Hello everyone! My name is Henry Rietra. I’m a Brazilian 3D artist generalist, actually living in Abu Dhabi and working at Hybrid Humans Game Studio as Lead 3D Artist. I’m passionate about everything related to 3D and always trying to learn more technologies and techniques. I’ve worked in several areas such as: architecture, games, animated series, and advertising.
In this Art Spotlight I will be talking about the creation process of FlyFlyBird Handheld, a project where I had the opportunity to create a 3D model based on the concept art of Wellington Fattori.
Having Fattori’s design as the main reference, I started doing some research into real-life photos of old handhelds. The main point of my research was to understand the retro design of these old consoles, how they were built and the feeling when holding them. Another point that I researched so that I could create the right visuals in the textures used in PBR shaders was how light affects different parts of the console.
I used 3ds Max as the main tool for modeling and started to build the model using a simple box as base. Aiming to create a high poly model, I tried to avoid modeling a lot of details. My main objective with this model was to have a consistent model base for baking and later add some extra details using normal maps inside Substance Painter.
With the high poly model built I started to create a low poly mesh. This process was easy since I had built the high poly mesh using a box modeling technique. I just decreased some levels of the turbosmooth modifier and excluded some unnecessary faces. I optimized the model, keeping in mind that it would be used in a mobile game.
The next step was to map the low poly model UVs. For this step I used the 3ds Max unwrap UVW modifier. With the model mapped, I imported the low poly model to Substance Painter where I could make use of their powerful procedural texturing tools. My first step inside Substance Painter was to bake the textures using the high poly mesh that I had created, which would help me later on when using smart masks to add extra details. With the model baked, I started sculpting some details using alpha stamps.
With the mesh normals sculpted, I added some textures in the project that I would use to create the handheld stamps.
I textured each part of the model starting with a clean base and slowly adding some worn effects using Substance Smart Masks.
The result was that I created a model that looks like it was used a lot by someone, with all the handheld pieces and stamps having a worn aspect. The textures were exported from Substance Painter for a PBR metallic shader and later used as realtime materials on Sketchfab.
Animation and Exporting
To animate the model and export it to Sketchfab, I used 3ds Max. There I started to animate the play button, scaling up and down and keyframing the animation. For the handheld screen, I used a small animation clip that was prepared by Fattori.
I extracted each frame of his animation and applied it as a texture in the screen plane. In order to get the screen animated on Sketchfab, I used 15 planes (one for each frame) and individually animated them and scaled down the unused frames to 0.
With the animation completed, I exported the model in FBX format to upload it to Sketchfab. There I configured the model materials using the textures exported from Substance Painter. For lighting, I used the amazing light settings built into Sketchfab, using spherical environments to light the model and a shadow catcher to provide a base to the model and prevent it from looking floaty.
Thanks, Sketchfab team for supporting 3D art and for developing this amazing tool that is freely available to us artists. Easy social sharing, compatibility with mobile phones and tablets, and what is more exciting is the possibility of visualization in virtual reality. You are awesome, guys!
I hope you liked this article and feel free to contact me or add on social media!