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South African Buffel stuck in mud!

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I just finished this piece which I have been doing for quite some time now. Fighting to get some time in for this inbetween studies and other projects. 

The South African Buffel is a MRAP, which was used during the South African Bush War (1966 - 1990). I wanted to create this vehicle since it looked so unusual and simple, yet cool. The whole vehicle is covered in the same kind of paint job and the shapes are fairly simple. So I saw these aspects as a fun challenge. How do I make this, ostensibly, dull and simple vehicle seem exciting?

I spent a lot of time with the texturing, focusing on the roughness map. Sometime exaggerating the values and contrast to get something interesting.

Decided to also throw in an older model I made of the M1919.

Many thanks to Johannes Palmblad who assisted with the concept of the environment and feedback through out the process. A really talented guy and I recommend you check him out!https://www.artstation.com/artist/johannespalmblad

I'll do a little spoiler with posting the final image first. This is the final render done in UE4. Below is a little GIF of some of the progress! 

This was the first time were I spent a lot of time in greyscale. Everynow and again when I reached the end of the day or a milestone, I decided to grab a screenshot, threw it into Photoshop and checked the values. I wanted to make sure that the values melted together nicely and that objects that I wanted to put more focus on always was darker or lighter than the rest of the environment. Creating some contrast! I'll show more of the environment further down. Time to focus on the Buffel! 

As mentioned earlier; I was really intrigued by the simplicity and "dullness" of the Buffel and wanted to make it exciting. The model it self came in different versions. I decided to do the one with a closed roof and windshields in the back to add visual interest. The "plain" one was mainly just a metal hull at the back with a open top. 

Highpoly rendered in Keyshot. 

The texturing process is where the real work kicked in. The original paint job was really rough, to avoid reflections that the enemy could spot. This does generally not look too interesting when it comes to hardsurface. So a made the paint a bit glossier and spent a lot of time in Substance Painter just painting in the roughness channel. This gave me some nice breaking up and visual interest for the viewer when viewed from different angles. A made sure to not always correspond these changes with the albedo. To have the roughness and albedo be too predictible was something I wanted to avoid. Speaking of the albedo; it's mainly one color. If we look at it from a far. But close-up we can see some subtle changes that add some depth to the texture. So I painted some subtle greens, reds and blues into the beige (along with the olbigatory dirt, scratches and wear and tear). 

Lowpoly rendered in Unreal Engine 4. 

Back to the final piece of the environment. Sorry for the skip. Below are the building blocks I used for the scene. My main focus was the presentation of the Buffel and not necesseraily the pieces in the environment. The mind set that I tried to keep during this was speed and productivity before unnecesseraily fiddling with my ego. 

I absolutely love to create tilable materials in Substance Designer so I started with creating the red sand, mud and mud-with-footsteps materials which I combined in UE4 for the landscape. I then recieved the composition concept from Johannes Palmblad and started to do a mock up of that. After that I put focus on the grass, creating 3-4 different types to get some depth into the scene. Both color and value-wise.  Then some rocks and debris to scatter on the ground. The vista was something that I really took the mind-set to heart with. Most of the trees in the scene, the characters and the smoke were all just 2D planes. I figured that I could spend the bigger part of a day to get a sweet looking smoke or acacia tree, that barely would be seen. Or I could make some really fast and they would probably look even better. No green fingers here. 

So this was a small walkthrough of my work. I wished that I took more WIP-images that I could share, but this is it! 

Hope you guys like it! 


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