This is a summary of the process I took to create this version of the Claptrap robot from the video game Borderlands. I completed this model about two years ago. It was one of the first complex models I had created. This project was complicated for me at the time and I spent quite a few hours with the model.

The Rough Form

A good starting point for any 3D model is to block out the rough shapes. Here I had to guess and eyeball the shape and proportions.

Making Up the Details

I took some creative license with the details. The source reference is a toon-shaded 3D model and a lot of the detail is hand-drawn on the textures. I guessed on the wheel mechanism and imagined a single joint-piston thing that would attach to the top of the wheel assembly. The elbow joint of the arm was based on the source images, but again, I had to make some things up as I went along.

Painting the Textures

The in-game model’s textures are done in a cartoon/comic style. I wanted to create textures that would look more realistic–at least as realistic as an imaginary robot can be. I had created textures similar to this before and looking back on this now, these textures could use a lot of work. They look rough.

I was happy with the results. I attempted to rig the model for animation, but that is one thing I really need to work on and learn. Tackling more complex ideas and pushing yourself through the obstacles and frustration goes a long way to improving your work. I had no idea how I was going to make this model. I just started making it and learned whatever I needed to move forward to the completed model. The decision to create something that you don’t know how to create is daunting. Any fear of not knowing, or thinking that you can’t do it can stop you before you even begin. Just get yourself started and even though you are expecting to run into problems, know that you can figure them out.

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