Here's something to keep an eye out for with you 3d modelers.. It's a more artist take on the Unreal Engine with how to render a scene, use the UDK, etc.. basically get you over the hump of dealing with a game engine but far enough you can have portfolio-ish material!
“The Unreal Game Engine: A Comprehensive Guide to Creating Playable Levels offers a genuine look into UDK, by explaining the basics but also going into detail for the more advanced user. As an artist, presentation is key for getting employment, and this book offers a genuine look into UDK and takes the tutorial process to a TOTAL new level. Game development has several applications but The Unreal Game Engine: A Comprehensive Guide to Creating Playable Levels takes one of the most popular engines, UDK, and teaches how to not only use it but also how to present with it.”
“3DTotal has produced a great, artist-friendly guide to building scenes with the Unreal Development Kit. The language is extremely clear and the technical terminology is explained without the assumption that the reader already knows everything. Additionally, the example scenes that are used for teaching in the book are well-assembled, good-looking scenes, which isn’t something that can be said for a lot of game engine training materials. The Unreal Game Engine: A Comprehensive Guide to Creating Playable Levels is a great resource for the budding game artist.”
Random question - does anyone set up moderately complex scenes with engines or just decorate in your 3d modeling app of choice?