How to Create A Realistic Weapon?
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How to Create A Realistic Weapon?
25 October, 2017

Jonas Holmedal did a detailed overview of his workflow. He showed his texturing, modeling and baking process and explained the peculiarities of realistic rendering.


My name is Jonas Holmedal and I live in Stockholm, Sweden. I decided to pick up 3D a little over 1 year ago because I was super tired of working in a convenience store. I downloaded Maya a few weeks before applying to Futuregames with the hopes that I could get in as an animator and then later switch to hard surface/environment! Lucky me, my plan worked out in my favor, so I basically have not keyframed 1 frame since then!

Since my experience in 3D is a pretty short one I don’t have any super cool/well known projects under my wing except a few games we made in school.

The project

I decided that I would do the Kriss Vector because I wanted to see if I had improved since my last HardSurface model. The kriss has a very cool and modern design that almost feels like it could be out of a sci-fi movie, so it seemed like a good fit.


I started out blocking out the model in Maya, just trying to get things in place and somewhat the correct size. I looked up some dimensions of the gun on the web so that my reference image and Maya units were correctly set up and everything was the right size.

Later on in the project that the blocking phase would have given me way more if I would have focused more on the overall shape of the blockout as well. For example to give all my silhouette edges the correct roundness in this face. These kind of insights are mainly what teach me and I recommend everyone to look back at your old projects/save files to analyze what would have made the workflow better.


While modeling the gun, I wasn’t really concerned about the polycount that much, since it wouldn’t end up in a game anyway I decided to model some parts like the back/front hand grips into the lowpoly. I might have gone a bit overboard when I decided to keep the bevels on the top railing of the gun aswell. So looking back on this part of the phase I could definitely have optimized it way further, probably like half the polycount.

A great general tip that I learned during the modeling process is to model specific details separately and then doing some open heart surgery to get it into the original model. I used it on the bevels on the side of the gun. I first tried making it out of edgeloops and extruding it inwards from the main mesh until my classmate Carro just knocked me on my shoulder and explained this approach.


I decided to bake in Toolbag because it uses your GPU to render instead of the CPU. Toolbag also lets me use naming convention to batch import my mesh in parts and bake them separately from each other. It also has a very easy to use cage system where you can also paint the offset in the viewport if needed, it’s basically a game changer when it comes to baking. This computer spits out 8k normals in a matter of seconds and this computer has a gtx 960, it also the textures to a preview material that updates automatically and gives me instant results to iterated on.


I textured the gun in Substance Painter and Quixel (kind of). The thing is that I love the Substance software package, its intuitive and easy to use but Quixel has way better basic materials. So what I have done is I basically kidnapped a few basic materials from Quixel into substance painter by exporting the textures and import them into painter where I make base materials from them.

I start of the texturing with adding final normal/height details, for example the logo on the side which I cut out in photoshop and used as a height stamp in Painter. After this detail pass I start working on the main plastic material. I used a plastic from Quixel as the base and then added a layer beneath it that is very similar but without the black color. Using this I can easily use the mask generator in Substance to get some basic edgewear going and then paint in that mask to get the edge wear that I’m looking for.

A tip from me to anyone reading this is to try to look at reference of how edge wear actually looks. Because more times than not it consists of a lot of micro damage to the surface and not a clean line of damage. So when using the mask editor in substance I always use 2 textures to break up the damage and then refine it with a brush manually.

After this I use another layer of just roughness variation that I spread out in a similar fashion. And last but not least I use a layer of noise in the height channel that I set to opacity 1/100 which makes it look more plastic. The rest of the texturing moves on in a similar fashion.


Since my brother Simon owns a license to Octane I asked him if he could do some test renders of the gun, and he was happy to try. He sent me some test/preview renders and I really liked it. So that weekend we stayed up until 4:AM on Google hangouts trying out different angels and lightning setups. Simon is a big fan of macro shots (picture macro shot), and I wanted to show off more of the model so I lobbied for more wide shots.

We were both really happy with the “dodgy render” where we tried to emulate a camera flash, which is just a spotlight that is way to strong from above, it kind of looks like it could be a “evidence” picture from the police.

Later on Simon renderd out 2 diffrent turntables for me and I threw in a quick Toolbag viewer for anyone who would want to have a closer look. Octane is super great with handeling light and you can run it in all mayor 3D applications, also it runs on the GPU so it’s really fast.

You can look at my stuff here.

You can follow Simon here

Jonas Holmedal, 3D Artist

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev

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