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Top Break Revolver

Top Break Revolver

Stefan Herbert Steins
by StefanSteins on 16 May 2024 for Rookie Awards 2024

A mix of old western and steampunk design, this 3D asset optimized for gaming is my entry for this years Rookies contest and was a blast to create.

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About me

I am Stefan Steins, recent Pixlvisn Media arts academy graduate, eager to become a professional asset artist in the gaming industry.

For my project I decided to do a first person view asset based on a reference I found which was cut content from a game, to get close to an authentic assignment.

Concept and References

My main reference is an incredible concept made by Jakub Kuzma "Concepts for Sniper revolver" - the concepts were made for the Game Evil west, which didn't make it into the game.

I also gathered more references for similar top break revolvers to better understand how these work mechanicly. In addition, I looked for material references.


For this project I switched to Blender after previously having learned and used Autodesk Maya during my training, because i prefer Blenders more modular system. And after a few days of getting used to Blenders controls and the modifier system I was starting to pick up pace.

I started with a simple blockout to get proportions and messurments right. I worked with modifiers, creases and bevel weights to get a clean, adjustable base for my assets, that I can use as a base for the lowpoly later and continue with the highpoly.

For a lot of my blockout parts I just have a very lowpoly plane with a subdivion and a solidify modifer.

High Poly Modeling

For most of my highpoly I used the lowpoly base and continued tweaking with modifiers like lattice, shrinkwrap, subdivision, solidifiy, mirrors, and bevel weights.

The most time consuming part of modeling were the engravings. I used simple planes with shrinkwrap modifiers and did some manual tweaking afterwards.

Some of the bigger edge damage I just did by hand in Blender like the bigger dents in the metal and the wood.

I added some detail in Zbrush for the leather, imported my lowpoly leather into Zbrush, made a base by hand and later masked out areas to add detail with layers.

Retopolgy, Uv's and Baking

This was the part I struggled with the most, because I had to learn gaming retopology and Marmoset Toolbag.

I used my lowpoly as a base for the retopology and had to do adjustment by hand for parts that changed in shape.

I settled with 1.5 texture sets to avoid too much quality loss for my model and mirrored most of my model to safe texture space.

For UV unwrapping I used the "Texel Density Checker" and "UV Toolkit" addons for Blender, the "Batch Export" addon was also very helpful.

I jumped between these three steps to improve, iterate and improvise for many aspects, to have clean normal and efficient Model.

I organized the UV shells by hand to get the most out of my UV space.


I textured my model entirly in Substance Painter. For the metal my references where World War 2 firearms and western revolvers. For the wood I also used World War 2 firearm stocks. And for the leather I used more general references since usualy firearms dont have leather decorations like that.

Starting with the metals - I wanted to give each type its own look and feel. Then thought about where the metal would have wear and scratches based on exposure and friction.

The leather was tricky for me because I wasnt happy with the microdetail I had sculped, so I masked it out and made a new one.

The emissive parts where handmade, since I don't have access to in engine shaders.

Final Marmoset render


I really enjoyed creating my first optimized asset, and I am really happy with the result. Although learning the optimization and baking part was a bit difficult and took longer than expected.

Now I feel alot more confident in my skills, and I am looking forward to my next project. 

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