Hard Times And Even Harder Surfaces – Chapter 6 Demo / Timelapse


Double Post Day!

In this chapter I want to go over something that I was taught recently by a craftier modeller than myself. And that man is Adrian Rutkowski.

Vitalii “Fructdw” Vlasov recently pointed me at his gumroad collection of assorted kitbashing elements and after checking them out I was blown away. For that I thank them both for this knowledge keeps my gears moving and knowing that there is always a better way.

Free Kitbash Set


The alternate ways that artists manage to make the tools work for them versus my ways and habits is always a welcome thing to see. Concept artists in particular are what I call “dangerous”. They enter 3d with a multitude of skills and an artistic eye that can’t be beat with pure 3d studying (or at least for me). I see so many concept guys open the door walk in and immediately begin killing it. I must admit I was nervous when I first saw how finely crafted and modelled each piece was. My first thoughts was that cad software was used and that these parts were not possible to make with precision and care to the edges and normals in Blender.

Now before we continue I also want to add. Forget topology for a moment. I know you’re gonna say, “What about UVs?” “What about deformation?” “What about sub-d?”. Lets leave all that alone for a moment and focus on just the shape and the form. In the end that’s what viewers see. Only us 3d folk see the topology and mapping. So if you want to clean up non subdivision parts be my guest but a concepter would craftily figure out a way to make it through the project without the nuances of technical holdup.

This is a timelapse demonstrating the techniques discussed in Chapter 6 of “Hard Times and Even Harder Surfaces” which is a patreon exclusive during development. Subscribe for this chapter and upcoming ones over at Patreon!


Also I wrote a blog post about freebies in the community worth picking up.


All of them have freebies so go check it out!

Even I do! So pick up Blending Away The Pain if you haven’t already!

Also I have been working on making finer and finer hard surface assets and if you get the asset collection you can check them out!




Pew Pew!

I have always had issues modelling guns so it’s something I’ve been practicing for a while. However I am never quite pleased with my final result. And after watching various videos I feel that I am at least on the right track as far as approach. I’m not big on firearms personally but well presented ones are always a work of art. Especially designs and ornate patterns. So the first example I want to show is this guy.


As a big COD fan coming across his Artstation showed me just how fine the guns I take for granted actually look up close. Freaking amazing.

Now the modelling and getting ergonomic shapes that suit the hand or arm is also something I always ponder as well. So for this I watched a timelapse about 5x from a friend of mine Edon.

He also has a gumroad page if you want something more training oriented.


The modelling especially caught my eye. The clever use of booleans and beveling and not an ounce of subdivision. I was quite impressed with the video and technique. Personally Maya always seemed a bit rigid for speed modelling but Edon showed me in that video how it’s done. The main part I took to heart is that you are able to boolean>> difference a flat form with an elongated cylinder and then bevel the perimeter ring. Usually beveling edges against n-gons is a surefire way to go to undo button and make life miserable. However through repeatedly watching this video I noticed that the bracing edges had to be relocated to get that smooth translation. I have seen the light as far as that’s concerned.

Now when it comes to presentation I feel that the typical floating in space object just can’t cut it anymore for a result so design and presentation must work hand in hand. Before I do allow me to add another tidbit I learned today.

“As I’m able to create a lot of detail fast with dynamasks I have started to keep my sculpts simple and only sculpt big shapes, details that wont change the shape of the low poly i can do in the suite. Other then that I have started doing things outside of the suite that I wouldn’t do if I didn’t have the suite”

This isn’t completely gun related however this is concerning the texturing. And also Quixel magazine.


To be honest I thought this issue was a bit whack where I wish they would at least give tips on the programs or something. The articles just seem so vague. But I’ll make that magazine or book better yet haha.

Anyways the gist of that quote was that this person literally has their block in and does everything else in texturing. So the details and texturing both work hand in hand as a team. Geometric complexity alone wont do it or you’ll be like the cover of this month’s 3d artists magazine.


It’s a great helmet however I am going for robots that are a little more personal. Love the model though. It’s that marriage of  texture and micro detail that I’m seeking which brings me to my next point.

This guys video showed me the light in ways I can’t begin to explain. The technique is solid and I get enough of an idea to take it into my pipeline. Those guns are very nice and exactly what I was missing. Personality. Those guns look like they belong to specific people and that is interesting to me.

So in closing…. Allegorithmic. My boys in blue. Just updated Substance Designer.


If you don’t feel like reading here’s what matters. To me at least.

[Content] Add “Detail Oriented” technique to Normal combine filter
[Content] Add Vray/Corona/Redshift/Arnold targets to the PBR converter filter (to convert maps for these renderers)
[3D View] Add tessellation to PBR shaders

The last 2 are the main ones for me. PBR to Vray support. Oh yes. Now there’s is a node for conversion instead of using tricks to render it. And that means that other renderers too! So Cycles is next as well. Now tessellation is important for  viewing height information while creating shaders so this is also an amazing addition because I’ve complained about this for a while. I was actually going to close this post here but while we’re talking about SD allow me to show you the future of their viewport.

Who’s better Allegorithmic or Quixel?

That’s an unfair choice to force yourself to make. Both programs offer you workflows that have both strengths and weaknesses. SD can get a bit complicated for very basic things sometimes but the flexibility and non destructive nature makes it a very powerful choice. Being able to make sbars and interactive textures is indispensable in my life. However Quixel is a powerhouse and with Photoshop in tow you’re in good care with the most powerful image editor in this galaxy at your fingertips. So the answer is both. I leave Quixel and go into Substance. Sometimes I paint my base maps in Substance and then go into Quixel. But using them together is just pure power. Algorithmic was on a steam sale a while back. And I was given a key for Quixel by a great artist.

Georgian is a friend of mine who recently was in Quixel magazine in issue 03.


He was in this issue showing off a fabulous model that he was so kindly as to share and give away on his Gumroad along with a breakdown. It’s kind of a classic but I might as well make this post a link fest.


This blog also talks alot about nDo and is a good place to start.


I’d definitely recommend checking those guys out and support, subscribe or follow. But that’s all for now. In the shadows I work and wait and grind… and play Black Ops 3 for PS4! Beta just drooped today!

Add me on ps4: finaleX

edit: Can’t end a post without soooomething Blender related. So I share with you all my latest robot WIP. D-29

Jibble Update And Free Kiosk!

So recently I did another iteration of model Jibble. He’s a nice test to use when it comes to refining techniques. I like the way he came out and plan to continue on him.

JibbleA(3) JibbleA(5) JibbleA(4) JibbleA(3) JibbleA(1)

The rendering is just 3 mesh lights and a black environment. I was pleased with the result. Now to make him talk. There’s also a timelapse!

For those wanting the files they are part of this gumroad.

Also Patrons get it as well!

The hoodies, the iris and even the model and inserts! I hope you all enjoy. Deux coming soon!
Also I did a kiosk as a test of Blender/nDo and Substance Painter. Gave away all the files for that too, and for free might I add.


Check it out!

KioskV2(1)KioskV2(2)  KioskV2MapShowcase(3)

Update. Kiosk… sketchfabulous…

The kiosks have an artstation!


Final Update Before Drop


So for this post I wanted to share a sneak peek of the near final upper body before final refinements and then texturing.

It is for the film I was so lucky as to be given an opportunity to be a part of.
And the previous sneak…

Of course the final versions will be narrated.

I did a unique type of UVing that worked around the materials that I set up during modelling. I found this to be slightly easier but we will know during the UVing and texturing phase. Also for UVing I have a tutorial that explains my workflow in depth.

I am going to be releasing the full course soon to gumroad which is a direct sequel to my last tutorial course for DPS on using Zbrush/Substance Painter/Blender. This course hopefully will expand on that knowledge and demonstrate my workflow in creating a character that in my opinion is superior to the first in both modelling and execution. I have also been honored to get advice from professionals on design aspect and how to effectively showcase the character even under all of that armor.


So recently I discovered this software called Paintstorm that is just amazing. The behavior of paint style behavior on each and every pixel that the brush touches is inspiring and intuitive. I am not a concept artist by any means but the acquisition of this fine program is just the kick I needed to move forward. I definitely recommend going to their site and picking it up!



In other news. I have been so lucky as to get mentoring from Anthony Jones on design and art in general. He has taught me so much in a limited time that its staggering so I’ve been hard at work on refining and pushing my style to the next level. At this same time I have also expanded my software collection even more and am even becoming more familiar with fusion 360. It’s definitely a learning adventure finding out how real parts are made. I did this helmet as a test to get better at overlap and making more unique designs. I plan to release the timelapse soon on YouTube after narration but I am already digging the look before refinement.


So while I’m yammering on I am also giving away stuff over at my Patreon if you’re interested in supporting me more closely on my journey as an artist. But for the people that are in support I am working night and day to give them inside access, materials, clothes, mech parts, models, etc. So also check that out if you’re interested.


I would like to thank everyone for their continued support. It’s the people that keep me going with this endeavor even as working day and night makes my body hurt haha. But seriously I’ve been hitting the PC extra hard this month so I’ve been quiet these last couple of days but I can’t wait to drop gold on my patrons and silver on my community.

I have also been doing some studies in Substance Designer to get more acquainted and fast but something I have been enjoying lately is Unreal Engine and sbar support.

By installing this plugin for substance support in Unreal you can import just sbars and deal with textures without linearzationi ssues or graph tomfoolery. I have just fallen in love with this since it just goes to show how important substance designer is in one’s pipeline. For another reason to use substance designer let this man explain it.

Really I think this is the future. Having 4-8 maps per asset and multiplied across characters can be a tedius thing to deal with and manage and this workflow is the future in my opinion and is worth a look. Allegorithmic is even having a sale right now for 40% off! So at least try the demo. Its complicated because its awesome.

Also for my patrons I am working on some sbars to throw up as well based off of stylized textures I have been admiring. One of my pastimes is taking classic textures and converting them to full PBR. So patrons, expect this little sbar soon to test in UE, Maya, Marmoset, and Unity! Still getting the grasp on making that epic mold that substance designer is known for making but that’s all for tonight!

Ugh… I’m still here. Hahah just kidding! The fabulous Skin Vibes has come up with the most marvelous of theme songs for “The Servant” (details coming soon) but I am always impressed with this man’s work. He’s also a Blender user so thats always a plus too!

Secret Update #2

So before going to bed I wanted to sneak a small update of an upcoming Gumroad course I’ve been working on. The parts are coming together even though the more I look the more I wish I could change. The final version has to look killer but I am sure the next updates will be even more impressive.


I would say hes about 50% done just in the chest. But the renders were looking very nice even at this intermittent phase. That’s cycles for you. I hope to have more updates soon and thank you all for your continuous support!

I also am giving sneak chapters out on my Patreon page. So subscribing also gets you insider access and $10+ subscribers get the gumroad courses plus exclusive content like brushes and all sorts of ill shiznit. So join up!


Also to leave for the night allow me to show you another fine render of Deux.
master xeon render_00000

Configured by Nick of the legendary 10. It touches my heart to see this guy coming to life and looking so awesome. Enough about play time to get back to work.

Nick also did the last ill comp of this guy. Just can’t get enough of him!

For those who don’t know of him his timelapse is here.

For coming allow me to drop one more brush for the night.

Also this song… *tear* Tazz is a soul who translates well into his music which flows through my character’s veins. The servant… has a mother#(@*ing song! omg!

Also that E3 amirite?

Just seeing that video pushed my art another level. Seeing what they can do just shows me I gotta work harder! We have the same tools… right?

And maybe leave the night on a laugh.

EDIT: one more sneak peek.