Shading the Sci-Fi Helmet

Kent Trammell

We’ve built it. Now we shade it.

It’s a special time in every Digital Artist’s journey when the desire to design, build, texture, and shade a space marine’s helmet is overwhelming. And that time is now. Take a moment to be inspired by the great sci-fi space marine designs from Blizzard, Mike Nash, Vitaly Bulgarov, Fausto De Martini, and others. The fact is, hard-surface-sci-fi-space-marine stuff is cool. So let’s create some of our own!

UV Unwrapping

Much like wrapping paper is to a gift, UVs are to a 3D model. In order to paint textures, UVs must be laid out flat. And ideally the result will be most efficient in favor of texel density – which is the amount of texture resolution applied to a models UVs. We will make use of the Texture Atlas Addon to consolidate our separate objects’ UVs into a single UV space.

Texture Painting

Blender’s painting system enables us to paint directly onto a 3D model, which is often desired over the traditional 2D-texture painting workflow (which Blender also features). We will employ these tools to paint base color, decals, and emission texture maps

Map Baking

Lighting utilities like ambient occlusion and cavity maps (dirty vertex) can be baked onto the UVs of an object as supplemental textures. In this course we will bake out several maps to aid the worn and torn elements of the helmet materials.

Material Creation

This is the meat and potatoes of the course. Here we dive deep into Blender’s Cycles shading nodes to construct complex yet flexible materials that will capture the tangibility of realistic surfaces. We will explore 3 variations of metal – painted, tinted, and bare – complete with intricate wear and dust components. Other material types include leather, LED emission, and lens glass. 

 My hope for you in completing this course is that you will walk away with an advanced sense of material creation. One that you can apply to all you CG projects for stunning, tangible surface quality CC Attribution

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Awarded upon completion:
100xp +
Course Curriculum