In this Making Of I will share some of the general concepts, ideas and problems I had throughout the project and hopefully inspire you to undertake large projects in order to push your own skills. The Marauder was a school project and because of that I had to meet a deadline. Looking back now on the whole process, there's some things I would do differently now, but more on that later on.
The basic idea behind this project was to strengthen my portfolio while pushing me in a direction I haven't done before. I've always loved the Blizzard games and cinematics and it's my dream to one day work on their cinematic team, so I made the decision to try and focus my effort to create something they might use in a cinematic. In the end I chose to do the Marauder unit from Starcraft 2 since I thought the design was recognizable and different from your standard robot suit soldier.
After I'd decided I wanted to make a Marauder unit, I started gathering reference images from all around the net. I first found all the concept and fan art of the Marauder I could; I even scanned my Starcraft 2 art book in order to get an idea about how this guy actually looks from all angles. I opened the cinematic in-game model in the Starcraft 2 map editor and had a look around and took some screenshots of it. I also collected different kind of mechanical references from nearly everything I could find. Here's a little preview of some of the 252 images I had in total (Fig.01).
The 3D Process
Now for the fun part! I'm a firm believer in doing a block-out of all my models before going into the hardcore sub-d modeling. The block-out serves as a template for my high-res geometry later on and also enables me to check out the silhouette and proportions of my model. Keeping the block-out geometry simple will allow you to quickly alter everything without problems (Fig.02).
When I was satisfied with my block-out, I went on to create my high-res geometry by isolating different parts of the block-out and started working on making them look great. Usually I was able to use the mesh my block-out was made of, but in some cases I had to recreate it in order to get the right topology so my mesh would smooth perfectly without creases. I used a lot of different modifiers to make my job easier when I was making some of the more advanced shapes. Bend, Shell, Turbosmooth and FDD were used on nearly all objects. For the modeling I used simple box modeling and the graphite modeling tools (particular the Swift Loop tool) to create all the geometry (Fig.03 – 07).