DNA Double Helix 3D model

DNA Double Helix 3D model

I created this DNA Double Helix 3D model in Blender using modifiers and SSS which was super easy to setup in Principled shader introduced in 2.79 for Cycles renderer.

Modeling DNA double helix 3d model using modifiers in Blender is a breeze. Basically the strand was created using a path. If one wants to animate the strand, adding a basic shape key to the path would allow perfect animation as the geometry will follow the path; nice and easy workflow.

The displacement is taking advantage of the adaptive subdivision which for some reason still considered “Experimental feature” in Cycles. This is super efficient as it subdivides the mesh dynamically based on the camera position. This allows more complex scenes to be rendered fully in GPU. Rendering with dual GPUs it was a breeze to come up with nice looking renders, even with effects like depth-of-field.

Lightwave has had the adaptive subdivision feature since early 9 so Blender certainly isn’t the first one in this camp. And I think this feature should be in the main feature set. However, although being called “experimental” the feature is mostly stable and I didn’t have any big issues as long as I kept the subdivisions in reasonable amount.

I did some searching and found out interesting article which mentions that DNA is actually near white.  The colours we traditionally add to DNA molecules is just for labeling purposes. I am big fan of the beginning sequence of Prometheus where the Engineer’s DNA is being rearranged. With things like this we can have some artistic freedom.

The model is a good starting point for more complex CG animation setup in Cycles. One could add particles or volumetric lighting to make the environment look like the strand is in some kind of liquid.

You can buy this DNA Double Helix 3D model royalty free at https://www.turbosquid.com/3d-models/dna-double-helix-blender-3d-model-1211337


Sci-Fi Console

I created this  Sci-Fi Console recently for my personal portfolio for UE4. I baked the normal map from high poly using Substance Painter. I’m quite glad about how this turned out with PBR metal-rough workflow.

The model is also available now in Gumroad.

Sci-Fi Console Game Model


Unreal Engine Modular Sewer Tunnel

My modular Sewer Tunnel is now available in Gumroad for Unreal Engine. The tunnel pieces snap seamlessly grid with tiling textures. It was quite fun to test this in the engine with automatic collision.

Lightmap UVs are set for each modular pieces, so there should be no shading issues even with lower values in Lightmap resolution settings. So many asset makers ignore this step resulting in poor lightmap UVs and unoptimized result. Lightmap UVs should be as continuous as possible and non-overlapping which may not be not what one wants to do with texture UVs.

I am thinking to expand this by making X section as well.


Custom Alphas in ZBrush tutorial

Now that we are all hyped and excited about incoming ZBrush 4R8 and it’s 3D alphas (vector displacement), I wanted to take a look how we can take advantage of 2D alphas. This stuff is nothing new but I think it’s good to realize how we can create our own custom alphas and potentially save a lot of time when making high poly models.

What I wanted to point out in this video is that if main use of high poly model is to be baked down to low poly and normal maps, everything doesn’t actually have to be 3D. Normal maps won’t be able to capture overhangs anyway, so basic hight detail is enough, and can even help with AO baking.


Marmoset toolbag 3 announced

Marmoset Toolbag 3 announced yesterday. I can’t say how thrilled I am about the new features.

Marmoset toolbag 3 announced

Marmoset toolbag 3 announced Check out the GDC Showcase

Marmoset Toolbag 2 has been my most used rendering app out there, hands down. I used it for so many different cases, whenever I needed to get my PBR model rendered for a client or preview it before throwing it to UE4. Having physically based materials on my fingertips and completely in real time has been a killer feature. Trying to render similar materials, especially reflection blurred metals in Lightwave has been a total pain with rather frustrating render times.  How often I have wished that I could render actual animations in Marmoset Toolbag?

Well, good news folks, Marmoset Toolbag 3 will have animation and global illumination support! OMG. No, really. OMG!

The ability to render more detailed animations in realtime is HUGE thing and something that will allow new level of detail and fidelity to our renders. Here is the insanely awesome GDC showcase https://vimeo.com/158273469 Wait are those particle effects?? Rigging?

About the release date of Marmoset Toolbag 3, it seems it will come next month.


ZBrushCore vs 3D-Coat

Thanks for great comment Marco (mkdm).

I would like to share my point of view about this. Does release of ZBrushCore put 3D-Coat into a position where they have to perhaps lower their price point?

Well, I would argue that perhaps not. Core has severe limitations that make it almost completely unsuitable for game artist or anyone who want anything to do with textures. It doesn’t have texture support or UVs. No baking whatsoever, no mesh projection. None. The surface noise is a render effect.

3D-Coat can do PBR. There are no ZBrush that can do that at the moment. What you get with 3D-Coat is a complete tool for retopology and unwrapping and on top of that also PBR painting. 3D-Coat may not be as polished as some of the ZBrush counterparts are, but there are workarounds to those quirks for the most part.

And what comes to the near 100 dollar market, 3D-Coat already has Amateur version (which can’t be used for commercial use) but which is still way more capable than ZBrush Core.