Hey! My name is Lukas and I’m an aspiring technical artist. I was born in the Czech Republic and later on moved to Austria at the age of 13. I am currently studying the Game Graphics Production major at Digital Arts and Entertainment in Belgium.
I have loved games since I can remember. However, my passion for creating games and game art started in my first year of high school. For reasons unknown to me until this day, I was (without my knowledge or approval) assigned to a game design study track. My initial bewilderment turned into love for the craft pretty quickly and I am incredibly grateful for this strange turn of events that set me on my path to (hopefully) becoming an artist in the industry one day.
Where The Idea Came From
This project was one of my Game Asset Pipeline assignments at university. The goal was to make a game-ready PBR asset based on a real-life object. The theme was “household equipment and kitchenware”, which originally I was not very happy about, if I am honest.
But after some research I came across an article about Hamilton Beach celebrating their 100 year anniversary. I had never heard about Hamilton Beach but the Home Motor immediately spoke to me. Firstly (and most importantly) I thought it was visually very interesting. Secondly, I thought the idea of this do-it-all motor that can do anything from being a fan to sharpening your knives was kind of charming.
Modeling and Unwrapping
The modeling was done predominantly in 3ds Max, with a few minor assists from ZBrush. I started off with a blockout to get the general proportions correct.
From there I went on to model both the low poly and high poly models. I prefer to model part by part, so I will create a low poly part and then immediately make the same part in high poly, before moving on to the next part, as opposed to modeling all of the low poly/high poly at once.
This approach is mostly because I tend to use a combination of the ProBoolean + Dynamesh workflow and Sub-D modeling for the high poly, choosing my preferred workflow depending on the shape of the part.
I made sure to keep the objects unrotated for the entire modeling and unwrapping process, and only rotate the motor upwards and the pedal sideways at the very end. This keeps both modeling and unwrapping a little bit easier since all the axes are aligned.
Once I was finished with the low poly and high poly models of both the motor and the pedal, I created the cable. This was just a simple spline. Afterward, I moved to unwrapping. I decided to go for 3 unique texture sets: one for the motor, one for the pedal and one for the cable. I wanted the motor and the pedal to be useable independently from each other, without having to load textures for both objects. As for the cable, I decided to use a tileable texture so I needed a separate texture set here too.
After all that was done, I took the models into Substance Painter, baked the high poly onto the low poly, and made sure there were no baking issues.
The texturing was the most time-consuming part of the project, but for me also the most fun part. I paid close attention to my reference and tried to copy it as accurately as possible. Especially with the main body of the motor, I wanted to achieve the look of an old, used object that has been hidden somewhere for years without anyone touching it. This was done mainly by focusing on the damage, the grease around movable parts, dirt collecting in cavities and dust settling on the top parts of the model.
I also had a lot of fun with the cable. It wasn’t particularly difficult or challenging but for some reason it was just fun and satisfying. And I was very pleased with the result. I recreated the woven fabric pattern in Photoshop and made sure not only to change the height but also to make the base color inside the grooves darker, to further strengthen the depth effect. I used a few grunge maps to add some dirt and color variation and one of the fur maps to fake the effect of tiny fibers.
Finishing Touches in Sketchfab
All that was left was uploading to Sketchfab. I used the PBR metalness workflow, so there was not a lot I needed to do there, besides plugging in the right textures and tweaking a few values:
- I used 35° as FoV for my camera.
- Solid color background (I find it to be minimally distracting).
- I used the “Industrial Room” HDRI and I added one extra light to accentuate a few highlights and a bit more of the roughness.
- This was the first time I got to use the new ground shadows feature and I love it! Especially for models like this one, where if you do not have a cast shadow, the whole thing floats in space. That can look weird with all the cables that are supposed to be laying on a flat surface.
- As for post-processing, I used the screen space reflection, SSAO, sharpness, and a vignette. I tried to keep those effects subtle and not overdo it.
Thanks for reading! I hope it was at least somewhat useful/interesting. Also, thanks so much to the guys at Sketchfab for letting me do this!