The Probe

The Probe is a spherical unmanned vehicle capable of floating and flying and comparable to a drone in its autonomous or remote controled operation.

This asset is quite detailed and created with an eye towards current and next-generation needs in the gaming, VR and real-time film spaces.

This project served as a pipeline test, specifically going from Blender/Hardops for modeling, through Substance Designer for baking, to Substance Painter for Texturing and making the whole process as seamless as possible using custom scripting in and outside of Blender. Rendered in Iray inside Painter.


I saw this on Twitter recently! Wonderful details in this model, and the material push it even further. I love all the little labels and graphics on it, too. Has a great look to it overall.

Excellent work, love it!

I think it is a wonderful work indeed :slight_smile: But why did you use substance designer for baking? You can do it inside Substance Painter too (Bake textures - :))

Thanks James, I spend a good amount of time on researching those decals and have actually hand lettered them, as I couldn’t the right font, haha.


I prefer baking in designer for a couple of reasons: it provides slightly more control(as well as a few more types of bakes), produces slightly different results and most importantly is easier to automate. Even if you don’t go all the way and utilized the command line tools, you can just create a single file where you link your hp and lowpoly mesh and re-use that file for each of your future bakes. Set it up once and be done with it. With the command line tools, you can take it further and won’t even have to open designer for baking anymore.
I’ve developed a one click blender export script, that outputs my lowpoly/highpoly pairs (per textureset) and as soon as the designer linux build is released I will extend this script to do all the baking after the export.

You can’t do that with painter.

Thanks for the compliment!

Like it a lot! Strong concept, good light and composition, nice details … Great work! Congrats
Why not making an animation showing this objects? Will be really nice i think!

I marvel at the detail. I have yet to learn to do work this detailed with all the separate parts, it’s inspiring.

“Open the pod bay doors, HAL. Open the pod bay doors, HAL!”

Excellent detailing and materials, though I don’t see much that speaks to actual functionality other than existence in space. Lifeboat?

EDIT: Oops, missed “unmanned” in 1st post, sorry. But functionality is still somewhat mysterious.

Looks amazing. The textural detail is very nice, and I like the feel of the overall concept. Looks like something from the Oblivion movie falling into the Starcraft universe.

Thank ivaydesign! I plan to do some rigging and animations on this and future assets. Those are 2 areas I haven’t really touched on in blender however, but I will eventually.

It started out from just one part, cube smoothed till it became a sphere. From there is was mostly just splitting and meshes using booleans/Hardops.
It’s really fun once you get inot the flow of things and it’s hard to stop.

I’m posting some more image below. Functunality is pretty basic, the asset is essentialy modular, although only one part for the front and back exits. Parts on the back focus on propulsion, while parts on the front focus on operative tasks. The front part in this case is a sensor disc, so in the current state, the probe can move and sense/meassure things :slight_smile:

Thanks Mandalorian! I’m a big fan of Daniel Simon’s work as well as the terran designs in the Starcraft universe.

Some more images:

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Any chance you’d do a HardOps modeling tutorial on how you did this? I can’t figure out any good ways to get those nice, beveled vertical panel lines on a sphere like you’ve got and I’d love to see how you did some of the other things it features.

Working with curved surfaces and Hardops is a lot about having sufficient mesh density, but bot having too much either. Maybe these tweets are helpful to you:

I do have plans for tutorials, but am currently knee deep into my next project, so it will have to wait till after that. Watch my twitterfor updates.

So many details - but nothing overlooked. Each bit is perfect.

simple, yet extremely complex, and the textures are out of this world. This is amazing! I absolutely love it

I would love to see a tutorial!

Great work, well done!

congrats on your top row! That piece is truly amazing.
You’re also the inspiration behind this chapter in the wiki.

cool design!

Nice hard surface modeling and texturing!

Nice work, can you post some wireframe renders of the probe and some of the modular bits?