In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a next-gen, game model of an old weathered Boiler, with the help of only one black & white reference image. The tutorial will cover the entire process from Low poly Modeling to High poly Modeling, UV mapping, Textures baking (i.e Normal and Occlusion maps) and Diffuse Texturing. Finally we’ll be applying Xoliul’s shader in Maya for realtime rendering of the model.
Now one important thing to note before starting this tutorial, is that while in Maya, I’ll be using the default Hotbox controls, as this will be very useful to easily access the tools, and it will surely speed up your workflow. At least I hope it will :)
Additional Files/ Plugins:
Select the border faces of the cylinder (1) and press "Shift+Right Click", hold and move over to "Duplicate Face" while still holding down the "Right Mouse Button" (2), and you’ll notice a new duplicated mesh has been created out of the selected faces (3). Now select that mesh and duplicate is thrice by pressing "Ctrl+D" and place them accordingly at equal distance intervals (4).
Now duplicate the same mesh once more and rotate it 180 degrees in the "Y-axis" (1-2). One thing which is noticeable is that one side of the mesh is broader than the other side, so go to the "Side View", and using the "Insert Edge Loop Tool" create an edge loop on the broader side, just about the same position of the less broad one (3). Then in "Edge Selection" mode select the lower edge ring (4) and convert it to face by pressing "Ctrl+f11", and then delete that selection to make both sides even.
Now just scale it down a bit in the "X-axis" to fit the shape better. And then hide it using "Ctrl+H" while keeping the same selection for now, as we need another base mesh for this to continue over.
Now make the base mesh "Live" by using the "Make Live" switch (1), and then create a new Cylinder over it with 16 sides (2). Snap it vertically and horizontally to align it to the center of the base, and then unlive the mesh by using the same "Make Live" switch. Scale it up a bit in the X-axis (3), and then finally select the center faces of the cylinder (4).
Now select the center faces and using "Extrude" make a mount out of it (1-2), and also move the center vertex out a little bit (3). Finally select all the edges (4) and make them smooth by using "Soften Edges".
Now unhide the last mesh using "Ctrl+Shift+H" and scale it down a bit too in the "X-axis" (1)then select all the faces except for the front ones and delete them (2). Scale it up a bit in the "Z-axis" to broaden it up (3), and then select the upper and lower end edges and "Extrude" them back to the center (4).
Now select all the border edges except the end ones and extrude them to fill the gaps (1), then select the vertices from the side view, and snap and merge them to optimize the hidden mesh (2-4). And in the end delete the lower half of the faces and mirror it in the "-Y-axis".
Now just duplicate the same mesh as an instance and rotate it 90 degrees in the "Z-axis" (1). Then in "Vertices selection" mode, select the vertices along the curvature (except the center ones,) and move them in the "X-axis" to create a more rounded curve (2-3). Then using the "Insert Edge Loop Tool" split the straight part at the 3rd border (4).
Now select the center faces and delete them (1), then select every mesh except for the base cylinder (2), and hide them using "Ctrl+H". Then select the center faces of the cylinder (3) and also delete them (4).
Now unhide the previous meshes using "Ctrl+Shift+H", and select only the two meshes shown below, and press "Alt+H" to hide the unselected meshes (1). Then combine them both together (2) and select all the vertices in "Vertex Selection" mode and merge them all with the default threshold value (3). It will only merge the snapped vertices, but if you zoom in a bit you’ll find few gaps that you’ll have to snap and merge manually (4).
Now go to the "Front View" and select the center vertices of the slabs (1) and move them inside so they fit into the gap (2). Then select them in "Face selection" mode (3) and duplicate them (as we did in the 1st step) and move them inside the next gap (4).
Now select all the meshes except for the center most cylinder and "Combine" them into one mesh (1), then Instance "Duplicate" it in the X Scale with a value of -1, and you’ll now be able to work on both sides at once (2).
Now in "Face Selection" mode, select the 3rd ring from the center by double clicking over it and move it out a bit to match the proportions (1). Same goes with the 2nd cylinder ring (2). Now in "Vertices Selection" mode, fill in the gaps that are left (3-4).
Now select the base cube and scale it up in the "Z axis" only, so that it will intersect with the curve a bit.
Now using the "Insert Edge Loop" tool, insert a loop near the lower edge (1), and then using the same tool insert another edge loop just a little above it (2). Then select this 2nd edge loop and by pressing "d+v" snap align it with the lower one in the Z-axis only (3).
Now with the same edge loop still selected Scale it down a bit (1), and then select both edge loops and make them "Hard" (2). Then zoom in close to the corner and check to see whether the distance is the same for both sides (3), if not Scale the edge loop in either the X or Y axis to make it equal. Then move up the upper edge loop a bit to create the slant (4).
Now go into the Side View and create a new Cylinder (1), and scale it up so it’s a little bigger then the base body (2). Then in the Perspective View, scale it horizontally so that it will exceed the width of the base cube (3).
Now add edge loops in the very center of the front and side of this cube by using "Edge Ring and Split" (1). Now first select the Cube and then "Shift" select the Cylinder (2), then press "Shift+Right Click" hold and move over to "Boolean", and from the newly popped up options select "Difference" while still holding the "Right Mouse Button" (3). And this will subtract the Cylinder from the Cube mesh (4).
Now add a loop in the center of the cube by using "Edge Ring and Split" (1) and then connect the open vertices using the "Split Polygon Tool" (2). Again close the open vertices on both sides using the "Split Polygon Tool" (3). And then select the second Edge loop from both sides and make them "Hardened" (4).
Now Create a new Cube and place it at the center of the base (1), then change it’s pivot (using "d" + "v") to one of it’s corner verticies (2). Then scale it in the "Z-axis" only so that it exceeds the side width of the base (3). Then select the bottom edges on both the sides (4).
Now press "Shift+Right Click", hold and move over to the "Bevel Edge" options box while still holding down the "Right Mouse Button" (1), and it will open a new options box. Now change the "Segments" to 2 (2). This will add 2 supporting edges around the selected edges and thus provide roundness to the shape (3).
Now select the Base shape first (1) and then this shape 2nd, and press "Shift+Right Click" hold and move over to "Boolean" and from the newly popped up options, select "Difference" while still holding the "Right Mouse Button" (2). This will give you the new shape formed by subtracting this from base (3).
Now to optimize the booleaned mesh first use the "Split Polygon Tool" to connect the open vertices (even on the hidden surfaces.) And then snap the vertices that are not supporting the silhouette to the existing ones, and then merge them together (1-4).
Now connect the open vertices using the "Split Polygon Tool" on both sides (1-2). Then select all the newly created edges and "Soften" them (3). Finally select the centre edge loop and delete it (4), as it was not supporting any form of the base.
Now "Make Live" the base and create a new Polygon Cube on top of it (1). Then change it’s "Pivot" to the bottom using "D+V" and delete the bottom face (2). Then split it from the center using the "Edge Ring and Split" option (3). Then using the "Insert Edge Loop Tool", add another edge loop near the corner one (4).
Now select the right of the geometry in "Face Selection" Mode and increase the height of it by moving the faces up a bit (1), then select the side face and extrude it untill it hits the upper cylinder(2). Then optimize the mesh by snapping and merging the unused vertices (3-4).
Now just "Mirror" this geometry in the "-X axis" (1) and then remove the center edge loop (2). Then duplicate the mesh and place it on the other side at the exact same position (3). Finally combine it so that it’s pivot will automatically be set to the origin and then duplicate this mesh again. Set it’s "Scale Z" to -1 and it will be placed on the other side (4).
Now we’ll move to the side control panel model, as usual we’ll start with a basic cube scaled to match the height and duplicated it for the other leg.
Now just duplicate the same cube for the center leg, and scale it down to match what’s shown in the reference. Again duplicate the same side cube, and by using the "Move" and "Scale" tools, mold it into the upper panel base.
Block out the shape using the same cube, and scale it to the needed proportions.
Now select the front and left side faces of the first cube (1), and delete them. Also delete the top and bottom faces (2), then duplicate the same mesh and select the faces in "Face Selection" mode (3). And move them apart to create an angled metal bar (4).
Now select this new mesh and "Reverse Normals" (1), then combine it with the base to make it a single mesh (2). Use the "Append Polygon Tool" (through the "Shift+Right Click" hotbox)(3), and click the open edges which you want to fill to create a solid mesh (4).
Now duplicate this angled bar to the other side, and rotate it 180 degrees in the "Y-axis", and delete the base dummy model (1-2). Then duplicate it again and rotate it 90 degree in "Z-axis" and place it on top of the middle bar (3). Finally in "Vertices" mode, adjust it’s width to match the gap (4).
Now duplicate one of the side bars and replace the center one with it (1-2). Then duplicate it again, and rotate it for use as the bottom horizontal bar (3-4).
Now we need to clear out the overlapping mesh. So create new Edge Loops where ever there are overlapping faces using the "Insert Edge Loops Tool" (1). Then delete the faces and optimize the mesh by merging the unused Vertices/Edges (2-4).
Continuing with clearing the overlapped faces by deleting and optimizing the mesh side by side (1-3). Finally duplicate the same mesh and rotate it 180 degree in "Z-axis" and place it over the upper dummy mesh (4).
Now duplicate the upper cube to create the 2 fuses and position it at the bottom of control panel (1). Insert these 2 edge loops using the "Insert Edge Loop Tool" (2). Now select the faces at the center and extrude them inside a bit (3-4).
Create a new Polygon Cylinder with 8 sides on top of one of the fuses (1) and scale it down in "Y-axis" (2). Then select the top faces (3) and "Extrude" and "Scale" them a little towards the center (4).
Extrude the Selection of faces again and move them up a bit (1). Then duplicate the mesh again and place it over the 2nd fuse (2). Then select both, duplicate them again and place them at the bottom by rotation them both 180 degree in "Z-axis" (3).
Create another new Cube and place it as the base of the rear motor thing.
Now select the bottom face of the cube and "Extrude" it (1). Scale it to have a border, then "Extrude" it again and move it a little down (2-4).
Now create a new Cylinder over it with 12 sides (1), select the front faces and "Extrude". Scale them first, then "Extrude" the selection again several times, to get the desired shape (2-4).
Now split the Cylinder using the "Insert Edge Loop Tool" (1) and select these faces and "Extrude" them (2). Then select the upper edge loop and move it towards the rear a litlle to have a slanted shape (3). Also adjust the smoothing groups side by side (4).
Now create another Cube and decrease the width of the motor (1), and adjust the base support mesh according to the reference image (2-4).
Duplicate the same base and tweak the shape to have a base stand (1-3), then add an edge loop near the bottom of one of the main legs using the "Insert Edge Loop Tool" (4).
Now select this lower edge ring and convert it to "Faces" by selecting it and pressing Ctrl+F11 (1), then "Extrude" these faces to add a border to the base (2-3). Finally select the bottom faces and delete them (4).
Now duplicate this leg and place it over the next one, and delete the dummy mesh (1). Now create another Polygon Cylinder with 16 sides and place it at rear (2-3).
Now using the "Insert Edge Loop Tool", insert 2 edge loops near the bottom (1), and then scale them down to have the nice curve at the bottom (2-4).
Now keep the lower faces selected, and "Extrude" scale" them first (1). Then "Extrude" them again , and snap align them with the base in the "Y-axis" only (2-3). Finally select the edges and apply proper smoothing to them (4).
Now select the top faces and "Extrude" scale them up (1), then "Extrude" them again and move them up a bit (2), and using "Extrude" again twice and get the shape seen in reference little bit.
And here is our Low poly model, with mostly all the basic blocks and shapes as seen in the image, modeling the details will be our focus in the next part.