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 greentooth
    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 greentooth
    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 greentooth
    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 greentooth
    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.

  • BlackLuxcifer

    Baking and texturing progress:

    Main Normal and Ao maps, fixed in Photoshop Size of main props (Upper and lower body) 4096x4096 Secondary props (legs, engines) 2048x2048 Other smaller props (Cables, nuts, pistons ecc) 1024x1024


    Some renders of the textured pieces



    Upper Body


    Lower Body


  • Eric Chadwick
    This is looking great!

    I would suggest looking closer at well-worn machines, where the wear patterns occur and why.

    Paint and glossy finishes are worn away on protruding edges. And grime, oil, mud all occur where they would be thrown or dripped from.

    Studying these patterns will help you develop more believable real-world surfaces.

    Keep going, this is great!
  • CybranM
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    CybranM greentooth
    Might be too late to change the mesh but the scale looks very off on the mech, it looks to be around the Avatar mechs scale rather than something 50+ meters high:

    The guns and markings and metal plates need to be adjusted to create a better sense of scale.

    The rivets would be like 1m wide which doesnt read well for scale, the same goes for the bolts at the bottom of the image.
    The light would probably be 5+ meters wide which also throws off the scale, it makes the mech look much smaller.

    The mechs from Pacific Rim are pretty good for scale reference:

    I think you can save it with the textures, add metal plates and human scale details to make the mech seem bigger than it currently appears.
  • BlackLuxcifer

    Thanks Eric Chadwick and CybranM for your feedbacks, I really appreciate it!

    Firstly, i tried to follow your advice and pattern Eric to reach some more realism, adding some oil leaks where necessary, playing around with grunge and wraps maps for the paint layers and so on, and I understand that I still need to practice a lot, even because this is my first real year working in 3D game design and your advice are super useful to improve.

    Then Cybran, I think you are right, that's why I scaled a little bit all the model so it is now about 32-35 meters tall, just the gap of the antennas, but the elevator doors are still about 2 meters tall, about 1.80 mt, enough to let people enter. I also think that the size would be clearlier having the mech in a good environment, and I was thinking about a battlefield, with some nemey tanks and buildings. Futhermore, I also worked more on the rivets and bolts of the weapons and main body so that should look more of the right size as you suggested, trying to stay on simple style, without too much noise.

    Here the post made today on my academy forum

    Work Progress:

    Edited the right weapon textures to add more realism, with oil leaks where necessary and some bump to the paint caused by the exposition to the climate elements during the battles.


    Completed all the texturing with the left weapon, an energy cannon Steampunk Style, cause it looked cool and it near to my rusty and noise style, but I looked for doing simple but well made things, just a layer of paint over the metal, some damaged caused by the time and the battle, oil leaks, rust, and some engine to make it seem a real energy cannon. I spent all yesterday only on this piece trying to follow all the good advices received so far even if I still need to do lot of practise 


    Also started composing the environment for the mech, a sort of battlefield, with some enemy tanks and some destroyed buildings to make it looks more realistic and make well understand its size. 


    The tanks models are taken form the website Badking, credits to Diego Teran. (  and Andrew Pistolkors.

    I simply have no time to make them from zero, even because i just need them with basic low res textures to fill the mech environment as visual components  and badking gives you the right license to use them.

    Here the work started today


  • BlackLuxcifer

    Unreal Scene Setup Work in progress:

    Importing the textures, creating master material and instances, fixing textures errors, starting setting lighting, working on the fog with cube maps5c9e8dccd0946_UnrealSceneSetup1thumbjpg66d7f1834379756535a3d4cafe574d4fjpg5c9e8dcb4d4ff_UnrealSceneSetup2thumbjpgbeba72e28d306a9fa5bb5b0ab65fb2b5jpg

    Today Update:

    Worked more on the scene today, all the textures have been set, started working on the lighting even it need more work. These are not the final renders but just some camera tests to better understand how to capture the final result. Also working on a turnable level.


  • BlackLuxcifer

    Worked more n the environment, following some good online lessons for the lighting and the fog.

    Also added more details and props to the landscape:

    Another tank, the one made by Diego Teran. ( and a set of buildings, just some assets from badking baked on simple cubes to fill the landscape and make the scenario look mor like a battle zone.

    Badking Building set

    First test of the volumetric fog, still do not understand why the light rays work near to the props but not from far away. Need to fix this things for next renders.

    Also need to make the fog more dense near the mountain in order to separate them from the terrain and the buildings, creating a sort of barrier of horizon made of fog.

    First cinematic render of the landscape

  • BlackLuxcifer
    Last Academy post made right two seconds ago


    The work done on Monday morning was then lost not because of the project itself (also because it would have been very strange considering that it includes many objects but nothing extremely heavy or compromised), but due to the program I was using. In fact, looking better on the web in the afternoon I discovered that the version of Unreal Engine on that computer in the C108 lab is corrupt and can cause such problems. So I started working again on everything I did on Monday in the previous version of the project on my laptop without any kind of problem.

    Work Progress:

    Added more props to the environment, still need to fill the ground under the mech, but at least I have been able to add footsteps and tank tracks decals and also some puddles in small sculpted craters on the unreal terrain (landscape).

    Also added dirt and mud spots on the feet so that it looks like it has been in contact with the floor.


    Added more damages to the paint and started using the sharpen mat in the cameras


    I am still deciding where it may be necessary to use a skybox instead of the fog as it looks better for some angles and maybe I could switch between them when I will make my final shots.


    Added a height layer to the paint of all the mech, just a 0,01 input on it to make it looks like to be spread over the metal surface.


    First final shot made, I am just going to update my logo with something cooler.


    Tested two turnables cinematic today

    First test

    Second test that I think could be the definitive one. Also working on the turnable diorama that can be played.

    I will soon post some comparisons with the robots of the industry although I can already say from a quick check on Artstation that the first difference is in the precision of the paint on their models, an incredible work of wrapping that requires a lot of practice and work.

  • BlackLuxcifer

    Industry comparison First Wave

    For these comparisons I decided to begin with my references, and so with Tor Frick as my model is just inspired by a concept art and so I do not have any other 3D references.

    First main critic: Paint

    Paint on Tor Frick models is simple, it is just a coloured layer with a roughness layer made of different grunge maps, but it just look simple as instead there is a complex work of wrapping masking and texturing under that simplicity. My paint is more rough, the damages more visible, the grunge maps creates lots of noises, but the decals works better, not at the same level of Tor, but not so bade at all. Obviously the art styles are completely different, but focusing only on texturing I managed at least to separate in a good way the paint from the nude metal as it is noticeable on the metal pipes in the middle of the lower body. Also the rust and dirt layers work well, even if it is more highlighted in other shots.


    In this comparison the camera angle is not really the same, but at least they are quite similar, and in my opinion, this is the best comparison so far. It is normal that the renders a different because of the programme used for capture them, but you can however feel that they are quite similar for the shapes, the cannons, the rust details and so on.


    I really like this one, where Tor shows how good he is at divide the shiny metal from the painted one. I do not have shiny details because my mech is fighting, it is made for war and it has fought several battles for its nation. Anyway, I tried to replicate the same shots and this made me understand better how to correctly place dirt on the top surfaces. It will be super useful for future projects. In this one the dirt and the mud are more spread on the feet because of the contact with the battlefield.


    Last comparison about paint wear and small details. For my tubes I used the material made for my Academic research, but I also added on it a layer of dirt based on Tor Frick style, and it worked. This makes metal connections and tubes more realistic. Also adding a light layer of height to the paint wear made the damages and the scrapings more visible. The rust damaging the metal is slightly visible here, but its drips follow the style the Tor Frick ones.


    Anyway, Tor Frick works remain masterpieces and it is quite a suicide to compare my work with his ones, but that is what I aspire to make and this will help me a lot to reach my goal.

  • BlackLuxcifer

    Work done:

    A) Work on the interior cockpit, tried to fill the space with more visible problems and played around with light and exposure to make some good renders which can not make u think about the actual issue that I am going to fix in future with more available time.

    Also improved the hologram on the screen with some screen noises and adding a panner node to animate it. The blueprints of the mech used as reference on the walls make the difference.


    B) could not find more cool symbols similar to the space marine one as use just it for all the mech would have been boring and not match the references used, so I just edited the first make to have my own version, definitely more aggressive, just used the full skull.


    C) Still trying to find other good references about unwrapping and uvs, but I have already compared materials and textures in the previous post and so far I managed at least to find out some wireframes shots to compare with my ones.

    This first onemake me understand how the quantity of details affects the wireframes and how deleting useless edges can save the polycount, even if the two models are too different each other, in terms of details.


    This others are more similar with some models from Horizon Zero Dawn. Unfortunately the triangulation of the polygons doesn't allow a correct view to do a right comparison, but the quantity of small details and objects are quite the same and so I can be satisfied of what I have been able to reach in such a short time. Obviously, I am going to work more on this project even after the end of this module as mentioned many other times.



    D) Added dynamicity to the moving foot by adding some props and ambient dust around the area of impact, the result is not perfect, but it works well in renders. Probably it just need another kind of particles to make the dust and dirt more realistic, but it will need more tests and so more time to be done perfectly, I can be happy of this first result.


    E) Tomorrow a looping engine sound will be added on the back engines just for you Greg (module supervisor), so you could her it inside the engine. I will add it also to the turnable diorama to make it more interesting. For the moment you can at least enjoy a couple of cinematics with epic music

  • BlackLuxcifer

    Final Post on the academy forum, this is the last day for the submission

    Just copying all the post from the academy forum 

    Sounds added and worked on final beauty renders. All the progress and workflow images will also be uploaded in order to show everything about this project. Uvs and maps can be inspected in the unreal project, in the Maya binary files or also into the Substance Painter files. Once i will have completed all the work on this project I will also add the maps to some renders for a good Artstation presentation as I would still improve it. I worked on each single aspect of this project at my best and I learned so many things during this module that now I am always trying to challenging myself in doing every time better than before. I know I still have to learn a lot about 3d game design, but this is my first passion and I just love doing this stuff! The overall presentation could have been more accurate but the time is my enemy and I tried to fix and improve everything until the last minute and I hope this would reward me in some way in future  D I really want to thank Greg and Tom for helping me, supporting and teaching really a lot during this course and I dedicate you to these final renderings that I worked on today after adding sounds to both Unreal projects.I hope then to meet again not only around in the campus until the end of the course, but maybe even after in some games studios, who knows D (this also applies to all my classmates  )


    (the signature is a bit of a trademark if the renders are used individually but will be removed in the event of a massive upload of all renders together)

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