In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.
My name is Dmitry and I am a 3D artist from Minsk. Currently I am working as a contract artist for Facebook and before that I worked at wargaming.net on World of Tanks and World of Warships. It’s my pleasure to have the opportunity to demonstrate how I assembled the Seymour Stone Well model. I’ve been planning to make some 3D dioramas in my spare time as part of my practice. I started thinking of what I wanted to create and searching for some references. Eventually I came across an amazing concept by WHINBECK which proved perfect for my task, because it has one main object and a few additional small parts of environment so all together they look more complex which has a good effect on the overall impression of my work.
Part 1: Blockout
I always start making my models from blockout to get the right scale and proportion of different parts of the model. Sometimes it’s good to spend a bit more time on blockout, because later you can use some of the parts as ready-made low poly models.
Once I’m happy with the proportion of my blackout, I split the well into several parts, remove duplicate parts and move others to zero XY coordinate and export to ZBrush.
Part 2: Highpoly
In ZBrush I don’t do anything unusual and try not to waste time on adding a lot of details, because later I will add them using Substance painter, but I would like to show you some of the methods I used.
Part 3: Retopology and UVs
Once the roof is finished, I start creating retopology. No secrets here, just your regular process. Tools I use for retopology are Maya and topogun 2.08. I do not scrimp much on polygons and the grid is not perfectly attuned because I am more interested in creating textures in this project.
To create a UV I use Maya and UVLayout as plugin. Nothing fancy just trying to keep blank space to a minimum.
Part 4: Texture baking
To create PBR textures I use Substance Painter, one of my favourite tools for texturing. For convenience, I split the entire geometry into 4 textures– at least 2k each (painter did not give enough performance for comfortable work at 4k).
Baking. Every object has to be split into separate pieces to avoid artifacts during baking. It is also very important to use Color ID map, which will make combining different materials on the same surface easier in the future. For metal and wood, I use Substance Painter’s own standard pre-sets. However, for the roof and bricks I have to create everything from scratch. The whole process consists of mixing already created material of glazed roof with itself a number of times using masks generator with different settings and slightly changing the color, texture and depth of the material. It allows for the uneven surface and color, which makes the material look more realistic as well as interesting and colorful. With texturing, it is important to always rely on logic and add dirt, smudges and stains where you would expect to see them in real life. Substance Painter offers physical brushes, which I’m not really keen on using as I do not like the performance, but they give a good idea of where and what kind of marks such occurrences as rain, dust or smoke leave, so I use them only to create draft masks that are later finalized manually.
For brickwork, I use the same approach as I do to create the roof, which is mixing dozens of similar layers using different masks.
I take an interesting approach to create the ground: I first make the brickwork on a plane in ZBrush, but creating sand with a large number of different elements would mean wasting a lot of time, so I use the tile created in photogrammetry software from a fairly well known collection. Then I combine my bricks with scanned land using Color ID map giving a little saturation adjustment to the scanned texture, which leaves me very happy with the end result.
I am aware that in game engines you can do this using heightmap, but I wanted to make my model rotatable on ArtStation (thanks Sketchfab for that by the way).
Part 5: Assembling the geometry
Once I am done with the textures, I put all the pieces together, thus completing the model. I do not have to think about the composition and substance of all the elements in geometry and lighting because I am using a concept to begin with and my job is to make it look similar, therefore it does not present any difficulties. At the very end, I realize I have forgotten to make the fabric but at this point, I cannot be bothered, so I make a couple of pieces in Marvelous Designer and just throw them onto the texture. Honestly, I could not be bothered about thinking where to put the UV and I thought the fabric deserved its own material. I guess that is it and I hope you enjoyed. And thank you to the guys from Sketchfab for Art Spotlight and such a powerful 3D online viewer. Kind regards!