Hitachi 5050

Prop Breakdown

Sahil Thakur


Sahil Thakur

Senior Environment Artist


Greetings! I'm Sahil Thakur, a 3D Environment Artist hailing from the vibrant city of Chandigarh, India. My journey into the world of 3D graphics was quite unexpected.
A significant moment in my life pushed me to try something new, and that led me to explore animation.

Even though I didn't know much about it initially, 3D became part of my course—a perfect mix of creativity and the clear logic of precision. Embracing this unforeseen opportunity, I immersed myself in learning.


In every project, my primary objective is to surpass my previous efforts continually. I strive to push my boundaries, unlocking new techniques, particularly in the realm of texturing.

Recently, the opportunity to work on the Hitachi 5050 at 13Particles Studio opened new avenues for me. In this project, my goal extends beyond just personal growth; I aim to represent my artistic vision in a way that not only meets but exceeds expectations.

The challenge of this project fuels my passion for creating, innovating, and delivering exceptional results, all thanks to 13Particles Studio.


  • 3DS Max
  • Substance Painter
  • Zbrush
  • Unreal Engine 5
  • Affinity
  • PureRef


When I’m in the reference-gathering zone, it’s not just about sticking to what I’m creating—I like to shake things up a bit. Think of it as exploring different angles and even checking out stuff unrelated to my project.

This helps me get creative in various ways, from nailing down the color scheme to spotting intriguing shapes in the tiniest and grandest details.


I’m all about collecting references, especially for texturing. It’s not just about making my work look realistic; I want it to have that AAA gaming vibe.

To keep things organized, I rely on PureRef—a kind of visual board where I toss in image links and screenshots from videos.


Now, here’s the secret sauce: I make sure to find references in different lighting too. Why? Because roughness reacts differently in various scenarios.

It’s like catching your creation in action under different lights, and that can make a big difference in how it all comes together.

So, it’s not just about what I’m making; it’s about discovering beauty in unexpected places, even how it plays with light, and weaving it into my creative vision.


Blocking is key because it helps make our game prop real-life-sized.

The blockout mesh is like our creative playground, easy to shape however we want.


Quick Tip

I always grab a mannequin model for detailed references. It helps us nail down the specific parts we might miss with just dimensions.

Blockout is a time-saver. We can try wild designs without the complexity of the final model. It’s like a sandbox for smart and efficient creativity. If we need changes later, blockout is the golden moment, saving tons of time compared to tweaking the final model.

So, in a nutshell, blocking isn’t just about creating; it’s about creating smart and efficiently bringing our ideas to life.


Now, let’s shape up our blockout mesh, and a quick reminder—always keep that blockout as a backup.
You never know when it might come in handy, especially if changes are on the horizon.

First up, the high poly mesh. While it’s not a must, I prefer getting the shapes right before diving into optimization. Most of the high poly work happens in Maya, but for those edgy damages, a sculpting software like ZBrush can be a time-saver.

If you’re new to sculpting, take it easy, use a few basic brushes, and focus on the edges. Luckily, in this model, extensive sculpting isn’t necessary because Maya did a lot of the heavy lifting.

Quick Tip for modelling

Keep your reference on top, compare side by side, and observe how the real-life shape is coming along. If things start going south, step back from the screen for a fresh look.

When giving shape, stick to low segments. Many artists make the mistake of adding too many segments for a better shape, but trust me, it can be a headache when tweaking time rolls around.

When you’re doing detailed modeling, choose a shiny material. It helps you see problems like deformities, pinching, or odd bits more easily.

Now, for the gaming assets dilemma—what to bake and what to shape in low poly? It varies from project to project. For hero props or portfolio pieces, give detailed shapes even in low poly.

But, remember the poly limit. Always add segments where needed, especially for circular and extruded parts, because they bake better. And a golden rule—try to bake in real-time while working on the low poly mesh. It saves a ton of headaches later on.

Uving and Baking

I make an effort to keep my UVs as straight as possible for proper baking, although it’s not always feasible for complex or rounded shapes.

When dealing with such parts, I strategically place seams where they can be easily hidden during the texturing phase, using methods like triplanar or cloning. Ensuring proper smoothing groups is crucial to minimize baking errors.

I prefer Marmoset for normal map baking due to its control over caging, skew parts, and handle the rest in Substance Painter.

Small baking errors are inevitable, but they can often be easily concealed during the texturing process, so there’s no need to stress over every detail.

Texturing with a Tight Deadline

Facing a tight deadline in my favorite part of crafting a 3D prop—texturing—poses a challenge. Yet, it’s where the magic happens, bringing life to 3D assets. My go-to is the ACES color space for photorealistic renders, leveraging its broader dynamic range and ultra-wide color gamut.

Opting for Studio 05 or Tomoco HDRI in Substance Painter ensures a black-to-white color range for proper Hues values in the model.

In this swift process, keen observation is key. Decide on the details to incorporate from the collected references without deviating from your original vision.

My primary goal in texturing is to infuse vibrancy into the albedo and roughness maps, ensuring proper PBR values.

Using a variety of stencils, custom masking, and Substance Painter’s built-in Smart Masks like Sand Cavities or Sand Dust, I achieve nuanced effects, carefully tweaking parameters for desired outcomes.

Creating variation in color and roughness involves blending noise maps and masking them using tools like Mask Builder.

I rely on grayscale texture maps to add depth and intricacy. For hues, I prefer using mega scan texture maps, extracting albedo, and seamlessly blending them with masks and stencils.

This workflow ensures a rich visual experience while managing tight timelines and Same time try to test your texturing process with different lighting scenarios in basic lighting setup with any rendering Software it can be marmoset or Unreal engine etc.

Allow me to share a brief breakdown of my primary material, showcasing how I build the base and intricate details for a clearer understanding of my workflow.

Rendering Rendering: Crafting the Visual Story

When it comes to rendering and lighting, Marmoset and Unreal are my go-to for smaller setups. After the texture work is done, the real fun begins—presenting the assets convincingly.

It’s about choosing the right camera angles, focusing on specific parts, and using lighting to narrate a subtle story around the asset.

Post-texturing, explore the internet for inspiring setups and play with various camera angles, paying attention to focal lengths.

Start with a fundamental three-point lighting setup, then gradually elevate it to discover that “wow” factor in your chosen angles.


Beyond images, dive into videos to gather diverse camera angle ideas and apply them to your project.

Use highlight lights strategically to make your asset pop from the background, create contrast, and follow fundamental design principles like the rule of thirds, shape, color, and positive/negative space.

Marmoset’s versatile camera options, including light DOP, curves, and color correction, offer a playground for enhancing realism.

Experiment with different lighting setups for each camera angle, playing with colors, highlights, midtones, and shadows. Adding a touch of chromatic aberration, bloom, vignette, and grain intensifies the realism.


An essential tip is to try various HDRIs, incorporating directional lights for highlights. Pay attention to the light’s position, observing how shadows behave, and prioritize a higher camera focal point for added impact—mostly I used 80mm or higher.

In close-up renders, leverage lighting and depth of field to spotlight specific areas, shaping a visual narrative that enhances the overall storytelling impact.


Let’s highlight some fundamental principles. It’s essential to avoid overwhelming a single project with every idea; instead, filter and choose the details that truly enhance your vision.

In this dynamic industry, continuous learning is a given, but it’s crucial to acknowledge that mastery takes time. Patience is key, whether you’re working on a small or large project. Resist the temptation to copy—instead, draw inspiration and carve your unique path to achieving results.

Set challenges for yourself and embrace the learning journey, recognizing that every project, successful or not, contributes valuable experience.

Cultivate new skills, and whenever possible, indulge in creative hobbies. Constantly explore the internet for fresh techniques to tackle challenges and refine your craft and always take feedback in a positive note.

Remember, progress in this field is a gradual accumulation of experiences and skills, not an overnight achievement.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article.

I want to express my sincere appreciation to for providing me with the opportunity to showcase and break down my work. Your support is truly valued!