I have two new works to blog about this week. The first is a hard surface model using Zbrush as the main program and finished as a low poly asset. Here are some reference shots first to give you an idea of what I was planning.
I liked the pattern of the stand, and the shape of the TV created some challenges. To start the stand was fairly easy dynameshed object from a box. The basic shapes were created from primitives, masking, inflate, scale, move etc. The draws were separate to begin, so was any major shapes. The pattern I originally created in shadowbox, but found better results a “extruded” alpha from a box, with the box clipped off after. Lots of cheeky mirror and welding in places solved a few scale issues and helped produce the final shape of the draws. In the end pretty much everything was standard Zbrush modelling tools.
Next the texture. I think I relied on spotlight for the majority of the work. Using a z intensity of say 6 or something. Something low. Then to add the worn removed paint, I added a wood texture, and painted on where I wanted it to be worn down using a trim dynamic for the scratches with a hair alpha. I really aged the stand much more than the original ref to give it some character.
Next the TV.
The initial shape I created from a box using the clay brushes then finally h polish. After that, to get some nice sharp edges for the back, I exported the mesh into max, and created a low poly cage. Took that back into Zbrush and increased the polys after polygroups, then dynameshed for the cuts. I could have done all the retoplogy in zbrush, but I prefer the poly tools in max (until v 4.7 is out).
The vents and other shape cuts were all done using dynamesh subtract. Sometimes however this produces bad results. Therefore an insert mesh with negative selected will cut the surface. I originally created the whole vent as one object, but separate blocks work better for cutting. One at a time.
The cuts produced nice polygroups for each section, which helped with the final texturing later, allowing me to mask off areas quickly with little cleanup for the screen and labels. The buttons and scart plug were all separate entities which made it easier for the texturing.
The textures were fairly standard. Similar to the stand really. A nice trick is to take a selection of the reference with little shadow in Photoshop, copy the layer twice, produce a high pass filter for the first layer, and add the second as colour. And use the third as reference to bring the colour back to original (layers, colour balance, hues etc). This should give you a nice tillable texture (it may need a offset and a slight adjustment) to use across the object. It’s a quick method that creates a nice base to start from. I used this method for both the wood base of the stand and the base plastic on the front and back of the TV.
Anyway to quickly finish the textures. The screen I created a quick alpha of stripes for the close up TV lines. Originally I tried surface noise to a mask for this, but it just wasn’t detailed enough. Then finally used a reference image, imported to Zbrush spotlight to colour pick the screen colours. The labels are edited ref put into spotlight with obviously no z intensity on screen or labels.
To get to this stage was a fairly quick process. All the main work is done, so both the stand, and TV were merged objects (still as separate stand and TV though), decimated to under 100,000 polys each, then brought into max for a quick build of the low poly. (graphite modelling tools allowing the vertex to “stick” to the high poly model). A nice trick to this in Max is to have the screen as shaded, no wires, and have the low poly in the view configuration set to “display selected as edge faces”. Therefore you are not using to many resources trying to draw all the wire of the higher, and it’s a lot easier to see!
Anyway the TV came in at 418 and stand at 552. I could have floated the knobs but I wanted it a closed mesh. Then after UVs and smooth groups, I went back to Zbrush and exported the very high poly merged meshes with poly paint on as objs into Xnormal and the lows, and baked the TV and stand separately. The low poly, Albedo and normal imported to Marmoset to check.
I had some trouble with both objects projecting correctly after viewing in Marmoset, but each method I tried to fix were really obvious. The legs of the stand were projecting part of the underside, so I built a cage in max and used that in Xnormal which solved that problem. However the TV “handle” and scart lead were projecting horribly. Both were influenced by the rest of the object close by. So I cut out the area in Zbrush for the high, and did the same for the low (well the uv map of that area) and reprojected using just those sections. Producing a nice clean area I could import back into the texture. The good things about Marmoset and Xnormal is they are so quick you can really spend a lot longer testing and re testing the model to get it right.
Final checks and specular and gloss created, using basic colours with levels and hues adjustable to produce the right lighting for each material. Once the lighting was right, then detail added on the spec and gloss. I tend to have the same methodology as here (https://www.marmoset.co/toolbag/learn/materials) when creating the spec and gloss.
The final polys are about 1110 with the lead (created in max using a spline, and a duplicate with lower polys (I think 3 sides in the end) uved and baked in xnormal. The texture were for both the TV and stand a diffuse, normal, spec and gloss at 2048 but I could happily have reduced them to 1024 with a sharpen more applied.
I have also been reworking a sofa so will post up a short tutorial on that in the next few days. But it’s pretty much the same method after the high poly creation.