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Towards a portfolio

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Bek greentooth
Hi. I'm going to use this thread as a compilation of my past works and current projects; the end goal being a worthy portfolio.

Here are some past works you might have seen before:

TOZ-120 Shotgun (Old thread) (Uncompressed)


Scimitar (Uncompressed)


Rapier (Uncompressed)


VSS Vintorez (Old thread) (Uncompressed)


And my current work in progress, the Swiss Twinbow II crossbow. This also has an old thread; from when I was a tremendous noob and thought bevelling was how to make sub-d stuff rather than edge loops. I decided to revive the old model, clean it up and make the lowpoly. Polycount helped get me where I am now; feedback from you all has been wonderful.



This is the first rough texture pass. I'm using 4096x2048 for this (I think I'm becoming a fan of 2:1 texture ratios) with Diffuse, specular, gloss and TS normals.

Tech specs:

Tri: Was 8662 (Now 8365)
Real Verts: Was 8378 (Now 8365)
Efficiency (Real verts / tris) = 0.967) (Now 0.969—slightly worse but overall less verts, which were unnecessary anyway)

Reference (Google Twinbow II if you want to see more)

The next big things I need to consider are how I'm going to tackle the wood. I could possibly also do a variation with a carbon fiber stock.

Any comments, criticisms etc are welcome, if there's anything I post that I shouldn't include in a portfolio (The scimitar is the weakest piece I've included IMO) let me know. Thanks everyone.


  • Harford
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    Harford polycounter lvl 7
    Some nice work in here Ben, The new crossbow is looking especially cool too.
    The wood had some nice wear on it, it would be nice to see you do more worn textures on future objects. Carbon fibre stock variation is a good idea, having a few weapon setup options and textures would make a nice portfolio piece too
  • Shrike
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    Shrike interpolator
    The models look good, but you have to work a lot on your texturing.
    Base color may work alright if you have a IBL environment or a really strong lightsetup / offline setup, but for game art its just not enough. Get some drybrushing, edge wear, dirt, rust maybe, difference in specularity and glossyness.

    Also your renders are partially in a really bad gamma range. Either your lighting / textures are problematic or you saved in 256 colors.

    also dont use a Green/blue skybox / cube / hdri with a red asset, thats 1 color too much, and that hurts : P
  • Bek
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    Bek greentooth
    Thanks Joe, I'll definitely try to do some more worn stuff in the future. I'm not sure the bow would suit a terribly worn texture, but I'll be adding some small scratches etc.

    Shrike, thanks for those pointers—I fixed the images in the OP; the compression was causing problems. Texturing is definitely something I need to work on; I might choose my next few projects based on improving this skill set.

    Noted about the skybox colours too, thanks. The above stuff is in toolbag 1.10; usually I use either the Pisa or Pine Forest environment.

    Will probably post another update tonight on the texturing.
  • DWalker
    The blades on the rapier and the scimitar are much too short. The rapier especially is known for its long, thin blade used most often for thrusting. The hilt is also too smooth; the wrapping can be handled in the normal map, but it should be present.

    The barrel on the shotgun looks too shiny. Most working weapons (as opposed to show pieces) have a blued steel finish to protect against rusting.
  • Bek
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    Bek greentooth
    Good points DWalker, I will lengthen the rapier blade at some point—the camera angle doesn't help either... When I host this stuff on a website I'll have more images at different angles. The scimitar was modeled to a reference and I'm pretty confident it's the correct length for a 1-handed sword.

    For the rapier, this is the reference I used—possibly not the most practical design but the swept hilt is unnecessarily fancy too.

    Small update on the twinbow; I tried out the carbon fiber scheme and it doesn't look too bad—UV seams are slightly more noticeable but you'd have to be looking to see them, and it's not obvious from a first person view either.

  • LMP
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    LMP polycounter
    Overall, pretty solid. I feel that a little more wear or light grunge would help in polishing up the quality.

    Some subtle spec map grunge on the metal would work nicely.
  • Bek
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    Bek greentooth
    Here's a small update to accommodate your suggestions re: more grunge and wear LMP / Shrike.


    Specific reference for the above

    Also, first person view:


    To do:

    • UV / Texture scope (I'd love to give this a Kobra red dot but that might have to be a later addition)
    • Figure out how to do the wood. I'd like to do more than just photo overlays with basic tweaking but I'm not making much progress on hand-painting wood yet.
  • Bek
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    Bek greentooth
    Some progress:


    I'll keep tweaking the wood and I'll probably add some of the metal wear to the normal map soon.
  • Shrike
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    Shrike interpolator
    Thats still very far from what you actually need in terms of wear
    The surface gloss change is nice, but your wear is non existant

    I did a fast paintover


    I hope this gives you a better impression
    Obviously my stroke quality is very low on the pic, that can be a lot better
  • Bek
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    Bek greentooth
    First, thanks for the paintover, that's helpful at seeing what you mean. And I appreciate that you'd take the time to help me out.

    I should admit that I'm not the biggest fan of wear on my models. I like the subtler wear and tear rather than the ww2 relic look. Wear can certainly look amazing (Millenia's stuff comes to mind, as does Ben Bolton's AKM) and is great for showing off texturing skill but I don't think it suits this model particularly well. I guess wear is quite contextual. If this were being made for a zombie game then maybe it'd gather a lot of wear. I suppose I could, like with the Vintorez, do a worn and unworn version... but I've got other stuff to work on too.

    I can't actually find any references of wear for this crossbow either (even the one in resident evil 2 or whatever seems fairly undamaged). Some pictures from owners on forums have a little bit of smudging around the handle area, but no actual damage to the metal frame. Unlike the Vintorez this isn't made with cheap plywood either so it would be a bit more robust. Although in googling I did find someone has made their own version for a Shadow of Chernobyl mod—surprising and awesome. I might have to give it a go just to see how they animated it.
  • silkroadgame
  • Bek
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    Bek greentooth
    So I became so keen to give this a kobra red dot I ditched the already done high and low of the hunting scope and started this last night. Here's where I am tonight:


    The low is about 80% done too.
  • Bek
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    Bek greentooth
    Lowpoly + normal map:


    Tri: 1468
    Real verts : 1246
    Efficiency: 0.848

    Going to ndo in some details, then start the textures. I might be able to get away with either no diffuse or a tiny diffuse map for this, and have all the details in the normal and specular/gloss.

    Also wondering if/how I could do the actual red dot in the lens in marmoset; will have to play around with that.
  • Bek
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    Bek greentooth
    Started the texture for the Kobra:



    Currently it is 1024^2 normal, specular and gloss (no diffuse). The lens is a separate item with a 128^2 diffuse and alpha.
  • Bek
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    Bek greentooth
    Small progress update:


    Quick play around with different colours:


    And thanks to a suggestion from Bardler in the polycount g+ hangouts, I've changed the top horizontal red dashes to have a different depth than the vertical dash, so that when you view them at an angle they move by different increments, which is apparently how these function in real life (I assume so you can judge depth better).

  • Bek
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    Bek greentooth


    Currently I'm only making minor tweaks to the texture here and there. The plan is when TB2 is released in a week I'll post up my final images, perhaps some tb1/tb2 comparisons and all the technical stuff (wireframes etc) and some close ups of certain spots, as it is hard to show off the detail in some areas. I might even need a hq gif or video since all the cool stuff is in the spec and gloss. I'll include some of the variations too; definitely at least the red wood and the carbon fiber.
  • joeriv
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    joeriv polycounter lvl 7
    my personal opinion:

    -For the bow I would look at taking pictures from some more interesting angles, for example:

    For screenshots that aren't fp-view, show off that front of the gun where most of the interest is, instead of from the back wich is 2 cylinders and a rectangle.

    I'm pretty tired atm, so I hope this wall of text makes sense, if not I'll do some quick copypasting/comparisons in PS to make it more clear.

    It's hard to explain, but you have all the basic shapes okay, but you are just missing that "chunkyness", and missing a bit of those more subtle things wich make the real thing so interesting.

    try to maybe take a screenshot from the same angle from a screenshot like this:
    and really compare them critically, and sometimes it's also in the small details, the cord for example, it has these taped ends and not just the exact same thickness/texture over the whole thing.

    The bolts may be somewhat correct in size (you probably had an image of the side to model from), but notice how on the real thing they nicely stand out (also in texture), wich gives it that nice "bunch of parts that are bolted together" feel, like they are keeping everything together, while in your model they are just these random small dots/screws.

    Another concrete example would be that cylinder with that sort of fin thing at the end of the bottom tube at the stock.

    or these metal lines in the grip:
    (and this also counts for the texture for this part)

    -texturing: overall I'd push things a bit more, most of the assets look a bit boring in a way.
    And I don't mean you have to add large amounts of grunge and wear, clean assets are nice to, but atm most of them (with the schotgun/scimitar/rapier mostly) feel like you put in some basic values, added a supersubtle overlay that isn't visible at all anymore if you are not superzoomed in and called it done.

    -wood: yours has this very cg look going on, and something I noticed to in the vintorez stock, all the wear just feels very much like it's just in the diffuse, I'd experiment a bit more with putting things in other maps, and at first push that opacity slider a couple of % more then you feel comfortable with.
    Also the wood feels very uniform, as if it was like made out of that cheap plastic fake wood you see.
    have a look at this, and try to see those small differences/breakups, and also just the overal gloss value:

    get some more color variation in there, atm everything is just going towards brown, try some stuff to get some variation, add some blue to the black parts for example.
  • Bek
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    Bek greentooth
    Joeriv, thankyou! Excellent critique.

    Some thoughts: I definitely will take some screenshots from different angles. The examples you gave are a customisation of the crossbow called a 6-pack riser; it has two extra wheels so the bowstring doesn't cross the center line. This is apparently so broader boltheads can be fired. It has a lot more going on at the limb frame which is probably why I did the 4-pack when I first started this.

    Regarding the bolts/screws: Their is definitely something off about them; I think perhaps it is a combination of too much gloss and having AO/Shadows disabled in toolbag (Hopefully tb2 will be able to remedy this; currently AO looks strange in tb1. Might have to do with mesh scale. There's some AMD specific bugs too with dynamic lights which I hope are fixed). I changed these things in the following screenshot.

    For the Vintorez, the damage in the wood was also in the spec and gloss (Normal too actually, only very slightly) to varying degrees; either I needed to bump the values up a bit more or provide better screenshots. The swords were made in about two days each for memory so they're quite simple in terms of texture. Maybe I'll leave them out.

    Here's a screenshot from that angle:


    I definitely am missing some details from the references; the most glaring being the shape of the frame that holds the limbs. There's also some smaller stuff like the bevel on the rails. Some of these inaccuracies stem from this being an old project and me failing to notice these problems when cleaning it up.

    I added some blue to the spec for the darker parts of the wood; the above screenshot probably isn't the best at showing this though. Not sure how to go about convincing colour variation. I also increased the size of the screw+ nut and replaced the incorrect rivets with these. Also thickened the reload lever thing (the 'fin' shaped piece at the back / on the bottom cylinder) and the front metal brace for the frame + the two small wheels at the front (Which still aren't perfect but better than before).

    I agree that the string looks crappy, but how could it be fixed? Currently it's a 3-sided tube. You can't (afaik) give it a texture because it'll only stretch terribly when the string is pulled back for a bolt to be inserted. Perhaps there's a workaround for this but I don't think I have the time to experiment.
  • Bek
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    Bek greentooth
    So, toolbag 2 is here. I'm still mucking around with textures, but I thought in the meantime I'd post up some technical stuff which isn't subject to change.




    One thing I'm curious about is using secondary specular in toolbag 2 for a carbon fiber material. As mentioned in the beta thread, materials like carbon fiber would have two reflections, and you can use a direction map to control the anisotropic direction. How exactly do you find out the properties of materials like carbon fiber, in order to know how to create the flow/direction map? Is there some resource for this or do you just examine photographs?

    Would carbon fiber (another example pic) be as simple as having the squares for the first material having the opposite (90 degree) direction in the flow map? And having the aluminium like brushed metal effect in the specular?

    I had a quick go at this and this is the result. Hopefully you can see how the different squares have a different anisotropic direction. Any thoughts on this? These are the maps used (Albedo, flow, normal, specular)

  • Bek
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    Bek greentooth


    Still tinkering with the red wood and carbon fiber versions.
  • Bek
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    Bek greentooth


    Diffuse + Normal
    Specular + Gloss

    Time to move on to something else.
  • Bek
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    Bek greentooth
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