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Why does my stuff look so bad?

Hi everyone, new user here

I've been using Substance Painter for a year now and I feel like I have a good grasp of the tools, but everything I make just looks awful. Admittedly I've never been very talented when it comes to any kind of art but I feel like at this point I should be getting decent results. Here is a render album of a shotgun I made recently: https://imgur.com/a/VWyPsbl

I don't know if it's my texturing or modelling but it just looks so trash. What exactly am I doing wrong? My models are intended for game use.

Thank you.

Replies

  • Crazy_pixel
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    Crazy_pixel greentooth
    Hi and welcome  :)

    Hmm .. your model looks ok. when you say " game use" what kind of game is it? In terms of texturing use real photo references to see the materials and also the normal amount of grunge on a weapon. Also you could add more contrast by adding more colours.


  • OuterSpace
    Hi and welcome  :)

    Hmm .. your model looks ok. when you say " game use" what kind of game is it? In terms of texturing use real photo references to see the materials and also the normal amount of grunge on a weapon. Also you could add more contrast by adding more colours.



    Thank you for replying :)

    It's a first person game so the texture has to be pretty decent. I tried making a material based off the actual gun but it looked so flat and dull. I tried adding a small grain height map but it still didn't look right. At first I did have more color variation, a bit of light brown and light blue blemishes but it didn't look right.

    Here is a good example of what I previously tried to copy: https://imgur.com/a/7ke7PUj

    The material looks so simple, but I just could not match it. I added a metallic base, added a paint layer and a layer with a little bit of paint damage. Looked absolutely nothing like that :(

  • Joseph_Bramlett
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    Joseph_Bramlett polycounter lvl 2
    Ide say the biggest differences betwen your model and the referencce you posted are three things. Specularity/ Metalness, Color consistancy, and micro details.

    The specularity on yours has a bit to much grunge on it which kind of dilutes the metallic look.
    The color consistency on your sis in the right direction by having some subtle variations of the key color but I dont think its quite subtle enough or based off of reference.
    The micro details include edge wear which has a good first pass here but could use another run through i think and maybe same of that small detailing like serial numbers and the like. 

    Honestly your work isnt as bad as you think it is. it can definitely be improved but Its much better than I would have thought based off your title. 
  • OuterSpace
    Ide say the biggest differences betwen your model and the referencce you posted are three things. Specularity/ Metalness, Color consistancy, and micro details.

    The specularity on yours has a bit to much grunge on it which kind of dilutes the metallic look.
    The color consistency on your sis in the right direction by having some subtle variations of the key color but I dont think its quite subtle enough or based off of reference.
    The micro details include edge wear which has a good first pass here but could use another run through i think and maybe same of that small detailing like serial numbers and the like. 

    Honestly your work isnt as bad as you think it is. it can definitely be improved but Its much better than I would have thought based off your title. 

    Thank you for the response.

    The texture I made and used for the renders in the OP wasn't based on the reference. I tried making one based off the reference and failed miserably, so I went a different route and that was the result.

    I just now tried following the reference again, this time keeping just one color but having grunge maps with varying roughness: https://imgur.com/a/Nf0LEyz

    Do you think it's improved or am I going backwards?
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor insane polycounter
    You are comparing two images textures and asking why A is different to B, but you are missing an important part of the puzzle - the lighting and rendering setup.

    That is going to make the biggest difference. I think the textures in the original image are probably good enough to work with. I'd spend some time learning about how to light and render in whatever realtime engine you want to use. Get that dialed in to like 80% before messing with the textures again.

    Consider the entire process of making a game asset. You want to get everything "blocked in" before getting into the polish. So you've got the textures blocked in, but not the lighting/rendering. So take care of that before getting too far into details. This is a key difference between actually making game art and what tutorials show. In tutorials it's always a linear start to finish. But when you make art for games, it doesn't go like that. You need to redo things many times, so it's good to practice working like that because you've got to get smart about your workflow too so you can be more flexible.

    As others mentioned, the art isn't bad. You just need to make small improvements and work on presentation.
  • kanga
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    kanga polycounter
    Im with Alex Javour on this. The lighting and render become make or break even more so when the subject is as pedestrian as the one you have chosen. Also the shots dont highlight any detail and in most of the pics the stock and pump handle look naked grey. The question is: of all the millions of shotgun models available, what sets this apart?
  • Zi0
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    Zi0 interpolator
    Ide say the biggest differences betwen your model and the referencce you posted are three things. Specularity/ Metalness, Color consistancy, and micro details.
    This

    The materials we use in MW can look quite simple but they do have micro details to them, they are also based on materials found on real firearms. Your shotguns looks very cloudy en grungy in real life you don't find weapons that look that way. Also you seem to have the same gloss value on every part, try to separate your materials more by using different values. Look at real firearms for reference. But even before you do all that try achieve better material definition, for instance the plastic/rubber on your stock has very blurry noise in the height channel, doesn't look realistic.

    Take a look at this small "tutorial" by Ben Bolton https://polycount.com/discussion/comment/2623619#Comment_2623619
    And compare your materials to the pictures below and study the materials used on them.


    httpswwwbudsgunshopcomimagesimages_extra9507795077_ULK7MQjpg



  • OuterSpace
    Zi0 said:
    Ide say the biggest differences betwen your model and the referencce you posted are three things. Specularity/ Metalness, Color consistancy, and micro details.
    This

    The materials we use in MW can look quite simple but they do have micro details to them, they are also based on materials found on real firearms. Your shotguns looks very cloudy en grungy in real life you don't find weapons that look that way. Also you seem to have the same gloss value on every part, try to separate your materials more by using different values. Look at real firearms for reference. But even before you do all that try achieve better material definition, for instance the plastic/rubber on your stock has very blurry noise in the height channel, doesn't look realistic.

    Take a look at this small "tutorial" by Ben Bolton https://polycount.com/discussion/comment/2623619#Comment_2623619
    And compare your materials to the pictures below and study the materials used on them.
    httpswwwbudsgunshopcomimagesimages_extra9507795077_ULK7MQjpg

    Hi, thanks for the response. Sorry I took a while to reply.

    I went to that tutorial and tried copying the base material for the receiver from the image above by adding a cells 4 noise map to a height and roughness layer and this is what I've gotten so far: https://imgur.com/XlBfZTV

    Is that a decent foundation or should I just give up?

    Thanks!
  • OuterSpace
    kanga said:
    Im with Alex Javour on this. The lighting and render become make or break even more so when the subject is as pedestrian as the one you have chosen. Also the shots dont highlight any detail and in most of the pics the stock and pump handle look naked grey. The question is: of all the millions of shotgun models available, what sets this apart?

    I honestly don't know much about lighting. So far I've textured my models trying to use real world roughness values, trying to get it look right in Substance Painter and hoping to fine tune the lighting in Unity at a later point.
  • rollin
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    rollin interpolator
    OuterSpace said:
    (...)

    Is that a decent foundation or should I just give up?

    (...)
    What is this? Do you want us to tell you you should give up? 
  • tynew
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    tynew polycounter lvl 6
    Have you baked a normal map from a high poly model? I mean you got literally no edges coming through on a majority of parts, especially on the rails. 

    Also if you wanna know what the pros are doing I would strongly recommend investing in their tutorials to see how they do things. If you got $100 around I would suggest Eugene's handgun tutorial https://gumroad.com/l/QZemE and Tim's tutorials (all of em) https://gumroad.com/timb?sort=newest&tags=tutorial

    Personally they should be mandatory for anyone trying to make guns look good IMO. You don't have to use the same tools like them, but the thought process is the same. 
  • OuterSpace
    rollin said:
    OuterSpace said:
    (...)

    Is that a decent foundation or should I just give up?

    (...)
    What is this? Do you want us to tell you you should give up? 
    I feel like whats been said to me isn't really getting through, was wondering if I should even bother continuing if I'm this bad lol.

  • OuterSpace
    tynew said:
    Have you baked a normal map from a high poly model? I mean you got literally no edges coming through on a majority of parts, especially on the rails. 

    Also if you wanna know what the pros are doing I would strongly recommend investing in their tutorials to see how they do things. If you got $100 around I would suggest Eugene's handgun tutorial https://gumroad.com/l/QZemE and Tim's tutorials (all of em) https://gumroad.com/timb?sort=newest&tags=tutorial

    Personally they should be mandatory for anyone trying to make guns look good IMO. You don't have to use the same tools like them, but the thought process is the same. 

    I used to made high poly versions of the models and bake them to a low poly version but it takes too long. Now I just bevel everything on the low poly because it's a lot quicker. For this shotgun I tried to make the edges a little sharper than I usually do but I'll try making it a bit softer.

    Thank you so much for the suggestion, I'll go through that Glock tutorial and see how I go :)
  • rollin
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    rollin interpolator
    rollin said:
    OuterSpace said:
    (...)

    Is that a decent foundation or should I just give up?

    (...)
    What is this? Do you want us to tell you you should give up? 
    I feel like whats been said to me isn't really getting through, was wondering if I should even bother continuing if I'm this bad lol.

    Is this phishing for compliments? 
    The question is do you LIKE what you're doing.. If not, then quit and do something else  - if you do, then keep doing it no matter what others say.
  • OuterSpace
    rollin said:
    rollin said:
    OuterSpace said:
    (...)

    Is that a decent foundation or should I just give up?

    (...)
    What is this? Do you want us to tell you you should give up? 
    I feel like whats been said to me isn't really getting through, was wondering if I should even bother continuing if I'm this bad lol.

    Is this phishing for compliments? 
    The question is do you LIKE what you're doing.. If not, then quit and do something else  - if you do, then keep doing it no matter what others say.

    Nope

    I do enjoy making models and even the texturing process but if I'm unable to produce anything decent enough to put into my game I might be wasting my time. The only learning material I've used so far is a few YouTube videos and just messing around in Substance Painter so I'll invest in quality tutorials as suggested by tynew and see how I go.
  • Obscura
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    Obscura godlike master sticky
    I think your expectations are way too high. Your shotgun model is decent, the texturing could use some work as it was pointed out, but overall its very far from being horrible. Weve seen much wore and I'm sure you too. So if you feel like its not good enough, well, practice more and eventually it will reach the level that you are aiming for. Experience only comes with practice and time. So just keep working.
  • OuterSpace
    Obscura said:
    I think your expectations are way too high. Your shotgun model is decent, the texturing could use some work as it was pointed out, but overall its very far from being horrible. Weve seen much wore and I'm sure you too. So if you feel like its not good enough, well, practice more and eventually it will reach the level that you are aiming for. Experience only comes with practice and time. So just keep working.

    Yeah I think my main problem is seeing these AAA level models and textures and thinking they're easy to replicate. Some textures look deceivingly simple. I'll keep practicing and try to lower my expectations. Thank you for the encouragement.
  • tynew
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    tynew polycounter lvl 6
    I used to made high poly versions of the models and bake them to a low poly version but it takes too long. Now I just bevel everything on the low poly because it's a lot quicker. For this shotgun I tried to make the edges a little sharper than I usually do but I'll try making it a bit softer.
    How are you beveling though? If you're just beveling edges that's a mid-poly workflow that requires custom vertex normals. Depending on what program you use, you'll need a tool/plugin for it. It's also not the standard workflow since it has some complications, eg requiring huge tri counts. Guns are pretty complex so that would add up fast. They still use high poly normal maps in AAA games releasing today like Call of Duty, It takes a long time to make quality assets, unfortunately. 

    You bevel shading transitions won't get noticed if they don't fade between edges. So you'll need to use custom normals, or actually make a proper HP bake, which replicates that shading. Also, games exaggerate "beveled" edges so it looks better and prevents aliasing. Tight edges are not really good in most circumstances. 


  • OuterSpace
    tynew said:
    I used to made high poly versions of the models and bake them to a low poly version but it takes too long. Now I just bevel everything on the low poly because it's a lot quicker. For this shotgun I tried to make the edges a little sharper than I usually do but I'll try making it a bit softer.
    How are you beveling though? If you're just beveling edges that's a mid-poly workflow that requires custom vertex normals. Depending on what program you use, you'll need a tool/plugin for it. It's also not the standard workflow since it has some complications, eg requiring huge tri counts. Guns are pretty complex so that would add up fast. They still use high poly normal maps in AAA games releasing today like Call of Duty, It takes a long time to make quality assets, unfortunately. 

    You bevel shading transitions won't get noticed if they don't fade between edges. So you'll need to use custom normals, or actually make a proper HP bake, which replicates that shading. Also, games exaggerate "beveled" edges so it looks better and prevents aliasing. Tight edges are not really good in most circumstances. 



    I use a Blender add-on called HardOPS. It adds a bevel modifier and sets the smoothing angles. Usually 60 degrees gives a good result but I sometimes make tweaks here and there. Here is the model without any texturing: https://imgur.com/a/S2NrJgK
  • Zi0
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    Zi0 interpolator
    Is that a decent foundation or should I just give up?

    If you really enjoy doing this then giving up is not an option :) You just need to keep training your observation skills. For instance the rail on top of the receiver has the wrong shape, take a closer look at actual rails. As for the texture adding a bump like this makes it look like a plastic surface, again take a closer look at your references.

    If I were you I would totally get this tutorial https://gumroad.com/l/QZemE like mentioned by tynew a couple of post above. This will give you a good foundation for texturing to built upon. 
  • tynew
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    tynew polycounter lvl 6
    Yeah those bevels are way too small if you're going mid-poly workflow. You're looking at a model zoomed in which is a huge difference to an FPS view with say a weapon FOV of 45-55ish. This still applies either workflow; http://wiki.polycount.com/wiki/File:Normal_edge_thickness.jpg

    Still, I would recommend the high poly workflow and baking down normal maps. You don't need to give up :) it's a learning experience, and with anything, it takes time to make art. You're already further ahead than a lot of people. It can be a couple of weeks for a complex fps weapon in studios sometimes. So take your time, learn what the pros are doing if you wanna hit that bar, and keep going!
  • OuterSpace
    Zi0 said:
    Is that a decent foundation or should I just give up?

    If you really enjoy doing this then giving up is not an option :) You just need to keep training your observation skills. For instance the rail on top of the receiver has the wrong shape, take a closer look at actual rails. As for the texture adding a bump like this makes it look like a plastic surface, again take a closer look at your references.

    If I were you I would totally get this tutorial https://gumroad.com/l/QZemE like mentioned by tynew a couple of post above. This will give you a good foundation for texturing to built upon. 

    I bought the tutorial today and had a quick look at the included Substance Painter project. Very intimidating stuff :S
    I'm gonna go through the tutorial and hopefully be able to follow the modelling process along in Blender.
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