My name is Marco Mantuetto and I’m an Environment Artist.
I have always been passionate about games so 5 years ago I started studying 3D art beginning with Maya and ZBrush. I am completely self-taught. I have worked as a freelancer for various projects, and the last experience was making prop art for the game Moons of Madness developed by Rock Pocket Games.
I heard a lot about CGMA and their amazing courses, so one year ago I started my first course on Weapons and Props for Games with Dylan Mellott there. I was looking to improve my skills and learn more about the technical aspects behind game-ready weapons.
Currently, I’m taking another CGMA course on Organic Environments.
FN Scar 17
FN Scar 17: Preparation
My goal was to make an FN Scar 17 as realistic as possible and also learn more about painting realistic textures in Substance Painter. I choose to create a weapon because those props are very interesting and challenging in terms of their complicated shapes, multiple details, and functionality.
I surfed Google and found various pictures for the weapon but there was nothing that showed how the parts functioned. Later, I discovered a Youtube channel where a guy showed how different weapons worked, and I took several screenshots from there.
What to Pay Attention to When Modeling Weapons
When you are doing hard-surface modeling you always have to make sure that the proportions of the model are working before you start detailing or refining the shapes. Also, when you are doing your blockout you need to think about how it is going to be animated. As an artist, you shouldn’t skip those steps because when you are building your high poly version it can be very time-consuming to come back and rework the proportions and other things.
I think that the best way to archive realism in a 3D model is to make it as close to the reference as possible paying attention to the shapes, proportions, etc. Once you baked your maps from the high poly model you should take special care of the textures as well – they are another fundamental key in archiving realism.
I personally prefer Maya because I feel more comfortable and its workflow is faster compared to Max. I think Maya is the best choice for a project like this. Besides, during the class, our tutor used Maya, too.
I also hear that a lot of people say Blender is a great tool, but unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to work with it.
When I’m at the blockout stage, I always think about the way my weapon or prop is going to be animated. I do tests on my blockout – this way it’s easy to make any changes for supporting the animated parts.
For the texturing process, I used Substance Painter and for me, it is the best software if you want to get realistic textures. I created folders with corresponding names and organized them according to the materials. Then, following the references, I started to create each material like Plastic, Metal, etc. Using different materials helps to break up the overall look of the model.
Once I applied all the materials to corresponding parts of the gun, I added damage and grime on the parts that are most subjected to wear. These details help you create a story of your weapon but always try to keep the balance between new and worn out parts because you don’t want too much noise in your textures.
For me, the biggest challenge was the low poly stage because I struggled to get the lowest polycount possible without compromising the overall quality and also supporting my normal map that would do the rest of the job.
Another challenge was the unwrapping stage – when making a first-person shooter gun, you want to get the highest detalization in those parts that are close to the camera. On the other hand, you can sacrifice those parts that are far away from your camera.
To my mind, it was a great course because when I started I didn’t know much about the technical approach to the game-ready props or weapons. Thanks to the well-thought-out lessons and constant help and feedback from the tutor, I learned a lot. The latter was the most important thing for me. Dylan Mellott helped me greatly, and I was able to achieve a good result thanks to him.
As the next step, I aim at creating a more complicated prop or weapon and apply all the new skills I learned during this awesome course.