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Craft High-Quality Mechanical Hand with Blender & Substance 3D Painter

Haikal Shakyl, also known as LordCinn or Cinnamine3D, shared the work process behind the cool Mechanical Hand project modeled with Blender's built-in tools, showing how the translucent orange material was set up.


Hi! My name is Haikal, I go by LordCinn or Cinnamine3D online. I am a self-taught 3D artist from the Maldives with over 9 years of experience.

It all started back in 2013 when I installed Blender for the first time. The reason I found interest in the 3D software was the ability to simulate physics such as rigid bodies, cloth simulations, smoke, fire, etc. But I was clueless about how to use it. So in order to progress, I watched a lot of tutorials to get familiar with the UI and 3D terminology.

This was the very first tutorial I watched:

And here is my first project made in Blender (18/8/2013):

For the next 5 years, I experimented with so many different styles of 3D and the tools Blender came with. It was in early 2019 that I got into creating game assets, so by then I was more than familiar with everything in Blender.

I had a few phases before I got into the PBR asset workflow, such as low poly and abstract ones. You can find a lot of them on my Instagram. Feel free to use any if needed. IG is where things are more relaxed as opposed to posting the best ones on ArtStation.

It came to a point where I realized that I was not very skilled in terms of texturing my assets since Blender isn't well equipped for texturing, so I spent a few days learning Substance 3D Painter. As I knew Photoshop and 3D in general by then, it wasn't hard to get familiar with the new software at all.

My first project in Substance 3D Painter (it was like an experiment to test what I could achieve):

I personally don't like the project, but a lot of people seem to like it on Sketchfab where it has over 14.5k downloads.

From this point onwards, I was no longer a hobbyist, I started to look for work as a 3D artist. I think that's pretty much how I got into 3D and gradually improved over the years.

Mechanical Hand

The project just came up randomly. I was planning to make an organic hard-surface object since most of my previous work was mostly generic (blocky) hard-surface designs.

A lot of my ideas usually just come out of nowhere; for the mechanical hand I thought of something small in scale yet that would stand out and would be good for a side project since I had some contract projects at the moment and didn't want something that would require a lot of commitment. I usually have a personal project going alongside to keep some diversity. 

My main go-to is Pinterest, it has a pretty strong algorithm to filter similar styles/assets that I am looking for. Aside from that, when I experiment with the blockout/forms, I just use my imagination.

Once I find some interesting elements, I gather them on my PureRef board. Here is a section:

It's not purely restricted to the project I work on, I can translate ideas from existing elements into different sections. 


Typically for the shape concepting phase, most people would opt to use ZBrush. However, since Blender is much easier to use and I’m a lot more efficient with it, so I used Blender's sculpting tools for the first stage.

Here's an overview of the steps involved:

Sculpting the base idea:
Most of it is fairly rough, I didn't want to spend too much time coming up with the base forms. Once I have a good enough understanding of what I want, I advance to the next step.

Sculpt blockout

Refining the meshes into proper topology for UVs:

Everything here is modeled manually with built-in Blender tools. At this stage, I used my rough sculpt blockout to come up with ideas for the joints. I mostly moved my own fingers around to see what sort of a mechanism I could make so that the fingers could transform like how they do in real life with some slight limitations due to it ultimately being a mechanical hand.

Base mesh

The topology was not really an issue here, since there were not a lot of organic sections that were deforming like a real hand. But still, I kept it to a decent level of clean topo to keep it from creating shading artifacts and maintained quad topology on areas that would deform.

Topology wireframe

UV seams are marked specifically so that they won't be visible in the texture work. As for UV packing, I used UVPackmaster 3 (I use UVP 3 Pro, the single-user version).

This saves a lot of time to pack everything perfectly. There are some cases where I have to manually move things around for fine-tuning.

UV for 4K texture map


As for texturing, I used Substance 3D Painter. All the shaders are quite simple. The project might seem complex to others since this is a setup for my own readability. 

Here is how I set up the pattern and wrinkles for the fabric:

I will attach a simplified version of what this ultimately outputs below.

Base color maps

The rest of the maps are shared across all 3 variations:

Roughness map

Metalness map

The normal map which shows all the smaller details on the object:

The translucent orange material was made with a transmissive map. This influences which areas of the model would look like glass or resin. As for the orange material, this is its special transmissive mask map.

This would be how everything is inputted into the shaders:

Lighting & Rendering

As for the glamour shots, it's really not that complex, I used one HDR and no additional light sources. Every single highlight and shadow was caused by the HDRI itself. This was the HDRI I used in the project.

Once an image is rendered, I use Photoshop to post-process. The feature I use there is the Filter > Camera Raw. Each image has unique adjustments, so I don't tweak any specific parameters. 

These are the default sliders I tweak to achieve what looks best for me:


I have a friend who creates props for VR, so I reached out, and according to him, "For VR, generally speaking, it should be optimized and game-ready, and the fewer materials, the better."

In addition, "As long as the hand feels somewhat natural in VR, that's probably the most important thing. The proportions look right to me. Should work without a problem."

So TL;DR, it does not seem like it needs anything special other than being optimized for the engine. And if someone is a VR developer, they can definitely get it working.

And finally, yes, the model is available now in all 3 colors along with the source files.


Props should be eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing, have good color schemes, look interesting and unique, and have a good balance of details, not too much or too little and not too concentrated in one place causing the rest to look empty.

The main challenges were time management, hardware limitations, and software limitations. Usually just small inconveniences. But other than that, I think I have a pretty solid workflow now.

For those who are starting out with 3D, before aiming to accomplish something, learn the tools as best as you can, then your goals will be easy to achieve.

Haikal Shakyl, 3D Artist

Interview conducted by Theodore McKenzie

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