Barber Chair

Prop Breakdown

Kevin Coulman


Kevin Coulman

3D Artist


Hello, my name is Kevin and I’m a 3D artist from the US.
I’ve been in the design industry for a few years and have experience working for brands such as Hasbro.


Research and reference collection are probably the most crucial steps in replicating a historically accurate piece. I made sure that the time period for each element of the chair was consistent. For example, the wood used for the chairs was oak, so I ensured that my materials matched my reference.

Another example was the inclusion of the branding, Koken, which had signature ornate features on the footrest that made it iconic. Features like this ground the prop in reality and add depth to your work. I used the imageboard program called PureRef to store my images in an organized fashion. Many of my photo references came from antique websites and eBay.



The initial hard surface wood and cushion blocks out meshes were produced in Maya. Then the meshes were brought into ZBrush to add leather creases, as well as wear and tear. Marmoset Toolbag 4 was used for baking my high-poly mesh.



I initially began with a significantly more optimized asset, but I discovered that it would restrict the level of detail in my project. Consequently, I decided to modify my plan and transform my chair into a nanite asset, smoothing it in Maya.

Nonetheless, I ensured that my UVs were well-formed prior to smoothing the meshes to facilitate unwrapping. This is particularly important for the wood grain direction, as the wood needs to be laid out in the same direction for texturing purposes.



Substance Designer was used for texturing the asset, where I used my photo references to match the wood, leather, and brass textures. Later, I imported my textures into Substance Painter to further enhance the base color, roughness, etc. I heavily relied on my photo references to ensure accuracy while creating my materials.

It was crucial to identify the areas of the chair that would be more worn from use. In those worn areas, I made sure to add roughness to enhance the realism.


Rendering and Lighting

Unreal Engine really helped enhance the presentation of this project. I utilized both cameras, Cinecameras, and some panning shots to showcase the chair in a more engaging manner. Additionally, I would capture quick screenshots and then proceed to Photoshop to make adjustments.

These screenshots served as a reference for my color correction during the post-processing stage. This approach greatly improved the lighting and contrast in my scene.



This project was an informative personal endeavor I undertook to challenge myself, and I highly recommend trying a detailed prop project for yourself.

It will not only boost your artistic confidence but also enhance your ability to create assets efficiently. Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends; having supportive individuals with shared goals who can provide honest feedback is invaluable.

We can’t see everything, so gaining insight from others is precious. Embarking on a project like this may seem daunting, so remember to pace yourself and savor the process. When you genuinely enjoy a project, people can truly perceive the difference compared to just going through the motions.

I extend my gratitude to GamesArtist for providing me with this opportunity.