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
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.