Home office of Terry Watson in Wellington New Zealand

My home office in Wellington, New Zealand

Workflow for creating 3D Models

PC Hardware Specs

CPU: Intel Alder Lake Core i7-12700K, 12 Core / 20 Thread. Base clock 3.6GHz, Boost Clock 5.0GHz.

Motherboard: Gigabyte Z690 AORUS ELITE AX.

Ram: 64Gb DDR4 Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL Black.

Graphics Card: Nvidia RTX4070Ti Super with 16Gb GDDR6 Memory.

Storage: 2 x Samsung 990 Pro 2TB M.2 NVMe Internal SSD.

Monitor - Main: Dell U3415W 34 inch 3440x1440 (21x9).

Monitor - Left: Dell U2520D 25 inch 2560x1440 (16x9).

Monitor - Right: Dell U2520D 25 inch 2560x1440 (16x9).

Software Used

OS: Windows 11 Pro 64 bit.

Modeling: Blender 4.1.
CAD & Modeling: Plasticity

Plugins: (Blender)
Zen UV.​
Speedsculpt / SpeedFlow / SpeedRetopo.
Plasticity Bridge.

Texturing: Substance Painter.

Image Editing: Affinity Publisher, Designer & Photo.

Animation Editing: Davinci Resolve

Animation: Unreal Engine 5.4


3D Connexion SpaceMouse Enterprise (6 axis controller).
3D Connexion CadMouse Pro Wireles.
3D Connexion Keyboard

Veikk VK1560 15.6 inch 1920x1080 Pro Pen Tablet Display (for sculpting).

Microsoft Elite Series 2 PC/Xbox Game Controller.

Making the Rock Crawler

Plasticity CAD Software for making a 3d model rock crawler


My process for making the Rock Crawler was to start with the CAD software Plasticity. I sourced reference images and videos from the internet for buggy designs I liked. To determine the correct sizing and proportions I blocked out the initial shape with simple objects (cubes for the body, cylinders for the wheels etc). Curves were then used to create each section of the rollcage and then booleaned together to make the final one piece structure, ensuring a smooth transitions between each frame section.  A similar process was used for the remainder of the vehicle though other Plasticity tools were used where applicable. The entire modelling process took me approximately 3 months to complete in my spare time.

Rock crawler rollcage made in Plasticity
Blender making a 3d model rock crawler


The next step was to export the completed model from Plasticity to Blender 4.0 via the Plasticity Blender Bridge plugin. This allowed for the high poly model to be refaceted, substantially reducing the overall polygon count, making for smoother gameplay in Unreal Engine. Blender bones were used to group the indivdual parts together, parented in the right order to ensure the wheels, steering, suspension arms, shocks etc could be rigged correctly in Unreal. Basic Blender materials were also applied to each indiviual mesh component so they could be textured appropriately on the final model in Unreal.

Making 3d rock crawler in Blender
Rock crawler 3d model TW3D clay render
Rock crawler 3d model TW3D textured render
Unreal Engine 5 rigging a 3d model rock crawler

Unreal Engine 5

The model was then imported from Blender to Unreal Engine 5 as a Skeletal Mesh. The collision bodies were set up for the wheels and chassis. Blueprints were created for the wheels and steering. The Chaos Vehicle Movement Component was used for physics and an Animation Blueprint was added. Cameras were set up as were the necessary Blueprints for controlling the buggy via an XBox / Windows game controller. Lastly the wheels, axles, swingarms and suspension shocks were all rigged using a Control Rig Blueprint. This references the bone structure created in Blender to move the appropriate mesh components based on the movement of the vehicle and physics engine.

Rock crawler blueprints in Unreal Engine 5
Rock crawler imported into Unreal Engine 5
Davince Resolve editing an animation of a 3d model rock crawler

Davinci Resolve

Animations captured in Unreal Engine are then exported to Davinci Resolve for editing, colour grading and outputting in a variety of video formats.

Rock crawler animation imported into Davince Resolve for editing
VLC Player to view animation of 3d model rock crawler

VLC Player

The final animations are viewable using VLC Player before uploading to my website. Several test animations can be viewed on my UE5 Animations page, with a lot more to come shortly.

Rock crawler driving around in Unreal Engine 5