Creation of an Old CRT TV set – Christopher Ward
Hi there! I’m Christopher Ward, a recent graduate in Games Technology at the University of the West of England; currently learning & working on my portfolio ready for industry. I have always been obsessed with Environment Art & found particular inspiration from the Half Life & Doom universes. I started to familiarise myself with Hammer & eventually moved my way up to Unreal & now I am focussing on smaller more detailed Props.
Before starting this Prop, I had just come off from finishing a small Cassette Player and while I had learnt a bunch from this I felt I could brush up on a few particular areas, including:
High Poly Baking, layering, ID Map creation and presentation skills.
With this, I began combing through Pinterest for ideas & finally settled on an 80’s CRT Television as it had a nice focal point for Presentation, lots of small details for baking & had the potential for adding Stickers & other elements on top for layering.
Using Pure-Ref I dug through Pinterest & eBay for basic references, these focused on a bunch of different CRT Monitors from a range of angles, in addition to close ups of appropriate details including manufacturing labels, graffiti & stickers. Finding isolated references for specific Materials & their reflections also proved helpful when moving into Substance Painter & working on their associated Roughness values.
Modelling was done over the course of two days using Blender, I often set up two Collections for theLow & High Poly models, respectively, along with enabling the Shadow & Cavity options in the viewport shader settings. Using the Bool addon, which can be enabled inside Blender proved super handy; Given its non-destructive properties, I was able to move & tweak the object where necessary.
Using this in conjunction with the Bevel modifier allows for clean & easily modifiable carves. Vents were added through the addition of a few Array modifiers and lastly, Screws were also added where necessary with Blenders Bolt Addon.
UVin’g & BakingWhen moving onto the Low Poly, expensive details that didn’t really affect the overall silhouette of the object were removed for baking, these included areas such as the Vents, Screws and the grips found on the buttons; lastly, all Bevel modifiers were heavily reduced.
With the basic Low Poly done, I began on the ID Map with Vertex Paint mode & setting each face with the appropriate colours; UV’ing on the other hand was done manually & through Blenders Sharp edge selection option.Lastly, baking was done through Marmoset, which allows for super clean bakes & the addition to quickly preview & offset areas where necessary.
Low Poly, UVin’g & Baking
When moving onto the Low Poly, expensive details that didn’t really affect the overall silhouette of the object were removed for baking, these included areas such as the Vents, Screws and the grips found on the buttons; lastly, all Bevel modifiers were heavily reduced.
With the basic Low Poly done, I began on the ID Map with Vertex Paint mode & setting each face with the appropriate colours; UV’ing on the other hand was done manually & through Blenders Sharp edge selection option.
Lastly, baking was done through Marmoset, which allows for super clean bakes & the addition to quickly preview & offset areas where necessary.
When it comes to Texturing, I often focus on larger elements first then work down, finishing with adding all the Storytelling elements. This first involves the addition of a couple of Smart Base Materials for each Colour on the ID Map; I often go in & remove, adjust & add elements that were needed in each one.
Smart Materials on their own obviously will not do, so I created a few paint layers for adding larger dents & scratches, most of which are found just around the Metal frame. Given one of the main goals when setting out with this project was to learn more about the layering system in Painter, I wanted to add some Stickers & Tape.
The latter was done through the addition of a Fill layer & a Paint Mask to add Tape where needed, the base Roughness was varied through the addition of a Fingerprints Procedural mask with a Levels Adjustment on top. The Stickers on the other hand were done through Photoshop, I gathered an array of Stickers & decals in a 2046 Document & made a few custom ones as well as some Labels. Each of their maps were then exported & added through the Stencil tool.
One thing often missed with stickers is that the underlying Material’s Normal often bleeds through the sticker showing wood grain for example on what should be a flat surface, this can be sorted through simply changing the Blend Mode on the Height & Normal maps of the Stickers where appropriate.
Export & Presentation
In terms of Rendering & Presentation, I used Marmoset Toolbag & had a 3 Point light setup, with a Fill, Key & Backlight with varying Colours to get an appropriate render.
I often get the Model into Marmoset super early on & begin thinking of basic Camera angles I could use, once you get the basic export settings sorted in Painter you can quickly export changes super quickly & efficiently.
Along with this I love to have a small Video as the main shot, I set up a small Scene with some stacked Television Sets & varied their screens with two being on & the rest turned off; A Camera with a fairly low FOV of 20 or so was used to set up a basic Panning shot from top to bottom, these frames were then copied & reversed to create a smooth, repeating pan.
When it comes to Screenshots, each shot has their own Skylight setups for appropriate reflections in each one, I usually then test a few shots on lower render settings & adjust these higher when I am fully happy with the result. These will then go into Photoshop & can be sharpened up often using a High pass filter & setting the blend mode to overlay & reduce the opacity slightly ready for Artstation.
Thanks ever so much for giving this Article a read & thank you to GamesArtist for providing the opportunity, hopefully, you’ve found something useful from this!Feel free to check out my work here on Artstation: artstation.com/cwardee