So I am going to discuss my hard-surface modelling workflow in Autodesk Maya. Hopefully, this should give you insights into how I do some hard-surface assets and possibly help any other 3D artists out there. In the future, I may provide more in-depth tutorials and the quality of the tutorials should improve as well so forgive me if I start out a bit rusty here… ;). This post is intended for artists who already have a basic knowledge of the game art pipeline and 3D modelling in Maya, where this workflow can be added on top of your pipeline.
So what is a hard-surface object?
Well, hard-surface objects are pretty self-explanatory. They are non-flexible, solid, often man made models such as cars, weapons, computers etc. We have used this workflow for some of the environmental assets and items in our game “Monstrum”; the walkie-talkie and welder for example.
A hard-surface modelling workflow aims to achieve precision and detail through smooth deforms which is why it is great for man-made machined objects. This is in stark contrast to organic modelling where shapes are very random and loose, where we would instead use a sculpting program such as Mudbox or Zbrush for creating the high poly detail rather than doing most of it in Maya.
In this post, I will only demonstrate how hard-surface models can be created in Maya as well as some helpful tips and tricks I use, but not how to get them to a point where they can be imported into an engine such as Unity or Unreal. I may make another post in the future detailing the steps after this which include low poly modelling, mapping and baking.