In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.
Hey folks, my name is Justin and I’d like to show you my process for creating the “JP Mech”. I recently revisited the project with the Physically Based Rendering workflow. 3dsMax, Photoshop and Substance Designer were used to create it.
So, on with the show!
This project started out as an academic project while I was studying at the Guildhall at Southern Methodist University, and after graduation I decided it needed some more attention.
Concept by Jake Parker
I began by making the close-to-final low poly mesh, which I kept intact while creating the high poly mesh inside of an Edit Poly modifier. After that, I optimized the mesh to its final state.
I baked out an Ambient Occlusion, Normal, and Diffuse map out of 3dsMax. The Diffuse map was simply a color ID key so I can separate materials easily inside Substance Designer. The AO and Normal serve some new and interesting functions inside of SD, too.
Within Substance Designer I used the baked maps from 3dsMax and SD’s procedural texturing nodes to create the different materials. I paid attention to each material separately, to make sure both the material was realistic, yet also looked good. Labels and decals were added with separate maps within the materials.
Here’s what the top layer of the Substance looks like, all of the other materials have similar graphs inside them, albeit a bit more complicated. The materials are properly applied to the mesh using the color ID key mentioned earlier.
After all that, here are the baked maps. SD is very smart and versatile when it comes to combining maps. It’s definitely an integral part of my workflow.
I did a quick pose to match the concept using some linking of pieces inside 3dsMax. A ground plane of some sort was necessary too. I then exported the meshes, grabbed the appropriate textures and uploaded to Sketchfab. I also brought the mesh into Unreal Engine 4 for beauty shots.
Sketchfab’s interface makes it easy to set up a scene with PBR materials, and with cast shadows and custom lighting, it made the model pop even more. I love being able to display a project like this.
I need to thank one of my SMU Guildhall professors, Boris Fisher, for suggesting I take on this project and for his feedback that I finally implemented to get this to where it is. Also, one of my fellow 3D artists, Ricardo Orellana, convinced me to rig it and match the concept pose, which really made it shine. And one last note, it turns out that this concept is from an independent film called Redcoat, directed by Kohl Glass.
Thanks for reading!