Hello everyone! My name is Patrick and I am a 3D Artist; I mainly enjoy creating 3D environments and props. I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and I am starting University this year to broaden my skills in the industry.
I always had a passion for video games and the story behind each one. Once I knew that I could make my own games with the use of Unreal and Unity, I started creating environments and props to tell stories. The main games that inspired me to do this were Resident Evil, Silent Hill and God of War. But back to 3D Art, 3 years ago I started doing Games Design in Belfast Metropolitan College, which was where I began honing my skills and learning which part of the industry was best suited for me. Once I found out about Maya, I immediately started liking 3D art.
Why choose a Sony CRF-1?
Good question! It started with me wanting to try something different, outside of my comfort zone. I was more used to making swords and your typical 3D assets—this time I wanted to do something with a lot more detail. So searching for things to model, the Sony CRF-1 looked very interesting. I have always enjoyed old technology and seeing this was a popular radio receiver back in the 80s, I went for that.
The main 3D software I use is Autodesk Maya, the industry standard for 3D modelling. Throughout the years of my college course, I learned how to use Maya and find all the useful tips to make high-quality 3D models. I used Maya in this case to make the low-poly and the high-poly model of the CRF-1. In terms of the texturing, I used both Substance Painter and Photoshop. Substance Painter for texturing the entire model while I used Photoshop to create the detailed alphas and the text on the front of the CRF-1.
References are so important before starting any modelling, references help with scale, detail, and overall complexity of the object you are about to model. Since this was old technology, eBay was a great site to get references. One thing that was important to me was getting the detailed shots of the model. I wanted to see the alphas that I needed to create in great detail. What was also important was to get the roughness detail of the model—on its own, roughness can tell so much more about a model compared to the other texture sets.
For the modelling side of things, I went for the hard-surface approach with loads of booleans, hard edges, and bevels. With the help of the reference images, I would create a few prototypes to see if I could get the shape right. One thing I learned when modelling is not to be afraid to use triangles! They are a great help in modelling hard surface objects and also save a lot of polygons.
Booleans, I would say, were the main tools that I used throughout the modelling process—they helped me get all the inner details and curves that I needed to get the model looking just right. One thing I recommend, however, is to save right before you do booleans, as sometimes they can destroy your mesh if you’re not careful. The main method I used with modelling the CRF-1 was to allow the mesh to have different models together within one group. This helps a lot with baking the high-poly onto the low-poly. Once the low-poly was done, I worked on the high-poly with the use of bevels and edge loops. Normally I make the low-poly first and then work on the high-poly; it’s fine to work the opposite way, too.
UV and texturing
Since this was a highly detailed piece, I wanted to make sure that the textures were of high quality too. This means that I had multiple UV sets, 4 in total. This means I would have the right texture quality in order to make the textures look clear and crisp. I always like to make my own UVs—there are tools available that allow you to make automatic UVs, but I always like to know where I put my UVs and which parts are scaled correctly. It just means that I have more control and that I can work faster when texturing my model since I know where everything is on the screen.
Now to the fun part! Texturing for me is always the fun part because you are bringing the model to light and you can also add a story to your meshes. As I have said previously, I used Substance Painter to texture the model and also Photoshop to create the alphas. Exporting the UV map within Maya is a great help, as this allowed me to put the alphas in the exact spot that I wanted them to be. With the process of texturing, I always try to get the base materials down first, and then I start adding the detail with the help of smart masks and filters. Don’t rush too much into detail when texturing, just make sure that you have the bases done first!
Now for the final, and also very important, part—the presentation. When doing my presentation on Sketchfab, I always try to make the lighting the main thing that is sorted first; without good lighting, your model is not going to look good to the viewer. What I also like to do is to add SSAO to make shadows realistic—without it, I always see the mesh as kinda flat and so I always try to get good realistic shadows. The final thing to point out is sharpness, which I always use. I always like to use a bit of sharpness so the viewer can see the smaller details easily. This is usually my general setup for each Sketchfab upload.
In the end, here is the finished model with the Sketchfab viewer! I hope you enjoyed reading my process of how I make my models and have learned something along the way!