e-mail: josh.josueflores@gmail.com

Vintage Tattoo Set - High/Low Poly Prop

Vintage Tattoo Set High Poly

Vintage Tattoo Set High Poly Side

Vintage Tattoo Set Side

Vintage Tattoo Set Side Wireframe

Vintage Tattoo Set Side Normals

Vintage Tattoo Gun

Vintage Tattoo Gun Wireframe

Vintage Tattoo Gun Normals

360 degree turnaround color

Vintage Tattoo Set color turnaround

360 degree turnaround wireframe

Vintage Tattoo Set wireframe turnaround

360 degree turnaround normals

Vintage Tattoo Set normals turnaround

Vintage Tattoo Set Maps

Diffuse Map 2048x2048                                                Normal Map 2048x2048
Tattoo Diffuse map Tattoo Normal map

Specular Map 2048x2048                                             Gloss Map 2048x2048
Tattoo Specular map Tattoo Gloss map

Tattooing has always been an art form and tradition for some. It has been around for ages and the art is widely praised today. My fascination was the machines that make them. My love for machines and how things are built is why I chose this antique model. This machine has probably many stories to tell and modeling it is truly exciting.

Image reference

Blocking is the second step of modeling any object just after researching it. Research included finding similar case shapes and classic to old styles of bolts, knobs, rivets and locks. Even though the case shape was a box, getting the proportion just right, such as height and length, was important to make perfect if I wanted to pull off a realistic model.

The way blocking was started was by a box. Getting the size down for one side was important; and once this was finished, using the mirror tool, the same was duplicated on the other side. Once this process was finished, the next step would be to sculpt and get the proportions right for the walls and next solid objects.

    1. Wall proportion was important to make right. Since the case was not made of one individual piece of wood, breaking the walls separately would be the way this piece would be constructed. As the walls were separated out, it was wise to have each one exactly the same depth.

    2. Locks were easy to construct by using cylinders and rings and placing them between both boxes. Since this tattoo machine was vintage, making holes appear where rivets should cover added to the characteristic of the models wear.

    3. Outlets like this were constructed using splines. Noticing from the image of the tattoo machine, it looked to me like there was a circular pattern in and around the outlet. The way this was made was by creating a sphere and using the head only to rotate around the outlet using instances.

   4. In order to ensure that the toggle switch and knobs weren’t too high, selecting just one half of the box, I rotated and closed the case and seen through wireframe if the knobs or switch was touching the other side.


Building cables was a difficult, but also fun experience designing. The plan on building these was to use a spline path shape and using a path deform on a straight cable to follow the spline path.

    1. Researching on how cables were made during the 50’s and 40’s, a conclusion was made that these cables are four wrapped in one. The smaller cable that attaches itself outside the tattoo gun was a double end cable. Over time they have become worn and have been twisted. To start the process for making these cables, spline circles were made.

    2. After a blueprint of the shape was made from splines, an extrude modifier was added to give dimension. Since these cables are worn, a soft select was used to close the wrapping a bit.

    3. Probably the most difficult part was making the spline path and making sure both the small cable and the larger one do not go through each other, but around.

    4. Once the paths were set, a path deform modifier was added to both cables to follow their proper spline path. The only adjustments that need to happen now was to bend the curvature of the cables properly and also add weight. Another tool that was used to add softness to parts of the cable was a soften brush from 3ds max granite tools.


Using textures to make the wood material was a thought that went through the mind, but building the wood on the model would be better when it came to normal maps.

   1. Before making any wood sculpting happen, it was better now to add a turbo smooth with enough edges to cover the entire model. We want evenly distributed edges when we take this into zbrush, since zbrush will subdivide the geometry after each high subdivision. Also, it was important to take advantage of 3ds max noise modifier to bend the wood slightly before taking into zbrush. The mission was build old wood that had been roughed up after time, while also keeping the wood slightly smooth. This would be a medium of both old and in slightly good condition.

   2. Once the model was imported in zbrush as a.obj file, the entire model was subdivided again and ready for sculpting. The first brush that was used was the mallet fast brush for those rough edges. Along with the mallet and standard, alphas of wood texture were used to sculpt the wood. A soft and medium intently on brush was used for this procedure.

   3. Another model that was taken into zbrush was the green floor that was hidden inside the box. Over time this floor has been torn up and the skin has been roughened. My plan to make the skin roughness was to use the surface noise that zbrush had. This evenly distributed a noise pattern all around the floor. The last step was to use the mallet fast brush again to build holes and tear the sides.

   4. If the wood became too much in that it wasn’t smooth, a freeform relax/softness brush from 3ds max was used to soften the sculpt.

Wood process

With the high poly now near to completion, the focus was now to build the low poly. Whether using a copy of the same object twice or creating the low poly from the ground up, there are rules to keep in mind.

   1. Using a copy of the high poly as a starter to the low poly was easy and fast. The shape was already there, the only part left is to strip any locking loops and apply a smoothing group. This was the fastest and best way to low poly building.

   2. The second way of low poly modeling is to build the piece ground up like this piece of wood. Using a primitive box with chamfered edges, the low poly was created. Applying chamfered edges is best when dealing with tight corners, as the ray cast will catch that edge highlight when baking.

   3. Getting proportions just right is never too late in the process. Noticing the reference and my model together, adjustments needed to be made. Here is an image of the first model and the new model with correct size proportions.

Low poly process

Smoothing groups was one of the bigger issues that were confusing, since it was still new to me. It was easy to understand, but getting them just right could really help in normal map baking. Smoothing groups can be divided on a single mesh and was used more on hard surface areas to separate roundness and flat areas.

   1. The tattoo gun for instance had separate smoothing groups applied unto areas where corners or hard edges met. Placing a seam on some hard edge corners also divided that edge to become smooth when the normal map was baked.

   2. Other areas needed to have double seams to help the normal map recognize the areas of the high poly that were hard to distinguish. This led to clean ray cast reads.

Smoothing groups

After the each piece was unwrapped and rescaled, a checkered board map was applied to the entire low poly object itself. This helped to read how much pixel density each piece was getting, as well as how straight horizontal or vertically the objects were. Packing all these pieces together and leaving the least amount of pixel space was the goal in the unwrap process. More pixel space was needed for the objects.

Packing process

To have the cleanest bake possible without any bleeding or nasty patterns, it was best have the high poly, with the low poly parts selected, spread. A key animation was best to use when separating these pieces to outside areas, since it can easily be packed again. A key animation was made on track zero to one.

Clean bakes

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