Panzer Mech Klasse B

I am opening this topic to upload any progress of my work for the assignment of Advanced Vehicle And Weapon Prototyping. The module wants me to create a giant mech based on some references and images that I am free to chose. I am currently working on the blockout and colour design and I want to share with you my path in this new subject. I will keep this topic updated until the end of the module, posting also the final result and the renders I am going to use for the exam. 

I will start from the beginning.

Project Idea:

I would like to create an hybrid model, a droid based on the shapes of a spaceships, something that seems simple, but that is complex and full detailed instead. I worked in the past on some mechs but they were of simple shape and quite all modular. Now I would like to do something different, basing the shapes on these droids:



But with the colours and details of great spaceships such as


I think I could decide a final shape only starting modeling an initial blockout. One of the best works I found is this:


but i think it is quite out of my range for the moment and I would not be able to end it for April but I will use it as inspiration

Other references:

I looked online for more ref based on the style I chose, and I found really interesting pieces



Adding some shapes for smaller objects, in order to now exactly where to put each single piece, I want it to be massive ** I am just adding some flat colours in phong with high cosine to make it shiny. I will do several colour palettes of my refs before the texturing process of course. Also added a human base mesh on 1 unit scale, so it is 2 meter high and 1 long, so I could find some proportion errors and fixed them. I also used two meshes taken from the free resources of Badking, the two on the back with more polygon density, jsut to have an idea of where i can put the engine and the exhaust pipes. Yeah, the mech is going to be a giant compared to the small human.5c55f7a187fab_addingshapesforsmallerobjectsandweaponsthumbjpg5163e841f816be82bed99329ce71a538jpg

RIght Weapon blockout complete, it could seem quite too detailed, but I can ensure that are just simple shapes used as base for what I want to add in future as I want this project to became huge in the time we have to do it, of course 5c5747a3ef2b0_RightWeaponthumbjpg350fa558e24cc820d238c0a5c0c61b01jpg

First Blockout complete

As the right robot arm seemed too small to support the weight of the weapon I duplicated and linked it to the first one, adding also an electric cable for the commands and some metal plates as armor. I also completed the left weapon and arm, now I am going to create the other two weapons to create all the variations.5c5af7985d1d6_FirstBlockoutthumbjpg4662d595cecc2f77595034999b847060jpg5c5af7969d6b3_FirstBloackoutsilouettesthumbjpgfbf3a09599f49a7e37fd0e8258f74a2ajpgrender_2jpgthumbjpg03464e46a32d3878b6f53f06fb774a14jpg

I also did a first colour palette moodboard to better understand which should be the main colours of the final model


Blockouts done

Weapon 1


Weapon 2

Proton cannon on the right, Sniper Rifle on the top, with ammunitions and charger behind, and flamethrower at the bottom left for when the enemies that are too close for a shot from a gunshot.


Weapon 3

An energy cannon that does not need ammunition and is particularly precise.


All blockouts together 



Side views


Last Progress: 

Adding the cockpit blockout


Blockout chosen:

I am going to complete the second blockout, so the triple weapon as it is the most interesting weapon of the three ones made.

Here the blockout chosen



  • BlackLuxcifer

    Colour designs (tests):

    I tried some colour palettes on the shots of the mech chosen and here some samples done.


    I will try also more colours and I will add more metal textures to pipes and gears, even if just with three colour palettes there are lots of doable combinations. I also added here some coloured decals just to understand how they would work on the model and the result is pretty good, I am going to use lots of logos and decals on it.

    Progress update:

    I start adding some blocks and shapes to give more details to my mech, and for some reason in my mind I started with the cockpit and some functional tools, also to understand how every piece works and which engine makes it work or gives it commands. Next step will be improving all the gears in Tor Frick style


  • BlackLuxcifer

    Last Progress:

    I am adding some shiny materials to the meshes, with different colours to understand which pieces I am using (bolts, plates, connections,..) I have to complete the process of assigning the right mats to each single meshes because I want to create small groups of objects to export together in substance for texturing, so it will take some time. However, I am adding some juicy details to the biggest part to improve the design of each single shape of the mech and also adding some functional pieces and lights, optics and engines. Here some of the improvements, all done in a duplicate of the first project so that I will not have to retop each single piece as lots of them are already ready (word joke) to be used as low poly for baking. 5c6dad742914b_Detailshighpoly01thumbjpg60ae2920b9ac35facdc45015bae855bfjpg

    And also some quick renders with the basic setting used the first time5c6dad7628470_quickrendersnewmatsthumbjpg02b9949c09bbfee07d8497b6c2b7fa7ajpg

  • Zi0
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    Zi0 polycounter lvl 5
    Your renders are very hard to read, cant really see whats going on and some parts are shiny they become pure white.
  • BlackLuxcifer
    Thank you very much for your feedback ZiO, I am going to look for some tutorials for renders in maya as this was my first time using its render view and I just set some lights on shiny blinns materials. I really want to improve these renders during the workflow so to improve the renders reading for feedback and critiques.
  • Zi0
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    Zi0 polycounter lvl 5
    For quick results you can look intro Marmoset Toolbag.
  • BlackLuxcifer

    Since this is a work in progress for my Advanced Vehicle And Weapon Prototyping exam as said in the first post, my deadlines are really tight and I can not afford to export the low poly version for marmoset just for progresses. Above all because the final result must be, for commands of the course, exported and arranged in a diorama in an Unreal Engine project, as well as having functional mechanics for a potential rigging, therefore for the purpose of being part of a video game. However, being able to set a correct scenario in Maya I will also be able to show you the results as the project goes on until the final renders in Unreal.

    I looked online for a good result in Maya, without spending too much time on it as I want my final renders in Unreal Engine, I found the perfect solution here:


    Unfortunately, rendering with Arnold requires a lot of time both for a correct setting and for a high resolution render, so what I got so far is not the best result I could get, but it is anyway better then the first one.

    I also edited some images in photoshop increasing the exposure and gammas in order to better distinguish the lights on the corners and identify errors.


    There is still some noise on surfaces because i used some optimized settings for quick renders just to not spend all the day rendering a work in progress.

  • BlackLuxcifer

    Work Progress:

    Finished the retop and the unwrapping

    Same UVs Islands samples


    On Monday I will show you more changes in the UVs as with the baking I understood that lots of sizes have to be changed due to the baked geometry resolution needed, and so I am continuing working on and testing them.

    Some quick high poly renders made today quickly as I had not really lot of time for them in order to complete the formative submission

    There are only the necessary pieces as lots of them are multiplied in the low poly with the same uvs maps, moved of one unite on the grid for avoiding any overlapping issue.


    Testing the baking 

    First baking test made today


    Lots of problems but also some good normal maps


    Another test made right now with improved UVs maps had a better result, but still has some problems spread everywhere. 


  • Carabiner
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    Carabiner polycounter lvl 5
    If that's your highpoly in the rendered engine shots, the edges look very tight. I wonder if that could be causing some of your baking issues.
  • BlackLuxcifer
    Yeah you're right Carabiner, I have some really hard edges in my high poly, but as they follows the smoothing groups of my low poly version I had no big problems with them, I am having more trouble with small details and cuts on the cylindrical connections and with some bakings on big planes like the one on the feet, I am going to post more screenshots of the remaing problems after the next lecture.
  • Zi0
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    Zi0 polycounter lvl 5
    The lowpoly looks unoptimised, you have alot of edgeloops etc that you dont need.
  • BlackLuxcifer
    I could reduce them or even the number of faces on each single prop, but as the last deadline will be for the 12nd of April I really have no time for it, just because I found out that the baking process really needs some of that geometry for some details on the high poly. It would be super cool to have time to understand which edges I could take and which not but as the low poly is still quite good as a game assets, at least compared with similar works, I has been said I can keep it so for the moment, all considered.
    However, I will continue to work on it even after the exams have been completed and I will fix everything that I have not had time to improve. Thanks every time for your feedback and advice.
  • BlackLuxcifer

    Work progress

    Baking problems solved for the legs today

    Cylindrical props made strange shadows in Ao over other props, solved in photoshop following some good guides on poycount wiki.

    Some props needed more space on the uvs maps or more geometry for a correct baking, everything solved and the id map works correctly.

    I know we just spoke about unnecessary geometry, but I struggle on this for half day until one user on the university discord channel said to try adding some geometry cause the assets seemed too low in poly for that baking.

    Also some smoothing groups had to be checked by hand as sometimes the Script for maya leaves some errors.



    This is just a colouring test as I will bake all the mech parts before starting a final texturing process in order that all the textures could match each other.

  • Zi0
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    Zi0 polycounter lvl 5
    I was talking about stuff like this:

    You can cut a lot of vertices in these areas, Im just pointing it out so you dont get a lower grade for lack of optimization and in a game studio this would not be accaptable as an game asset keep that in mind but If your teacher is oke with it and deadlines are chasing you then you can always tweak it after getting your grade like you mentioned.
    How did you make your high poly?

  • BlackLuxcifer
    Oh i see what you mean ZiO, yeah, I and my teacher also talked again today and agreed it is the best way at least to complete the exam, so I could work more on it later as with just one month of work more after the module ending it could become perfect for industry standard. However you inspired me to try to do better from now so I would try to optimised what I can in this week as the texturing must be done for the next monday to meet the deadline. Anyway, while I was deleting some edge loops my teacher advised me to keep some of them as they reinforce some geometry I made with the extrude tool even in the low poly, bake them and delete those edge loops after the baking and see if the maps may work even on a lower geo. I did so with the last cylinder piece that was creating problem to me and it seems work for some pieces and not for others, so now it is just time to test them. I also reduced the polycount but adding more planes as low assets for baking like for the rocket launcher grids. Considering that the mech is 42 meters tall the polycount of 200k has been considered acceptable by the teachers and the supervisor of the module, but I am going to low it again near to 100k after the module ending following your advice. The comparison game chosen as limit for the module is Horizon Zero Dawn, with its Thunderjaw of 550k polygons, 24x9 meters, the only reason why my mech is in safe and massive.

    My high poly has been made at first by reinforcing the edges I wanted to be sharper with some edge loops and offset edges, so the regular shape props could be smoothed in maya with 2 level of division and the most interesting and complex shape has been smoothed in ZBrush, without using the crease. 
  • BlackLuxcifer
    Also started some other bakings today to test the maps but there are still lots of thing to fix. However, if I am able to have all the bakings and textures done properly I could use them even after the module optimising the meshes without modifying the uvs maps, so here also some colour tests made today.

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