Mechanized Tank Units

First project completed for 2020! I’m excited to finally get this one wrapped up and done. This piece originally started back in December of 2018 as a last minute project to end the year on but 14 months later it has been through a lot of changes.

Two years ago I was still developing and working on my 3D skills so at the time I decided to recreate this wonderful concept piece by James McDonald. Which was subsequently used as concept art for Z2Live’s mobile game, Battle Nations.

Which you can find James McDonald’s social media accounts here!
Instagram. Twitter. Tumblr.

This project was intended to be a quick build, focusing on practicing proportions and scale. So like with every project, the first thing I did was gather lots of reference. At first I wanted to go with realistic PBR materials with stylized proportions.

However that experiment lead me to the overall project looking off. I can’t put my finger on what exactly was causing it but I knew I had to go back to the drawing board.

No matter how many times I adjusted the roughness or materials it just didn’t feel right. But by this time it had roughly been 5 months of development, with just an hour or two over the course of a weekend to work on this. So by August, I scrapped what I had and decided to create a small platform and a texture sample first. Which after a while of experimenting it got me pointing in the right general direction.

Then between the months of August and November I UV’d and experimented with roughness and metal values. Eventually I ended up dropping them all together and just kept to a Diffuse and Normal Map. During this time I was still only working a few hours on the weekend. So I think the five day break from it and continuously coming back to it on the weekend with fresh eyes helped a little bit with its direction.

By the beginning of January 2020 I had a little more accomplished and was almost done. But it needed a little more “umph” to finally wrap it up.

So the rest of January was dedicated to polish and knocking out a few extra props. Which was well worth the effort and gave this project the final push it needed. I ended up adjusting the color values and bumping up the shadows to really make the highlights and darks pop. Then on a whim, I went ahead a created a play-blast out of Marmoset Toolbag 3 to share on twitter for feedback. Which people seemed to love!

By far the highest interaction I have ever gotten with a piece and I am quite proud of that. Getting almost 2,000 views! What a concept! I was probably lucky and likely just timed my post very well but I’m still grateful for the love and support I got from this piece.

I’m very happy with this project and how it turned out and am more than ecstatic to finally cross it off my “To-Do List”. You can check out even more renders on my portfolio at https://www.artstation.com/austenseeberg. Thank you for reading this far, hoped you liked it!

The Induction Blade

This project started off as a quick-lunch break test, that eventually evolved into a full game ready asset. It was a nice break from my environment piece [ which you can find here in which I learned and experimented with some new techniques.

So here is the original concept art by Fernando Correa. I suggest following him as his work is pretty damn cool. Great color palettes, line work, and compositions. Will probably end up recreating another one of his amazing pieces. You can follow his Artstation over here -> Fernando Correa 

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As part of my pre-production steps I took the image and generated a color palette to later use in Substance Painter as a jumping off point. I ended up losing the original color palette through my light rig, post effects like AO, and the 50+ layers in substance painter that were used to recreate this piece. I completely forgot to check my palette throughout the process. It was a kind of use once and put away kinda mind-set and never came back until I realized I needed to generate the final comp palette. Definitely keeping note of this so that in future projects I will remember to always check back to the palette. With that, here are the side by side of the two. As you can see my rendition [bottom] is darker than the original.

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Color_Palette_Final.JPG

My workflow for this piece was your standard process. It went from Block Out > High Poly > Low Poly > Bake > Paint > Render. With the most time spent in Zbrush and Substance Painter. Over all I went through 9 variations, as shown below. The transition is due mostly to the amazing feedback that I got from the Polycount, Level Up!, and various Game Industry discord communities.

TransitionPiece.jpg

For a quick breakdown, 1-3 was experimenting with colors and beefing up come components like the straps and handle. After that, 4-6 has very subtle changes but that bunch was working on roughness, emissive, and pushing the colors some more. Then 7-9 was adding gradients, pushing my metal map and emissive map, and finalizing my light rig.

Out of this I learned a new technique to push the stylization in my textures. Just as a word of caution don’t get to crazy with the filters as you can really ruin a piece and make it look over the top. [ Unless that is the style you are going for, then use as many filters as you want. ] 

Sword_Oil.jpg

The Oil filter in Photoshop is a very subtle filter that smooths out your colors, giving it well, an oil paint feel. The top image has the filter applied and the bottom does not. Again very subtle but helped smooth out the redness in the blade.

So here are the final renders!

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Update : Also it made it to Polycount’s front page, which is a huge personal accomplishment.

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