Update - 29 Jan 2023
Wood. This is what this update is all about, aaand one small thing in the end. In the last couple of days I focused really hard on how to approach this wood material. How and what happens to wood when it is exposed to weather effects for too long. The fact that our droid has been on the desolated earth for quite some time that means that the wood itself has to be old, cracky. The constant exposure to wetness and heat makes the wood to develop cracks and also the paint to peel of, similar to metal paint but in a different way. Varnish starts to disappear, therefore the whole appearance is going to be a bit rough.
In order to achieve this material, I decided to create it in Substance Designer, to give me more flexibility and procedural options later on when using it with Substance Painter. Generally, I wanted to have the option to change the paint color because it's almost impossible, for our droid, to always find the same paint in enough quantity for all of its wooden pieces. Besides, the droid has not changed all of its damaged pieces all at the same time. This process is gradual, therefore he uses different wood and different paint that he finds across workshops. Hence with the help of Designer, I can achieve different looks, using the same material, just modifying the exposed parameters.
Also, it has been a hell of a fun, making this material in Designer, having to achieve the desired look with a lot of troubleshooting.
I also tried to make a similar wood, using only substance painter but I was not happy with the results. It seemed fake to me.
Finally, this is the look that I was hoping to achieve. A old, cracky, dusty painted wood that tells a story.
I placed the material on all the wooden parts and the next thing to do is to work on it a bit more. Changing colors, paint pattern and damage is kinda like a no brainer to do next.
Always important is to test the displacement map in the render engine, my case was vray. Works pretty well but I still have to add some micro details. Generally I like to avoid normal maps when showcasing any kind of renders because I believe that real displaced geometry increases the level of detail and the overall quality.
Testing the materials in vray.
Going back to the story again.
So the moon base drones are actually hunting to locate and capture this rogue droid. So what better way to display the final textured droid than in a pose where it's running from one of them.
I modelled the drone in Maya, done the UVs and everything is ready and set for texturing. Why am I texturing the drone? Simple, the drone is from the moon base and it's new, so the materials are new and freshly painted. This actually helps to highlight the difference between the old and the new materials. To put accent on the story that the droid has gone rogue for quite some time.
I posed (not finished yet) the droid in a way that expresses the idea of running from the drone as if it has just been discovered by it and was about to run from it.
Regarding the small environment (around the plate, just like for characters) that I want to create for the droid, to tell the story better, I would really appreciate if someone from the staff or from TheRookies would tell me in the comments if this is allowed for the final render, or we just have to render it in a T pose.
The next update will be focused on breaking the procedural metal paint effects more and RUST. I will not exaggerate with rust, because this is always dangerous, but where the paint came off, there has to be some rust, not everywhere but a little bit hast to be.
Next, oil details and dripping effects, especially around the moving parts and around screws and bolts.
DUST will be also a part of the next update and a little bit more on the small environment.
Oh and I almost forgot the decals. I thought to just download some from the internet but this doesn't feel right and I decided to design them myself in Illustrator.
That's it for this update. :)
Update - 21 Jan 2023
After many iterations on the color concept model, I started next to explore a little bit how would the metal materials look on the droid (which has no name yet) after spending a considerable amount of time on earth, being exposed to elements like heat, water, dust etc.
I went back on the story. Obviously the droid was manufactured and painted on the moon base. Therefore, after being exposed on earth, without any proper maintenance, the paint would start to peel off and reveal the metal underneath. So I added this effect overall using procedural noise maps done with Substance Designer. A next step would be to break the effect by adding manual painted alphas.
Now I am working on oil details. After some research, I found out that black grease or vaseline is used for screws and with the time, this gooey thing comes out and leave its mark on the metal. It's more like a dripping effect, which stains the metal permanently as it gets into the pores of the material.
For the next update I would also post a concept for the staging of the droid, some kind of platform that really tells the story of him, replacing some armor plates with wooden ones, avoiding the search drones. I am really considering in modeling the moon searching drone and add it as a piece that hovers above him. We'll see.
Update - 15 Jan 2023
This is my entry to the RIG.B texturing challenge.
The main idea is to create a working/reconnaissance droid which can be sent to asses damaged areas or retract valuable assets, search for survivors, eliminate minor environmental threats.
The world has been hit by a very destroying pandemic and the rest of the humanity has been living on the surface of the moon since then, only sending this recon droids to earth in search missions. To see what’s left of humanity.
This is where Rig.B comes in. After being sent down to earth, to look for survivors after 20 years, the AI from his logical processor decided never to return to the moon base. Instead he wanted freedom in a desolate world. It has developed a curiosity of the old world and his new mission is to find out what and how exactly had happened to the rest of the humanity from earth.
He has to face constant environmental dangers and also search and retrieve drone from the moon party. Rig.B is now a hunted droid.
After spending some considerable time in a ruin of a city, it has begun to analyze the vegetation that has practically revived. It also learned how to repair itself using his axe to gather wooden material. In order to replace the armor plates from one of his arms, he discovered a wooden carving shop and had replaced different damaged body parts.
Rig.B is practically transforming itself into a wooden droid searching for answers.
In lack or resources, the people from the moon started to send droids to collect prime materials from earth. So, Rig.B also started to protect the nature from these droids.
After some time the materials started to wear down on him, as se slowly began to replace them with wood on a daily basis.
I started this project with a lot of thinking and gathering of reference materials, especially in how to make something more than just a robot. To actually bring a story to it that would influence the whole approach.
*above there are a couple of reference photos that I used.
Started working with a blockout of color, to try to give him a more industrial appearance. There would not be used more than 3 main colors, with some variations here and there and the main target is to keep things simple and any change made, has to be impactful. At the moment the robot seems too packed with colors and the step us to define the final color layout.