Foundations of 3D Graphics

Toy Train – 3D Asset Project

Design and Inspiration: Pre-production


My model is inspired by the simplicity of children’s train toys, Thomas the tank engine as well as steam engines.


toy-trains-8Essex Steam Train

I combined elements from each, often making them more simple and created my design of my train. Although during the 3D modelling stage I did change my design as I saw what it looked like as an asset. It happened mostly by accident through using various tools and I liked what I was doing even though it wasn’t what I originally had planned.

Final Use and Game platform- I would imagine this train being used in a nicely animated children’s computer game most likely the online sort that you might have played at school when you got bored or a mobile app. With the train as your avatar or as an opponent of sorts like the cars, similar to apps like Crossy Roads or Subway Surfers.

After doing some research and looking at this discussion in particular:

I found that the limits can vary it depends on who you ask.  For what I wanted it easily fits in. Considering this would be for a simple app, and could be characters, scenery as well as various objects and other vehicles its better to stay low. This will allow for better efficiency.

This forum references an important point of the performance of the game, lower poly models should assist in the performance of the app (runs well, not lagging, good response time to users controls etc)

This blog is extremely interesting as it shows how a game can be a taken and made into an app made using unreal engine 4, which is the game engine that I would use for in utelising this model.


The train’s design is inspired mainly by both toddler train toys, real steam engines as well as Thomas the Tank engine.

As I plan on using Quixel to texture the train will be made to be made of real train materials on a cute toy train. this idea reminds me a bit of old tin toys or even the sculptures I’ve seen made from beer cans.

Modelling Process

I’m not a confident modeller, and my timeline on making this model was cut due to illness and tiredness. When I started though I quickly made a lot of progress due to help from my lecturer and friends. I learned several new little tricks as well as relearning what I had forgotten. The Bevel, Extrude, Scale and Inset tool were used a lot to create the Smokestack, the door, window and wheels in particular. Making the roof was interesting as I used the Bend modifier for the first time, way easier than manually doing it, I found it interesting as to how the thin box reacted to it and that I had to chop it a bit so it would fit. The base of the train was made using the symmetry modifier, which wasn’t my first idea. The method of making the base changed from what I had originally planned as I made it as 2 separate pieces then attached them together, it was a fiddly process. My lecturer then showed me how to make if from one piece. I didn’t think it would be achievable for me to do due to my lack of knowledge and the structure I was trying to create with the front top corner being flat, as I had previously tried but failed. The method shown to me also allowed to create the indent/cavity where the wheels sit. My method would have made it difficult/impossible to do. The wheels are clones of one and the details on the tank are all created from the main tank itself. I am quite pleased with my model, especially with the time I made it in. I wasn’t as stressful as I thought it would be.

The first is what I first made the second is made through the better way, shown to me by my lecturer.

Images below show some of the final stages of making my train.

2017-04-30 (4).png

2017-04-30 (5).png


UV Mapping process

The tools I used were Quick Planar map, Flatten by Polygon angle, Straighten Selection and the Snap Toggle tool. It was time-consuming as usual and stressful. Flatten by poly angle did most the work for me, although I still had to make adjustments such as snapping together duplicates. I packed the UV’s myself and rescaled them as groups (by what par of the train they are apart of).

I got help from more advanced and knowledgeable students with the mapping process to save the maps and mesh in the right formats, as there are a lot of confusing settings. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without them, or my lecturer.

Colour Mapping or creating the Colour ID for Quixel was very easy. I used the material editor and just selected various areas on my train.

These are some of images during UV mapping as well, the resulting colour mapping.

2017-05-05 (3)2017-05-05 (2)

uv colour map trainmatid


I used Quixel for the first time on this project, it was very easy to add textures by just right clicking on the different coloured sections and then choosing your texture. Although I did encounter glitches which meant I just had to reload my file and usually it fixed the problem. I had finished texturing it within 30 minutes but due to not knowing how to save properly I saved each map as a photoshop file but not the project itself. I tried to re-attempt to texture my train but I couldn’t find the original mesh. I couldn’t manage to recreate my mesh, as the details on the tank part of the train, the trim on the windows and door, the panelling on the door as well as the wheels didn’t look like the model. As the detail on them had turned to ‘mush’ as you couldn’t see it. I eventually found the right mesh, had some confusion about if what I was doing was being saved when I saved it, turns out changes are saved to the various maps like Albedo, Gloss or Mask for example not the actual project file necessarily. I didn’t alter many of the materials on my model, on my first attempt at texturing I was shown how to change the colour of the texture, which was really easy. I did in my final model adjust the colour of the glass as well as the colour of the dirt on it. Lessons learned: Lable files well- remember where they are and always ask how to save files if unsure as well as Stress less it will work out.

Lessons learned: Lable files well- remember where they are and always ask how to save files if unsure as well as Stress less it will work out.

Simple Camera Shots and Rendering

I rendered out still images of my train quite easily in Quixel. Rendering out the simplistic camera angles of my train was fiddly and a bit frustrating. I went through with it as the lighting in Quixel looks great, and I saw what 3ds Max did, my train practically looked black it would have taken a lot of lighting to fix it. Ensuring that my train stayed centre was a pain as it would keep moving around even with the centering tool selected, it had to be reset continuously. Keyframing wasn’t as easy compared to 3ds Max, took a while to get working.  The results I got are average, the movement is a bit fast with the camera that goes around the train but the turntable speed is great, very easy to adjust. Definitely would have been easier to do in 3ds Max, but the lighting on the model is fantastic. After discovering to render the camera angles out as images it worked, whereas the video render was unplayable.

The Images at the top depict when I adjusted a material colour. The ones below are from my final model.


I then put my image shots into Adobe Premiere, it took some time to get the images to import as an image sequence, I had to go through the file then import option as it wouldn’t work from the on screen Media library section where you can also upload from. After that it was fairly easy, added some fade to black transitions where the camera angle changed. I added in a Titles in through Premiere, for my poly and vertice count as well as a title. I also added train sound effects in the background.


Image found on Google images from this video.

Again image found on Google images from this video


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