Cre­at­ing a Gun in Modo

WEAPON OF CHOICE 3D artist Tor Frick presents a lean, mean method to model props in one of the best CGI pro­grams around

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Inspiration | Training -

Mod­el­ling guns is bread and but­ter for Tor Frick’s day job in the games in­dus­try, and Modo is his pre­ferred tool for cre­at­ing his weapon de­signs. It’s a su­perb piece of 3D soft­ware, com­bin­ing pow­er­ful fea­tures and a co­he­sive in­ter­face with a more af­ford­able price tag than the likes of 3ds Max or Maya.

Tor’s video shows a com­plete work­flow for cre­at­ing a hard-sur­face prop. Even if you’re not a games artist, this is the sort of ob­ject where it’s use­ful to be able to make it, so you can view it at dif­fer­ent an­gles and un­der dif­fer­ent types of light­ing for ref­er­ence. Not ev­ery­one has the stu­dio space to make ma­que­ttes like James Gur­ney…

Tor’s em­pha­sis in his workshop is on mod­el­ling, from the early block­ing-out stages to the fi­nal de­tails. He goes through sev­eral key ev­ery­day tech­niques, such as us­ing Boolean tools to cut out seg­ments of the ob­ject. There are also plenty of tips for avoid­ing any of the tech­ni­cal snags that can pop up when you model with poly­gons.

It’s worth point­ing out that Tor’s work­flow re­lies on scripts that aren’t part of Modo as stan­dard, but the stream­ing video web page in­cludes a download that pro­vides these scripts, along with the gun project file for you to study at your leisure.

Later chap­ters in the video see Tor switch to Modo’s ma­te­ri­als sys­tem, adding metal and wood tex­tures to a pre­vi­ously grey model. What’s in­ter­est­ing here is that Tor is able to use Modo’s pow­er­ful layer-based ma­te­ri­als sys­tem to im­prove the gun’s ap­pear­ance with­out re­sort­ing to paint­ing on UV tex­ture maps, which is a long-stand­ing but fid­dly 3D tech­nique.

The mod­el­ling tech­niques in par­tic­u­lar are rel­e­vant to more 3D apps than Modo, so this video has broader ap­peal than you might sup­pose. If you’re mas­tered the ba­sics of 3D and are look­ing for ways to get more made in less time, you’ll find them here.

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