Summertime 3D-fun: Part 1 – The Model

For a while now I have been working on Tim Bergholtz’s tutorial for an AKM 47 in 3DsMax ( to learn more about hardsurface modeling techniques and the modeling-part itself is slowly being wrapped-up (going into 7,5 hours of UV-unwrapping-material wiee!).





So, because my memory is short and goldfish-shaped, what follows are some in-process pictures and notes taken on some of the more complex and new (for me) aspects of creating this model for future projects. The approach was to divide the model into it’s real-life parts and work on one part at a time, from the stock to the barrel.

The magazine:


The magazine was created by making the top shape and pulling out the edges, add supportive edges with the connect tool and then using the bend modifier. For it to work properly though I had to re-aling the pivot point to the opposite side from the bend. Then using slice plane to create a middle edge and applying the symmetry-modifier to save work. For the chamfered edges: set upp support edges where the bevel starts and ends, make sure there’s an edge in the middle, extrude that edge and chamfer it. If the bend tool didn’t quite cut it, the FFD-modifiers make it easy to fix.


Same technique used to create the details and bevels on the piece showed below by the way plus some smoothing group magic and proboolean subtraction with a box.


This little detail was pretty cool. After creating the basic shape (plane, set up edges, chamfer the corners and mirror it),


go into border mode and select “create shape”


which allows you to  enable a render in the viewport, creating the desired shape.


And the rest is just chamfering the middle edge, extruding and pulling out new faces from the upper poly-edges by holding shift.



Another fun part: After creating the basic shape of this part of the barrel (bit of inset, extrusion, scaling and pulling out enough geometry) you can bevel the desired faces inwards to create that shape. After adjusting the edges…


(pulled out the middle edge sideways a bit to round out the shape. If you’re wondering why the end of the barrel is rounded out there in the lower picture, it’s to give the impression that the pieces are molded together)


center the pivot in the middle and delete everything except the affected faces.


Then use Array with angle snap to create enough copies of the detailed face to close the loop (had to redo this part once because I used a cylinder with 18 faces instead of 24 which doesn’t loop correctly). Weld the vertices together (select all, weld with 0,01 threshold) and you get this, ready to go.



Edgeflow of the piece with smoothing groups before applying chamfer and turbosmooth


Finished highpoly result.


Working with hardsurface on this project is a bit like being Oprah:


Speaking of which, working in highpoly for the first time I quickly learned the importance of support edges and keeping your base mesh edgeflow clean to avoid distortions after applying the chamfer and turbosmooth modifiers.

The front piece was another fun detail43

Created from a basic cylinder, with the slice plane then applied at an angle to create that cutoff shape. Then, using the back face of that cylinder, the inner cylinder, which is then used to cut out the right shape inside the outer cylinder with the proBoolean (subtract)-operation set to “remove invisible only”).



And a lot of fun little floater decals to be baked down into the normal later.






On a final note, toward the end I had 21 versions of the file. Might seem excessive but if you’re a bit of a clutz like me and ever accidentally collapse a stack with turbosmooth on an object without noticing before going over your undo-step limit (Which I was so extremely happy to find out is adjustable. It doesn’t take the infinity symbol as valid input though) you will be VERY happy that you can just merge in that part into your project from an earlier save instead of redoing something like the aiming box above which is comprised of multiple parts and made plenty use of the cut tool. True story.

I will probably think of something I forgot but so far it’s been a really great learning experience. Until later with (hopefully) newfound UV-mapping wisdom!


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