Mechanized Tanks : Making Of

Making Of / 29 January 2020

Well it certainly has been some time since my last Blog Post here. I have done a handful of personal blogs over on my personal blog at Which the content ranges in a wide variety of ramblings and game development related stuff. But for this year I'm planning to share more of my progress and breakdowns of projects on my ArtStation. So introducing the first of hopefully many to come, this is the first entry in my Making of series of blogs. Where I continue to ramble but it's something I have recently worked on or published. 

This is my first project completed for 2020! I’m excited to finally get this one wrapped up and done. This piece originally started back in December of 2018 as a last minute project to end the year on but 14 months later it has been through a lot of changes.

Two years ago I was still developing and working on my 3D skills so at the time I decided to recreate this wonderful concept piece by James McDonald. Which was subsequently used as concept art for Z2Live’s mobile game, Battle Nations.

Which you can find James McDonald’s social media accounts here!
Instagram. Twitter. Tumblr.

This project was intended to be a quick build, focusing on practicing proportions and scale. So like with every project, the first thing I did was gather lots of reference. At first I wanted to go with realistic PBR materials with stylized proportions. 

However that experiment lead me to the overall project looking off. I can’t put my finger on what exactly was causing it but I knew I had to go back to the drawing board. 

No matter how many times I adjusted the roughness or materials it just didn’t feel right. But by this time it had roughly been 5 months of development, with just an hour or two over the course of a weekend to work on this. So by August, I scrapped what I had and decided to create a small platform and a texture sample first. Which after a while of experimenting it got me pointing in the right general direction. 

Then between the months of August and November I UV’d and experimented with roughness and metal values. Eventually I ended up dropping them all together and just kept to a Diffuse and Normal Map. During this time I was still only working a few hours on the weekend. So I think the five day break from it and continuously coming back to it on the weekend with fresh eyes helped a little bit with its direction.

By the beginning of January 2020 I had a little more accomplished and was almost done. But it needed a little more “umph” to finally wrap it up.

So the rest of January was dedicated to polish and knocking out a few extra props. Which was well worth the effort and gave this project the final push it needed. I ended up adjusting the color values and bumping up the shadows to really make the highlights and darks pop. Then on a whim, I went ahead a created a play-blast out of Marmoset Toolbag 3 to share on twitter for feedback. Which people seemed to love! 

By far the highest interaction I have ever gotten with a piece and I am quite proud of that. Getting almost 2,000 views! What a concept! I was probably lucky and likely just timed my post very well but I’m still grateful for the love and support I got from this piece. 

I’m very happy with this project and how it turned out and am more than ecstatic to finally cross it off my “To-Do List”. You can check out even more renders on my portfolio at Thank you for reading this far, hoped you liked it!

Environment Progress 01

Work In Progress / 11 August 2018

Hey everyone! It has been quite some time since my last update. This update will be very short as I have been a little busy this month and haven't had much free time to dedicate to this project. I have dealt with frequent computer crashes, reattempting to read through my ever growing pile of literature, and spending time with my family. During all of this I have managed to get a few more props in, focusing on modeling and texturing electrical props, drapes, and the tree.


During the process I delved into researching foliage practices and texturing, in which I hope to implement improved foliage into my next milestone. But for now I have a small test scene and assets that I created in order to generate a quick tree for my scene. I plan to fill in the background environment with many trees using a similar method, that is pictured below. Essentially I blocked out the tree and limbs in Maya, then sculpted the details in Zbrush and baked out the maps in Substance Painter. For the Limbs I started off with three sets and three variations to quickly generate various limbs that then attached to my tree. I think the results look pretty good and will be going back to add foliage cards so my tree doesn't look so naked. 

Alright guys, so that will be it for this update. Hopefully next time I will have more content to share! 

As always here is my Twitter if you want to get in touch and my WordPress if you want to see more randomness, dogs, and robots. 

Art Blog Kickoff

Work In Progress / 08 July 2018

Hey everyone! 

Welcome and thank you for taking the time to visit the page! To start off  my first blog post I'm going to begin with a little honesty. I really don't know what I am doing, just going to wing it and hopefully down the line I will figure out some sort of template for future posts. But for starters I think that half way through the year is the best time to start finishing up some of my new years resolutions. One of the biggest goals is to be more active in the game art community as well as social media. I have felt very distant with the art community and kind of looking at it from the other side of the fence. Over the last few months I have been getting my personal life situated and now am focusing on revamping the artistic side. For that I have restructured how I spend my free time as well as actually finishing all my projects that have fallen to the wayside. 

So with that, I have recently been cleaning out my old laptop as I have finally made the transition from a Mac to PC. Mostly because my 2014 Macbook is dying. During this process I have discovered many unfinished environments and props from about 2016-2017. Which is mostly due to a lot of moving, freelance projects, and finding a stable job and leaving retail. So with this new, clean, fine tuned machine, I am going back to those old projects and finishing them! Hopefully.

My first challenge has been to revisit an environment that I had started when I was apart of Ryan Benno's Art Mentorship program. [ Contact Info below ] I highly recommend taking the course, it was very informative, fun, and there was plenty of motivation. Ryan is a super helpful teacher and talented artist. Just great stuff, you should definitely take it. 

So here is the environment that I had back in November of 2016. If I remember correctly it was running in UE4 4.14 on my now dead Macbook.  

And here is what I have now, which has slowly been moved over into UE4 4.19 on my "finely" tuned PC. 

I have spent a lot of my free time on transferring this scene to 4.19 one asset at a time. Mostly to improve the assets and textures while I do it. I have recently been working and learning about light-maps, vertex painting, shaders, and trim textures which I have been adding to this scene. Also been writing up some tutorials for that to share soon. Which is my other resolution, which is to give back to the art community. More about that later. From my last push I have added a lot of detail to the roof mesh, including the rafters, pipes, ivy, beams, and lighting. 

My current workflow is Maya > Zbrush >  Substance Designer / Painter > Unreal

By my next update I plan to get some tutorials up here or posted to the website, as well as getting some props into the scene. As always I am open to critiques and comments. I would love to hear what you guys think and any tips on environment building that I need to keep in mind.

I will also be starting a more open blogging website that will have oddles of more randomness, way more render images [ so that I don't bog you down with garbage ] and wont be 100% dedicated to art. It will have random updates, art break downs, code and robotic builds. So if you want to check it out links below! Currently still in development so it wont have much. 

So that ends it for the first of many more! In the future these will probably be shorter and less long winded. 

I am looking forward to meeting some of you guys, so get in touch!


Ryan Benno

Ryan's Twitter

My Twitter if you want to get in touch

My WordPress if you want to see randomness, dogs, and robots. Currently under construction