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Creating Post-Apocalyptic Vehicles in 3ds Max and ZBrush

Alper Yenice shares his secrets behind designing incredibly detailed post-apocalyptic cars, creating a realistic rust effect, and performing colorwork on worn-out vehicles.


My name is Alper Yenice, I am a 3D Artist from Istanbul, Turkey. I studied at the University of Anadolu. I used to work for a classical furniture company for over 6 years, where I created top-notch classical furniture and now I am working at ROKOSOFT. My current projects include the MMO game titled Rise Online and the turn-based game Angelic.

Designing Post-Apocalyptic Vehicles

I have always been interested in and enthusiastic about the post-apo aesthetic and it has always been a pleasure for me to work on. My main motivation for modeling post-apo vehicles was to challenge myself on more complex damaged, worn-out vehicles and items. I just used a concept I found on the web for the one which looks like a truck. I started by making a sketch and then I created two other models. I did not use any concept for them.

Sculpting the Details in ZBrush

After years of experience, my approach to modeling stuff changed and evolved a lot, especially when it comes to complex structures. I am always creating a base blockout mesh that always appears as a silhouette of the overall structure. Then I go step by step on base mesh versions of each element, like hull, engine, roof, tires, props, etc. I import base meshes through ZBrush, and here comes my favorite part which is sculpting details. Using various brushes, alphas, noisemakers, I sculpt rust, painted areas, dirt, dust, leak spots, chipped stuff, broken areas, and other details.

In my mind, they all have a story and functionality. I like dreaming about those details, figuring out where they came from and what they mean, and this helps me so much during modeling. My friends suggested I make my cars taller because of the bumpy roads in post-apocalyptic times but I prefer lower models because they look more aesthetically pleasing to me.


I often use Decimation Master to alter a mid-poly mesh for 3ds Max to retopoligize from a simple plane. My approach and sorting strategy for retopology are the same as the ones I have for the modeling phases, which is always having a hull first, then adding any other details. The same applies to UVW'ing but this time it goes for rearranging UV islands to have a consistent texel density.


I always start with the basic color of the model. It is the first thing to decide. Then step by step I paint the base color with dust and rusty stuff. In this process, I mainly use the Metal Edge Wear filter to make the edges damaged and rusty. I created a library of smart materials just for this kind of paint. Rusty and dirty surfaces reflect the light worse. So most times the models have a low level of roughness. It helps me to create a dusty and rusty look. For the scratches and surface bumps, I mostly use ZBrush brushes and so I get those details in baking with the help of Curvature Map. When I apply the rusty look I use Curvature Map to reveal those details.


The renders were taken from a basic studio scene. I have been using V-Ray for more than 10 years. So it is easy to solve a problem when it comes out. I got 3 different lights in the scene to illuminate the model better. But I got different render elements. I take them all to Photoshop to create the final image, edit the shadows or some small details.

I have to thank my dear friend Ismail for his help during this process. And as a bonus, I wanna show my last project to you in high poly for now.

Alper Yenice, 3D Artist

Interview conducted by Arti Sergeev

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