The Great Renzatic Prop-A-Day Challenge!

I’ve spent too long goofing around. After all this time studying, tweaking settings, and playing around with various shaders and effects, I’ve finally managed to develop a style I actually like. It’s simple to do, doesn’t take too terribly long to produce models, but still nets me some nice results.

I think it’s time for me to buckle down, and get on with my great big project. To start, I need some props, things to fill out my scenes, and bring more life to them.

My process is based upon Manga Shader. It gives you that simple cartoon shading, but the ability to soften the shadows gives things a nice painterly effect.

But I’m not just slapping the shader on flat shaded polygons. I was initially doing my texturing inside of Blender and Affinity designer, giving my objects simple colors, but breaking things up with subtle noise, roughness values, and simple normal map details. It used to take me a couple-three hours to get results I liked, but now that I’ve bought Substance Painter, I can tear through a texture in half an hour at most, and that’s assuming I’m iterating colors to see what I like.

Lastly, I’ll run it through a freestyle pass. Tweaking the settings, and setting things up so that it doesn’t just look like a computer generated an outline around everything. It’s all about those subtle imperfections.

…which, by the way, is something you want to do with your models as well. In the picture I’m about to post, you’ll see I just ran through the fan as usual, but guffed up the mesh for my little TV just a bit to keep from having perfectly straight lines. The end result, at least to me, gives a more convincing hand drawn look.

So without further ado, here’s day 1 and 2 for you. A fan and TV!

Tomorrow: a lantern!

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Two more models for the project. Didn’t do a lantern, instead opting for a bed and a lamp table.

The bed didn’t turn out as nice as I’d like. It feels like it missing something. Maybe once I start crowding it with other props, it’ll look better. Right now, this is all about practicing the style.

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Today’s projects: a flashlight and a spoon.

I never said this was going to be 24/7 nonstop excitement. This is me doing at least one model a day, big or small. You’re all just along for the ride.

…though the flashlight does look more like a lightsaber, so that’s kinda fun, I guess.

I’m also having second thoughts about the freestyle lines. I think the style might hold up well enough without them.

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Well, I wanted to do more before posting again, but Christmas is coming up, and I may not have as much time to goof around with Blender as I’d like.

On a positive note, despite the holidays, and that steamer trunk giving me some weird problems I’ve never seen before concerning a mirror modifier and some seams not quite behaving as expected after I committed it, I managed to get it done, and have still maintained at least a prop-every-other-day.

Next up: smaller doodads I can bang out in an hour or so at most!

Oh, and if anyone wants to know what these look like unlit, here you go. Due to being toon shaded, they’re just diffuse and normals. No roughness, metallic maps or any other fanciness.

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I didn’t do anything over Christmas, but now I’ve got a long stretch til New Years to do what I want. I intend to kick some booty.

These are all looking great man! Keep it up!

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Yup. I’m still here. Haven’t posted too much, because I wanted to save up for something more substantial. I’ve done a few more models, 16 total, though 2 are replacement objects I made to better fit the theme I’m going for. I’ve also been tweaking bits and bobs here and there, and well, here you go…

It’s an interface shot, cuz interface shots are cool.

…and here’s a close up of that first aid kit on the shelf. It’s simple, but I liked the way it turned out.

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Nothing neat today. I hit a snag in that I needed some decals to slap on some cans and boxes, but since I’m in Linux, I don’t have access to Affinity Designer anymore, meaning that I have to learn Inkscape.

The upside is that Inkscape is actually a lot nicer than I thought, and seems to work better overall in Linux than it did in Windows. The downside is that it’s not the most intuitive program in the world, so it sorta feels like I’m learning doing basic vector work again from scratch. The one thing that’s throwing me for the biggest loop is how it won’t automatically generate a separate layer for each of the objects in your document. They’re just there, and it’s up to you to remember what’s where.

This means I’m gonna be delayed a bit while I learn some new tools. I’ll have to extend my deadline a bit. Though in the meantime, I did make this:

…it just took TWO FREAKING HOURS! GAW!

Textures!

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I’ve done a bunch since, but decided to hold back a bit until I have a full scene.

…at least, I wanted to until now. These cans are the best things I’ve ever done, and need to be shared for all the world to see.

Finally got to the point I could make a proper little scene, with actual tailored lighting. I’ll need about 15 more props, and a few more modular assets for the building structure, and I can consider this theme set complete.

And just to see how it looked, I decided to bring in one of my old character models, and frame it like a panel to see how it all looks together. It’s not bad, but I do need A LOT more practice on my cartoony human figures.