08 April 2022

Archery Target – Prop Breakdown – Karyna Trychyk



Hi! My name is Karyna and I’m a 3D Artist working at Wargaming.net.

The medieval setting is my favorite and I wanted to make a hero prop out of an ordinary thing, that commonly takes secondary roles. It was really fun to fill it with tiny details, telling a story and making it visually appealing. The set of software I used is very traditional: 3DS Max, Zbrush, Substance Painter, Marvelous Designer for cloth simulation and Marmoset Toolbag for presentation.

Reference Gathering

First things first, I started by gathering some references. The subject itself might seem very trivial, but still, it’s an important step, that shouldn’t be missed. Only observation of real-life objects gave me the knowledge, that straw targets tend to be slightly concave towards the center, a bit flattened at the bottom and can miss binding ropes.

Then I thought about what details I could add. I’ve come across cloth on targets during my research, but to me, a straw target is a beauty in itself, so adding a piece of cloth attached by one corner is a kind of compromise. I don’t really have a reference for the doll, but I thought it would be nice to have someone watching the training process. Though this little guy could find a safer place, of course.



Initial blockout was made in 3DS Max. I started with rough shapes to see how they work together. At this stage, I decided about the wooden stand and the size of my target, and then for each part made base models with ­even mesh density, that could be taken straight to Zbrush.

The target itself is a loft with scale deformation, ropes are created from splines. What’s important here is not to forget to check the “Generate Mapping Coords” checkbox.


I made a quick and rough texture for straw in Substance Designer to help me visualize my object in Zbrush, but later I completely replaced it with a photo-sourced texture. It was a little trial and error here and there, I used different techniques and kept those that worked better.

For wood, I did basic sculpting and projected some details from photo-scanned assets. Cloth pieces except for the wrapped bands were simulated in Marvelous Designer. Usually, I tend to make a sculpting pass on cloth in Zbrush, but the folded piece was impossible to bake, so I had to rely on texturing in Substance Painter.


Though I made high poly ropes on the target, I eventually didn’t use them, but baked one straight piece and mapped them all to it. For creating ropes, most often I replace geometry with IMM brushes. Here’s the technique:


It’s quick and flexible, and you can always adjust the curve in Zbrush to create irregularities. This is the exact method how I made binding for arrows, from a default helix spline in 3DSMax.


When everything was finished in Zbrush I moved to Substance Painter for texturing. When baking I used the “Match by Mesh Name” method, it helps to keep relevant AO from different mesh parts but avoids artifacts in the normal map.

As I mentioned, the cloth was textured entirely in Substance Painter. I started with base texture, layered some details and dirt, and then painted worn edges, holes and cuts. For this purpose, I created a set of height-alpha textures and assigned them to brushes. Torn edge was sculpted in Zbrush, holes and cuts were made from wonderful VDM brushes by Nicolas Swijngedau, which I got on the Artstation Marketplace.


Everything else is pretty straight-forward. Each material started from creating a base and further refining. Straw cards were placed by hand, small strands on ropes were distributed with scatter tool in 3DSMax.


Once textures were ready, I assembled my meshes and exported them into Marmoset for final renders. At this stage, I did some tweaks in textures and in composition, like rearranging arrows and adding scattered straws on the floor. Rendering in Marmoset is fast and easy, and you have nice tools within a few clicks, like adding a transparent shadow-catcher or rendering a turntable. My lighting setup is sky and skylight for ambient and main light, plus a few additional lights to highlight details.

Here’s my lighting setup and some tips about Marmoset that probably everyone knows.


Well, it was fun working on this project and I’m so glad to be given an opportunity to talk about it. Thanks for reading all through these words and hope it was somehow useful!

Feel free to contact me if there are any questions left.