Content Creator Story - Aleksander Modliński - cebar3 - ZiuT

By admin-n3v, October 06 2022

My name is Aleksander. I live in Poland, Lower Silesian Voivodeship and I am 18 years old. But everyone on the internet knows me as cebar3 or ZiuT ("Joe" in English), whereas ZiuT stands in front of every asset I make.

I've been creating assets for over 3 years. I mainly focus on the scenery assets and carriages, but there may appear locomotives created by me in the future. I took part in the Central Europe Project, which is one of the largest European maps created for Trainz. The last route I made was Central Europe Mini, which I was working on with yuz6099, Richardbosnak and many other people. While in CET (Central Europe Team) I was a route builder and dedicated asset creator. I managed to create over 150 assets in a quite short time.

So when did my journey begin? I first met Trainz when I was a child, I might've been 3 at that time. My dad found TRS2004 demo and it quickly became my favorite game. My first full version of Trainz was TRS2006 which my dad registered back in 2009. I also loved watching various Trainz videos on YouTube which shaped the way I make routes and content today. Of course, I couldn't do much because I was a child, so my "content creation" was limited to route building only. Trainz quickly became a part of my life. Another version that I used for a long time (might be over 5 years) was TS2009. It was a version where I developed my skills and knowledge a lot.

My first project that I showed to the public was "Wszalowska Kolejka Węglowa" in October 2016. Even though I abandoned the project after 4 years of development (back in January 2020), it was a large part of my journey. If you are interested how it looked like, here's the FB page:

My story of content creation began as of 2016. Even though it was still limited to route building and reskinning, I was looking for dedicated assets, but, sooner or later, I would realize to get these assets I would have to create the myself. I remember using (well, checking them out in a very general way) various 3D Modeling software as a kid but I didn't have a teacher that could show me how to use them correctly. I tried GMax and Blender, but both were incomprehensible for me. Back in 2018, thanks to Facebook Trainz groups, I found SketchUp. This poorly optimized, yet simple software allowed me to create very first models that weren't just a bunch of boxes or cylinders. 2018 was also the most successful year to me due to 2 reasons. First being the fact that I bought TRS19 which motivated me to create PBR content. Second being the fact that I met person that I will always be thankful to: yuz6099.

The SketchUp Era:

I remember creating narrow gauge locomotives, buildings and carriages for WKW, as if it was only yesterday. Back then, the software I used wasn't as professional as the one I use today - it consisted of: SketchUp, AwesomeBump and GIMP. Phototextures were the only method of creating textures I knew. I managed to make quite a few locomotives in SketchUp. Some of the buildings I made are still up at the DLS, even though their quality isn't significant, they might find some kind of use. The IMEditor was a tool that showed me that I can make my SketchUp assets a little bit better. I was fascinated by Upper Silesian Narrow Gauge Railroads, so most of the content from that time fits narrow gauge routes. However, in 2020 I decided to change it up. I was introduced to the Central Europe Project because I was invited by yuz6099. A route for Multiplayer where everything had to be at the DLS. Due to the fact that I am from Poland, I was supposed to create content for the Polish side of the map. Another problem was the fact that there was little Polish assets at the DLS, everything had to be made from scratch. I also started one of the largest projects - ZiuT PolCat, Polish catenary pack. I also had to create locomotives that... contained tons of materials and weren't optimized. It was the reason that yuz6099 started teaching me how to use 3DS Max so I could improve my modeling. Even though I was very stubborn and didn't want to learn 3DS Max, now I realize that thanks to him I can make professional models that I couldn't produce with SketchUp.

Image 1: EL05-02 locomotive, made in 2019. It wasn't released.

Image 2: First attempt at making LEW EL13 locomotive which was later replaced by an improved model.

Image 3: PKP class ET42 locomotive. The only SketchUp locomotive I released.

Image 4: PKP class EP09 locomotives. I didn't release them due to their poor quality.

Image 5: ZiuT PolCat V1. Predecessor of current catenary V3 pack and V2 pack.

Image 6: PKP class 111A passenger cars. They were the last attempt at making rolling stock.

Image 7. The last model I made in SketchUp - PKP class ET22 bogey


The 3DS Max and Central Europe Era:

I always wanted my assets to be PBR. It has been my dream since I started modeling. As mentioned earlier, SketchUp wasn't capable of making PBR assets. Yuz6099 taught me how to make my first PBR models in 3DS Max, it was back in July 2020. These were simple buildings, however I was learning quickly and successfully that I managed to create my first train car after just 2 months of using new software. It was PKPC class 445W gondola car, my friend asked me to make it, so I modeled it. 2020 is also the time when the first PolCat pack was released - the PolCatV2. It was a mix of SketchUp and 3DSMax models. I must say that thanks to online classes, I managed to learn a lot in terms of 3DS Max.

Everything changed when I started using Substance Painter after yuz6099 told me to use it. I could finally stop using photo textures which were awkward to make. The first assets that were fully made in 3DS Max and Substance Painter were ZiuT ModDom series and various assets from the town of Tychy, Poland. For a long time I couldn't achieve a professional look for my assets, but that's what I always wanted. The first asset that looked nice was the Lompa signalbox building. Since then I started getting better and better. Back in May 2021, I made my first locomotive in 3DS Max - PKP class EP05.

Back in June 2021 - thanks to yuz6099 - I, Richardbosnak and yuz6099 himself decided to make the project that was a game changer for me - Central Europe Mini. Firstly it wasn't a significant project. However in September 2021 everything changed when we decided to improve the map so that it could have been added to the TRS2022 as a built-in route.  What I achieved in just 4 months can be easily called unachievable for some content creators. Thanks to CEM, I improved my skills a lot. Not only in terms of 3D modeling, but also 2D designing.

If You are interested in our project here's the link to the trailer:

Unfortunately, our project wasn't added to another version of Trainz (which I find a pity!).


Examples of content:

Image 9. Lompa signalbox. The first asset that used materials with mask generators. Available at DLS.

Image 10. PKP class EP05. It is currently waiting to be finished in the future.

Image 11. PKP class 408W/412W.

Image 12. ZiuT PolCatV3 with upcoming new models of hangers.

Image 13. PKP class SM03 shunters. One of the most detailed models I've ever made.

Image 14. PKP Class SM03 - Interior. Scripted by laurinlaki, 3D by me.

Image 15. GREENBRIER Eamnos E06A. Waiting to be fixed.

Image 16. Tatravagonka Poprad Tagnpps 101m3. Model made by me, additional reskins by yuz6099.

Image 17. Sokołów Podlaski signalboxes in 3 different variants.

Image 18. 1XTa bogey. The first model where I used normal baking.

Image 19. The latest model that I am very proud of - Imbramowice Station Building

As for the future plans, for now I am planning to release SM03 shunters. Then CD (Ceske Drahy) class Eas gondola car. Due to the fact that I am going to have final exams in 2023, I will probably not make as much content as I did, but we will see what the future brings. :)

My journey continues, I am still learning new functions of 3DS Max and Substance Painter. I don't want to call myself a master, because I still don't know many things, but the content of mine is surely a new generation of Trainz content as it differs from what Polish creators were used to. Thanks to Trainz I found my way through life. I met people that I am friends with. I met people who taught me things I wouldn't know. As I mentioned, Trainz has always been with me since my early childhood till this day. It's been over 15 years.

I've always said that I am thankful to yuz6099. Thanks to him, I learnt 3DS Max and Substance Painter which are.. the basis of modern modeling. I found the hidden talent and passion that I enjoy. I will always thank people who supported my content creation, especially the ones who I worked with: swedar, laurinlaki, Richardbosnak, TomasJ002 and many others. I would also like to thank my dad for finding TRS2004 demo back in 2006/2007.

What can I say to people like me? Power of will and motivation can lead you everywhere you want to as long as you meet the right people.

What about the features I would like to be changed/added? Improved weather conditions and skybox. That's all I want. It might not be related to content creation but still.

I've almost forgotten about one thing! The picture that represents me and my content.

It is Ziut/Joe himself. A gray Scottish fold cat with his tongue out. :)

That's all. Thank you for reading my Trainz journey.                            

Aleksander Modliński/cebar3/ZiuT