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Very impressive article Jake! You are very talented.
nice article! i love seeing the breakdowns.
3d artist Krystian Gołębczyk talked about the production of complex vehicle models for video games. Krystian designed tanks, cars other assets for series (Bound in Blood, The Cartel, Gunslinger), Dead Island, Dying Light, so he definitely knows his stuff. Check out some of his workflow tips.
My name is Krystian Gołębczyk. I am 3d freelancer (hard surface models and textures). Before I became a 3d artist I was studying astronomy in Wrocław and physics in Torun but I resigned from my studies. I began to study 3D graphics at the age of 30 (now I am 41), so it was a bit late, but you know it is never too late to learn something new. I remember at that time there weren’t many video tutorials and I was learning Softimage XSI from Japanese tutorials, which weren’t in english. The tutor was speaking Japanese and XSI was in Japanese (I think it was kanji) I don’t know that language so it was little difficult to learn something. Now we have lots of tutorials, workshops etc. 11 years ago it wasn’t that easy as today.
My first job was at very small polish studio called TMReality. I worked there about 3 months. Later I got a job at Techland. At that studio I worked for more than 8 years. I have worked on many games at Techland: Call of Juarez series (Bound in Blood, The Cartel, Gunslinger), Dead Island, Dying Light, Dying Light: The Following, Hellraid. In Dying Light, Dying Light: The Following and Hellraid I worked as a 3d artist and texture artist. In the meantime I’ve made a train (model and textures) for Grzegorz Jonkajtys’s teaser/proof of concept “Snow King”. It was simple model but I am very proud of it because it was my first model for film.
After leaving Techland I started working as a freelancer. I made some models for Elastic Games – Canadian studio and now I’m working for Polish studio on unannounced project. After hours (for now) I’m making my own game – it is one man project so I will not end it fast.
First stage of making vehicles and everything else is collecting references, as many as you can.When I have lots of references I watch concept and pics and I try to pay attention to the hardest parts of vehicle. At the beginning I’m modeling in my head only. When I know how I will make a model (hardest parts) I open 3d program. I’m starting to make model from a side of vehicle and I’m making it in proper scale. Depending on whether the vehicle will have interior or not, I’m making body with door as a whole or I’m leaving a hole for them. At this stage wheels are only simple cylinders. When I have main body I’m making doors or smaller elements: bumpers, lamps, mirrors etc. I make interior in similar way: from the biggest parts to the smallest. I’m trying to model everything inside of exterior – it helps me keep proper scale, but sometimes I’m making seats, radio and other stuff outside of body. I always make wheels when I have ready interior and exterior. I’m working on damage at the end. Sometimes I’m making it in Zbrush (when I need really detailed damage), otherwise I’m modeling in MODO.
Functionality is very important when you model hard surface stuff. If you don’t know how something is working, it will be very hard to model it and model will not look good.
I like working in Modo, but I like XSI too. It was really good feeling to make something in XSI. Sad that Autodesk killed that software. In Modo I like pie menus (similar to marking menus in Maya). I remember when I opened Maya for the first time (long time ago) and when I saw marking menus I thought it was very weird and not useful at all (at that time I was using 3ds max). I was so wrong, really wrong… Marking menu is one of the best thing in 3d software! Now In Modo I have my own pie menus with most often used tools. Pie menus, shortcuts and macros are very handy things. I recommend Tor Frick’s tutorials for it – they are very good (especially “How to get faster in Modo”).
Always start a model from the main body – the biggest part to the smallest.
Spend time on making your own shortcuts, marking (pie) menus or even macros: they are very handy! I said it again.
It is good to have your own base of small models, screws, switches etc. (high poly and low poly with UVW).The things that every vehicle has.
Never give up! You know there are lots of very good modelers, artist and it can be frustrating to see really amazing models and textures, but remember that you are always seeing only the end of the way. Everyone needs many years to learn to became good.