Dystopian Vehicle – Final

There has been a bit of a break in updates for this project since I fleshed out the initial concepts.

In class we ran some small group crit sessions to give each other feedback on designs and I asked Tony separately for his input. Two designs were highlighted during this process, the VTOL tow bike and the giant land cruiser.

Choosing between the two, I opted to model the tow bike. In my opinion it had more interesting shapes to model, along with interesting minor details such as controls, door handles, the tow cable etc. Maybe I have more attachment to it because I drew it from scratch rather than piecing it together from other images.

From here on in the rest of the process was a blur of four days, from dropping the first cube into the scene up to weathering the textures. So I apologise for the lack of progress shots. Here is the first one I captured.


I started shaping the main body of the vehicle and then began adding other features and details afterwards. Since this was only for visualisation I could skip corners, all additions to the body (wings, engines, lights etc) were all separate meshes combined into one. All my geometry was still tri/quad though, I’d never be that lazy. After all I still want a nice clean unwrap to be able to texture it.

Fast forward another 24 hours and I was approaching a finished model.


By far the coolest thing I learnt doing this was how to extrude along a path, this was used to create the rope. Four cylinder end caps were combined and extruded along a path wound around the winch, the extrude then had around 30,000 twists applied to it to produce the end look.

Jumping forward another 24 hours and voila, a fully textured tow skimmer.


I’m about to break professionalism here and I apologise *HUGE GRIN*. I am THRILLED with how this turned out, I didn’t even comprehend that the end result would look this good. The process just happened naturally over a day of working on it.

Naturally the mesh was painted in Substance, I picked up a few new tricks this time. The weathering was done with a combination of two fill layers (a rough steel and a painted steel), a mask applied to the lower bare steel layer and then a generator was used in conjunction with a curvature map. The generator and map look for hard edges in the mesh and wear these down more than other areas of the mesh (edges will always take more abuse in reality).

The copper and red combination wasn’t accidental either. I wanted some rich, warm and bold colours. A combination that would have shouted luxury/expensive if the machine hadn’t seen heavy use in a now dystopian society. I feel like this cemented a strong sense of how far society had fallen and that the machine had likely been retro-fitted for it’s current purpose.


Given my well known love of cyberpunk, I surprised myself by how steampunk this turned out to be. Outside of a few tweaks its pretty faithful to the original hand drawn idea, a lot of the cosmetic changes happened due to the model looking too plain and simple.


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