Cooking Pot

Prop Breakdown

Sam Coppola

beauty
6EF55EB1-3085-4035-AE92-D2020C6AF036

Sam Coppola

Weapons Artist

Introduction

Hi everyone, my name is Sam Coppola. I’m a weapon artist at Tripwire Interactive. I’ve been in the games industry for about a year and a half. This is a breakdown of how I textured the cooking pot.
The goal of this is to help people improve texturing/presentation skills.

References

For an item this size, I only used around 3 reference photos. I use more when making weapons, but this project only needed a few good photos.

I like to take a couple of details from each reference, so the result will look like a combination of all 3 of them. I recommend using Pureref so you can watch The Godfather Part 2 while you work.

MODELING-section

Modelling

This project is not optimized. Since it’s only meant for my portfolio, I made the edges smooth and realistic. The least optimized pot ever.

Blender for modeling. Sub-D modeling for the high poly was easy enough when you were dealing with cylinders.

UV-section

UVS & Baking

Rizom is what I use for UVs. Straighten out those UVs the best you can. I used 2 4k texture sets. I use Marmoset for baking.

painter-setup

Texturing

I spent about a week making the Pot. 6 of those days were texturing. It’s a simple model, as you can see, so most of my efforts went into the texturing.
Break out those same 3 really good refs and use them for the texturing stage. Get more if you want; there are no rules.

Before you import into Painter, duplicate/flip your mesh to different angles so you can texture it correctly under the light. Setting up a scene in Marmoset is next. For lighting, a single sunlamp is all I use.

I test out different HDRIs until I find one I like and then I change it 15 more times because I can’t decide. Now you can export/import automatically between Marmoset and Painter to see changes fast.

Base Materials

  • Pick base PBR values for each material. For the pot, there are plastic handles, brushed metal, and a copper bottom.
  • Establish normal information. (In this case, it’s the directional scratch lines for the pot)
  • Add noise (dirt map or white noise) and give a dark/wet roughness value with overlay blend mode. Duplicate this layer, change the seeds, and do the same thing with white/black base color.

Details

When I add details, it’s a simple concept – you see a repeating pattern and you want to recreate it. The hard part is including all the details. Finding and establishing them, in general, can be tough, especially if your references are 700x700px screenshots. So make sure the refs are good quality, and make a list of the details you see from your refs.

I get a piece of paper and a pencil and write them down rapid fire, cross them out, repeat. Some details won’t cut, and that’s okay. A key detail I can go over is the grunge – I started with a dirt generator. It’s important to make it look like you didn’t use a generator.

So, you add fill layers set to subtract blend mode, or you can get a brush and manually paint in some inconsistencies. There are so many ways to break up a generator, but that should be the goal – try to get the details to look unique. Real-life details aren’t consistent like a generator; they’re random usually. The concept is simple, but sometimes the execution can be time-consuming.

Rendering

I use an HDRI and a single sunlamp for my lighting. I usually set the HDRI strength anywhere from 0.2-0.9. For softer lighting, increase the diameter of the sunlamp. Pretty bare-bones setup, but sometimes simple can work well.

The camera in Marmoset is powerful, so take advantage of what you can do with it. A lot of the realistic look people want can be credited to the Marmoset camera settings and just knowing what to use. Each project is different but generally, it will help if you use the following – sharpen, saturation, contrast, noise, focus, vignette, bloom. Play with the focal length as well.

I was around 100mm for this project. Also, you can use ACES tone mapping to add contrast. Chromatic aberration is great for realism, but it’s easy to overdo it, especially with metal materials. I always use it sparingly.

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Conclusion

Thanks for reading; I hope this was helpful. When I started learning 3D, I focused on learning texturing more than things like UV, modeling, etc. It’s easy for a company to teach you how to bake a normal map or pack a UV set. It can be harder to teach someone how to be a great texture artist.

I’m new to the industry, so there are still many things I don’t know, but always make sure to ask others for advice and to keep taking in info.

Send me a message on ArtStation: https://www.artstation.com/samcoppola6. General advice I’ve accumulated that has helped me – Take a break after 1-2 hrs of texturing. Whether it’s for an hour or for the day, you will have much better judgment when you look at it with fresh eyes.

Make what you like because you’ll go the extra mile for it. Ask non-art people for feedback; they tell it how it is.
Work on many projects at once. When you get a little burnt out on one, you start fresh on another.

It’s a nice cycle to keep your brain fresh.