Stylized Asset Workflow Tutorial with Damian Gerrits

Damian Gerrits shows us how he took inspiration and tutorials he found online and made a Stylized Egyptian Pillar Asset. 

About the Artist:

Hello guys! My name is Damian Gerrits and I’m a 23 year old 3D artist from the Netherlands.

I finished my Game Art studies last year and I’ve started a new study at the High School of Arts in Utrecht.  Currently, I’m trying to develop myself as a 3D Artist and I’m currently focusing on Stylized Art. You can check out my other work on my Artstation.      

 

During my first study I was mostly focusing on 2D art because I really liked illustration work and 2D games, but during the first year of study I found my passion for 3D art. 

I’ve always liked the art of games like Spyro and Ratchet & Clank and I’m now really inspired by the art of Heroes of the Storm.

 In January this year I came across the tutorials of 3DEX. Here I bought the “Best Guide to Making a Stylized Asset” and rapidly increased my 3D skills. 

I HIGHLY recommend this tutorial to anyone who is looking to learn stylized 3D art. This is one of the best tutorials out there for learning stylized art – hands down. 

References

One of the most important things when starting out a project is to look up reference.

I mostly use Pinterest for my reference boards, but I also have a reference folder with images I use when looking on ArtStation or just photographs of nature, textures of different materials or pictures of architecture. 

Low-Poly Modeling

When Starting out an asset, I always prefer to make a Low Poly model in a 3D Program. 

For this I use Maya but you could use any 3D program you like. When modelling my Low Poly model I like to think about how I’m going to divide different aspects in the model so I can easily sculpt them in Zbrush. 

The pillar consists of different stones and because I want the grooves to be clear, I sculpt each stone individually.

Sculpting

After importing the model in Zbrush, I start with the Dynamesh tool to increase the subdivision on each model. 

 

When I’m finished doing this, I start with the actual sculpting. I mostly use the Orb brush pack from Michael Vicente. (Totally free!)

 

 

 I start out with Orb_Rock_Detail, with this I create a rock kind of texture on the model, then I bevel the edges with the TrimDynamic and flatten those with the OrbFlatten_EdgeProtect. At last I add detail to the rock with the other brushes mentioned in the list below.

Here is the list with all the brushes I’ve used:

 

  TrimDynamic

  OrbFlatten_EdgeProtect

  Orb_Rock_Detail

  Orb_ClayTubes_Smooth

  Orb_Cracks

  Orb_Slash01

  Orb_Slash02 

Sculpting in Blender Instead of Zbrush? No worries! You can grab these Stylized Brushes on our Gumroad: You decide the price!

Retopology

For the Retopology, I return to Maya and import my high poly model that I’ve made in Zbrush. 

The model will still have the separate objects, but now I need to think about which objects I need to combine for my retopology. 

After deciding which objects I will put together, I will put the model into live mode and I use the QuadDraw Maya tool to retopologize my objects.

Make sure you stick to your naming convention because if you don’t it could give you baking errors. (More detail on this in the baking step)

UVs

Next is the UV step! I’m not going into much detail here, but as you can see in the image below, I’ve decided to keep all the UV shells separated. 

I could have stacked the Emblem and Triangle UV shells but I decided not to because I sculpted different details on each side.

Side Note:

When exporting your meshes, make sure to re-export your high poly from Maya and when exporting your low poly model, make sure that all the faces are on “Soften Edge” (“Smooth shading). 

This is because you will bake your high poly on your low poly – and you only want to display the edges of the high poly model.

Baking

We’re finished with making our Low Poly model and our High Poly model, now it’s time to bake. I use Substance Painter for this but there are more programs that you can use for baking.

 

To check if my retopology and baking is correct, I first bake my Normal Map. This way I can easily see if my baking is correct and it won’t take a lot of time. The Ambient Occlusion (AO) and the Thickness map will take a lot of time so when testing, don’t select these.

 

If it all seems good when testing you can select all the other textures and you can bake them all.

Just make sure to check your texture size and check the “By Mesh Name”, because we used separated geometry. This makes sure you don’t get any baking errors.

Texturing

The final part is texturing the model. As a base I use the 3dEx_Stylized_Material. This Material uses all the maps to create a nice and stylized look. 

I mostly put my Reference next to it and color pick everything and then tweak it until I’m satisfied with it.

 

I always start out with a color picked base color that I can work with. Because the pillar is mostly sand stone I start with this. 

To get more variety between the stones, I use different colors for some of the stones and I do the same for the gold pieces. 

I wasn’t completely pleased with the amount of detail so I added another gold stroke to the top. I gave this a positive height map and added a small seam which I gave a negative height map to make the stroke pop out more.

 

Lastly, I added the paint layer and erased parts with the “Artistic Heavy Sponge” brush to give it a more weathered look.

Finishing Details

When we’ve done all this hard work, we can’t just leave it like this. 

So I always throw it inside Marmoset Toolbag to make a nice turntable render. 

I just add the textures, center it and add a turntable. I tweak the lighting a bit and sometimes I tweak the metallic map a bit as well.

 

This is the final result! 

 

If you have any comments or questions, don’t be afraid to reach out! I’m always happy to answer them!

 

If you like my work and want to see more you can find me on instagram:

 

https://www.instagram.com/damian.gerrits/

 

Thank you for watching!

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StylizedStation

Freelance 3D artist and lover of all stylized art. Owner & Creator of StylizedStation.com

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