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Vahl's work thread (aka wtf have I been doing) - Large pics

polycounter lvl 14
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vahl polycounter lvl 14
Update 4, Deus Ex 1 week environment:
from http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1320320#post1320320 down

samples :

Update 3, Material Samples :

sample : MaterialsTests01.png

Update 2 cell shading experiment, ibuki, 3 point shader :


Update 1, bioshock article and pics :

sample :

Original post :

hail polycounts !

so mmm dunno how to put this, but I noticed that I haven't pimped anything in ages, besides what some of you may have seen in the 3point shader thread or when I'm bugging guys on msn. So I thought I could create a thread with all the stuff I worked on that I can show.

most of these are realtime screengrabs in Max using the 3point shader, although some of them are maybe 2 years old and were made before I joined 3 point studios, about a year ago. I'll try to add stuff as I go, although I'm being pretty busy, etc, so it may take a while.

anyways, enough blabla, time for the pix

This was my Dominance War 3, I re-rendered it when we started pushing things more with the shader, before we released the lite version.


now, this one is new, it was supposed to be a submission to the DarkStalker Tribute book, but work came in the way, as always and I only finished it a few weeks ago, to test out some cell shading techniques with the 3Point Shader, the idea was to try to emulate/get close to the rendering approach that can be seen in Street Fighter 4's cinematics. I think I could push it wiht some photoshoppage to make it more of an illustration, but this showed some great straight form viewport results so I kept it that way, thinking that more isn't always better.


Now, this is a gun model I actually more or less finished a few days ago, I wanted to practice texturing a bit more and kinda liked that design (I'm no gun nerd). It was initially planned to be part of a full character, we'll see if I have time to get to actually do it, but at least this is in a near show-able state.


This one is fairly old, about 3 years IIRC, it was from my time at Digital Extremes, rendered in their proprietary engine, most of the textures were made by polycount's good old StrangeFate, but 90% of the meshes, the lighting ,level building and looks decisions were done by me, the remaining stuff was done by the great guys at DE. I think like 80% of the level is made of purely modular meshes, the building itself is like 10 different meshes put together, unique meshes are things like the sea (which had specific uvs for the ocean flow and the terrain, which also had different levels of detail so that it'd look detailed from up-close and more rock shaped from far away. I think I'm attached to it because it was the very last thing I made inhouse for them, and I did put a lot of energy in it.


I'll try to add these onto youtube later, but here are a few turntables of some of my characters, WARNING !!! they are fairly big and in quicktime format.

Aayla Secura
Assassin (hail Adam, remember this one ?)
Ibuki (will post more experiments I've been doing with her and the 3Point Shader soon)

aaaaaaaand That's it for now !! hope you guys didn't get too bored haha, thanks for watching anwyays !


  • Emil Mujanovic
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    Emil Mujanovic polycounter lvl 13
    I was actually checking out your site about a week ago to see if you've thrown up anything new and now this thread pops up!

    It's always a treat seeing your work, man.
  • Pedro Amorim
    Love that gun. looks really good :D
  • poopinmymouth
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    poopinmymouth polycounter lvl 16
    Love it. Your ibuki is still one of my favorite SF interpretations.
  • moose
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    moose Polycount Sponsor
    badass!!! That Dom war 3 guy is still fucking rad, missed that guy! woo! I love the subtle touch of the shiny ink on the paper, and vein details :) Great stuff!
  • MRico
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    MRico polycounter lvl 10
    I was blown away by your DW piece in the 3point shader thread (hadn't seen it before)...gawd, that character is so fucking awesome!

    Hopefully you'll update this thread frequently, keep up the sick work!
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    SHEPEIRO polycounter lvl 13
    really cool stuff...env lacks a little pezaz... maybe a wave crashing against the rocks would add a nice focal...but probably too late
  • achmedthesnake
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    achmedthesnake polycounter lvl 11
    hey vahl- i wouldn't mind seeing a image of your 3pointshader settings for the dom war entry....otherwise great work, and like ben - i've always lovd the ibuki fanart
  • Peter H
    Dominance War 3 char is awesome!!
  • Bigjohn
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    Bigjohn polycounter lvl 11
    Really cool stuff man. Really like your DW entry
  • IronHawk
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    IronHawk polycounter lvl 10
    Great work man! Not much else to say other then hoping to see more soon. :)
  • bbob
    really cool stuff, moar plz..
  • Revel
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    Revel interpolator
    Great stuff you got there dude!...this kind of work that always make me wanna do better on each of my project!..Thanks for sharing.

  • Mark Dygert
    Awesome amazing stuff, as usual! Vahl you never disappoint =)

    (The symmetrical pant wrinkles on Altair bug me, but its wip, so its forgivable)
  • Purplepaint
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    Purplepaint polycounter lvl 8
    Sweet stuff :D, as bbob said MOAR! :)
  • phillip.bailey
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    phillip.bailey polycounter lvl 9
    Holy smokes... my eyes do not believe what they are seeing!
    I'm switching to the 3 point shader because of your renders!
    I love the dw3 piece!
  • rollin
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    rollin polycounter
    vahl! nice stuff definitely! I love the street fighter guy with the comic shader style

    and the crystals do now look so much superb! and its realtime too.. :thumbup:

  • HAL
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    HAL polycounter lvl 8
    Sweeeeet stuff.

    I really like the metal on that gun, do you mind sharing the diffuse and specular with us?
  • brandoom
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    brandoom polycounter lvl 11
    Hey man, great work. I was just looking through the article on the front page.

    What sort of advice would you give to those who are interested in getting in to weapon modeling for games? I for one would like to pursue such a role.

    Thanks :)
  • kary
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    kary polycounter lvl 15
    That is great stuff Vincent :)
  • Sith Happens.
    You've been getting damn good at weapons/metals working there man.. and look at you getting all tech with the shaders. ;)
    Awesome stuff man.
  • vahl
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    vahl polycounter lvl 14
    Thanks a lot for all the good words guys !!!
    I didn't want to post without an update so sorry for the lateness :)

    I'm echoing the article Adam wrote (thanks dude !!!) on the main page by posting the same pics here, just to keep shit together.

    For all Bioshock 2 MP weapons, Concepts are the Bioshock 1 weapon, just updated, however, most of the time I did a High (most weapons didn't have any) and the low, on top of the texture, for some of them, though I had to keep the lowpoly and texture layout from bioshock 1 for obvious produciton reasons.This is about a year old, many thing I would do differently now.

    all are realtime screengrabs in Max using the 3point shader

    These two were 100% redone by me, the sawed off shotty's concept was by DE

    Now, these are using the lowpoly and uvlayout from bioshock1 to avoid redoing animations for them.

    Now, the upgrades, Concept was from the guys at DE, really fun to work from

    and finally some environment stuff

    Read the article on the main page for more info :)

    Now, the replies :

    Shepeiro :thanks man, Keep in mind this environment is about 3+ years old, although I remember it initially had much more going on, but I wasn't the one doing effects, we had a dedicated dude for this :)
    Achmed : there isn't much, really, the commercial version really helps experimenting so tweaking values is really quick and efficient.
    Brandoom : get tons of refs :)
    Manny : hehe thanks man :) you should have a try at it, it's really awesomeness :)

    I'll post more stuff soon-ish, trying to figure out some video stuff, etc
  • crazyfool
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    crazyfool polycounter lvl 8
    stunning work Vahl :D
  • Chunkey
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    Chunkey polycounter lvl 16
    Inspirational work Vahl, it's always a pleasure to see your work on display :)

    Just don't leave it so long next time! lol
  • ZacD
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    ZacD polycounter

    I still need to pick up Bioshock 2 one of these days.
  • raul
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    raul polycounter lvl 11
    simply gorgeous!
  • Autocon
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    Autocon polycounter lvl 13
    Really great work vahl, really like everything.

    One question though. Would you care to elaborate on what you would do differently looking back now? Some really top notch work and just curious as to what you think should be different.
  • bluekangaroo
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    bluekangaroo polycounter lvl 13
    those guns are awesome
  • vahl
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    vahl polycounter lvl 14
    Autocon : well mostly it's about material treatment and contrast between them. take the sawed off shotgun for instance, I think now I'd make the difference between metals even stronger so that they can be identified instantly as what they are, the awesome thing with the Bioshock 2 guns is that their design does so much for the quality of the assets that mistakes like lack of contrast or too faint definition of materials is more or less ok, simply because the design itself is so strong.

    thanks guys :)

    veeeeeery quick update, another old model, I'm sorry, but I was testing out some new cell shading technique with our shader.

  • dang87
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    dang87 polycounter lvl 10
    Looking cool! I really like the cel shaded characters! :D
  • [HP]
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    [HP] polycounter lvl 13
    Epic thread you got going on here mate! :) Grats!

    Those Bioshock2 modular pieces are great!
  • vahl
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    vahl polycounter lvl 14
    little material test scene, all viewport/3point shader screengrabs, about 1-2 per day (except the 2 first ones which took a tad longer)


    and something I did today, based on a concept from WarHammer age of Reckoning

  • MartinH
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    MartinH polycounter lvl 8
    My homie!

    Stunning work, i artgasmed in my chair.
    Can't wait to see what you'll come up with next. Bring it frenchie!!!!
  • Zelenkov
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    Zelenkov polycounter lvl 9
    Vahl! Very nice man! Awesome Bioshock weapons! U should post more often! ;)
  • MoP
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    MoP polycounter lvl 16
    it is some awesomes

    bottom right and middle right materials are my favourites, pretty much spot-on. good work
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    ENODMI polycounter lvl 10
    Wow, really nice materials, I love the welded steel and copper. What a great and easily comparable way of practicing materials, Im definitely going to give something similar a try
  • Swizzle
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    Swizzle polycounter lvl 13
    On that axe thing, what is the map in the upper right? I see diffuse, spec and normal, but I'm not sure what the upper right one is. Is that some sort of colored reflection mask or something?

    Excellent work, by the way. Beautiful material work.
  • Kevin Johnstone
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    Kevin Johnstone polycounter lvl 16
    I must have missed those Bioshock pieces somehow, those are great, love how you broke things up with variety, your choice of colors work really well, I wouldn't have thought of that combination. Great materials also, love the heavy weld sporting version
  • Xenobond
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    Xenobond polycounter lvl 13
    Hey V- You were actually able to make that axe look good!

  • Lennyagony
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    Lennyagony polycounter lvl 12
    I downloaded the three point shader after seeing this, awesome work.
  • Pedro Amorim
    hey bro

    Nice vahl(ves)


    But seriously, i love it. Those material tests look great. :)
    I love the car paint material on that valve. Looks like you have 2 speculars going on. Is that right?
  • Xaltar
    Some sick work in this thread Vahl, nice to see you still post on PC.
    I like the bottom left mat test, looks like somthing you could actually find in a hardware store.
  • killnpc
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    killnpc polycounter lvl 6
    Nice work vahl!
  • ThatDon
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    ThatDon polycounter lvl 11
    Beautiful work Vahl.

    Top and Middle left my favs!
  • seforin
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    seforin polycounter lvl 12
    I am sadned that there are not 20 pages of bumps for you and your work :p

    On the real note looking good..I would prefer if the rubys were more brighter versus a darker shine as you have them now.

    material types are great!

    Go get more internet famous and then you will get more replys! :p
  • vahl
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    vahl polycounter lvl 14
    thanks all :)
    swizzle : upper right is specular :) what you thought was spec is the actual gloss map (3 point shader features colored gloss, which allows for great effects)

    warning : big pix
    so this is a one week experiment, I don't have much time to do a full scale enviro because of work, so I have to try and go as fast as possible when I can, this is in no way relaxing but is usually a good stress test for various techniques, and lets me get a full piece in my folio :p

    so this is based on a deus ex scene, please keep in mind is only a week's work, with real work at the same time, days off and engagement with the girl the same week, etc

    the idea here was to avoid noise at all costs so textures are pretty simple, but I think do the job.

    Renders (UDK) :

    individual assets, textured and previewed in the 3 point shader, which transfers almost 1 to one in unreal, minus quality mode (which isn't enabled here anyways), which avoided me to go back and forth countless times between apps and having to reimport the same texture multiple times.

    BSP materials, the floor tile uses the same base mat (a 256*256 map) and then I add various tiles and patterns on a per instance basis, same for the wallpaper.
  • Chunkey
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    Chunkey polycounter lvl 16
    nom. anom nom nom nom :D

    Congrats on getting engaged dude, so when are we gonna be seeing mini Vahls bouncing about the place making artz? :D

    It's nice not to see a bitty overly detailed peice- the detail is there and so is the atmosphere, but there's no noise which it hides behind- Cheers for showing me the progress of this peice dude, it was quite an education that's for sure and will help me with my current project :)
  • StefanH
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    StefanH polycounter lvl 12
    real nice stuff vahl. I think (like most of the times) the most potential lies in lighting and athmosperics.

    I did a little overpaint for you.


  • vahl
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    vahl polycounter lvl 14
    chunkey : hehe thanks man, this is still a project I'm building concepts and blockouts for :p

    perna : thanks ^^ the plant : yeah I have this feeling too, while it's totally not the case, I may fix that. The sofa is 2.5 chairs wide, which is normal for a 2 seats sofa, maybe the proportions with the carpet are wrong though ? i'll check that out.

    StefanH : while I agree the lighting can be pushed further, I disagree with your paintover on a few points, namely color and intensity, it features even more burned surfaces than I have on my render and is a bit bloomy for my taste, but yeah you're right it needs more work, again, 1 week project, etc, here are 3 new renders with different colors and intensity :


    I'll still have a go with your colors, just to see if I can get something I like from here :)

    for some reason, tiledshot totally kills my light shafts, I guess I have to try and make that much stronger to work with tiledshots...
  • StefanH
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    StefanH polycounter lvl 12
    yeah thats always a matter of taste as well.. im just a sucker for orangy sun light :)

    I guess the main points i was tryting to make in the paintover was introducing a new color (orange), athmospherics and i also reduced the pitch black shadows quite a bit. But looking at it now i have to agree the color is not really well balanced. You are right. The greenish part definetly would need more blue. but oh well ... keep on going. The stronger lightshafts defintly looking better.

    1 week is really quick btw
  • vahl
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    vahl polycounter lvl 14
    yeah I'm right now trying to introduce more balance into it hence the blue shafts. I don't want them to be to present or they'll derail the focal point, however your paintover made some very important point my original render has, but that end up being to subtle, like complementarity of colors, and missing a tad of contrast, which is what I'm trying to fix right now, I'm thinking of adding more yellow (actually making the yellow bounce in the top left corner stronger) to balance the blue shafts, etc, but yeah if I was to make the shaft orange I'd go for blue shadows, etc. I'll do more experiments tomorrow :) thanks again for the paintover man :)

    and yeah 1 week is quick and exhausting, especially since I had work and some other life things going on at the same time :p
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