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In this article, I will talk about steps that can help you achieve the best result. I will cover the following topics: concept, silhouette, texturing, cloth, and rendering. I want to guide you through the most common problems connected with the representation of ideas, shapes, texturing, and lightning and help you do everything in a quick and easy way.
My first step was to make an atmospheric concept that would show the desirable emotion and color palette. I made a quick photobash using images of the skull and had the general idea in around 20 minutes.
I prefer not to start modeling without any visualization of my ideas. But sometimes, it might be good to model something from imagination and overpaint it using photobashing techniques. I use both methods in my practice.
Now, let’s talk about the first step that can help you with your creative approach: the silhouette.
I think that this is the most important part of the modeling process, no matter what you are working on. You should have a nice silhouette. Remember it.
Everything starts with the concept and silhouette. In the beginning, I made only a silhouette, then quickly kitbashed basic shapes using simple geometry and my other models.
The next step was to finalize the model and it was the easiest part of the work. After completing the model, I simulated cloth for my character in Marvelous Designer. Clothing consists of three parts: 2 scarfs (one big, on small for neck) + the knight’s cloak. Sure, there were other parts like pants and mail, but they were very easy to make, and I don't think they're interesting to talk about.
Such clothing elements as a cloak or scarf can change the silhouette, so you should control them by checking your model in the black mode.
When you move on to textures, you need to make sure your texel density is fine and fits your goals to show everything you want the viewer to see. So pack your UVs keeping that in mind!
The texturing stage is the most pleasant for me. The challenge was to make everything as simple as possible, so I tried not to use hand-painting or any complex methods.
70% of my model is built of metal, so this material is the most important one in the work. The metal was made following the same scheme:
- Base metal material. This is a material with all the information about pristine armor. Just steel with a slight mark of aging.
- Damage. Here, I store information about deformation (using cavity and AO maps) and old dirt.
- Patina. This is the most beautiful layer which contains information about oxidation.
For all materials, I used grunge maps for fill layers without any hand-painting!
Texturing clothes was an interesting challenge for me. I knew that many people created it with ZBrush and add most of the height information during the sculpting stage. But I decided to try to make everything using alphas and Substance Painter only!
The scarf and cloak were made with alphas and hand-painting for ropes in some places. I’m very pleased with the result but I’m sure that additional sculpting can make it even better!
At this stage, I have a few rules:
- Do not use HDRI (at all)
- Do not spam light sources! Start only with 1 light, it might be sufficient for the best result.
- Use backlight and fill lights with slightly different colors
If you are interested in a more detailed guide, you can check out another article I wrote for 80.lv back in 2018:
Thank you for reading!