After a short contract artist job at SCEA I'm back on the streets, hungry for work. In the mean time, I've been frequenting a lot more 3D forums lately. My favorite by far is Polycount.com. One of my favorite parts of their forum is their "Game Art Workshops," where artists all work on the same project, and collaborate on techniques and theories. It's been a great way to learn, but also get some great portfolio work out of it.
This past project involved modeling the stock piece of an Arctic Warfare Sniper Magnum rifle, or AWSM. (or AWP, for those who play Half-Life Counterstrike)
I began by downloading a huge collection of reference images to give me an idea of the dimensions and volumes throughout the rifle. I then took a pure side view, projected it onto a background plane, and began blocking it out using a single polygon.
One polygon is where it starts
I tried to pay special attention to the flow of the mesh, as when you are working with high-polygon objects, the cleaner your base is, the better the results will be later.
Note the flow of the center lines down the mesh.
The stock was deceptively complicated, particularly around the handle area, where there are lots of sharp angles that meet at curves. The best thing about working in 3DS Max (my 3D program of choice for modeling these days) is that the "turbosmooth" modifier works with the stack itself. You can easily switch back and forth so see exactly how your low poly mesh is influencing the high poly final.
High Poly with bolt and barrel blocked-in.
Not simply content with modeling the stock of the rifle, I decided to go whole-hog and model the rest! It took several hours spread in and around my freelance work, but I wrapped it up! I'm currently in the process of creating a low-poly version to map the high-poly to, and then provide a final texture. In the mean time, let us both bask in the loveliness that is high-poly.
Hard to believe it all started with a single polygon. There's a metaphor for life somewhere in there I think. I'll have more updates in the coming days, so stay tuned!