The making of Zero Point Outpost

(Jamesculley) #1


The making of this little scene was inspired by the Star Wars Rebels art style, it was also an excuse to work on my 'hand painted' texturing skills which is an art style I am becoming more interested in as I develop as a 3D modeller.

As always I carried out research and created a folder of resources with images of different stylised buildings in an ice setting. I found some great examples within Star Wars TOR and Disney infinity which inspired the overall design of the building.

One thing I always spend too much time worrying about on a new 3D model is how it 'terminates', what I mean by that is the transition from model to no model in the 3D world. I have used different techniques for this in the past such as matching the background colour of the environment to the texture applied to the back-faces or by adding an alpha channel that fades out towards the edge of the model, both work well however on this occasion I wanted the termination of the model to be 'real' so decided to utilise the floating rock concept.

The Sound

I found some free to use sound effects online to create the ambience of the howling winds, the generator and electricity noises, the 3D positioning system works a treat and it makes for an interesting navigation, a feature I will use more in upcoming models.

The Textures

The textures were something that I spent a lot of time thinking about before actually painting them. The hand painted style is something that I have always enjoyed and wish to improve on as time goes on. I use both Photoshop and an iPad to paint the textures, making extensive use of the blur tool to blend different shades of the same colour together to add shadow details, this works well in snow as you can create nice ripple effects with a highlight of light blue. On the building I wanted to add a little more grunge but decided to keep it lighter and clean in the end. I also decided to bake the lighting into the textures to add more detail to the final scene.

The Animation - Electricity

The electricity ‘hook up’ between the generator rock and the main building was created using Premier Pro.

• Created an alpha layer in on the video time line
• Overlaid a screenshot of Point Zero
• Added a lightening effect that latest for 3 seconds between the two points.
• Removed the Screenshot layer
• Rendered the lightening layer with an alpha channel as individual png files, one per frame.

Back in 3Dmax I create a series of planes and applied each of the different lightening textures to each, I then used keyframe animation to have each plane appear at the exact position for 1 frame each, by using the scale tool to ensure that each frame was ‘minimised’ out of the way of the next.
When played back this essentially becomes a video if times correctly.

(Bart) #3

Hey James, this is great! I've been thinking about using the 'Artwork' forum more for this kind of content, this makes me want to do that even more :slight_smile:

(Nomadking) #4

Good to see I'm not the only person who worries how things terminate in a scene - abrupt endings and floaty models tend to drive me mad :wink:

(Jamesculley) #5

@bartv No worries Bart Im also going to add a few more screenshots of its development. I create a few more 'how it's made' threads on here.

I was particularly excited about Point Zero Outpost as I tried a few different things here with subtle animations and hand painted textures, I was also not sure to make it Star Wars themed as it didn't really need to be, although inspired by Star Wars it could have easily survived without the Rebel symbol and droid, I wonder if I limit the appeal by badging it as Star War haha..?

(Jamesculley) #6

haha absolutely.. always bugs me!


This is very cool -- thanks for breaking down the elements and telling us how it was done. This is like a mini Art Spotlight!