Bakelight Magazine AKM

Prop Breakdown

Denis Malakhov


Denis Malakhov

3D Artist


My name is Denis, I am 20 years old and I am a 3D Artist, who creates weapons, props, environments and hard surfaces with more than 5 years of experience.
I really love video games. My path to CG started with modding. I've always wanted to complement and bring something new to my favorite, studied to the pixel, game.

In the process of creating locations for games such as stalker and mount and blade, I first got acquainted with the 3D editor and eventually moved on to creating specific objects of the environment, working through the individual history of each.
One of the most famous projects in the creation of which I took part is a horror from the Canadian studio "ILL"


  • 3Ds Max
  • Blender
  • ZBrush
  • Substance Painter
  • Marmoset Toolbag
  • Photoshop
  • RizomUV


This asset was created for a large project by my team of like-minded people. Our team is creating an interactive museum of weapons on UE5.
It will include a variety of weapons from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day.
In the near future, we will show a lot of new works, so far you can evaluate some of our published works at the following links:

Link 1, Link 2 & Link 3

Our main focus is on the high quality of each asset. In our team, there are both experienced professionals with a fair amount of experience in the industry and talented newcomers.
If any of the readers are interested in taking part in such a thing, write to me on ArtStation.

References & Inspiration

Bakelite, from which this magazine is made for AKM, is a very beautiful and complex material. Ideally, a photo texture should be used for bakelite, but since I don’t have this magazine at hand, I had to devote a fair amount of time to finding references.

Also useful was the availability of blueprints for the magazine. The blueprints allowed us to make the most accurate model.

I note that you should not neglect the search for references on YouTube and thematic weapon sites, online auctions, etc.


Blockout & Modelling workflow

When it comes to creating a high-poly model, I use the max to Zbrush workflow, where I model my low-poly model first, because all I need are smooth edges that help capture the light in the game. In addition, with this method, I don’t need to redo a low-poly mesh after completing the manufacture of a high-poly one.

For a high-poly grid, I’ll first take my low-poly grid and add turbosmooth with smoothing groups enabled so that it doesn’t deform my shape and retains all the common shapes. In addition, the mesh should be dense enough so that when using Dynamesh with polishing enabled, there are no smoothing errors.


The left model does not have Turbosmooth and the right model has Turbosmooth with smoothing groups applied.

Then I would expect the model to ZBrush and apply Dynamesh to a high resolution of 4048, and then once it’s in Dynamesh. I would use a polish with clear edges to smooth out all the hard edges and make them much softer.

Particular attention should be paid to chamfers, they largely set the overall artistic dynamics of your work, so do not neglect the sculpture of chamfers.


And by the way, in the first screenshot, you can observe an entertaining optical illusion. One gets the impression that one magazine is bigger than the other, but this is not the case.


I make a low-poly model out of a block, adding additional sections and removing unnecessary geometry.


For the UV section, I would first set all my smoothing groups to the correct margins and surfaces, then I would relax the different UV islands and align them so that they are as straight as possible. There are a few rules to keep in mind when unwrapping:

  1. Alignment of the shells along the axes. This helps to pack the UV more tightly, as well as avoid artifacts when baking.
  2. You must unfold cylinders into straight pieces.
  3. For optimization, the repeating elements can be positioned on the same UV coordinates, and you can also use symmetry on them.

This is just a small list of the most important rules. I advise you to take a look at the UVS made by professionals, analyze them, and then apply all the techniques to your own work.

I will also note that for internal shells, I reduced the texel by 30% and sealed them. The spring was deployed in three


The baking stage does not contain any secrets, everything is extremely ordinary.


Texturing is a very important part of the creation process when it comes to 3D modeling. Often, even a model that is very simple in geometry can be improved with textures.
And even a perfect model can turn into the garbage because of poor texturing.

In my opinion, the main texturing mistake made by many artists is insufficient detail in the Albedo/Diffuse Map. This part is crucial and it requires your full attention.

Of course, when texturing, you need to constantly check the references and try to repeat what you see.


Of course, you can make various edits at your discretion, as long as they do not go against the logic of the overall project. Don’t rely too much on procedural generation. Try to use individual masks and hand-painted more often when necessary.

I started creating this material by selecting a suitable pattern for the lines. My task was to convey the lines as naturally and beautifully as possible, based on references

After I was able to procedurally generate a mask for them using substance designer, I loaded it into substance painter. Using it, I was able to get a beautiful and plausible pattern. Never spare your time to get a beautiful result!

It is no secret that human vision is exactly the function of the body that is of unprecedented importance for the perception of the environment. Moreover, vision is able to give true “visual” pleasure when the gaze falls on something beautiful. Your task is to see something outstanding in quite ordinary things.

Don’t be afraid to sit and reflect on the references, try to enjoy what you see and love it. Only in this case, you will be able to really get into the material and create something outstanding that will appeal to a large number of people and that is able to give real and lively emotions to ordinary people looking at it



The renders were done by my dear BROTHER Ivan Popov. He is a great professional in this field.

Good luck!


In conclusion, I would like to say that at first, the result will not please you, and that’s fine.
Try different workflows, spend more time practicing, and then practice again. Always try to do better than ever before. Try to improve your skills every day, only then you will see excellent results.