Boxing Bag

Prop Breakdown

Muhammad Abduhalilov

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Muhammad Abduhalilov

3D Artist

Introduction

Hello, my name is Muhammad Abduhalilov. I am a self-taught 3D Artist from Uzbekistan. Currently, I am working as a 3D artist at Valko Games Studios.
I specialize in creating props and environment assets.

Getting into 3D

My first steps into 3D were taken after I graduated from school. It was during the quarantine that I found myself at home with nothing to do, so I decided to learn programming.
However, after a while, I realized that programming was not my cup of tea. That’s when I began searching for directions related to art, as I used to be an artist and enjoyed creating art in school. I had also participated in painting competitions many times.

During my search, I came across a few CG (Computer Graphics) directions on the internet. I tried my hand at various areas, such as animation and special effects, among others. Eventually, I discovered that modeling was the best fit for me because I could create anything I wanted using simple shapes. I liked this idea and started creating 3D models by watching tutorials.

After some time, I made the decision to delve even deeper into 3D, with the goal of acquiring the skills necessary to obtain a job and create hyper-realistic models for games.

Inspirations & Goals

While searching for references on Pinterest, I came across a really good-looking punching bag and decided to recreate it, adding extra details. My main goal was to improve my texturing skills and take them to the next level. I considered using Marvelous Designer for this project, but I preferred Zbrush because I had enough tools and knowledge to achieve the desired result in it.

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Software

  • PureRef
  • Maya
  • Zbrush
  • Substance Painter
  • Marmoset Toolbag
  • Photoshop
  • Rizom UV

References

As I mentioned earlier, I already have a specific reference that I found on Pinterest. I used this reference for almost all parts of the project. However, for texturing, we need more resources. That’s why I started searching for some high-quality torn materials. I came across some excellent torn leather pieces that I plan to use as stencils for texturing, but we’ll discuss that in more detail later. So, with the references sorted, let’s move on to the next step.

RefBoard

First, I created a very simple shape from a cylinder in Maya and exported it to ZBrush.

Then, I applied subdivision and started to play with shapes using the Move and Standard brushes. Once I was satisfied with the main shape, I began adding fabric alphas and seams.
Here, you can see the brushes and alphas that I used in this project.

HighPOly

Let’s talk about chains. They are very simply made. I made four main chains and then duplicated them.

Low Poly & Retopology

I usually use Maya for retopology. If I’m honest, I hate retopology like everyone else, I think. I always try to use auto-retopology tools and scripts, but they don’t give me decent results, so I have to do it myself. Since this is my personal project, I didn’t need a perfectly optimized topology.

I also didn’t try to make it too low poly because I had to preserve the main silhouette of the model. It consists of 14,864 triangles with chains, without 4,192 triangles.

UVs

Next, we need to UV unwrap our model. For this project, I created one 4K UV set. Before starting the UV process, I must mention a few important points that I always take into consideration:

  1. Minimize the number of seams.
  2. Adjust the texel density for meshes that are not visible.
  3. Apply symmetry for repeating elements.

Afterward, I packed all my UVs using RizomUV because it provides the best UV packing tool. It allows you to achieve a good result quickly.

Baking

For the baking process, I use Marmoset Toolbag. I bake all maps in Marmoset, except for position and thickness; I bake them in Substance because generators and masks will work correctly. Also, sometimes I use Photoshop to fix some problems, such as not fully baked holes, etc.

Below are what my folders look like:

Below are my bake settings:

Bake_Settings

Texturing

Finally, we have reached the texturing stage. This is the most interesting and my favorite part. So, before moving on to Substance, I prepared my stencils in Photoshop.

I converted the images I previously mentioned into alphas. Some of them had lower quality, which is why I upscaled them using AI Image Upscaler websites, which I found very useful.

Torn Leather

I started with the base color, then added color variations, cracks, AO, and so on, using masks, generators, and fill layers.

Once my base leather material was ready, I added torn effects using stencils that I made in Photoshop.
In every project, I try to find textures from real life and use them as stencils. This not only helps your texture look more realistic but also improves your texturing skills, which is very cool.

Tape

Adding tape was not actually in my plans. I got this idea while texturing. I was not satisfied with just the torn effect.

That’s why I decided to add something more interesting that could tell the story of this punching bag.
For the tape, I found a really good smart material on Artstation called Duct Tape by Maciej Kuliński.

I created seven tape layers and added ambient occlusion (AO) along the edges using anchor points. I also added extra height details.

Metal

Metal is very easily done. I created a base metal, then added color variations, scratches, and roughness. I didn’t want this metal to look too rusty or very old, just simple, clear metal with some details. That was enough.

In the end, don’t forget to add dirt and dust, but don’t overdo it. Try to maintain a balance between roughness. Lastly, remember to apply sharpening and place it on top.

Rendering

Rendering is also one of the important stages. It’s a unique skill that takes a lot of time to learn. I usually use Marmoset Toolbag 4 for rendering because it has ray tracing.
When it comes to rendering, I love to test different HDRIs every time. This time, I chose the Lowa Sunset HDRI, which is not too bright and looks more realistic.

HDRI

Lighting

In this project, I preferred to use three spotlights. They were sufficient to achieve the desired result. I don’t really like to add too many lights because, in my opinion, it compromises the realism. That’s why I always strive to keep my scenes as simple as possible.

Below are my rendering settings:

Compositing

Final step. I use Photoshop for compositing. This is not too important, but I always compose my renders because you can easily change brightness, add levels, play with contrast, and add some filters which will help your renders look better. So, I usually start by adding a simple color background.

Then, I duplicate my main layer. After that, I apply the high pass filter, which is a very powerful filter. It gives a sharpening effect which I adore the most. I learned this technique from François Larrieu. Finally, I adjust the contrast. You can also add levels, curves, etc., depending on your taste, but do not overdo it with filters. It’s not a good idea.

Conclusion

As a junior, I can say the main key to creating fascinating game props is to never stop practicing, learning, and working on oneself. All the skills we desire will come with time.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Games Artist team for giving me this wonderful opportunity to share the process of creating this Punching Bag.

Thank you for reading!