the little stories that help inform the design of the Kit. It was so much fun diving into the Tokugawa era and understanding how people lived, from the poor to the rich, and all that went into life at that time. An example of this is we have a small building owned by a wood collector. This person searches the forest for the finest trees to then build tools and furniture for the rest of the town. He is also well known by the children because every year he creates little figurines for only the most well-behaved. Crafting those types of stories with the team is always a blast and helps us give life to every asset we create." - Mike Reese, Head of Kits
“My favorite part about working on Shogun was during the Set Dressing phase of our pipeline. It was great fun to be able to create little dioramas of narrative in and around each of the structures, to create a sense of story and to make the space feel lived-in. It was also a blast to coordinate with our Senior Texture Artist, Alexey Druzhkov, on how to best construct the thatch roofs in order to hit both our visual target whilst still keeping the Kit performant.” - JD Havenga, 3D Modeler
“Where to even start? I can’t express enough how much I love Japanese architecture and culture, so having the opportunity to work on this Kit was a dream come true. It was so much fun to research and learn about building techniques that were used in the Edo period, from the way they created thatched roofing to how the structure was constructed to withstand earthquakes for many years!” - Lienny Ruiz, 3D Modeler
"For this Kit, we had a lot of detailed information about how things were built in that period provided by our modeler, Lienny, who researched Japanese culture and architecture. Hence, nerding out from the architect's perspective was something I really enjoyed. On the technical side we had the opportunity to experiment with different workflows for tree creation, and we kept iterating on the way we go about set dressing, this time doing it in Blender." - Luis Tornel, Asset Supervisor
"My favorite part was being able to create organic textures—they are always a challenge. Exploring a bit about thatched roof construction was very helpful in getting a good result." - Gabriela Herrera, Texture Artist
“I loved the challenge of figuring out how graphic design in the Shogun era would look. I tried to put myself in that time period and think through how these designs would actually be made. I did a lot of research, and looked at paintings, antiques, and family crests for inspiration. Because most people back then didn't have wide access to colorful paints, I limited myself to a palette of blues, reds, and whites. Ultimately this gave the kit a cohesive look and feel. This Kit really tested my design skills in a unique way, the graphics are simple but a lot of thought went into them.” - Keaton Nugent, Graphic Designer
"What I liked most about this project, aside from the basic texturing and material creation process, was the study of ancient Japan and the bronze alloys that were used, especially the construction and stonework of ancient fortresses. Just look at the technology of making roofs out of thin layers of tree bark, it's incredible work." - Alexey HRDesign, Texture Artist
“I loved the focus on building an environment around the daily activities of regular people in this era. How they interacted, how they creatively used natural resources to build their environment, and the beauty in the design of it all." - Hebron PPG, Concept Artist
Do you have a favorite model from the Kit?
“My favorite model in the Kit has to be the Luxurious Inn. I especially love the impressive scale of the structure, as well as how the interiors are partially visible through the windows.” - JD Havenga, 3D Modeler
“The entire Kit is a favorite! All the props compliment the buildings so well, there is not one model I don’t love. The extra large tiny temple is also a favorite. A lot of inspiration was taken from buildings that are 1,000+ years old and it felt extra special to learn a bit of history while creating some of the structures.” - Lienny Ruiz, 3D Modeler
“I love the models with tons of small details. I thought the general store fish flags were a cute touch and added a nice pop of color. The traditional market was another highlight because of all of the illustration signage.” - Keaton Nugent, Graphic Designer
“The onsen. An onsen is a space for leisure, where you can relax by yourself or with others after a hectic day. I imagined people in that era enjoyed resting with friends and colleagues, to refresh their body and mind.” - Hebron PPG, Concept Artist
"Inspired by Ghost of Tsushima, I made a whole set with grass and small spikes, and also sakura and bamboo branches with leaves for our trees. Special attention was paid to the wood and roofs of the buildings" - Alexey HRDesign, Texture Artist
Is there anything from the Kit you'd like to highlight or shout out?
“I have a couple of shout outs. One is to Keaton for the awesome graphic design on this Kit. I wish I could have all of the banner designs of this Kit as a print. They look so good! Second shoutout is to JD for the really well done set dressing, seeing all the props in little nooks and crannies of buildings makes the Kit come to life. Especially in the market, there are so many props in there, it really feels like I’m stepping in there and purchasing some fresh fish from a vendor. I can’t wait to see the amazing art that will be created using this Kit!” - Lienny Ruiz, 3D Modeler
“I'd like to shout out our amazing Texture Artists, Alexey Druzhkov and Anderson Araujo, for the amazing textures they created for this Kit. I'm continually blown away by the work of my colleagues, and this Kit was no exception. Also, another shout out to Sebastian Bielecki for the amazing modeling work he did on a lot of the structures, setting a phenomenal quality bar early in the Kit's production.” - JD Havenga, 3D Modeler
"I would like to shout out one of our amazing modelers JD Havenga! JD did an amazing job modeling a ton of props and several of the larges in the Kit. He was also in charge of set dressing this massive beast and he did a hell of a job. He created so many cool moments that our customers are going to have a hard time figuring out which part of the Kit to use since every inch of it is covered and demands attention. JD also took it upon himself to learn a bit more about geometry nodes in Blender and utilized it to efficiently spread stones, grass, bamboo, and other elements that would have taken ages otherwise." - Mike Reese, Head of Kits
"I loved working on making the material for the thatched roofs. Plus, this Kit is special because it was a rare opportunity for the entire textures team to participate and contribute." - Gabriela Herrera, Texture Artist
"Keaton for the AMAZING in-Kit graphic design. She really knocked it out of the park. Some of the designs I would like to have as t-shirts. JD for the amazing job on the set dressing, the care and attention to detail and storytelling really made this Kit sing. Finally, Alexey, for always wanting to do better and pushing the boundaries of what we can do with our texture pipeline." - Luis Tornel, Asset Supervisor
Ready to try our new Shogun Kit for yourself? The Kit comes ready to use in all the top 3D softwares, including Blender, Unreal Engine, 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Maya, and Unity. Happy KitBashing!