Friday, 13 December 2013

Personal Project : Phone box

Last week after the hand in for the vehicle I was wasn't overly happy with the results. So to pick up my spirits I decided to spend the next few days making a small but detailed prop for my portfolio, so I wanted the standards to be very high.

I wanted to create something which would be applicable to the majority of studios out there and to have a bit of character and push my skills, especially my hard surface modelling. Which I found in an old 90s American pay phone, It seemed to fit the bill quite well.

My first step was research. I gathered a handful of references, ranging from destroyed payphones in the dump to brand spanking new ones, along with close up pictures of all the major parts so I had accurate reference to model from. Below shows these references:


I really like the idea of the payphone being from  ‘The Projects’, in places like Baltimore, Detroit etc. Where I can play with graffiti/gang tags and have the phone box destroyed/neglected. If you've seen The Wire then you know exactly what I’m going for.

First things first I made a quick whitebox so I could get a general feel for the proportions and scale. I place a biped with an average height to also get a  better idea of scale. Below shows the white box:

From the white box I produce the highpoly. I tried to have the cleanest mesh I could to avoid any pinching on the model which could affect baking later on. Most of the model was relatively straight forward to model so I didn't come up with any issues. But some parts required a little more attention, such as the holes making up the phone logo and the phone cable.

To produce the telephone logo made up of holes I first creating the housing part, inside and out. I then created a bunch on cylinders in the shape of the phone logo, then using the Boolean method I subtracted the cylinders from the housing mesh, this was done on both sides.

Next was the phone cable, this was a tad long winded.  I created one section of the cable which I then instanced over a distance of about a meter. Then using a spline I created a path of how the cable would twist/look going from the box to the phone. I then used the deform to path modifier on the cable mesh. This took a few times to get right as sometimes the spline wasn't smooth enough which created very jagged movements when the mesh was applied. But after a few tweaks I got it right.


Next up was creating the low poly. This was a straight forward process so I won’t go into it. Modelling the phone cable could have been an issue, but it wasn't. This was because I used the line path from earlier, this allowed me to get the correct shape while playing with the parameters to make the mesh suitable for a low poly version.

Next up was unwrapping. I decided to keep all parts of the phone box texture unique as I wanted unique details which would work when mirrored. Such as graffiti/stickers. The back parts of the pay phone was mirrored as these would not be seen.

I wanted to produce the texture as realistically  as I could. So  I looked at a lot of pictures to analyse materials and interesting parts they have, such as stickers half peeled off but It still leaves that sticky residue, or burn marks on the side of the housing and extra wear and tear around the metal edges. Especially so around the coin slot as when money is inserted into these slots it always scuffs the edges around it. I also used references to help me created realistic spec and gloss maps.

I also got hold of the latest version of marmoset. Which is very easy to use and has a range of parameters to play with to get the absolute best out of your model.

Below are the final Screenshots:

Final model - 1,449 Tris, 1024 D/N/S

Final model - 1,449 Tris, 1024 D/N/S
I got some really good feedback from my peers about tweaking my spec and gloss maps to improve the material readability (which have been tweak in the version shown). But I think I will take it further and tweak it some more. I also want to produce a LOD version, which I will do over the coming weeks.

This project went really well, im very happy with the results, the time frame it took me to produce and learning some extra techniques.

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