Video captured from Unreal Engine 4, showing the transformation from robot to bike mode. There is no “cheating” here (e.g. scaling or overlapping volumes) – the pieces fit together. Would be great to get it 3D printed one day (though converting it to a solid model, with working joints, would be non-trivial).

I worked on both forms simultaneously, with the parts instanced in 3ds Max.

Wireframe showing the triangulated FBX mesh, ready for import into Unreal Engine 4.

There are some emissive details – the robot’s ‘visor’, the gun’s viewfinder, and inside the boosters' vents.

The hydraulic cylinders attached to the feet were rigged with LookAt constraints in Max, to automatically extend and move with ankle rotation.

Much of the detail was added in Substance Painter 1.5.5, using height maps.

The nosecone / chest shield is made of metal, to aid as a battering ram. The rest of the armour is ceramic composite, with metal used in high-stress areas like joints.

The shape was designed to be sleek and aggressive. The top view is reminiscent of a dagger.

There are some emissive details – the robot’s ‘visor’, the gun’s scope, and inside the boosters' vents.

The model uses 4 2k PBR (physically based rendering) textures – base colour (albedo), emissive, normal and a packed roughness/AO/metallic. Created using Substance Painter 1.5.5.

Low-poly mesh in 3ds Max 2016. Built in quads. 20k polys. A high-poly mesh (see below) was used for baking certain maps. Viewport shows Stingray ShaderFX material applied, enabling use of PBR textures.

A complex custom rig had to be built to handle both transformation and general posing. The green colour-coding indicates bones that may be stretched during transformation (to allow for telescoping pieces etc.).

The high-poly mesh used for baking the normal map (amongst others). it is split into a large number of separate objects (as is the low-poly mesh), to ease ambient occlusion ray casting.

Jericho-1

A transforming robot design, human operated, about 20 feet tall. Designed for the hero protagonist of a game concept that involves raiding the giant supply trains of an occupying alien force. Set on a colony world, the mecha closes at high speed, before transforming to humanoid form for attack. Sleek and nimble, yet tough enough for close-in combat. The objective is to steal parts, upgrading the machine as you go until you can reach the heavily-guarded central spaceport. From there, you travel to the moon, where a super-weapon has been hidden…

The transformation is designed to be simple and robust, rather than featuring the whirling mass of delicate pieces characteristic of Michael Bay-style Transformers, or relying on the ‘anime magic’ used by the original cartoons. I was inspired by Shoji Kawamori’s aircraft mecha for the Macross franchise. The robot is human piloted, perhaps with AI assistance, rather than a sentient character.

‘Jericho’ is derived from the name of the Canaanite’s moon god.

Role
Design, modelling, texturing, rigging, animating
For
3D portfolio piece
Date
Summer 2015
Type
3D model
Software
3ds Max 2016, Substance Painter/Designer, Toolbag
Key Technologies
PBR textures, baked normal maps, rigged, Unreal 4