Hi Elliott, This is a great breakdown and very generous in sharing your process and insights, you came a long way from the vending machine days!
Are you planning on releasing the UE4 project to the public? Or only builds? I'd love to play around with it in the editor if possible!
Alexander Burov did a lot of astonishing work for SpinTires. In this interview, he talked about his work on the modeling and painting of these outstanding vehicle models with 3ds Max and Substance Painter.
My name is Alexander, I’m 26 and I currently work as a vehicle artist on SpinTires. I model vehicles and add-ons for them. I was into making clips and once, while editing some video, I’ve decided to add 3D. That’s how I started learning modeling and ended up with game models. My skills were useful for game development, so I got interested.
I’m no exception – I look for references and schematics, reliable scale, every possible photo, every little detail. If I can’t find something online, I go looking for a needed vehicle to take some photos. Sometimes I get help from my colleagues.
I start with setting up schematics to make sure my scale is right. Modeling process is quite typical – high poly, low poly, retopology, UV mapping, baking and texturing. Almost everything is done in 3Ds Max, even baking maps. I use standard tools: extrude, swift loop and proboolean for complex details.
High level of detail is needed when a vehicle becomes the main hero of your game. All the details are high poly with some base for possible deformations and dents. Then smaller dents, welds and chips are added in ZBrush. Every step is discussed in popular tutorials on hard surface modeling. You just have to know what you’re doing.
Then I also have to check if all those vehicle parts work together, if they are compatible. I’m not responsible for animation though.
When it comes to texturing, you have to rely on your references – you have to study all the photos of your vehicles and study the surfaces you’re going to recreate. Reference is the key. I also look at works of other modelers to define some style.
I use Substance Painter to generate dirt and chips. Most of the work is done in Photoshop.