Javier Perez was kind enough to share production details behind his astonishing Viking axe created inside Substance Designer.
Introduction | 介绍
My name is Javier Perez, and I’m a senior environment artist currently working at Intrepid Studios. I’ve been in the industry for 7 years now and I graduated from The Art Institute of California – San Diego. Throughout my career, I’ve worked at studios such as Infinity Ward, Kojima Production, Sony Online, and Redemption Games. I’ve contributed to projects such as Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Lawbreakers, and Planetside 2.
我叫哈维尔·佩雷斯(Javier Perez)，是一名高级环境艺术家，目前在Intrepid Studios工作。我已经在这个行业工作了7年，毕业于加州圣地亚哥艺术学院。在我的职业生涯中，我曾在Infinity Ward、Kojima Production、Sony Online和Redemption Games等工作室工作过。我曾参与过《使命召唤：无限战争》，《合金装备V：幻痛》，《破法者》和《行星边际2》等项目的制作。
The Viking Project | 维京项目
I’ve been using Substance designer for a little over 2 years now, and with every project, I always want to push what’s possible in the program. I had been making quite a few different tiling materials, so I thought it was time to try something new. I’m constantly browsing ArtStation and noticed a trend of people trying to model things with Substance Designer. Daniel Thiger’s Rapier Sword was really inspiring, and I wanted to put my own spin on the weapon idea.
到目前为止，我已经积累了2年多的Substance Designer使用经验，在我所参与的每个项目中，我总是希望能够发掘出Substance Designer与这些项目在制作流程环节上的潜在可能性，此前，我一直在使用Substance Designer来制作不同类型的平铺材质，我觉得是时候尝试些新的东西了。我时常会去ArtStation逛一逛，并且注意到，人们正在试图使用Substance Designer来代替传统建模的趋势。丹尼尔·泰格尔(Daniel Thiger)的西洋剑模型真的非常启发灵感，同时，我也想把我自己的想法放在武器创作上。
Production | 制作
I would say it all started with a lot of planning and trying to decide on which specific weapon I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to make a weapon but I had to make sure it was something that was achievable. One thing I kept in mind was that it had to be something symmetrical, that way when applied to a double-sided plane it would look like extruded geo. I gathered a lot of references for different kinds of axes and got to work. My approach with the whole project was to work in a layer format, starting with the main handle and beginning to layer the other components.
There’s no real secret to this project. Tessellation is a really powerful tool in any engine that can be used to fake geometry with a defined height map. The whole axe was broken up into 4 different graphs: Axe, Viking, Swirls, and shield. At first, I was trying to consolidate the whole axe into one graph, but for neatness and performance purposes I decided to break out the Viking and swirls into their own graphs. The shield was actually an afterthought and was completed for composition purposes in the main shot.
Elements | 元素
Each piece of the axe was broken down into smaller more manageable graphs within the main graph. As I began working on the axe, I focused on the big shapes and forms that would define the entire object. The shape of the wooden handle was the first thing I created. Using a combination of shape, transforms and directional warps produced a handle I was satisfied with. From there on, it was all about creating each separate element and layering it on top of the handle.
在主图中，斧子的每一部分都被分解成更小的、更易于管理的Graph图表。当我开始制作斧头的时候，我把注意力集中在定义整个物体的大形和架构上。木制斧柄的形状是我做的第一件事。使用Shape、 Transformation 2D和Directional Warp节点的组合产生了一个使我满意的斧柄形状。从那时起，所有的一切都是关于创建每个单独的元素，并将其层叠在斧柄之上。
Before even starting the project I knew I was going to have trouble with the swirly bits I wanted to have on the axe. Luckily I remembered a node that I recently came across on ArtStation made by Ilya Kuzmichev. The curve drawing system he created for Substance made it incredibly easy to create nice smooth curves just like you would with the pen tool in illustrator.
Details | 细节
The Viking was a real challenge as it involved a lot of different shapes and blends to create the entire thing. A huge factor that helped with the production of the Viking was the new Quad transform node that Allegorithmic introduced in the latest substance update. Again, I just worked in a layered format with height blends layering the face, then the nose, beard, hair and so on. The shield he carries was a smaller graph that was layered on at the end over the Viking.
Rendering | 渲染
When rendering my substances I usually have a complex scene, but with this axe I wanted to go with a more simple route. I chose an HDR I liked, made the background a dark gray, and added a blue spotlight coming from the bottom. I didn’t want to distract the viewer with any post effects, and just make the Axe the main set piece.
Challenges | 挑战
Overall I think creating anything that can trick people into thinking is modeled rather than made in a texturing software is a challenge in itself. Definitely, the most difficult part was the layering of different elements within the axe, and having correct height values so that Marmosetwouldn’t extrude anything too intensely. It was a constant back and forth tweaking the tesselation slider and messing with the levels in Substance Designer. I definitely learned a lot this project, my main goal was to use as many new nodes that were introduced in the latest update as possible so that I could be more familiar with them in future projects. My advice to readers is to think outside the box when using Substance Designer. We all know that it is a great texturing program, but with the recent additions of the shape extrude, there are a lot more possibilities that can be done to fake geometry.
总的来说，我认为创建任何可以让人们思考的东西都是建模的，而不是用纹理软件制作的，这本身就是一个挑战。当然，最困难的部分是斧头内部不同元素的分层，以及正确的高度值，这样Marmoset引擎就不会太用力挤压任何东西。这是一个不断来回调整Tesselation（曲面细分）滑块并弄乱Substance Designer中的关卡。我确实学到了很多这个项目，我的主要目标是尽可能多地使用最新更新中引入的新节点，以便我在未来的项目中更熟悉它们。我对读者的建议是在使用Substance Designer时开箱即用。我们都知道它是一个很棒的纹理程序，但随着最近添加的形状拉伸，可以做出很多伪造几何的可能性。