Weapons and Props for Games
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Registration Starts On
August 4, 2017
Class Begins On
Week of October 21, 2017
Ethan Hiley
Weapon Artist at Treyarch
Ethan is a weapon artist currently working at Treyarch based in Los Angeles. His skills are focused around weapon and hard surface modeling with a focus on realistic texturing. Some past projects include Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Black Ops 3, and Modern Warfare Remastered.

Course Description

This course covers the fundamentals of creating weapons and props for games. In this course you will go through the entire creation process: from reference and initial concept to final model. You will learn to deliver creative and appealing models that are optimized for real-time game engines. The course will go over geometry, design, texturing, and rendering--all to create fully-realized weapons and props for your portfolio.

Course pre-requisites: Knowledge of 3D modeling workflows and finction of preferred 3D package; basic understanding of unwrapping 3D models

Software requirements: Autodesk Maya, Zbrush 4R7 or later, Substance Painter 2017, Marmoset Toolbag 3, PureRef

Standard Format:
Length: 6 Weeks.
Lectures: Pre-Recorded each week
Assignment: Deadlines each week.
Feedback: Individual recorded.
QandA: Once a week
*For classes with fewer than 6 students feedback may be provided during the live QandA session.

Course Outline


Introduction and reference gathering

  • General overview of the course and expectations
  • Methods for gathering reference
  • Getting familiar with weapon terminology (how this assists in weapon art production)


Scene Preparation and Block-Out Phase

  • Introduction to block-out models and their importance (why we don't rush straight into high-poly)
  • Setting up your Maya scene to begin production on block-out model
  • Establishing scale and proportions
  • Considering the animation and gameplay impacts on your model and accounting for them in block-out
  • Big picture, thinking silhouette and first-person perspective
  • Organiziing your completed block-out scene


High Poly Modeling

  • Learning how to use Zbrush Dynamesh for fast high poly modeling
  • Discussing the level of expected detail in a high poly model
  • Modeling your high poly mesh to maximize leverage of normal maps (edge width and tapered detail)


Low Poly Modeling

  • Identifying details necessary for low poly and what can be baked from high poly
  • Understanding low poly silhouette and where geometry detail is necessary to avoid facetted edges
  • Modeling efficiently for unwrapping and baking


Unwrapping and Baking

  • Learning the principles of unwrapping for game weapons
  • Efficient unwrapping and overlapping on weapon assets
  • Packing UVs to maximize texel density
  • Understanding first-person camera perspective and how to unwrap accordingly
  • Baking normal maps inside of Marmoset Toolbag



  • Establishing base materials and surface material breakup
  • Using reference to identify material and texture detail for interesting wear and surface treatments
  • Identifying and capturing subtlety from reference images in the weapon texture
  • Covering the basic approach to realistic weapon texturing
  • How to make surfaces feel more organic and less procedural and "gamey"


  • Prop Modeler
  • Weapon Artist
  • Hard Surface Modeler
  • 3D Modeler