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Jet Turbine

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Date Added: 13th June 2014
Software used:
1880_tid_tim_diaz_turbine_3dtotal01_.jpg

Tim Diaz walks through the process for creating his high poly effect jet turbine


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Introduction for project

The idea for this came from looking at a lot of my colleagues' portfolios. A lot of people I knew did a car engine or an engine of some sort, as they're good subjects to practice hard surface modeling. While scoping reference on the website, Prime Portal, I found images of large jet engines. Prime Portal has tons of high resolution images of military equipment and is a great resource. There, I saw a J-58 engine and turbine and said, "That's one of the most intense things I've seen. I'm making it!"

Step 1: Starting Out

The first and most important step before I start any project is to get as many references as possible. For this image, I looked at Japanese visual reference guides that consist of pictures taken from hangar bays, as well as websites such as Prime Portal.

Once I had all my images, I headed into 3DS Max and began to block-out. The block-out is always my most important step. If the foundation isn't right, the rest of my work will be off. It's also a great time to mess around with scale, and to see what shapes work and don't work. The block-out stage is also a good time to get camera angles figured out for rendering. The key things to keep in mind: it doesn't need to be pretty; it just needs to read well (Think about silhouette and negative space.)

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Block-out of the turbine


Step 2: Creating the Light Pass

After the block-out and camera setup, the next thing I did was get a rough light pass in the scene.

It's always helpful to get the mood of the scene down, so I know where to put the most/least amount of detail. It's also helpful to get the lighting in, so you know how to adjust shaders and textures accordingly later on down the road.

For this, I planned early on that I wanted to use an HDRI lighting set up, so I first changed my renderer to Mental Ray, and then placed a standard MAX skylight. Then, within the skylight, I plugged in one of my HDRI images into the "map" slot and put in an Omni light to exaggerate highlights around the edges of the model.

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Lighting set up for scene


Step 3: High-Poly Modeling

After the foundation was set, and I liked where the scene is at, I started the fun part and just went crazy with high-poly modeling.

Using my reference, I built towards it, while adjusting anything that I thought might add more visual interest. While building out pieces, the key things that I remain aware of is to keep the topology clean, and to pay close attention to edge weights and smoothing groups.

A big problem with a lot of newcomers is that they try to go for the quickest way to the end point and forget foundations. You do yourself a favor by doing it right the first time, especially if somebody else has to work with your asset later. Here's a difficult mesh that was sculpted high and then reduced with automated tools, and on the other side, a clean mesh built with turbo smoothing. One is a lot easier to fix than the other.

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The top model is a sculpt using a mesh reduce while the bottom is a clean model built in 3ds Max



continued on next page >

 
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