Project & Journey
My journey started a couple of years ago, quite interestingly, when I met a very good person in World of Warcraft.
At first, I didn’t understand where this could lead, as I was just building houses and fences for fun.
So, after a few months, I lost all my progress and stopped working with 3D. Around that time, I got a job at a factory. After a year of work, I realized I didn’t want to associate my life with that line of work.
During that period, I started thinking about what I could do and remembered how much I enjoyed working with 3D graphics.
This became my motivation, and I decided to delve deeper into this field. I didn’t want to spend money on courses, so I made the decision to self-learn. It wasn’t easy since it was an entirely unfamiliar environment for me, with professional software and tons of new information.
However, after the first two months of persistent daily work, I got into the flow, and there was no stopping me. I’m very glad that I met people like Artem, Ivan, Denis, Maxim, and Vlad on my journey, who supported me to various extents.
In our field, support is crucial, and I’m very grateful to them for that.
- Marvelous Designer 10
- Substance Painter
- Marmoset Toolbag 4
Properly collecting suitable images is crucial. It’s necessary to find good photographs that reveal all proportions and nuances of the model’s silhouette from all angles.
Textures also play an integral role: to create them effectively, you can search for similar photos of relevant machinery. In my case, the challenge was having very little source material since the vehicle is quite old, and finding original photos was challenging, especially in color.
I began the creation process with a draft, which allowed me to sketch out the basic form and understand its size and placement. Then, I started refining individual elements based on the previously collected photos. The result was this model:
Once all the details were ready, including the vehicle itself, the machine gun, and soft material simulations conducted in Marvelous Designer, I imported the model into ZBrush after applying a triangulation modifier. There, I created the high-poly version, adding damage such as dents, extra folds on the seats, etc.
Here are some of the main tools I used in ZBrush:
And here’s the result after working in ZBrush. I didn’t want to add too many dents, chips, and similar elements since I intended to achieve these effects through textures.
Next comes the Low Poly stage. The approach here depends on the desired outcome. You can aim for a highly optimized model that retains the form or opt for a neatly constructed mesh that’s presentable.
The choice is influenced by the specific project requirements for polygon count. Therefore, I decided to create a decent mesh that’s presentable without getting overly concerned about the polygon count.
After completing the Low Poly model, I proceed to unwrap it using RizomUV. While many use Blender and Autodesk Maya for unwrapping, I believe that if there’s a specialized program for such tasks, there’s no need to complicate things. The only thing I did in Blender was packing using UVPackmaster 3, as it does a better job.
During unwrapping, it’s crucial not to forget about overlap and seam alignment to ensure vertical or horizontal orientation. Some elements might require manual adjustment if they don’t align automatically. Skipping this step can affect Texel density, which impacts the quality of textures down the line.
Here are a couple of examples of my unwrapping:
Before moving on to baking in Marmoset Toolbag, if you’re modeling in Blender, you need to assign different materials to your UV sets. This is necessary for models with multiple sets. For single-set models, it’s unnecessary. In my case, I divided the entire model into five UV sets to achieve the highest texture quality.
Don’t forget to move the overlap outside the UV set to avoid artifacts during baking. I marked them in red (for easy movement). After baking all the maps, you’ll need to move the overlap back and export the model to Substance Painter.
Textures are one of the most crucial stages in creating a realistic 3D model. If the textures are of poor quality, your work won’t attract the attention it deserves, and all your efforts will be in vain. Capturing attention is highly important, especially given the significant competition nowadays. You need to stand out among the millions of works that are posted every day.
To create high-quality textures, you’ll need your previously chosen photographs and a creative element. The key is not to rush and approach everything step by step to develop a logical understanding of this process. Texturing should begin with a base color for all elements, followed by working on shades. It looks as follows:
Next, you can move on to creating the texture of different materials. This is highly individual, and there’s no one-size-fits-all formula. This is because there are numerous materials, each with its own character.
You must learn to see and feel them. Through trial and error, you can achieve a good result.
It looks as follows:
Once you’re done with color and texture, you can start working on damage. The type of damage can vary based on your requirements. The most important thing at this stage is not to overdo it and carefully consider the nature of the damage to make it logical and realistic.
However, I often overlook this aspect, as I like to embellish and add things that I personally enjoy.
It looks as follows:
Finally, after completing work on the previous points, you can add various interesting elements to your model. These could include oil streaks, dust, dirt, text, decals, patches, and more.
This time, I particularly enjoyed texturing fabric. At first glance, it might seem quite complex, but it’s not. For a base, you need the fabric’s color and pattern, and then you can add various interesting elements like threads, abrasions, patches, holes, etc.
The last and most significant point is presenting your work. What matters most here is that it looks striking and vibrant – something people would want to examine closely and search for interesting details in your work.
Your presentations can be created with both dark and light backgrounds, and you can even make a couple with environmental objects to add interest.
For this purpose, you can utilize Quixel Megascans, where you can find numerous interesting objects that might be useful for your scene. In my scene, I used materials from Quixel Megascans, and I’m very pleased with the result I achieved.
In conclusion, I’d like to wish success to everyone who’s either starting or already working in the industry. Remember, nothing is impossible; the key is to desire strongly and strive towards it no matter the obstacles.
It’s your unique path, and no one else’s. May the force be with you. That’s the path. I’ve said it all.) Thank you to Games Artist for recognizing and evaluating my work, and for giving me the opportunity to share this article with readers.
Here’s the link to my profile, where you’ll find more renders and technical shots: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/yDN005