Blacksmith Workstation

Prop Breakdown

Arash Olfate


Arash Olfate

Material Artist


Greetings, everyone! I'm Arash Olfate. I’m a Material Artist and for over three years, my focus has been exclusively on the gaming industry, specifically in creating materials. Currently, I'm collaborating remotely with an indie game studio.


My aim was to expand my techniques and knowledge during my spare time, with a particular focus on sculpting and texturing wood and iron.

Through research, I identified the Blacksmith workstation as the perfect subject for my goal.


  • Pureref: Reference Images
  • Blender: Initial Model Blockout
  • ZBrush: Highpoly Sculpting
  • ZBrush: Highpoly to Lowpoly Conversion
  • Blender (+Texel Density & UV PackMaster add-on): UV Mapping
  • Substance Painter: Baking and Texturing
  • Marmoset Toolbag: Rendering


Finding high-quality references is crucial, especially during the texturing phase. I primarily utilize Google, Pinterest, and Artstation for reference images. It’s essential to not only examine real-life images but also study previous works by other artists in the same field.

Understanding the functionality of the prop in real life is pivotal, aiding in the depiction of aging effects such as scratches, dirt, rust, etc.

For me, YouTube proved invaluable in grasping the functionality of an anvil.



In Blender, I blocked out the model based on references, knowing that I would remesh the object in ZBrush later. Poly count wasn’t a concern at this stage. I recommend utilizing free or paid models available online to expedite this phase.

Depending on preference, you can either create a general silhouette in Blender and add details in ZBrush or make a detailed model directly in Blender.

Personally, I favor the second choice as I’m more comfortable with it. Additionally, ensure the origin point of all parts is centered.


High Poly

I increased the poly count in ZBrush before applying DynaMesh to avoid deformation in the silhouette. For some models, you need to apply a crease as well.

I increased the poly count for each part with DynaMesh to about 3-4 million, reaching a total of 25 million polygons for all parts.

You can keep the numbers lower based on the power of your machine, but as this is a personal project and I’m not going to send the high-poly version to anyone, I prefer to add some extra polygons to the model.

After that, I used the brushes and noises, as I mentioned in the pictures, to add details to the model.


Low Poly

Using the Decimation Master tool, I reduced the high-poly model to a low-poly version, significantly decreasing the polygon count from 25 million to 90,000.


Blender was employed for UV mapping. I first applied a UV checker material to ensure seam placement accuracy. The “Texel Density” and “UV Pack Master” add-ons were indispensable for this process. Optimization wasn’t a concern for this personal project, so I set the texel density to a high value of 35 px/cm and packed all islands into three UV sets.



I used Substance Painter for baking the high-poly model onto my low-poly version and baked all needed maps in a 4K output size.

Generally, for most settings, I used the default of Substance Painter.


While Painter materials and generators are excellent starting points, it’s essential not to rely solely on them.

Adding layers using scanned textures and stencils is crucial for achieving a realistic look.

Analyzing the references is also very important for this stage as you need to know exactly what is happening in each pixel of the texture, ensuring each pixel contributes to the narrative of the texture.


Marmoset Toolbag was employed for both single shots and animations. I typically use the well-known “Tomoco Studio” HDRI, supplemented by a few directional lights, especially for highlighting the object’s edges.

The camera and render settings used are detailed in the accompanying images. I found Marmoset Toolbag to be remarkably user-friendly and efficient.

Thanks for reading I hope I have helped you improve your workflow!