Hello, for those that do not know me, I'm David, a self-taught Weapons & Hard Surface 3D Artist.
In this post I will share with you the steps I had to follow in order to make this scene for my entry in the Hum3D weapons challenge. I still consider this piece a work in progress and I plan on updating the entry once I come up with a better lighting setup.
Everything that composes the final shot is modeled from scratch in Blender 2.79b, textured in Substance Painter and rendered in Marmoset Toolbag. Marmoset Toolbag was also used to bake the AO and Normal maps because it does a better job than Substance Painter (Marmoset is super intuitive and it gives you a lot of control over the baking process).
I started with the most time consuming piece: the pistol. Initially I wanted to make the SIG Sauer P226 but later on I decided to switch to the P228 variant since the P226 grip resembles the wood in the way the material needs to be textured. Wood is nice but texturing wood is a struggle for me and for many other artists. A flat piece of wood might look good but when complex shapes come into play, only a few people can come up with a realistic texture.
Excepting for the switch to the P228 model, the modeling phase did not consist of any challenges. Here you can see the lowpoly and highpoly models.
When it comes to the UV unwrap, I had a few mirrored pieces. The faces you see missing are being mirrored from the other side. Overall, the pistol has a small amount of mirrored parts and I believe I could get away with 0 mirrored parts if I wouldn’t focus so much on showing the internal pieces.
Unwrapped to use 1 single texture set at 2K resolution.
For the highpoly model I added more detail to the base model, separated some pieces (more visible in the top down view) and subdivided the mesh for a clean and smooth look. For the front of the grip, rear of the grip and trigger guard I used floaters to add the details.
Here is the low poly model with the Normal and AO maps applied. 5.1k polygons
I am super pleased with the baked maps. The lack of detail in the mesh is not visible at all when the Normal and the AO maps are applied. From left to right: Highpoly, Lowpoly, Lowpoly+Wireframe.
Moving on to textures. As you might have seen already, the focus on my models is the realism and the game ready aspect. Shortly after the P228 model was done, I jumped straight into Substance Painter and did a rough texture pass, matching the look and the colors as good as possible with the real life counterpart. A solid week of detailing and watching reference videos and pictures came after this. I think it was worth every single hour. I definitely improved a lot by doing this.
I like to duplicate my model and mirror the duplicated piece in different positions. In this way I can look around the model and see the separate pieces as well as the final model.
The SIG Sauer P228 is my best weapon model to date and I took my time to learn as much as possible during the making of it. In total, I spent over 2 and a half weeks only on the pistol, texturing taking me over half of that time.
This is the top down view I was talking about when I said I separated the high poly slide model. In order to add the separated metal piece in here I modeled it separately and it really adds that little extra realism.