Using 3D Coat & 3DS Max to Make Guns
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great work. thanx for this article

by vijaykhatri96@gmail.com
3 hours ago

Great! If a beginner wants to learn Houdini then they needs to click here: https://hackr.io/tutorials/learn-houdini

why Hellblade didn't come on ps4 yet ?

Using 3D Coat & 3DS Max to Make Guns
27 February, 2017
Interview
3d artist Konstantin Molchanov prepared a detailed breakdown of his amazing hard-surface study of a futuristic weapon.  

Introduction

Hi! My name is Konstantin Molchanov, I am a senior artist in the game industry for over 10 years now. I have worked on various game projects during this time as a full-time studio employee as well as a freelance artist. I have recently moved to the U.S. and decided to dedicate some time for a personal projects that I have planned earlier. 

During my childhood, I always was fascinated with sci-fi stories. I was literally obsessed with two things: experiencing an interesting scientific story, whether it was a  book or a movie (video games just started to appear at that time…), and coming up with these stories myself. As soon as I had a rough idea of a fictional world, vehicle, or a character in my head, I was rushing to get pencil and paper to draw it… It was super fun, until I’ve played a video game for the first time! And this has changed everything.

Since then I am fascinated with the video game development process and feel passionate about making art for video games. I am a gamer, I love playing computer games, but making video games is just incredible! A simple idea that I am contributing to a video game piece among with other amazingly talented developers makes me eager to do even better. 

Apart from work routines, I’m always super exited to do my personal artistic projects, whether its a digital painting or a complex 3d scene, I always find time to complete new personal projects. In this post I would like to cover one of the designs I have completed recently. 

I will cover my brainstorming process for Sci-Fi weapon design development as well as some common steps I had to take to complete this work.

Idea

Generally, at the beginning of every project I have some very rough idea: “A sci-fi human design weapon with thermal protection fabric covering”. Formalizing this idea gives me a better starting point. My mind starts to define main design and technical problems and possible solutions.
 
I think generally it’s nice to consider every task as a problem to be solved with specific tools and techniques. If I don’t know the right tools or techniques for solving these problems yet, it’s important to do proper research or study first. Luckily it is super easy to find any information you need.

The best way to start developing weapon designs is to make a side view thumbnails (Dah… But really!!!). For this stage, Photoshop works as well as a pencil and paper (often I prefer a generic ballpoint pen). 

The main idea here is to focus on big shapes and proportions. Keeping in mind what is a general theme of the weapon and how it works in visual design. For example, if it’s a sniper rifle, it would be more thin and linear, or if it’s a bold MG, it would be thicker and look “heavy”.

Usually, I do a few dozens of these, this way my overall shape designs gradually changes from a common “in trend” designs to something more unusual, interesting and unique. 

Concept 

 

After picking one of the thumbnail designs, I am moving forward to work on representative concept image. Here I’m “Describing” more details and defining the overall look. 

To get familiar with this process in detail, I would highly recommend watching John Park tutorials. John is an amazing artist and one of my biggest inspirations, which include Vitaly Bulgarov, Fausto de Martini, SPARTH, Jama Jurabaev.

I am working on a concept until I start to slow down. Generally, it means that I am satisfied with the overall design and I am starting to doodle smaller details. Depending on the purpose of the concept, it is a good time to stop and move on to modeling, since basic ideas have already been defined.  I tend to detail concept a bit more if I have to pass it to 3d modeler, who will continue to work on this asset.

A good rule of thumb is to remember a difference between personal artwork and artwork, created for specific project purposes, that solves problems and helps to deliver a product. Surely, art never has a “Completed” state, there is always room for improvement, but my opinion is that a professional artist should be very efficient with production pipelines, and willing to adopt internal desire for perfectionism to fit specific project needs and at the end of the day – deliver a product! 

I think it’s a good idea to try different skins or “Graphics” ideas for your weapon design early on. In this particular case, since I have chosen quite simple design pattern for fabric covering, I knew I will add some decals or graphics to these surface areas later. Graphics decals are yet another powerful tools to make compelling artwork. Sometimes it is wise to plan some space for decals at the beginning of the design process, and not ‘over-detail‘ these areas with geometry.

Time to move to a 3d Blockout.

Blockout

I do not tend to overwork a 3d blockout model. Its purpose is clear: general shapes, proportions established in a minimum time frame possible. I find it very useful in a games production to show 3d blockouts to animators, vfx artists, game designers as soon as possible so that all people involved in the production process of this asset will be on the same page. This will minimize chances to re-work it later, which is very cool. 

The process is straightforward and the only suggestion from my side here would be to try a few more different configurations of shapes, do not settle on the first version. This will improve chances to make the best choices. 

Ok, next step is making fabric covering with Marvelous Designer.

Fabric

My approach to making a fabric is to divide it into small areas, and adjust them one at a time. This approach actually speeds up my work in Marvelous Designer quite a lot! Working in MD I’ve discovered that by default it uses only 4 cpu cores for computation of garment. Since I have 4 core CPU with hyper-threading, I have changed a value to 8. This gave me a nice speed boost.

As for the fabric simulation, I have used a two layers approach: first layer is stretched among surface and frozen, and a second layer is attached to a frozen one, so that upper garment stitches will look like they attached to a surface. 

After that, it’s all about playing with parameters to find the best look of the fabric. I knew that I will make more complex metal parts for this model, therefore I decided to leave fabric area a bit simplistic, it is very important to leave areas for eyes to rest… 

Hard Surface Parts

I am very passionate about making shooter games, especially FPS. Therefore I always start detailing weapons from “first person” view. I cannot stress enough, how important it is to make weapon looks good from a specific in-game perspective and give this area top priority!

My idea with this weapon was to make a “socket” with surrounding parts that will hold a cylindrical container, visually supported by two big tubes of nitrogen fluid injection.

I think it’s a positive thing to change original concept a bit if the result will be better, and that is exactly what I’ve done here. Design process never stops in my mind and since there is always room for improvement, I used this momentum to make hopefully better changes to design.  

 
As for detailing process, for this specific project I used the following pipeline: I made simple volumes in 3DS Max, then exported everything to 3D-Coat, where I converted everything to voxels and used fantastic 3D-Coat tools to make medium and small size details. One tip from me here is to import geometry without voxelization first and then convert it to voxels manually. This way I was able to choose the resolution of individual parts upon conversion.

To convert surface parts to voxels, simply click on an “S” letter near-surface layer in a VoxTree. This will opens up prompts with triangles amount for current geometry. 

Talking about triangles count: best advice would be to play with a few values. Depending on a computer hardware, I usually trying to find an average triangles count value, where sculpting process haven’t slowed down and yet gives enough resolution to sculpt even smallest details. 

It’s a good idea to keep in mind here, that 3D-Coat slows down only if there are too many triangles in currently active surface, you are working on. This means that you can have exactly the same resolution for every surface in a list, and it will not affect overall performance. 

For this specific weapon design, I have used a few hard surface 3D ART RESOURCES alphas. I find these working really well in certain situations. These alphas definitely saved me some time!

Rendering

All renderings were done in Keyshot. When it comes to materials, it is all comes down to personal preferences. I’ve played with different fabric colors as well as hard surfaces materials here. Interesting thing about the cylinder element in a middle: I ended up adding translucent material to it. To me, it definitely added interesting vibe to overall iron sight part. Inner color of the translucent material is warm to complement orange decal and glass screens.

When it comes to Keyshot materials, I would highly recommend spending some time tweaking roughness channel, adding procedural or bitmap textures and mixing those up. I discovered that a simple “Camo” procedural texture, after some tweaking can make very interesting roughness effects on a metallic surface.

Final Thoughts

I cannot stress enough, how important it is to explore new tools, design methods and workflows! Apart from working hard on a next art piece for hours and hours, using the same technique, sometimes it is much better to force your brain explore new trails of unlimited art creation approaches. 

I’ve learned so much while designing this weapon and solving problems along the way. But what is most important I had a lot of fun doing it!  

I think that I just have scratched a surface with Marvelous Designer in weaponry design, there is a lot more to it.  I hope this small article will inspire artists to experiment with MD more. 

Hope you enjoyed a story about this part of my journey! I am definitely looking forward to a next one! Stay tuned.

Konstantin Molchanov, Senior Environment Artist at Goodgame Studios

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5 Comments on "Using 3D Coat & 3DS Max to Make Guns"

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Emil
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Emil

Well Done Koss. Looks amazing. You have come a long way with your stuff since we met in Ukraine. Keep it up.

Henry
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Henry

Hey guys, I am really amazed by this model, I love to model hard surface too, but I kind of dont know the proper way to do it. I watched a ton of tutorials, but I still cant understand how can you model these very small details, with this much complexity, AND bevel too. Any help would be appreciated!

chombor@gmail.com
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chombor@gmail.com

I’ll going to make a rifle out of my blanket

so much trendy

Hrishi
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Hrishi

Awesome

mat
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mat

and we never get to see the actual “wireframe”

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