In this great hard surface modeling and texturing project we create the Sand Speeder based on the concept sketches made by Jason Edwards who is also the instructor you'll be following along with in the tutorial. We start with a project overview taking a look at some references and how to organize your work in Maya with good naming conventions and display layers the way it would be done in a production environment.
We then start modeling with polygons and converting over to sub d's for some of the detail work. The Sand Speeder has a high level of detail in the engine area so we look at references for different types of engines as we work towards the result we want. You'll learn how to go from a very low res base mesh and gradually build up the detail and maintain quads.
Some of the modeling tools we use are the split poly, extrude, fill hole and EP curve tools for piping and you'll learn a good technique for creating the fan blades on the engine which can be applied when creating any sort of fan or rotor structure on models. We also use booleans and show how animation deformers can be useful in hard surface modeling as well as pick up some other tips and tricks for getting quads back after boolean operations. For the cockpit and metallic body we use the sculpt geometry tool to create smooth surfaces and add bolts before finishing off the fuselage and make some final adjustments to prepare the model for UV layout. Because we've taken the UV layout into consideration while creating the model this process is very quick, and you'll learn why it's worth sometimes to take the extra time to lay out UV's by hand rather than use plug-ins at this stage.
When we have the UV's done on the model we move into Photoshop to create nice metallic textures, you'll learn how to way to organize your color layers into folders and work with many different tools like gradients, rubber stamps and layer masks to get variations and avoid seams when working with tiled textures. The techniques shown in this part will teach you how to get a weathered look to a metallic texture and add things like rust and oil slicks. ZBrush is also used during the texturing process in part twelve, where we show you how to use a free plug in called zapplink to move textures between Photoshop and ZBrush and a technique for texturing in Zbrush using image planes. This part is more of a bonus track, so if you don't have ZBrush you can still follow the texturing in this tutorial using only Photoshop.
We also make bump maps in Photoshop to add to the weathered look before bringing our textures together in Maya and light up the scene in mental ray where you'll learn how to work with final gather light maps. The final thing we do is add a background plate to create an environment for the model and achieve a more cinematic look and lighting in the scene, during this part you'll learn how to composite a 3D model onto a 2D background to match the lighting and shadowing with the use background shader for a more interesting final render.
This tutorial was created for Simply Maya by Jason Edwards who is a Senior Modeler at Digital Domain. He's currently in the process of creating his own 3D graphic novel "Outlaws Tales" which you can follow along with on his personal website