(It's not an AKS-74u, I swear)
And a close-up of the ironsight
The above is the blockout; now I'm moving on to the highpoly. Some parts are already sub-d. There aren't many references for the OTs-12 but since it shares ~90% of its parts with the AKS-74u I've been using pictures of that for additional ref.
I diverged from the OTs-12 in a few areas: The iron sights for example are standard AKS-47u iron sights rather than the abomination that appears on the OTs-12; and I've also included a Stormwerkz weaver rail, which I might put a PK-06 on. I'm also considering including two types of ammunition for the magazine, SP-5 and BP 9x39 rounds.
My main concern will be texturing; I want to really push my simple shapes and base materials. I might also end up waiting for new software to arrive (qs 1.9/megascans/quixel gpu baker) and use this project to test those out on.
no no no no no no no! dont rely on those things as a crutch. you dont need things like that to make your work look good.
I'm also curious as to how the GPU baker will handle AO vs modo. Any way to speed up or improve baking will be welcome.
This is one of the references I have for materials and texturing:
I'll experiment with that kind of steel as well as the more typical black painted metal that you see on modern AK's.
This is my first time using the 'detailed blockout' or 'midpoly' workflow, and so far I have to say I'm a fan. Getting the highpoly done was faaast. But I won't get a complete sense of its differences until I move on to the lowpoly. I've already had a few pieces that I've had to tweak when doing the high, which means I have to go back and edit the midpoly with the same changes... but it's not too bad. You just need to plan more carefully.
Still have some details to do; some stuff will be done in nDO (mostly text and symbols); I might also give the skeletonised stock a sculpting pass as it's got some welds on it and other little characteristic dints etc.
Yeah... I changed its proportions slightly; though I think the inset on the lower foregrip can be quite smooth. The older design with the insets on the upper part seems to have universally sharper edges on the lower indent; might just be something that varies over time / from manufacturer.
Anyway, made some small changes, mainly adding details to the gas block.
While B certainly does look better, it comes at a significant cost. It also has a more obvious normal map border around the extrusion geo that the 8bit normal map doesn't completely cover. It probably wouldn't be noticeable when textured, but it will get worse as normal map res / mag texel density lowers.
Since I'll probably be using a fairly high texture res for this (maybe 2048x4096) it might be worth using the extra geo; I'm not quite sure. The difference isn't huge, but it is noticeable.
This method is the best way I think. Unless there is a specific reason, you don't need to have completely contiguous geometry.
Also, using floaters isn't that much cheaper. I did a test bake with that too, and it ends up being 1584 verts for the floated mag. I could use this and (since the floated pieces are baked to the flat mag as well) have the floaters only on the left hand side, saving a decent # of verts. But I think I will go with 'B' anyway. 'A' can be lod1 using mip1 if necessary (This asset is designed with first and third person in mind, so a game like ARMA where you can free-look in third person).
You could further optimize those bumps if you wanted to, no real reason to have double supporting loops around them for instance.
Generally the best way to decide this stuff is to actually look at it from the intended viewing angle. Will this mag be seen up close in FPV? Or will it be off screen, and only visible motion-blurred in a reload anim?
Also some of the triangulation on the higher-res mag makes me cry. Those super long thin tris will cause issues at lower mips.
Thanks for the advice. Today I'm going to bake, and consider how to do the welds (Zbrush or SP...) and maybe set up the plywood texture to project over the highpoly.
Now to bake AO and figure out the best way to get a good curvature map.
@Sean & Ben: Thanks! Here's the right side:
15k tri. Will include full and empty mag.
that replica pic has a very nice side view
your magazine also looked very thick on the first shots, but hard to tell in the latest pic
aside looking nice so far
Rule of thumb with normal mapping, if the geometry isn't helping define the silhouette of the model, bake it! I don't think it's necessary for the extra geometry if it doesn't significantly help with the overall shape. Even though if it is self practice, you'll want to keep in the mindset of baking details in instead of keeping them as actual geometry. With good PBR textures, it'll still look top notch anyway.
I'd stick with A.
It's accurate. It's for 9x39 (not 5.45x39), so it has to fit some pretty wide rounds. I even checked by packing the mag. And thanks!
Not necessarily. Sometimes it's important to spend extra geometry to correct the shading of a model (sometimes without changing the silhouette) so you can keep more pieces continous in their UV's. And sometimes you have to place a few verts to avoid skewing in certain areas.
I ended up extruding those bumps to keep the mag looking chunky in first person, but doing as Earthquake suggested and only having the single loop. Which worked fine.
I think its important to consider the angle from which the detail is viewed.
Since this is mostly likely a 1st person weapon, You'll probably view it from the rear, and the viewing angle on the magazine will be almost tangential.
That can end up making the detail on the clip looked weird, if its baked in the normals.
I Hope I'm making sense, since its kinda hard to explain, but baked normals always look better when viewed upfront, or in a slight angle.
So to sum things up, I think you made a good choice by modelling these bumps.
Overall you did a nice job, and I'll be subbing for the textures!
Extra shots: Barrel, Side close up, First Person View.
Going to experiment with two other finishes (Black Laquer, which I think will look terrible, and Parkerized, which will probably end up being the boring/clean version) just because making variants is fun and easy. The wood is placeholder until the 30th when megascans goes open beta and I can stick together a nice PBR plywood sheet to project onto this thing. I might even give some of the other variants different types of wood just for fun. I can also change which pieces get which finish at any time, so it could be a frankengun made from mismatching parts if I wanted.
The sling uses a 512x256 texture map with albedo / roughness (probably unnecessary) / normal
Also changed the metal to be a bit less cloudy noise. I'm also wondering how I can get some nice big shapes in there with a bare metal texture like this, as well as how I can add in colour variation while remaining subtle and not too stylised.
I want a sling on mine now
edit: reference for the above. Only difference is mine is BP rather than SP-6, hence the black rather than blue paint.
Started some wear on the mag, made a few tweaks and imported my holosight (because why not).
But I do quite like metalness. The efficiency of it (both in authoring content and the total memory used) appeals to me.
Thanks. You don't see slings very often do you? They are rather fiddly to create. I might make some changes to it yet I was thinking of maybe wrapping something around the stock, we'll see.
you really oughta do this for the handguard
sure, but don't forget that making it look cool is more important than making it 100% realistic
...speaking of, how's this for boring realism:
A simple black parkerized material.
And here's a second version with the folded stock, empty mag, and a harsher lighting env.