In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.
I’m Malte Resenberger, a Senior 3D Artist from Berlin, Germany. After my studies at the Games-Academy I worked on several AAA productions around Germany.
Recently I discovered my passion for “Virtual Reality” weapons so during my spare time I was busy supporting the Steam game H3VR ( Hot Dog, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades ) with some weapons.
During this time I learned a lot about setting up my 3D assets for VR. Now I want to share my knowledge about the creation workflow with you using my MP5k as an example.
If you have the opportunity, choose a gun you like the most. Personally I like guns with interesting shapes, some background story, details and contrasting colors.
Me and my girlfriend are playing games such as Battlefield, Rainbow Six or Escape from Trakov. As a 3D artist I can’t help myself immediately analyze some of the gun meshes and get my inspiration out of it. Also if you are working on a gun you like, you won’t get bored after some time.
First of all, search the internet for some good references. It is very important to get pictures from inside the weapon and avoid fakes or replicas. In Germany it is very hard to have actual real references because of the German gun law. So if I miss some inner bolt references, I try to search for the same weapon online.
If you want to create a VR gun make sure to cover all parts you would actual see in and on a real gun. The commonality to common video games / shooters are you see the weapon from every angle.
Modeling high and low poly
I use Maya for modeling. Usually I start setting up my scene with real life sizes, a background concept and some simple blockouts. Just keep it simple and don’t mind the geometry because later everything will be replaced with the high poly mesh.When starting the high poly I make sure to have a closer look at my collected references to get an idea of how things work.
Many VR games disable anti aliasing for better framerates so it make sense to slightly overdo some bevels / edges to keep a good readability later on.
For the high poly creation part I often use Maya’s Modeling Toolkit in a separate window, Match Transformations, Align Tool, Slide Edge Tool, and Insert Edge Loop. Sometimes when a mesh has some pretty complex parts or shapes I go into Zbrush and Bool / Dynamesh some geometry parts and import the decimated mesh back. At the end and during the high poly process, I often decide to create some more parts or attachments for the gun so the player has a reason to use it or just customize it.
When the high poly is done I start the low poly by grabbing every part and clean up the mesh and reduce the polycount. If I do have a decimated mesh out of ZBrush I use Maya Quad Draw to retopologize some meshes. During this work I sort, clean up and rename everything in my scene. There is no need to go twice to all of your meshes.
It is fine to have more triangles than in first-person games because in VR you will be able to put the gun next to you and have a look at all parts. The Mp5k has about 24k tris but big guns could end up having around 60k – 80k tris for Virtual Reality.
Right after creating / cleaning all my low poly I tend to pre-unwrap them with Nightshade UV Editor ( free tool for Maya with lots of useful expansions ) so that I only need to resize, mirror and pack every UV shell in the end.
The inner UV parts of the gun can be scaled down a bit as well as hidden or overlapping UV shells. Everything else should have the same pixel resolution.
The Mp5k was baked and textured in Substance Painter. Before I start my texture work I first check my bake if everything went fine.Then, I create the base materials and later on some nice details like custom scratches, wear effects and symbols /fonts. In this process I used to adjust my colors or materials and check my results in a engine or model viewer.
When the gun only has one or two different materials it can be tough to choose proper colors to make it look nice instead of boring. It’s kind of a creative back and forth to get the most appealing textures.
After I finished the texture the MP5k mesh goes into a 3D model viewer like Sketchfab.
In the past, I didn’t have the time to test it out but then I was really surprised of how valuable the features of this viewer are. First thing I noticed is the high quality of the viewport, effects, and texture compression. This tool is super sweet to represent any kind of models in a nice way even on mobile devices.