Home 3D Art Showcase & Critiques

[UE4] ZS25 Civilian Mars Rover Project [Substance Designer]

polycounter lvl 9
Offline / Send Message
ParoXum polycounter lvl 9
[Last Update]

Hi everybody, it's portfolio time these days, I decided to make a new piece, and to learn Substance Designer at the same time!

Hopefully this will brush away the dust that settled over my portfolio over the last years.

I decided to go for a vehicle in a diorama this time for various reasons, it's faster to complete, makes for some more variety and displays different skills as well.


The vehicle is fairly simple, it's a civilian class rover for light planetary exploration. In a future where distant planets have been colonized and basic roads laid out, such vehicles become the norm to everyone. The rover does not run on fossil fuels. Everything you see is displayed on a 180 degree display in the cockpit thanks to a set of panoramic cameras at the front of the vehicle. You enter the vehicle from the back hatch, since in some cases you will need to change to lesser athmospheres.

Dimensions are roughly 9.5m long by 5m wide, 4m high.

Current work in progress on the high poly rover:

These are rendered with Xoliul Shader2

Things left to do are a few micro details and surface bits and bobs. Then low poly and bakes, learning SD and producing the Mars diorama.

Any feedback is welcome, although the general shape of the vehicle is now well locked after a few weeks of iterations so keep that in mind :)



  • ParoXum
    Offline / Send Message
    ParoXum polycounter lvl 9
    Just got my first bakes in SD done :) Very pleasant software to bake into. Baked roughly 4mil on 25k low poly, no cage, no trouble.

    Just one detail I found on my way, if after you symmetry some of your object, use OBJ otherwise your normals wont look right.




    I'll start texturing it in the next few days.
  • Pedro Amorim
    This is looking tight Vince!
    God damn, baking without a cage? What is this sourcery?! :D
  • wester
    Offline / Send Message
    wester polycounter lvl 12
    I love this design!
  • Holland
    Offline / Send Message
    Holland polycounter lvl 9
    Bake looks great! Get texturing! :D
  • doeseph
    Offline / Send Message
    doeseph polycounter lvl 7
  • Ged
    Offline / Send Message
    Ged interpolator
    such a cool design cant wait to see it textured :D
  • ParoXum
    Offline / Send Message
    ParoXum polycounter lvl 9
    Ged, wester: Thanks, it means wonders to me about the design after spending so much time iterating on it.

    David, doeseph: thanks guys :)

    Pedro: I read what Laurens said about it in the SD master thread and gave it a go without cage. I was dubious at first but really, aside from tweaking the ray distances, it is perfectly seamless. I still have to try it in UE4 though.

    I'll get cranking on texturing :)
  • wirrexx
    Offline / Send Message
    wirrexx interpolator
    beautifull!!! Care to send me a link of that "laurens" curious as hell!
  • Joshflighter
    Offline / Send Message
    Joshflighter polycounter lvl 9
  • ParoXum
    Offline / Send Message
    ParoXum polycounter lvl 9
    @wirrexx: Sorry for the late answer, it comes from this topic here http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?p=2078384#post2078384 cheers!

    Joshfighter, thanks!

    I wanted to update you guys more often but I found it hard to get to work on this before this week, had various things going on top of the whole Crytek thing.

    I started to work my way into substance, I made my base materials, blended them with masks, then started playing with dust passes, mud, edge wear, etc.

    My next steps are to bake and finish the grills that are missing right now, add the vehicle logo and tyre markings, model the headlights/backlight interior mesh so I can make them transparent next.

    After that I'll start importing stuff into Unreal4 ;-)



  • Nintendo46
    this looks very cool. Nice textures
  • coresplendor
    Offline / Send Message
    coresplendor polycounter lvl 4
    I like the design, it's really cool. But what bothers me is that the rear wheels don't have that much room to move up and down, judging by the height of the spring, and since it's a planetary exploration vehicle, there will be some really rough terrain, and the suspension will have to work a lot. Anyway, good work.
  • ParoXum
    Offline / Send Message
    ParoXum polycounter lvl 9
    coresplendor, good point there, the front wheels are fine, but I overlooked the rear ones in the process of designing other parts of the vehicle. Then it was too late :/ I'll consider that way more on the next vehicle I make. ;-)
  • Weso
    Offline / Send Message
    Weso polycounter lvl 4
    I really love this. It strikes me as a vehicle that some super space corporation designed to sell to colonists. It's big and functional looking, but the lines on it make it look fast. Every part of it is moving forward, like a Lamborghini.
  • ParoXum
    Offline / Send Message
    ParoXum polycounter lvl 9
    Thanks a lot Weso, I think you nailed the concept there with your words! I did indeed have the back of a Lamborghini in my references for the back tail lights and the top vents :)

    Update number 3 on this one, slowly progressing, I did a first import of all the maps and meshes into UE4 with a basic shader to get an idea of what to improve next. The rendering in UE4 in epic quality looks slightly softer and the lack of a good hdri map makes me lose some of the shiny details that popped well into the SD preview. All in all, added a couple logos on the rover, I need to add a windscreen wiper on the front, and do a global graphic design pass using decals, and a more precise/localized pass of wear and tear/scratches on the rover so that it strikes as less generic material.


  • ParoXum
    Offline / Send Message
    ParoXum polycounter lvl 9
    Hi everybody! Little up over here..

    Very little update this time, starting to get my head around the UE4 lighting and cubemaps a bit better this time, I changed the rover coat color, pondering whether to use the new clear coat shader, but to be honest, this vehicle has got limited amount of shiny metal, with the layers of dust over it, I'm not sure it would really show..

    In the meantime I also made quick headlights and tail lights geometry, enabled, lpvs, played with the distance field AO but had unfortunate artifacting with it, so this will have to wait! :-/

    I started to work on the diorama which is slowly becoming a small level in my head. It always starts small.. :-P

  • R00
    Offline / Send Message
    R00 polycounter lvl 8
    This is looking great ParoXum, I love the simplistic design and functionality of this vehicle.

    The only thing that throws the scale off for me (I may be wrong) is the lack of branding.

    For example: a number plate, or the vehicle brand/name.

    That's just my two cents for now, keep up the great work :)
  • ParoXum
    Offline / Send Message
    ParoXum polycounter lvl 9
    Thanks for the feedback polycrunch, you're absolutely right on the money there.

    The current state of the vehicle is still very much a first pass, fresh out of substance designer. I need to have a proper think about the branding and storytelling I can achieve with it on the vehicle, to sell the universe it is in a little.

    It is definitely on my list, I'm working through the terrain right now, and will jump back on the finesse aspect of the vehicle after that :) It should be fun to do.

    Also, I'll post my update from yesterday here, from my blog:


  • MeshModeler
    Offline / Send Message
    MeshModeler polycounter lvl 7
    could you describe your process for the sand? looks awesome :)
  • Mathis
    Offline / Send Message
    Mathis polycounter lvl 7
    could you describe your process for the sand?
    That would be cool, both the background environment and the vehicle are looking great.
  • Chimp
    Offline / Send Message
    Chimp interpolator
    Indeed, fantastic job and any insight into your process on either would be much appreciated!
  • ParoXum
    Offline / Send Message
    ParoXum polycounter lvl 9
    Thanks guys, I'll try my best to explain the terrain!

    It's pretty standard when it comes to how it's done, two way blending using vertex alpha, on a static mesh, now as this is a diorama I have used displacement mapping which gives me that extra depth to it. But it fades quite quickly in middle ground.

    The maps are just diff, nrm, rough and displ. Here's what my sand ripples sculpt looks like, very simple:


    The diffuse is relatively empty of any lighting information, as it should be:


    For the second texture I just very quickly sculpt rocks in Zbrush, really focusing on shape, not adding any details. I then decimate them to 1-2k tris and import them in max, do some UVs and then use an advanced painter to place them where I want. I start with the bigger rocks and then step by step accumulate smallers rocks around them. The texture didn't really need to tile here, because I overlay it in my shader at three different tiling ratios, one bigger, one normal and one smaller, to create a uniform coverage of the terrain wherever I want to paint a few pebbles.


    Oh and since I didn't post it here, I made an update about my vegetation work for the scene over at my blog, here are the pictures in it:



    Like I say on the blog, there's substential work left for me to do, and please do ignore the lack of polish on the rover texture itself so far :P
  • Prism
    Looks awesome and its very helpfull seeing those texture breakdowns :).
  • carlobarley
    Offline / Send Message
    carlobarley polycounter lvl 5
    looks great! would love to see how you created your master material in substance d :)
  • Sean VanGorder
    Awesome stuff man, love the foliage.
  • Makkon
    Offline / Send Message
    Makkon interpolator
    Aaahhh, I love it! It's so simple, but you alway do a spectacular job.
  • ParoXum
    Offline / Send Message
    ParoXum polycounter lvl 9
    Thanks guys for the feedback, it's great to read and see it's improving.

    I'm about to start a pass of 2D art on my vehicle now, I'm considering the rest pretty much done, except a few shader polishes to do on smoke etc.


    I made the background mainly this week, using a bit of worldmachine, a bit of cgskies, quick and dirty planet sprites, quick and dirty smoke trails that I need to add depth fade to so that it doesnt clip through geometry.

    I also rebaked parts of the vehicle with custom normals to avoid gradients quantisation on some parts of the vehicle, and polished the roughness and metalness maps to make my chrome parts come back alive.

    carlobarley: I'll try to cover that in a post when i'm done :)
  • Fwap
    Offline / Send Message
    Fwap Polycount Sponsor
    your pic isn't showing up here dude, or in WAYWO.

    Awesome work by the way, i too would love to see your substance graphs.
    Congrats on making the Substance homepage banner :)
  • Snefer
    Offline / Send Message
    Snefer polycounter lvl 12
    Holy shit this is some next level stuff :D
  • _Kratos_
    Offline / Send Message
    _Kratos_ polycounter lvl 6
    Inspiring stuff man! Lovin it!
  • StraightDraw84
    Offline / Send Message
    StraightDraw84 polycounter lvl 7
    Love the ground, got anymore break downs?
  • Tepcio
    Offline / Send Message
    Tepcio polycounter lvl 8
    I thought it's VRAY before I've actually entered this thread. Stellar work.
  • narticus
    Offline / Send Message
    narticus polycounter lvl 5
    Yes, great work!
  • Mocib
    Would love to see a version that has no Chromatic Aberration...
  • Cheathem
    Offline / Send Message
    Cheathem polycounter lvl 6
    Very cool! And that vegetation :O
  • ParoXum
    Offline / Send Message
    ParoXum polycounter lvl 9
    Thanks guys for the feedback along the way as well as the praise :P I decided to call it done today as I finished most of the the things I wanted to have in the scene. Keeping in mind it was just a diorama that already ended up being bigger than needed! :)

    I extracted five screenshots out of it, but as you can imagine most work went into the 1st one. The others are there just to showcase other angles of the vehicle.


    I'll be prepping some breakdowns such as wireframe shots, highpoly render,texture flats and substance network screens if you guys fancy. Nothing fancy there though :P
  • PogoP
    Offline / Send Message
    PogoP polycounter lvl 9
    Looks nice man, good job.

    I think the background mountains are the only thing letting it down still though. Also there's a fair bit of vegetation around the vehicle but none in the background at all. I know that'd be a bit tricky to do though and I understand it's just a small diorama scene.

    Really like the design of the vehicle though, good job!
  • Noobz
    How did you manage to wrap your brush around your mesh without distorting it on x/y. Even if I turn off x and y and only sculpt on z it still distorts on x and y making it impossible to tile.
  • razz
    Offline / Send Message
    razz polycounter lvl 7
    Damn, this is fantastic. I must agree with PogoP though, those mountains are the only thing that's quite lackluster. DOF? Haha. All in all, amazing job!
Sign In or Register to comment.