[Artist in Residence] - Pedal Harp

(Kbrom3d) #1

Hey guys! My name is Kyle Bromley and I've been an environment artist in the game industry for a bit over 5 years now. Over the next several weeks I'll be working with sketchfab to create an 18th century Pedal Harp. I'm always trying to challenge myself to create something that I haven't seen a lot of before so I think this'll work out quite well. (Google 3d pedal harp and you'll see what I mean)

Here is my main reference board I put together using PureRef (get this is you don't already have it!)

My plan of attack is to do the majority of the work in 3ds max and zbrush then finish it off in photoshop and substance painter. I'll then get it uploaded to sketchfab for everyone to check out.

As for materials my eyes are really drawn towards the black and gold look with some natural wood sprinkled in. Specifically in this reference here -

Here are links to my current sketchfab account and portfolio; I've only recently began to use sketchfab more and plan on uploading more of my personal projects in the coming weeks.



Thanks everyone!, I'll be sure to share my progress here as I create this.

(Paulchambers3d) #2

(Paulchambers3d) #3

Welcome aboard Kyle! Can't wait to see the harp come to life.

(Nomadking) #4

Hi Kyle! I love the detail work on your Shield model - looking forward to seeing more of the same here! :slight_smile:

(Vrhuman) #5

Welcome Kyle! Very excited to see your process and of course the finished piece.

(Bart) #6

Very refreshing to see such a different project! I'll be following this with interest.


Welcome Kyle! I'm looking forward to seeing your work evolve!

(Kbrom3d) #8

So I am 3 days into it and I feeling pretty good about it so far.

I spent the first day blocking it out and after making probably 6 variations I think I found one that'll end up being pretty cool.

For the last 2 days I've been high poly modeling several pieces starting from the bottom of the harp. Here is a current image of where I'm at.

I also made a few trims that I'll be path deforming in max to get more detail along edges and in between pieces. This is more of an environment workflow but since so many references I gathered have a lot of detail that could be trims...I figure I'd go ahead and make them trims to speed things up a bit. I imagine I'll be adding to this over the next 2 weeks.

As I've been working on this I've come to realize the silhouette may be jeopardized if I end up baking everything down to simple geometry so I'm pretty glad this isn't for an actual game. The final tri count on this guy will definitely be up there but it'll be worth it in the end.

(Paulchambers3d) #9

Really cool to see how you're treating the trims almost as though you were to make the real thing in wood.

(Kbrom3d) #10

Hey there everyone!

Few images attached below to show where I'm at and what I've been doing the past few days.

I put most of my effort into figuring out the neck of the harp and how the column/strings are going to connect and began some of the tertiary details on the side of the neck. It turns out pedal harps aren't centered which sorta threw a lot of challenges my way while in the midst of modeling. You'd think by looking at them that they are centered but that's not the case. The column is slanted as it connect to the neck which also leans to one side.The whole thing is offset...I found a great video explaining what I just said for anyone who is interested - Video

After re-adjusting everything to fit (took hours!) I kept plugging away at it. Not everything is there yet but it should at least show you the direction I'm going in.

I have an interesting idea to have some vines/leaves growing up and around the column meeting what I am calling a water splash made of leafs. Doubt that means anything at the moment but hopefully next weekend it'll be in and it'll make more sense.

I'm also hoping to next weekend give sketchfab a run for its money and see how many tri's it can handle. This should be somewhere around 8-10mil for the final high poly mesh...so I may have to cut out a few turbosmooths here and there but I'd like to get something uploaded next week for everyone to check out.

(Kbrom3d) #11

So I worked a bit on the column and finished up the back of it over the last 2 days.

The back was feeling a bit light in the silhouette department so I decided to add a little thing poking out that several of my refs have; I think that small piece does a lot.

I also blocked out what I called a "water splash made of leafs" that would rest on top of the column and hold the neck but I couldn't find that look that I was going for so I'm going to move on from that. I have a few other ideas that I want to try so that'll be next on my plate.

I also uploaded a somewhat high poly model of where it currently sits to skechfab for everyone to check out - very impressed that sketchfab can upload models of this tri count. Might be a few errors here and there but those'll get solved as I continue.

(Kbrom3d) #12

Hey everyone,

I wrapped up the high poly for now and here are some images of where it's at. Tomorrow I begin the low poly - this part should go fairly smoothly. My goal is by the end of the week to have the low poly done, unwrapped, and baked ready for substance painter. This was overall a pretty fun prop to model; I can totally see myself coming back to it in the future.

Also, on Tuesday or Wednesday I should be able to get together an image of my plans for texturing with what I'd like to do and how I plan on doing it.

(Paulchambers3d) #13

Looks great Kyle. Interested to hear how you approach low-poly on a hard-surface design.

(Kbrom3d) #14


For most of this it will be fairly straight forward and easy because of my workflow. I like to stack modifiers, specifically for hard surface models, so I can remove them later which makes creating a low poly take a fraction of the time. Almost all of these meshes have 2 or 3 edit poly modifiers on them each with control loops or some small edits that are purely made for the high poly. What I do is duplicate the mesh and delete the edit poly modifiers...and in a few clicks all of my control loops and extra details that I made just for the high poly are gone. That tends to get me 90% of the way there most of the time for the low poly.

Now for the more elaborate shapes I'll be using Maya's quad draw such as the leaves on the column. It's very responsive and makes retopo`ing fairly quick as long as you can visualize what its going to look like in the end.

(Lord00120) #15

Beatiful harp, can't wait to see it textured :open_mouth:


Extremely beautiful so far!

(Jamesculley) #17

Awesome work, love the grey renders!

(Saphires) #18

Great stuff! :slight_smile:

(Fongoose) #19

Looking awesome! :smiley:

(Kbrom3d) #20

Hey everyone thanks for the kind words!

Low poly is currently around the 90% mark...I should be wrapping it up tonight or tomorrow and then starting the unwraps/bakes. I'll be sure to get the LP uploaded to sketchfab in case anyone is curious about the wireframe