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Rick Greeve talked about his latest intricate gun model created with 3ds Max and Marmoset Toolbag.
My name is Rick Greeve and I’m an 18 year old student from the Netherlands. I started doing 3D a bit over 2 years ago, when I started my education as a game artist. I gained an interest in modeling weapons after seeing a ton of really nice work on Artstation, and the fact that I like firearms in general.
Start of the project
Some friends and fellow artists pointed out that I didn’t have any work based on a concept in my portfolio. So, I decided to make the 10mm AUTO SMG from a concept made by Rmory Studios.
I really liked the look off it, and the fact that it has some attachments to go with it.
With this I started the project by making a block-out of just the SMG. I would later make the attachments separate.
I did this to get all the basic parts in there and to get an idea of the whole gun.
I was happy with the shapes of the concept, so I stuck with it for the most part.
After the block out was completed I started refining the parts.
After the block-out I started working on the high poly model.
This started off very simple, by taking each colored part off the blockout and detailing it.
I did this in combination with the quad chamfer modifier for 3DS Max to get support edges for the high poly. This also meant less work for the low poly because the support edges are generated and I can just delete the modifiers and tweak them for the low poly.
This was the first stage off the high poly in 3DS max
Next step was to Boolean the holes on the sides, the holes for ejection port, and charging handle.
I did this by making small simple objects to Boolean them out the low poly, then imported the model to Zbrush to make the edges smooth. This is a popular workflow for hard-surface modeling. Here is a good explanation of the workflow by Ben Bolton.
I also had to think about how it would get animated. For example, if you would pull back the charging handle you would be able to see the inside. And so, I made some basic inner workings. You would never really see this part in first person but it is still a good idea to model If you ever see it or see it on an enemy player.
After finishing the high poly model and the attachments using the same techniques as described above, it was time to model the low poly. As I mentioned the workflow was easy for the most part.
Grabbing the high poly, deleting the modifiers and optimizing it as much as possible. There was a slightly different approach for the holes on the receiver. I Boolean a lower resolution version of the cylinders and cleaned it up. This was easy because I wouldn’t have to worry about subdivision.
After unwrapping, I baked the model in Marmoset Toolbag. I fell in love with the baker because I model with floaters and baked detail, so painting out skewing was extremely useful.
I started the texture process by first making base materials for the SMG and attachments.
After that I made alpha’s for the logo’s and lettering to apply in Painter. Then I could start refining the materials and add detail onto them using numerous grunge maps and painting them in with the stencil tool.
I wanted some interesting color variation and extra detail, so I went to textures.com and got some tiling textures of various surfaces which I could overlay atop the albedo. This would give a nice detailed but subtle effect.
I see a lot of people using edge generators and calling it done for the edge wear, without painting away wear where it wouldn’t make much sense. It’s important to think about where an object scuffs and wears. I like to start with a generator fitted for the material and how it wears, add a paint layer on the mask, put it on multiply, and then paint away most of the wear. This gives a more realistic look than having edge damage everywhere.
I also like to paint some scuffs, dirt, and scratches myself. For example, the charging handle would move back and forth a lot so there would be scratches as result of that. The same goes for some other parts that wear after usage, like the finish on the plastic, or the scuffs on the sides, and the grease in the areas where the user would clean the gun. You can paint them in yourself with a drawing tablet or use a stencil with a grunge map (like I did with the scuffs). By doing this you will see a lot of nice detail and roughness variation.
I exported the textures at 4k for the SMG and 2k for attachments and mag. This would be halved in a game engine. Imported everything in Marmoset Toolbag for final renders.
I wanted to make a little scene with the gun and attachments to showcase them.
So I made a little scene in Toolbag and put a plane as the ground under it with a simple concrete texture. Besides that, I made some beauty shots, close ups and wireframe renders.
I also like to lower the camera FOV to 20-30 for a better result and tweak the post fx and other settings.
Thanks for reading this breakdown, and thanks to 80lvl for the interview.