Alien Isolation Terminal – Prop Breakdown – Miroslav Baev
Hello everyone! My name is Miroslav Baev and I’m a 3D prop artist from Sofia, Bulgaria.
I’ve been doing 3D for 2 years and I specialize in hard-surface.
I’m currently working as a contract artist for Dekogon.
What did you want to achieve?
With this prop I really wanted to capture the essence and feel of Alien, more specifically the Alien Isolation video game.
What software did you use?
I used Blender for the whole process. From blockout all the way to the final rendering, it was all done within it. EEVEE’s rendering engine is quite powerful and you can get really great results with it.
My inspiration for this piece came from my love for the Alien franchise. From the movies all the way to the games, there was always something about the aesthetic of the interiors and how bulky, yet functional they looked.
I started off with a blockout that got the general proportions and shapes in – then started messing about with scaling and moving things around to see what fits and what doesn’t.
For the refining process, I utilized the weighted normal technique to give the edges a nice and clean look without having to bake a high poly. It allowed me to really understand how Creative Assembly created its models and the pros/cons of the workflow.
UVing was pretty straightforward, I just unwrapped everything and set a texel density.
I used tiling textures for the whole prop with some roughness variation. I had to move UV’s here and there to get some different roughness variations so it wouldn’t look repetitive.
Tiling texture setup
The sticky note was pretty simple. I couldn’t get a good result with my tablet so instead I decided to write it out on an actual sticky note and take a picture of that. I then played with the color values until I got a clean black and white mask that I could use inside my material.
Texture setup for sticky note
For the smaller details, I used Decal Machine which is a great add-on for Blender if you’re using this workflow quite often. I utilized it to place all my smaller details and even some of the main panel lines before I went into modeling them – it helps me visualize my design before I fully commit to it.
Shaders / Technical
Shading wise I utilized the drivers inside of Blender, which allowed me to make the emissive elements blink on and off with almost no effort. Drivers are really powerful and handy for situations like these.
Blinking emission shader
For the screen covers going up and down it was a simple keyframing between two positions which gets interpolated.
The main screen itself has a video imported straight into the material itself (crazy, I know)
I then took the video and ran it between two color ramps. This allowed me to separate all the white from the video and then color it green and set it as emissive.
Video setup for main screen
For the final polishing I just went in and made sure that everything had good shading, there were no visible issues and then removed some of the big panel lines and modeled them in instead. If this was going to be for a game, those could stay as trims, but since this was going on the portfolio I decided to add that extra depth.
Once I was happy with everything I rendered out a front and back and also two videos.
For the lighting setup I used two lights and an HDRI. It was pretty simple and after some tuning of the values I got some pretty good results.
For this step I took my two image renders and put them into Photoshop. That’s where the real magic comes from.
I started with copying the main layer and using the highpass filter.
This really helps push out the edges.
Once that was done I created a new layer and added an exposure smart filter. This allowed me to paint in all the black areas that were too dark to brighten them up a bit.
Some color correction was also done to make the color pop just a little bit (20%) because it felt a bit too washed out.
For the background itself, I used an image with similar color choices and feel, once that was done I blurred it out so that it wouldn’t take too much attention away from the prop itself.
Photoshop layer stack
After that I used 3 dirt masks to break up the background and add some very subtle small detail.
I learned quite a bit with this prop and especially the weighted normals/trims/decals workflow.
It was a really fun project and I can’t wait to utilize it again for my next Alien piece!
I’d like to thank Games Artist for the opportunity to write this article and some of the great communities out there which helped me grow as an artist (DiNusty Empire, EXP).
Thanks to Miroslav for allowing us to have such an in-depth look at his process. If you liked this prop breakdown and want to see more like it from other inspiring artist’s make sure to follow us on: