In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.
My name’s Tom and I’m a hard surface artist from the United Kingdom, currently in my final year of university studying for a degree in computer games design. I seem to spend an obscene amount of my time creating and texturing models so hopefully I can give you an insight into my workflow and how I go about creating my models; particularly my remake of the Aerial HK from the terminator movies / books.
For each model I create, I will try to add something new or challenging as it gives me the buzz to see the final thing. The Hunter Killer I created used the same ideas, I wanted to challenge myself to try and create something that looked visually interesting, so the main challenge with this project was rigging and animating the model for use in a game engine.
When you’re modelling it’s always good to take a step back every now and again, just to have a really good look at your model as you might see something that could be modelled better or edited slightly to look more interesting or perform a different function.
This exact thing happened to me and the HK, the two pictures below show before and after shots of the front of the model, the left image looks ok but the sensors and pieces sticking out from the front take away that “indestructible machine bent on human destruction!” so I edited the entire front section to create a meaner, sturdier looking front and I think it came out quite well.
When it came to texturing my Hunter Killer the UVs were all unique as I wanted to paint it using Substance Painter, this gave me more flexibility in what I could do with the textures and materials. Substance allowed me to create my own smart materials and apply them using the model’s AO and curvature bakes, this lets me really quickly see how the model will look with different amounts of rust or edge wear.
Animating was the area I found hardest but also the most rewarding, seeing your model moving around and flying is really awesome, after I heard about the animation feature on Sketchfab I was determined to get a really nice lift off animation for my ship to showcase it that little bit more!
The trick I use when rigging and animating my models is to use point helpers instead of bones, I feel like it gives me a little bit more freedom when rigging and I can quickly reposition them if I feel they are in the wrong place.
Sketchfab gave me a really solid platform to showcase my animations and my models in general, the fact they don’t have an upload limit is really useful and it allows to show your models at their highest quality. Another plus is the ability to embed your interactive models into social media like Facebook so people that I know that don’t know how to use 3d software can see and look around your models in a really neat interactive viewer, so thanks a million Sketchfab for an awesome platform!
My work is viewable here on Sketchfab, also on Artstation and finally here on Facebook. My personal website is here, I haven’t updated it in a while but it does contain some work that I haven’t posted on other sites yet. Thanks for reading this and I hope you got an insight into how I make my models!