Main Idea of the project
With this project, the idea was to create a new piece for the portfolio, and also view my improvement from last year, it was a bit more than one year ago I modeled an RPG, this time though, I decided to create something a bit different, not the classical missile launcher.
(Below is my newest version, and below that is the old version)
As always I started searching for as many references I could find, which is necessary for both modeling and texturing. For this particular model I didn’t find many references, but the shapes weren’t too hard to figure out, so it wasn’t much of a struggle.
My favourite method to model low poly assets is to first create mid poly meshes, from there, it will be easy to get to both high and low poly meshes. I prefer this workflow as it’s fast and less boring in my opinion.
After the mid poly creation, I made the high poly, which was a combination of chamfering the edges based on smoothing groups and then applying turbosmooth, and another method I really like for complex shapes is just to import the mesh I want to smooth out in ZBrush and use the Dynamesh workflow.
Of course with all those rails… I couldn’t leave them empty! So I started by adding an optic, and then I wanted to tell a bit of a story of this missile launcher, I added some details that showed that it’s been used.
My favourite is the foam sheet on the back, I also decided to add a couple of rubber bands and some nice tape on the rear handle.
Finished preparing both high and low poly… it’s time to unwrap it!
I’m not a fan of making UVs, but I don’t hate it either like I know many people do! I find it almost relaxing, sometimes a bit repetitive but still not that bad.
So I unwrapped everything manually, and the main thing I always try to keep in mind is to keep the shells as straight as I can, of course by not causing too much distortion, because this will result in better normal baking.
Baking & Texturing
Finally, after all this work, we’re almost at the texturing stage. I baked and textured inside Substance Painter, as I prefer to bake my maps inside the software I’m going to texture with.
My texturing workflow consists of creating a nice base of all the materials, and then gradually start adding details to each channel, from base color to roughness and height.
Some tips I would like to give are:
– Try to avoid using smart masks and generators alone, try instead to combine them with other smart masks and grunge maps, to achieve a certain look, which will make your textures much better and fell less procedural.
– Play around with colors, when I can I try to add objects with different colors to my asset. In this case, there is this particular color of the polymer, which makes a nice contrast with the black foam sheet in the back, and for me, it makes it more appealing. Also on the rocket, I added a paint mark, which I like and makes the whole asset better personally, it also adds a personal touch to it.
– Study your reference images, and look there which details you could be adding next. Of course, also experiment yourself, I always think it’s better to add a physically unrealistic detail, that will make the weapon look good, then sticking to reality and making it look boring, we’re making game art after all!
Rendering & Presentation
For the renderings, I used Marmoset Toolbag.
My usual lighting setup consists of a standard 3 point lights to show the main shapes. Then for the HDRI, I mostly like to use interior images, and from there I add directional lights directly on the HDRI image with which I try to highlight the details of the asset. In this stage, you really want to make your texture work pop out.
I tend to keep my lights’ color white to show the actual colors of my textures.
You can see here that my setup it’s pretty simple, even though I got more than 10 lights inside my sky!
Just be careful that with that many lights some unwanted shadows may come out.
After that I add some contrast in my camera and change a bit the curves, but nothing too extreme. And then enable GI, set all the settings to max and it’s time to render it!
I like to render it with the background transparent so I can add it in Photoshop later, and make small adjustments if they’re needed.
This time I wanted to push the portfolio presentation a bit further, by adding an actual animation, seeing the weapon like you see it animated in an actual game. So I contacted my friend Oliviero Moretti (here is his portfolio: https://www.artstation.com/mor3), who is an amazing first-person animator.
He rigged the weapon and added the arms meshes and made the whole animation. The animation is probably the part I like the most of this portfolio piece, cause it really brings it alive, so big thanks to Oliviero for that!
That’s it! I hope you like this article and I want to say thank you to GameArtist.co.uk for making writing this
You can find me on artstation here: