Hansel Febrianto did a breakdown of his realistic retro TV made in Maya and Substance Painter.
Hi, guys! My name is Hansel Febrianto, I am a 3D artist from Indonesia.
After graduation in 2015, I started working at Infinite Studio in Batam as a compositor, rigger, and modeler. In 2016, I found Tim Bergholz's tutorial on how to make a game-ready rifle and tried to follow and remake it. After I finished, I realized that was more passionate about making 3D assets for games rather than for film and animation. From then on, I started to build my own game portfolio aiming to get into the game industry.
Finally, I got my first job as a game artist at Lemon Sky Studios, Malaysia, where I am responsible for helping to produce hi-res buildings for Warcraft 3: Reforged. I have been working on hi-res sculpts for the buildings of all races, but mostly for night elves.
Old CRT TV: Start of the Project
Recently, I found Joe Seabuhr's tutorial for realistic props on Artstation Learning and picked so many techniques and tips from it that I decided to give it a try and make a realistic asset myself, especially since I am used to stylized art.
First, of course, I needed a lot of references since I didn't have an old CRT TV anymore. I got my references from eBay because usually, sellers upload photos of their products from every angle, and with good resolution, too.
I started the modeling stage by blocking out the overall shape without considering the details. During this step, you need to measure roughly the volume and the size of the TV.
When everything looks correct you can move to the high poly step; add bevel and loops on the edges just like in normal sub div modeling. Since the TV has a lot of straight surfaces, you can ignore topology in the middle of those flat areas. You just need to have correct topology on the edge areas.
For the back cylinder cable, I didn't do any hi-res modeling since the results from baking and without baking looked the same. For hi-res details like bolts and indentation shapes, I used many floaters; but using a lot of floaters will give you problems when baking the AO, so you need to composite it in Photoshop. Small details like text or scratches can be added in the textures later. To check if your hi-res is good enough, just add a Blinn material on your mesh and see if everything has smooth reflections.
After that, it was time to move to the low poly stage. For the low poly, I just needed to copy the hi-res mesh before smoothing it and delete all the edge loops. Of course in some cases, it’s easier to make the low poly from scratch for a better polycount.
To get good bake results, I needed to make sure the edges of the UV islands were perfectly straight. For the wood areas, I made sure to UV layout had the same direction for easier texturing process. When everything was ready, I just did auto-mapping in Maya and then moved to the baking process.
I wanted to indicate that the TV was imported and used in Indonesia, and since this TV was made in the 1980s, I was planning to also add some stickers that were common for that time.
First, I started putting the base color and roughness on each part by using color ID and manual painting for the mask selection. After that, I started to make all the alphas like scratches, dust, wood, edge damages, stickers needed, - from google images, free websites like textures.com, or you can take photos yourself. Making the damage and wood alphas is very easy, you just need to select the color range for the needed area and copy-paste the selection with white color on the black background. After that, you just need to clean the edges using soft brushes.
To create plastic, I just filled it with flat color, plus used other fill layers with slightly brighter and different roughness. I usually use smart masks from Painter like surface worn or rust, you need to experiment with them to see which look good on the mesh. For the plastic surface details, I used tiling plastic normals found on the internet. For the scratches, I used my alpha on the fill layer with negative height and just stamped it on the surface and erased some of it.
For the stickers, you need to import the image and alpha texture into Painter and stamp it using an add layer. Usually, I change the height layer blending option to remove the height information from the layer below. For the text, I just use my text alpha and add it to the fill layer with a low positive height.
The screen was filled with a dark color layer with 0 roughness. Then, I started adding dust with dust generator and then use grunges such as grunge fingerprint. Finally, you can add more dust manually with your dust alpha.
For the wood, I made several brown fill layers and then used my wood alpha for the brush; each layer has different roughness and height. I used an orthographic view when drawing the wood alpha for it to be perfectly straight. After that, you just need to add a damage and dust layers on top. For the dust on the wood, I used the same technique as for the screen and plastic.
The presentation step was very straightforward. Since I am very lazy and didn't want to use another software, I just used the Iray in Painter. Just make sure to rotate the light to find the best angle. I usually render my work in 4k with 1000 samples. After that, of course, you still need to composite the result again in Photoshop for better results.