Jason Pook's Games Design Blog

Summer- Self initiated mini brief- Process

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The brief i set myself in my previous post i am now going to discuss my own process of completing it.

Pt1. Find or Research your chosen vehicle for use of reference when modelling (Your car/ images/ sketches/ owned item etc.)

What was i going to do? there is a wide range of choice and being a huge car fan i had to go down that path. Personally owning a classic mini i thought i would go for that…but then i didnt want to jump in head first with this i could come back once i felt id improved my 3d modelling. In relation to the brief it says representation of a vehicle so i decided a remote control car would be a fairly challenging model to build to start me off with this brief, and i could also build the remote to control it.

With that in mind i set to the internet to find myself some reference images, maybe some parts i could add like a spoiler of my choice as rc cars are customisable.  SIDEtop

So this is what i found, simple shape with plenty of features to model. like the suspension springs, screws, spoiler, wheel, tire tread, antenna etc. The reason i picked these angles as when i am modelling in 3dsmax if i set up 3 planes evenly and texture the images into viewport i can use them whilst modelling to guide me in shape and size of my car. I think i will do a slight interpretation on some features due to topological difficulties but we shall see how it goes.

Pt2. Once comfortable with chosen vehicle (it has to be real, no transformers allowed!) plot yourself out a design process to tackle in 3d modelling.

I realised that doing an rc car i could cut a few corners as there is no interior and just a base so one moulded block would show a built rc car under the shell. But first things first i set myself up 3 reference image planes top, front and side. This would allow me to get the scale of my model right in at least 2 viewports for accuracy to the model.

reference setup

As you can see evenly measured planes that have been aligned together with precision, this was just a simple process of create plane to scale, clone 2 times and match, then texture each individual plane with relevant reference image. I then selected all 3 and clicked freeze selection so i wont even move them by accident, it wont be changed.

The next step was the car shell, as i dont know what the frame looks like i decided to do the main car shell then model the frame to match the shell based on what id made.

The shell started off as a simple box that i scaled to match each viewport as close as i thought i could go,car shell but obviously there are many curves and bumps in the car so a box would look right at all. By converting to an editable poly this allowed me to use the connect tool when selecting edges, this is similar to the swift loop tool but if you do it in multiple connections its more even topology. I then just grabbed vertexes and moves them to fit the shape of the model, i did this in side and front viewport so it had the reference shape as if i did just side view it would be wrong. I then deleted all polys underneathe the shape as its just a shell and i didnt need them as other objects would fill that space. But as you can see thats far too sharp and boxed to look realistic it need smooth transitions of bends and shapes.

car shell turboTo do this i added a turbosmooth modifier, which gave me the curves i wanted i upped the iterations to 2, turned on isoline display and clicked on show end result when going back to my editable poly. i used the swift loop tool to create some air intakes front and back. Obviously i wanted to show definition of the centre piece and the intakes so a trick i learnt was to use the swift loop tool whilst turbosmooth is on and the closer to the line it is the more pinch it will do to your tubrosmooth to make it a more solid shape. With being pretty happy with that shape and it being modelled to the reference images i decided to leave it for now and move on to modelling another area of the rc car. to make the topology neater when i swift looped I moved selected ringed edges and use move with edge restriction to even it and space it all out.

I proceeded to the tire, from the reference image it needed to be fairly thin with a bit of a outer ridge like a tire does. I did this initally using spline modelling techniques, i put it in the front view and used lines to draw the shape of the tire but only from top to where the rim would be not the full tire otherwise my chosen modifier next wouldnt work. I then used Lathe modifier in the X direction to create my geometry, but it wasnt in the right axis, using the sub selection of the modifier axis i used the move tool to drag it down and create a tire shape with a ring in the middle (where the rim will fit). to create the smooth inner tire bump i converted it to an editable patch and used the inner handle scaled in the Y direction to curve this out and create the tire.

The rim was created by a tube aligned to the centre of the tire and a cylinder with matching segments to the tube facing eachother so that i could use bridge to create the spokes. Then it was just tweaked with a centre cap which i modelling a screw to fit inside, it was turbosmoothed and swiftlooped to pinch the shape and create our wheel in completion.

After that i duplicated the wheel when grouped together to have 4 copies for the car aligned them and positioned them to individual locations. This allowed me to model the axel and wheel connector to the axel. I then began to model the spring suspension for the car which is clearly visable at front and back. Being a spiral shape the best thing to use was the helix shape which is essentially a spring, once aligned to my object it was just a case of making sure it looped as much as i wanted to and tighten it up around the cylinder of the suspension with height and radius. Once happy all i had to do was go to the rendering option on the modifer toolbar and tick enable in viewport and renderer, this then thickened out my helix to a 3d spring which i could adjust thickness and sides for however high poly i wanted it.

tire3 treadI then added tread to my tire, this was just cubes modelled on the surface on the tire cloned several times in a row of 2 then every other cube being deleted to create a tread, once angled the tread on the inner part of the tire it was duplicated with the axis set in the centre of the wheel using the rotate tool on snap holding shift.

To speed things up i made a list of what needed doing to finish the car. I needed to model: a frame, a inner car carriage with battery latch, spoiler joined to frame, bumper joined to frame, a car antenna, a remote with ariel. Then i needed to align everything in position relevance, make any additions i may think of, use symmetry for tires to the other side, texture.

Here is the remainder of the process as this post is getting very lengthy and images speak a thousand words, maybe not in 3d modifiers but i will explain where needed.

I modelled the frame using box modelling to create the outer edge path of the car once donei used the symmetry modifer to mirror this to the other side, and to make the support connections down the middle i just extruded inner polygons where i believed nessacery. Then the inner carriage was modelled to fit above the frame but inside the car this made sure the inside of the shell wouldnt be seen and gave depth to the model with a simple addition of a inset battery box with latch. I then made the spoiler using splines for the edges of the spoiler and the handles of converting to bezier to sculpt the edges, then applying the extrude modifer for 3d element. Final touches were needed to the connection of the wheel to the suspension to the car needed a extra part and extrusions to make connections visable. Then it was final modelling of a bumper which was beveled to create what i thought was a nice solid look to the bumper, then the antenna for the car to recieve the controllers movement. Finally the controller was modelled, using topology creation in local for some features. It was all just a case of putting shapes together for the controller and extruding some polygons for features. And that left texturing after i added my air intake on top of the car which wasnt on the reference but i liked it as a feature.

Here is the final car!

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I chose a random colour scheme and then added some racing stripes, a racing number, some form of zig zag decal, and some racing sponsers of NOS and Falken. All textured in photoshop. When unwrapping the shell i used the relax custom setting so i had a more even texture when applying my colours this really helped in the end. Also to finish it off and complete part 3 of texturing and organising, i grouped all areas to eachother and gave every part a name so there was no Box1001 and if this was to be passed down the pipeline in a game people checking or editing would know exactly what is what. Grouping is key.


Alot went wrong dont let the process fool you, i had many a rage storm out the room when it just wasnt doing what i wanted to with the topology, capping polys and actually modelling the frame/spoiler took about 11 times as it just wasnt transitioning from one to another right with the turbo smooth applied. With experiementing on many new modifiers i hadnt used before such as lathe and symmetry it took time to adapt to using them and getting my head around how i would go about the next piece.

In the end looking at the reference image i thought well that isnt exactly what is there for me to make. But you have to remember its just a reference image its there to guide not to be precisely replicated unless specified so i was pleased with my result.

One tool which was a total life saver that i was new to was the “isolate mode” this is a little pink light bulb at the bottom which when you selected what you was editing it would hide everything else and focus purely on that object. This allowed me to rotate around the object much easier and nothing was blocking my view. Other tools i found useful: local- this allowed me to move or scale objects i maybe previously rotates and angled in the direction they was facing so the objects local. AutoGrid- when modelling something i wanted on a surface so say the control sticks for the controller if i put on auto grid it would create my shape onto the controllers face.

Overall i was very pleased with my outcome for my car. I am hoping to now take this a step further and model a proper car using the skills i have obtained here. The poly count was just over 1.7million so high poly work but there was no restrictions and i did use only what was nessacery in some cases it could have been alot higher.

Give it a go the brief i set is here.

Author: Jason Pook 3D

Current student at Hull School of Art and Design studying Games Design.

One thought on “Summer- Self initiated mini brief- Process

  1. Pingback: Classic Mini Model- Self Initiated Mini brief | PHASEgaming

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