Building ‘M130 Abrams’ with Maya & Zbrush
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Wow, the YouTube video was released in November. How have I never seen it before? I've probably watched it three times in the past hour. It's an absolutely amazing production. What was the budget for this?

Building 'M130 Abrams' with Maya & Zbrush
24 November, 2016
3d artist Amin Akhshi, who talked a little about the production of his amazing military robot. It’s got a very nice combo of various modern tools.


My name is Amin Akhshi and I’m from Iran, currently working as freelance concept designer! Like many artists, I have studied and learned a lot of stuff connected to my career.

M130 Abrams 

I was looking for some military vehicles and an idea crossed my mind: design a mech for artillery division, which can track any aircraft and bring it down! 





I have used so many references during the project. This step makes your design more believable. The main thing about this project was to speed up my workflow to use as concept art! The project was done in less than 10 days, but still not fast enough for concept art.



Usually I start by blocking out some simple shape in Maya and creating the basic concept and then moving to ZBrush to change the proportion! After I’m satisfied with concept and the whole model I start working on each part and develop the shapes to make a complex hard surface or some machinery part. During this process I used many kitbashes that I already made to make everything as fast as possible!





Countless Bits and Pieces 

I used real references for the tracking antenna system and missiles part, but for the robotic section and fancy details I got inspiration from two master of sci-fi design: Vitaly Bulgarov and Fausto De Martini, who taught me a lot about robotics and sci-fi parts.


That camouflage I used for the entire model is procedural texture from Keyshot, which doesn’t require UV and can be used with any type of material or in combination with any Keyshot material preset.


Using Marvelous Designer

It’s great to learn and work with MD, which can get you pretty looking wrinkles and it’s also much faster than sculpting them by hand in ZBrush, but there is another way to make wrinkles in Maya with cloth simulation.




Instead of importing so many parts one by one into the Keyshot, I go to ZBrush to separate them with polygroup and export the model as 3 or 4 big parts to Keyshot and then start adding materials to the model! Rendering in Keyshot is easy and pretty fast but keep in mind that if you want a better result you need to take a bunch of render passes and overlay them with composite process in Photoshop. 

Amin Akhshi, 3d artist

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev

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