Sketchbook: Zalek4

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Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
Hi, everyone!

I've been here for a while, and have mostly lurked around aside from the occasional question here and there. I didn't know this was a section of the site until I decided to explore a bit. 

I'm a second-year college student studying 3D art for games. I LOVE this stuff and have for a long time. I'm just now really getting the chance to stretch my legs in this medium, and I've decided to post my progress (hopefully) here for you guys to see.

This is for my records AND for critiques. If I can do something better, feel free to rip my stuff apart and tell me how to put it together the correct way. That's how we get better!

Enjoy!

Z

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  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Oh boy, a double post for my first bit of work... *sigh*

    One of my peers challenged me to a sci-fi helmet make-off (proper English?). The idea is to show each other our progress as we go, and this will push each of us to work harder since we can see what the competition is working on.
    We have one month to get the whole thing done, and we can go as far as we want to in the asset pipeline. As of the time of this post, I have 13 days to get the helmet UV'd, textured, and into Marmoset. I think I can do it  ;)

    So, let me get you all up to speed on my progress so far...
    We had to concept the helmet from scratch, and these are the original sketches I came up with:


    As you can see from the checkmark, the top left sketch was what I felt was working the most out of all these. I wanted to go for a mix between machine and insect, I was thinking lenses based off the eyes of a preying mantis, and the lower part based off an ant (mandibles).

    That changed REAL quick later on though.

    I attempted the mask in the upper left, but I didn't like anything I was producing (we've all been there I think ;)).
    Then, I don't remember why, but I saw the trailer for Alien: Covenant. It sort of jolted my mind back into focus, and I decided to spitball the lower left-hand design instead.

    This is the first picture I took that showed real progress. I'll be taking earlier pictures of future projects, but this is where I started this time.


    I was VERY happy considering this was my first go at making a helmet. I wasn't sure I wanted to keep the tube, but I decided to later on.
    I was not happy at all with how "scuba-divey" this thing looked. It wasn't quite sci-fi. So, I continued to spitball:


    Now that felt better, but it still wasn't quite right... hmmm...

    I ran into a brick wall for a solid week, doing iteration after iteration of helmet detail (forehead specifically), and I finally cracked it after a talk with the friend I'm competing with:


    Yes, these were taken on a phone. I've just had a very deep conversation with myself about why to NEVER do that again. But, nonetheless, I felt I was on to something. 

    A little paneling there, and a little detail here. Some rivets, and some adjusted proportions and:


    Got the high-poly done!
    Really happy with the symmetrical design.
    Moved on to the low-poly today. My pre-determined budget was 30,000 polys (too high?).


    Highlighted is the low-poly. I came in under budget at 29,339 polys, which is 54,390 tris.

    I'm starting to think this is too high. I may do another optimization pass after I UV everything. What do you guys think?

    Some beauty renders of the high-poly for fun (pre-rivet era :)):

    And that's where I am right now. Let me know what you guys think! I've started the UV's and I'll post again when they're done. Then, comes my favorite part: the texture baking.
    I get excited just thinking about it.
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Ok, got the UV's done.


    Took a fat minute to do them, but I had a surprising amount of free time today. Resized the UV's later to normalize the texel density.

    Even did a test bake in Marmoset.


    There are still a few obvious artifacts, but the ones I've found are all due to an offset of high and low poly models should be an easy fix!
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Finished the Normal and AO bakes and tweaked everything to my satisfaction. I started adding some details in NDO today. Hoping to finish the NDO phase by Friday. Saturday at the latest.

  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Just finished the normal map today! Baked the material ID map as well and got the whole thing ready for DDO. I'm gonna have to take a break from this until Tuesday. I've got a bunch of projects due early next week that need my attention right now.

    The beauty renders from Marmoset:

  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Woohoo, I got back to work on this a day early!

    Wrapped up the normal details and moved on to texturing in DDO. Here's the second iteration of textures I did. Threw the first pass out. 






    Going for a "bee-ish" vibe.

    Super dig how the lights are turning out. This is my first entanglement with emissive maps and I'm digging them a lot :smiley:
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Finished! And with a day left in the month I gave myself.




    Thought this looked pretty cool too:



    Moving on to the next project now. I'm still fleshing it out, but I'll be back when I've started! Gonna take a weekend to rest for right now though.

    Any advice/critique is welcome!

    Cheers!
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    And here we go again! Another month, another project.

    This time, I'm going to be "replicating" a Mossberg 500 shotgun. There may be one or two twists depending on what I like the look of.
    Here's the first progress shots, as well as the reference:


    I'm digging how the blockout is coming along so far. I should have the high-poly done within the next day or so.
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Finished adjusting proportions and added some of the detail work.


    There's a few areas that need some more attention, but we're getting there. Iron sights and a support strap for the shell tube are next.
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Finished all the details and I'm like 80% done with the UVs.




    I also decided to add some shells to the side of it. I'm happy with this project as a whole so far!
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    The UVs, AO, and normal bakes are done! I'm very pleased with how they turned out. I'll move on to texturing after I get some other "real" work done :)

    Some early renders in Toolbag:




    My goal was to keep this piece under 10,000 tris and it's sitting right around 9,212. I'm calling that acceptable. I had it around 7,000 when I got the first bakes done, but I decided to push the geo a bit to get a better result.
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Got all that "real" work done and got to start texturing today. I used the Quixel suite for my last project, so I decided to learn Substance for this one. Some early iray renders inside painter:




    Normal map details are the first priority, but I wanted to play with the materials a bit. I'm liking SP a lot!
  • BIGTIMEMASTER
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    BIGTIMEMASTER interpolator
    Cool stuff. I like the final result of that sci-fi helmet.

    What program do you use for modeling and texturing?
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks @BIGTIMEMASTER ! I'm pretty happy with it.

    I use 3DS Max for all my modeling and UVs. I textured the helmet in the Quixel Suite ("NDO" and "DDO"), but I'm using Substance Painter and Designer for this current shotgun project. 
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Heyyy guess who's back :smile:

    I've got the shotgun at least presentable, but it's far from finished. It doesn't have all the storytelling I want it too, and the roughness and metalness maps need some hard work. Normal details too. It's been a month though, and I think I'll come back to it when I have more time/experience.


    Now, it's time to move on to some environment art for a game me and some peers are working on. I cranked out the beginning of the urban-themed modular kit we'll be using yesterday.


    Worked on some bricks in designer too, as well as nailing down texel density. They still need some work, but I'm digging how they're looking so far.


    Parallax occlusion is cool :smile:

    Updates to come!
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Ok, so some progress has been made. I did succeed in making the blockout of a scene in UE4 with the kit I made, as well as making/changing some textures for it. I figured out how to make everything tile neatly and stay at the correct texel density at the same time.




    Then... I threw it all out :smile:

    After learning so much about the pipeline, I decided I could do it better if I re-did the whole kit. I think I can do it more efficiently, as well as with more variety. 

    Here's the start of try number 2:



    This is the greybox I got after about 3 hours of work. I got it further faster than I expected to. There's still a few nodes left to make, and that's what I'm going to work on over Thanksgiving break. 

    At this point, I'm trying to learn more about trim-sheets and multiple materials for single objects. It's proving a bit more complex than I thought it would be. Is it better to use more geo and use a trim-sheet method for modular structures like this, or is it better to use multiple materials with tiling textures? Any advice would be nice if anyone would like to share!
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Progress!



    I tried making a test-scene for the environment kit itself and I started to play with the lighting and materials. I was having a problem where light was bleeding through the bottom of the walls and there were shadowed divisions between all the nodes. I decided to place a large plane underneath the level to block the skylight and that fixed the problem. I also UV'd the rest of the environment and assigned proper material IDs.



    And I think I have something that's working pretty well so far! I am still getting the shadow artifact between the nodes, and from what I've read it can only be solved by combining them in a 3D package before import. Bummer :neutral:

    Anyways, next step is adding doors and fixing up the collision on things like windows and corners. 
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Ok, I've made some progress. After doing some research on how best to get a prototype scene up and running, I've decided to ditch current efforts on textures and focus on the grey box. I've made some interior walls, a door, outside stairs, and some wire-frames (pun intended?). I've made some wires for the last two as well, and I'm not sure about the polycount. Does anyone have advice on modeling wires in relation to efficiency? Are they normally 3D, or are they just planes?


    On another note, I've started tinkering with 3D Coat, and I love it more and more the longer I use it! 

    Here's a sketch I made today in just half an hour. It's amazing how fast I can concept props now!

  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    I did a lot of work for finals this week, and I think I managed to squeeze a pretty decent piece out of it.



    I'm going to work on a personal project for a while. I can't move forward with my urban environment until the rest of my team finishes their sections of the pie. I think I'm going to try to make a weapon of some sort, and a NYC subway station environment in UE4. Should be fun!
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Alright, so I did a little bit of work on both projects. I've decided to theme the gun after Destiny (the game) and try to match that style as closely as possible. Here's what I've got so far:



    Let me know if you think I'm on the right track!

    Next, I made a substance for the floor of the NYC subway station. Check it out:



    Too brown? 

    Let me know what you guys think of these! More updates to come this week!
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    I think I've almost finished the block-out. I'm still working out the details on the top of the barrel, but I think I'm about done. Learned how to do a nice AO render in Max for the high-poly this week as well.



    A detail pass is next! Let me know what you guys think.
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Finished about 99% of the high-poly! I decided to throw out the triangle shapes on the shroud. I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out.



    I think the right side of the gun is a bit blank right now, which is the other 1% of work I'll be doing on the high-poly. Then I'll start the re-topo process.

    Critiques welcome!
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    The test bakes are in, and they are lookin' mighty fine!



    Neither of these pieces broke 200 tris. I'm very happy with how this is baking out!

    I may tinker with the detail on the side of the second piece. It seems to lack a bit of believability to me.

    Next post will be the fully baked/retopo'd model.
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Back with the bakes!



    I'm ridiculously happy with how they've turned out! I may do some more normal details once I get it into Painter, but I'm pleased with the bake overall.

    A quick material jam sesh to test out the newly baked maps:



    As usual, more to come!
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Made some slight edits to the geo (particularly modeling in the grooves in the pump), and baked out a material ID map to use as a mask in Painter. Excited to start texturing!



  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Aaaaannnnnddddd here's the first set of textures! I'm dropping my top 3 here. I'm pretty happy with these prototypes considering I've never REALLY tried SP before. Hope you guys like them! Critique, please!


  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Finished! I'm really happy with how it turned out!



    The model has around 6,000 tris, and around 6,500 verts. Hope you guys like it!
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Hey all! It's been a while, but I just wanted to share my most recent work.

    These are some substances I made to learn Substance Designer. Let me know what you guys think!


    Some Sci-fi armor:


    Honeycomb:


    Just something for fun :)


    Modern wooden wall tiles:

  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2

    My first attempt at creating a smart material with Designer and Painter. I hope to make many more of these for my current project.
  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    A short 4-hour project I did for fun. Enjoy!


  • Zalek4
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    Zalek4 polycounter lvl 2
    Made a flashbang over the weekend. I tried to implement a 3DS Max -> Zbrush workflow and achieve good results. 
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