Rotator Pistol

A crazy concept for a pistol in a steampunk universe

Adobe Photoshop

Blender.png

Final Images

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Final_Perspective_01.png
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Process

This is one of the projects that I detailed in my 'Work in Progress' blog and you may find more detail there. I intended for it to be a way for me to learn how to use Blender. I would say it was pretty successful in that regard, I learned a lot about the software, some of its quirks and features, and many of the tools it offers.

Concept.jpg

I started with this relatively quick sketch of a concept. I've been playing around with this idea for a steampunk gun for quite a while now, but I finally decided to make it. I had numerous other drawings of the concept that may be better, but I couldn't seem to find them, unfortunately.

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Blockout_01.PNG
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After a few hours with Blender I was beginning to become pretty comfortable with it. In fact, I think I prefer it to Maya, the tools allow you to create a model non-destructively and the interface is clean and overall the experience was very stable, fast, and one of my favorite things, it only took a few seconds to launch.

Above is my blockout of the model. I'ts pretty basic bot has all of the major shapes and components. Quite a bit would be adjusted and added down the line. It was also here that I fixed a design flaw from the concept that would prevent the top from spinning around as desired.

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In the end I had this as a low-poly. The geometry was pretty good overall with just a few issues. It was a real challenge, some of the pieces were really strange and hard to clean up and still keep the unique shape. After I finished making the base low-poly which was 13,165 tris, I went on the make the high-poly.

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This was by far my most ambitious high-poly yet. I experimented with adding additional geometry that wouldn't just increase smoothness, but also add a lot of surface detail. For this model, I added pins, bolts, decorative elements, increased the visual interest of the screws, and also added bevels to everything.

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UVSheet.jpg

I was now ready to prep for baking and textures. I decided to use a vertex-painted color ID workflow for the materials. This let me experiment a lot in Substance once the model was in. I could easily change the material of several sections of the gun and swap them out to do comparisons. It proved to be a really smart move and it saved me a lot of time in the long run. I also got to take a screenshot of my gun looking like a plastic neon toy, which is fun.

I recreated the UV sheet maybe four times overall and settled with this one. My first few bakes were awful and I learned that the jagged bake edges can be caused by angled edges in UV space. I spent the time making everything as straight as possible including all of the disks in the main body of the gun. This bake came out so much better.

RotatorPistol_low_lambert2_BaseColor.png
RotatorPistol_low_lambert2_Normal.png
RotatorPistol_low_lambert2_OcclusionRoug

Here are the final textures that came out of Substance. I learned a lot more about Substance while working on this project as well. I discovered how to really tweak smart mask and materials to get what you want, how to tweak the bakes to be more accurate and cleaner; I will say I wish I could get a cleaner bake, but I'm just not sure how to do that yet. The color ID workflow let me play a lot with my materials so I could easily experiment with different textures and colors without needed to mask everything out each time I added something new, which was unbelievably useful. 

I think it all came out well. Of course, my model isn't quite professional level yet, but it looks really cool and is game ready minus a rig. It looks pretty decent, has a nice story to it, is super unique, and is interesting. I learned a lot about Blender, too, which was my main goal, and I also learned a lot about Substance Painter in the process.

A few things I know I need to work on include baking my high-poly, making my own materials in Substance Designer, not just Photoshop and Substance Share, and I think I can get better at knowing what shapes I need to model and what shapes I should bake.