This project is my far the most time consuming and complicated that I have undertaken to date. After joining a 3D modelling community I admired a lot of work people had completed based around Gundam and similar mech-based Anime shows. The sharp, angled designs offered a great opportunity to perfect my box modelling techniques. I jumped straight in at the deep end with the most complex design I could find – a model kit based on the GAT-X105 Strike Gundam. This is an incredibly detailed self-assembly statue that had many great online references and blueprints.
I started by creating the head, working from side and front reference images. I then moved to the torso, shoulders and arms. I added a simple hierarchy to the models at this point to help with organisation and animation later on. I then added the waist, legs and feet. This modelling took several months of learning and modelling to achieve.
Next, I took time away to learn rigging and animation of inorganic objects. I used hierarchy, linking and IK solvers to animate the arms and legs. This was an incredibly difficult task with some many different parts of the model needing to move to allow human-like poses. The end result was quite impressive, with little to no clipping of components during motion.
It was after this point I realised that the topology of the models was incorrect and I re-tweaked the entire model from top to toe before spending several weeks learning UVW unwrapping techniques and applying them to every part of the model. I then combine these into one huge (at the time) 4096 x 4096 texture map.
I then used Photoshop to create different layers for the texture map – base diffuse, damage, ‘transfers’, self illumination and specular. I used the actual model kit transfer sheets as a guide to creating the text and graphics found on the armour.
Finally I spent many more hours posing and rendering the final image in a basic environment. I learnt a huge amount during this project, more than any other I have ever undertaken. By the end I could practically box model and UVW map in my sleep!