Rico Suyang Wang talked about the way he used Nick Reynold’s comments to create a more interesting in-game weapon.
Hi 80.Lv! My name is Rico Suyang Wang, I’m currently a student at Gnomon school in the 2-years Games program. I decided to be a CG artist and came to LA 3 years after receiving a fine art degree from China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China.
The props and weapons class I attended was instructed by Nick Reynolds, who is currently working at Riot Games. We’ve learned so much about the pipeline and techniques used in modeling and texture for games, his demos and feedbacks can always refresh my mind and make my workflow cleaner and better. I’m so fortunate to have him as a teacher and to have attended this class.
The Link Gun Project
I’ve always wanted to make a gun that would fit in the world of Call of Duty and Doom, and put the gun into VR games such like Robot Recall. I first started researching for a heavy gun on Pinterest and Artstation, Adam “Gooba” Wood’s awesome concept for the UE4 tournament was a pleasing design to look at. With taking Nick’s class, I was able to gathered everything I needed to produce this gun, from week 1 to week 10, we went through the whole studio pipeline from baking normal map to texturing and then producing the final render.
I began the project by modeling the gun in a high-poly version in Maya, Even though the concept was great, it wasn’t clear in certain parts of the gun with the dimension and form, an easy solution to solve these questions is to get the answer from the all-time best teacher “Google”. When modeling this gun, I blocked it out with procedural boxes and cylinders, to keep the shape along with the original concept. Once I got that blocked out done, I began to merge different parts, and make sure which parts is merged and separated. I then created the bevels on the objects, keeping an eye on different edges and corners that have different thickness in order to make them catch the amount of light differently, the variation of how the light hits the gun gives the gun a more realistic look. Finally I put shaders to different materials with different color, this will help substance to generate an material ID map as a mask. One helpful tip I learned from the instructors at Gnomon: the outlook is very important to sell the model, but the right naming, the right scale and the clean mesh, etc… make the model utilizable for other people and make us like a real professional, so make sure we check them every time at the end.
The Low poly
The low poly modeling is quite straight forward, 30k triangle is a good amount for a AAA game gun, so this was the goal I aimed for. First I added subdivision onto the cylinder area to make sure that it looks smoothy. For certain parts, especially the part closer to the player, like the gun sight, I beveled it with 2/3 edges to catch the light better. The last step for the low poly is the uvs and soft/hard edges, a good rule to follow is : cut the uvs from the hard edges (like 90 degree corners) soften the mesh first, and harden the edges where the uvs is been cut. It helps to get a better normal baking.
Baking in Marmoset
One useful tool I used was the paint skew in Marmoset. The baking is based on the orientation of the normal, so this is a part that could easily get messed up and this tool reorients the normal vertically, so it will get a result more accurate but less smooth.
The texturing is the most critical part of the whole process on making this prop, because all the preparation above is all for the final texturing and rendering, I definitely don’t wanna mess that up. For me this was my first time using substance painter and PBR texturing, after for so long wanting to learn it. These texturing programs was very similar with my first 3D experience when I started PBR texturing.
When I began texturing I started by putting the normal map and AO map (which we baked from Marmoset) into substance, and generated the other maps like material ID map, curvature map etc… these maps helps substance painter to generate procedural masks.
Creating the masks between the shaders helps workflow go faster, with real-time rendering of substance painter, we can see the result and make change directly.
I was first excited to play with every tool in Substance and was overwhelmed about the amount of features that the program offer, but a problem I also come along, I couldn’t tell what was a good or bad result. After two days of texturing in Substance, I was able to get my first pass on the model done and put it into the Marmoset. I couldn’t wait to share my progress on Facebook and highlight that I can finally do game assets. Later I was happy to gotten a lot of Likes on my post, but also got the longest post reply I’ve ever received from my teacher, Nick.
After reading the post, I regretted to had posted it, not knowing it was bad since I was new to using Substance, the critique had opened my eyes on the mistakes I’ve made. It was a bit struggling fixing it, because I didn’t want to get out from my comfort zone, it’s more like a bad mindset I got myself in, I felt too tired go back again when I think that the work is done. I only had 2 days before the final presentation, and I just wanted to stop and just move on to my other projects. But when I looked back at Nick’s critique, I decided to fix it one step at a time, and was pleased to have taken his advice and to looked back on my mistakes. Lastly, these are the before-after images I made for the final presentation.
Before and After Feedback
So, this is the adventure of making my very first game asset, big thanks to Nick Reynolds again and Gnomon school, and thank you for watching.