In this article, I will share with you the method I used, the process, and the resources that allowed me to create a realistic truck.
The starting point of this project is a concept made by a colleague, Jeremie Verbecq. This concept helped me a lot with the global shape, but I lacked information about the more mechanical parts, like the chassis for example.
So I used many additional references ( Google, Pinterest ) to have a credible model. For all my projects (professional or personal), I use PureRef software to organize my references.
Blocking is an important phase, where all the parts will fit together. A blocking that doesn’t work, can’t give rise to quality modeling. It is therefore imperative to spend time on it.
This step had two major difficulties on this project:
– Finding the right dimensions of the truck
To achieve this, I looked for the dimensions of several trucks, to make a global average.
– To transcribe efficiently all the mechanical part. Indeed, it was not a question of wasting time and modeling all the parts of a chassis. For this project, I had to define only the parts that were important enough to make the whole look credible.
For the blocking, Sketchfab is a powerful tool, which allows to visualize and get inspired by other creations.
(The models of ‘rfarencibia’ are great references https://sketchfab.com/rfarencibia for example)
To model, I used 3DSmax, and used several workflows:
The mechanical part is not visible enough to justify a switch to Zbrush.
Making a high poly in Sub-D can also be time-consuming.
So I used the workflow called “Weighted Normal”.
The Weighted Normal has the advantage of not requiring any high poly modeling.
It’s all about calculating the vertex normals to give the illusion of a high poly.
Thanks to Benjamin Boscher’s plugin, this process is really easy to set up. ( https://www.artstation.com/artwork/lV9Bl5 )
The advantage of this technique is that there is no Low poly to do (it is already done with the base mesh).
Concerning the tires, they are made with Zbrush, using the workflow of Isaac Oster (https://gumroad.com/isaacoster)
Thanks to a Zsphere, the Retopology tool of Zbrush and the radial mirror, we can quickly create the tire pattern.
Once the pattern is symmetrized, we just have to merge the whole with Dynamesh, and detail some parts, with the Standard brush and the Mirror Radial.
For the rim, there are only simple cylinders, that I merged or subtracted, thanks to the Live Boolean tool of Zbrush.
The cabin was by far the most complex part.
It is the only part of the truck that was made in Sub D + Turbosmooth.
The trick is not to model too precisely in one block. The denser the mesh becomes, the harder it will be to work with and modify.
Once all your parts are in place (door, bumper, etc…), it is easier to separate the different parts to be able to work without being disturbed by the rest of the modeling.
I also had some problems with the proportion of the door. To make the work easier, I sculpted the shape of the door in Zbrush, to use as a guide in 3DSMAX.
This part was fast, especially thanks to the Weighted Normal workflow, which did not require any additional retopology. Only the booth and some accessories had to be redone in Low Poly.
I used Topogun for the retopology, and I only did half of the booth (just symmetrize afterward)
The UVS were unfolded with the UVLayout software. No particularity on this step.
I only symmetrized the UVS of the parts that are not very visible, and where the repetition is not too visible.
Baking & Textures
The truck has been baked and textured on Substance Painter, in 3 different Uvs sets:
Cab, Chassis, and Accessories & Tire
Most of the materials have a smart material base (especially those of Munkhjin Otgonbayar, and those of Poligone).
I also used the PBR Validate tool in Substance Painter, to make sure that all the colors were within the PBR values (https://seblagarde.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/dontnod-physically-based-rendering-chart-for-unreal-engine-4/)
The green color means it’s correct for the engine.
Red is wrong. You have to increase the brightness of the Albedo.
Marmoset Toolbag 3 was used for the rendering.
I used an HDR from Joost Vanhoutte ( https://gumroad.com/l/hdris2 ). The choice of HDR is important, especially for the reflections (especially those of the windows)
The texture of the ground was not very important, and I used Megascan to save time.
Thank you for reading this article, I hope you were able to learn some tips. Thanks also to the GamesArtist website for this interview.
You can see my other works here https://www.artstation.com/alec and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me by private message.
Thanks to Florian for allowing us to have such an in-depth look at his process. If you liked this prop breakdown and want to see more like it from other inspiring artist’s make sure to follow us on :