Art Spotlight: Box Tank

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About Me

Hello. I am Alexander Goryushin, and I live in the Tambov region, Russia. My life and work are completely unrelated to art or computer graphics, but I always wanted to realize myself in a creative way. 3D modeling is perfect for this purpose. I first opened Blender in 2017. Since then, every evening I spend one hour or more creating 3D art.

Inspiration

I accidentally discovered the concept of Shaun Mooney when looking through the likes of artists who I am subscribed to on ArtStation. I liked the work at first glance because of its simple but interesting style. I love such stylized art and could not resist transferring it into 3D.

My main goal was to accurately copy the 2D concept into 3D. Another important goal was to learn the new interface of Blender 2.8, and this case was an appropriate occasion.

Modeling

Block Out

The block out was made primarily from cubes and other geometric primitives using modifiers such as Boolean, Bevel, and Mirror.

Block out boxes

High Poly

The next step was the creation of a high poly model. For this, I applied boolean modifiers, slightly optimized the mesh, and set weight to the selected edges. Then I added bevel modifiers again and a subdivision modifier. This was enough to create a tank and props for the scene.

The support wheel of the tank turned out to be the most difficult detail, but it was also modeled relatively easily. The caterpillar was created by applying array and curve modifiers to an element consisting of a cylinder and a deformed cube.

To create cracks and chips in the base, I sculpted a little. It was not necessary, but it seemed to me that the final result would be better with a little more manual work.

Low Poly

After the high poly model was done, I switched to the low poly model. I made the low poly of the tank model and the environment from a previously saved copy of the blockout. The bulk of the work was to apply all the modifiers and greatly simplify the mesh.

Final low poly mesh

UV Unwrapping

Unwrapping and mapping of the model is not my favorite part of the pipeline, but it’s unavoidable. I marked sharp edges on the basis of needing to avoid strange shading and minimize the number of seams. For subtle parts of the model located in hard-to-see places, I reduced the texel density. I packaged the UV islands manually. That was boring. Some repeating elements (wheels, caterpillar) were left overlapping to save texture space. To simplify texturing, UV maps were divided into two textures. One for the tank, another for the environment.

Baking

I baked textures not in Blender but in Marmoset. I love Marmoset for the simplicity of baking and a good visualization of the process. In Marmoset, all defects become visible immediately and most often I manage to fix them immediately. As a result, I ended up with 7 texture cards for both parts of the scene.

It wasn’t necessary to bake some of the cards, but I prefer to bake them all in Marmoset at one time. Yes, I know that normal maps and AO would be enough, but I prefer to import mesh and textures into Substance Painter. Baking in Substance is OK too, but my computer is a bit old and baking using my processor requires significantly more time than baking via the graphics card.

Bake settings

Texturing

The texturing process of this model was very simple. First I divided props by folders and started to create fill layers to visualise color separation.

For almost all elements, I used the standard scheme for filling the base layer with one color. Then I added a dimming layer based on the AO map. I created a layer with soft highlights based on the edge generator and a layer with hard highlights based on the curvature map and a levels correction. I also applied a gradient to the hull of the tank and some props.

To make the roughness texture more interesting and alive, I used a layer with a procedural grunge map.

I also added a layer with a dirt generator to achieve the effect of the old surface and color variation.

Layers example

From Photoshop I imported alphas for the text and the numbers. Checkers and stripes were made with the standard procedural alpha inside Substance Painter.

Custom alphas

The final stage of texturing was the application of stylized scuff marks by hand. For this, several custom stylized alpha textures were used.

When the result started to satisfy me, I exported 4k textures for the EEVEE render and 2k to Sketchfab with the Sketchfab Asset Upload.

Sketchfab

Returning to Blender, I put the props on the stage as they were in the original concept, corrected small errors in the size of the props, and exported the OBJ file to Sketchfab, just replacing the mesh to avoid reloading the textures.

The final correcting of 3D Settings was very minor. In the post-processing filters settings, I turned on vignette, and slightly adjusted bloom and tone mapping to make the picture more contrasty and cartoonish.

Sketchfab 3D settings

I lowered the field of view to 1 to get the orthographic look of the original 2D image and lowered the brightness of the lamps to avoid overexposure of the upper surface.

And the final result:

You can also find it on ArtStation.

 

About the author

Alexander Goryushin

3D Artist


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