Category Archives: 3d

Zbrush, c4d etc…

Ryza Pattern Lasgun

It may not be obvious by now but I have a lot of miniatures. I’ve been buying them, including Games Workshop stuff, since the 80s and I have a big soft squidgy spot for Imperial Guard. I’ve been stripping my old minis and repainting them recently.

So you can see, I like the old style minis, especially the old Necromunda 8th/original design.

Cadia stands and all that but come on, look at that design. It’s great. That iconic John Blanche picture which just shouted out to me as a wee lad. John has appeared on this blog before and is still an influence on me now.

That lasgun design is wonderful. Interesting that some of the early artwork, especially that Paul Bonner one, has some odd variations on the design. Notice the blast bit of the muzzle is upside down and the squat in the foreground even seems to have his lasgun upside down!

About a year ago I started seeing if I could model this design in 3d using Cinema 4D and ended up with something that was passable.

I broke it into loads of parts and set it printing.

Blah blah blah. More printing.

Waffle… assembled.

Do I look mean yet?

I ran out of blue and switched to a roll of red. I was dry fitting as I went along and found a few issues with how it slotted together. I’d need to tweak things in the files if I was going to reprint this but I ended up cutting or sanding things away. As it doesn’t need to be taken apart it doesn’t matter. Plenty of filler and glue works wonders.

Notice the bottom of the grip, I designed the piece in the hilt to be a power pack. I glued it in place but if I was being fancy I would have left it so it can be slotted in place or removed.

So much sanding. I was sat in the garden for hours just filing and sanding and priming and sanding and… People think 3d printing is going to kill things like the mini industry or modelmaking but then forget how much work is needed to clean these damn things up. Even resin printing is nasty.

Anyway… I hadn’t printed the grippy part of the handle very deep so ended up sanding and filling it flat then painting it with hammerite to make it look like a rubber grip.

Lots of silver next. It’s a pretty simple colour scheme. I ended up painting some copper on the grip to add some colour.

Dirsty lasgun!

Finally weathered with metal polish. I use a lot of fire grate polish on my pieces for weathering. Rubbed on then buffed off gives a nice shine. It’s looking like it’s seen some action now.

Finished. One standard issue Ryza lasgun.

Sadly I don’t have the rest of the outfit to go with it but it was a fun project to make.

As mentioned,the files need to be edited a bit to make it fit together a little better but I was happy with it. I’m now thinking of making a laspistol in the same pattern.

Spongebob Squarepants Pineapple House

Are you ready kids?
Aye-aye captain.
I can’t hear you…
Aye-aye captain!

OooooOOooo Who lives in a Pineapple under the sea?

That’s quite enough of that… I wanted to make something fun for my daughter as a Christmas pressie for her Uni flat and stumbled across a planter in the shape of Spongebob Squarepants house on Thingiverse and thought that would be a good idea. Sadly, I can’t remember which one I used and there are several on there if you search.

To put in the top, I ordered a pack of Ikea fake plants called Fejka and then took measurements of the pot size.

FEJKA apparently. Ikea’s finest

Once I had that worked out I was able to edit the mesh I’d downloaded so it would fit into the print. I also removed the chimney as I didn’t want that printing at the same time. My original plan was to print that seperatly and paint it before gluing into place but I ended up making one from scratch out of metal tubing and Milliput.

Then I kicked off the print.

printy printy

And watched it print.

And it kept printing.

And still it printed.

Until it finally finished over TWO DAYS LATER!

I’d made a bit of a rookie error and not adjusted the print setting much. I wanted the insides to be quite rigid as it may end up with a real plant in it but I may have not worked out my setting properly. Still, it worked out well without any problems with the print.

Finished at last

It worked out fine in the end but needed sanding and cleaning up.

To paint it, I first primed it then sprayed it yellow. I didn’t like the solid yellow so tried orange. I didn’t like solid orange so sprayed it from above to get a zenithial yellow/orange combo.

3D printed Spongebob Squarepant pineapple house
The final 3D printed Spongebob Squarepant pineapple house with scratch built chimney

The final piece came out well, but I keep seeing little things I wish I’d spotted when I was sanding it but you don’t notice unless you squint up close.

The golden ward painted

Masks of Nyarlathotep – The Golden Ward prop

The following post is about making a small prop of the Golden Ward for the the Masks of Nyarlathotep Peru chapter so contains minor spoilers.

Spoilers ahead

As part of the first session, the investigators stumbled onto a mysterious golden item in the basement storage area of a university they visited. I wanted to make a prop for them of this to have as props are a great part of any game and it adds to the flavour of the evening. I have bought the excellent HPLHS prop set for the Masks campaign but there isn’t a prop for the Ward, most likely because its supposed to be 2 feet long. A bit too big to ship cheaply.

The Golden Ward is a basic shape so thought I could create a model myself. I sat down a few weeks ago to try and sculpt it but didn’t get far and so it ended up on the back burner. With only a few days to go until the next session, I suddenly remembered it wasn’t done. So I fired up Cinema 4D and made the basic shape by chopping and shifting some points around until I had the form right.

Cinema 4d wireframe

Cinema 4d wireframe

It looked right and with a little bit of roughing up, I had enough to export from C4D into Zbrush.

test render

test render

In zbrush I divided it a few times and then roughly carved symbols into the mesh. I don’t have any in progress shots but I did most of the work with the clay tubes brush and hpolish. I did dip into a few other brushes but I was flying so fast I didn’t keep track of what I was using. What I was aiming for was a roughly carved and damaged look, the Ward has been well traveled and isn’t in the greatest of shapes, so needed to look damaged.

I kept shifting between the red wax texture and the gold texture to see how it was looking in zbrush. Once I was happy with it, I hit it with decimation master, going from 11 million polys, down to 478,085, a pretty big drop. I could try to get it down further but didn’t want to ruin the mesh.

The golden ward, in gold.

The golden ward, in gold.

I then exported the obj file to print on my iiip 3d printer. My first thought was to print it at 45 degrees across the bed to print it as big as possible. I ended up with a print time of about 6 hours this way plus I wasn’t sure if I had enough filament, so settled for a smaller size.

golden ward in cura

golden ward in cura

My printer doesn’t have the greatest of resolutions but it came out ok in a couple of hours. I sanded it to remove the print lines and gave it a coat of thinned out Liquid Green stuff to help with any parts I’d missed. I then painted it with some Games workshop paints and its done, ready for the game.

The golden ward painted

The golden ward painted

You can read all about the jolly hi-jinx of the team in my session write ups and the file for this is available on thingiverse.

I’m making a note here, huge success

Well, nearly…

Monday night (May 27th) was FE Suffolk night and I’d volunteered to give a talk about my use of Cinema 4d and how I have used it to make content for websites, games, videos and other such tomfoolery. To try and make it interesting to the web people in the audience who have probably never been near a NURBS or a metaball in their lives, I thought it would be more fun to demo both Cinema 4d and Unity to give an idea about how a 3d app can be slotted into a workflow. That was the theory anyway but as the saying goes, the best laid plans…

I thought a good way to grab the audiences attention would be to build an iconic object from a well know game so picked the weighted companion cube simply as it’s a cube shape so works well with going from a primitive shape up to something more complex. I built the cube on a Sunday afternoon the week before the talk and spent about a few hours over the next couple of nights putting the texture together while having some fun with the model.
Cinema 4d Cube
This shows my step by step process starting with a primitive cube. The second one is a demo to show a default cube with its standard UV and how simple it is to drop a texture on to get a basic object textured. The third cube is me using a boolean to build some of the shape up, yeah yeah yeah… booleans are not the best way to work but sometimes they can be used to get good results. The fourth cube is the final thing cleaned up and then five is the final textured cube with the UV’s cleaned up as the process of modeling the cube creates some horrible overlapping on the UV. I would go into depth on what some of the terms are but I doubt I could explain them well enough without a load of pictures.

The final result isn’t bad for a few hours work and it’s free to download from the freebies section of the site.

companion cube

A quick video was rendered up to show an example of dynamics.

I then edited an existing Unity sandbox I’ve made to include the cube, along with a script to interact with it (pick it up and chuck it) but I left that as a backup as I really wanted to demo how to import objects from C4D into Unity and then work with them. The landscape was built using a selection of the default items and scripts within Unity but some of the assets are mine such as the crate, the rather crude toilet (crude model rather than crude as in rude) and the picture of famed Sci-fi author Isaac Asimov is something I don’t really think I can explain. Finally I installed the unity player onto my laptop, tested it, copied all the files over and then set off for the talk.

My talk was right after one called ‘Javascript without jQuery’ by the main man of FE Anders Fisher, I got up, plugged the projector cable in the laptop and was greeted by what had to be the smallest screen in the world. My laptop, in an attempt to display the small resolution of the projector, crushed all of the C4D screen into a mess of jumbled screens. So for those that haven’t seen C4D before, this is what it should have looked like:
c4d-largescreen

Not like this:
c4d-icklescreen

YOWZER!

So not one to be daunted too much, I shuffled on and managed to go through a few of the steps I took in creating the cube and explaining a bit about UV mapping. I should add that while UV mapping is a pretty important step when trying to make a good model, its also one of the most mind numbing processes ever developed by man, and it often takes me the longest out of any stage of making something as I tend to lose the will to live while UVing.

The biggest hurdle came when trying to work with unity as I couldn’t find any of the stuff I wanted to talk through properly and then to rub it in further, the object imported fine into Unity but refused to be imported into the scene. I ended up going straight to the finished version and back-peddling through the steps to show how I added a box collider and a rigid body then applied the script to the scene.

The test scene worked fine in Unity but fell over when I exported it and ran it as it turns out theres an export to offline mode. Well I didn’t know did I? It seems you need a whole load of js nonsense to make it work and without an internet connection it just fails so theres a little tickbox for export to offline mode that pumps out the needed files. You live and learn.

In the end I think I got there, just about, but I think GLaDOS had a hand in a few of the things that threw me off.

A big thanks to Kerry Buckley for taking a photo of me mid ramble.
dr cube and the unity 3d cinema 4d nightmare from hell

If anyone has any questions, feel free to chip in below but finally… here’s the link to the scene: FE Suffolk Unity Demo

Building the miner

As the Outer Empires mining ship’s textures are being finalised and I’m going to prepare a sprite sheet to be added to the game, I thought I’d upload a few of the screengrabs and rough renders of the build process to show how it all came together.

The first thing I did was have a skim through some of my books and online to get some ideas and these shots show how I threw some basic shapes around to help me sketch out some ideas.

Mining-ship-v1
Mining-ship-v2


The top one was my idea of a dumptruck type of shape but I was struggling to see how to take that any further without it being too sleek, I wanted a more blocky shape with a feeling of mass. The second one was starting to be too much of a Chris Foss design so that got scrapped but I did like the cargoblocks so one of those was expanded upon and taken into the next idea.


Mining-ship-v3-1



Now we start to see the final shape appear. The rods and the front would have been more clusters of antenna, used to scan for metals in the asteroids but I started to think that would be too hard to see on the model when it zoomed out in the game. To keep the whole thing symmetrical I dropped the individual objects into a null and then placed that inside a symmetry object. Working on one side and the other side being updated at the same time is a great time saver and it also means the texture is mirrored after the UV’s have been set. The only thing is to remember to convert the mirror to an object before exporting to obj format or else it only spits out one side.


Mining-ship-v3-2
Mining-ship-v3-3
Mining-ship-v3-4


Starting to bulk up the detail and adding the solar panels. Something kept bugging me with the panels and I started to think they looked like goldfish fins.


Mining-ship-v3-6
Mining-ship-v3-7
Mining-ship-v3-8
Mining-ship-v3-9


After the hell of UVing, the almost zen like calm of texturing. To work on a nice res I setup 2k textures and baked out the AO and a UV layer on each colour map. I’ve found that sometimes baking the AO isn’t too accurate, sometimes I’ve ended up with light areas that are around areas that should be dark so a bit of tidying up is needed before they get used in the diffuse channel. I also tend to setup a fairly basic light rig that covers the whole object or else the shadows won’t be in the right place. The AO is also applied to a layer in the colour channel and set the layer mode to multiply then placed above the other colour layers, this helps to add shadow and some detail to the colour map. My texturing tends to involve hundreds of layers as I work on tiny bits then I combined a few layers when I’m happy with them, this stops be from constantly working on the same details over and over again and forces me forwards.


Mining-ship-v3-10
Mining-ship-v3-11
Mining-ship-v3-12


Notice the changes? There was something that was annoying me and I couldn’t put my finger on it, then it dawned on me, it was the scale. My original idea was the cockpit area would be a huge area and the small black strip around it was the window/viewport but as you moved back along the hull the scale seemed to change. I ditched the ridge and the panels around the top then scaled up the crane arm and it all clicked into place.

Mining-ship-v3-13-wireframe


Obligatory wireframe shot.


Mining-ship-v3-13
Mining-ship-v3-14


Getting towards the end I started to mess around with a background to get it into context.


Mining-ship-v3-15
Mining-ship-v3-16
Mining-ship-v3-17
Mining-ship-v3-18


Right at the very end the solar panels got dropped, they did look far to small and out of place underneath so off they went. The blue exhaust was done with a copy of the colour map in the luminance channel but it didn’t quite work so I added a blue omni light with hard shadows which is set to ignore the flame objects. The light spills out and the hard shadow setting helps to give the illusion of a very intese light source at close range.


mining-front
mining-back


The final version, now I just need to create the final sprite sheet for including in the game.

Outer Empires mining ship

A few weeks/months (I can’t remember when) back I was asked by Paul Hutson, creator of the MMO game Outer Empires, if I’d be able to come up with a 3d model of a mining ship for an expansion of the game which introduced budgie farming. OK, not really it’s asteroid mining, but budgie farming sounds interesting.

Somehow I’ve managed to keep my mouth shut about this all but Paul and I had a chat one evening about how he saw the expansion going and we threw a few ideas around leaving me with the slightly daunting task of trying to figure out how a small sized asteroid mining vessel would look in the Outer Empires universe. Skimming through a few books and online gave me a few ideas (planet cracking anyone?) and I set to with a few 3d sketches. It took a while to get some kind of shape which I liked, one of the first ones was something that looked like a dump truck and the shape wobbled around different sizes before settling on the final design. Even when the 3d model was built I went back to tweak it a bit while texturing and I’ll dig up some of the early renders to give an idea of the build process. In the meantime, here are three renders of the final design.

mining-front

mining-back

mining-top

Built in a shockingly short time (for me anyway), UV’ed, textured and rendered in Cinema 4D with a little texturing support from Photoshop.

All this leaves just one burning question, how deep you have to plant a budgie for it to grow?