3D Bust Challenge - High Elven Prince

General / 17 December 2018

I decided to participate in the 3D Bust Challenge by Yekaterina Bourykina! I've been wanting to participate in more art challenges and this one happened to line up well with my current schedule :) I'm glad I did it, I had a great time working on this character!

Final result: 

I decided to go with a concept by Hunter Bonyun (deerlordhunter), who makes incredible work and was kind enough to give me permission to use her concept! I'm super into fantasy, D&D-esque characters so when I saw this piece I was immediately drawn to it.

deerlordhunter's Twitter

Original Tweet with Concept

First I experimented with some color palettes, since the original concept was ink only. After a few versions, I finally went with the fourth option.

Next I went into sculpting. I tried to mirror as many things as I could to cut down on baking / texturing time, however planned to slightly shift some parts of the low poly (back braids, horns) after the bakes were done to avoid it looking too unnaturally mirrored. The biggest challenge for me was getting the face right, since he has sharp yet also sloped and gentle features. The braids were also pretty tough to shape properly!

Next came retopo (3D Coat), UVing (Maya 2018), and baking (Marmoset Toolbag 3). I'm thrilled I managed to retopo the braids, I attempted to do so once in the past and was unsuccessful. It was pretty tricky tho and I'm not 100% convinced I did it as efficiently and clean as I could have, but for this project's purpose I was satisfied with them. If anyone has a good method for tackling braids, I'm open to suggestions! :)

From the bakes. I combined the AO, green and blue channels from the world space normals, and the curvature map in Photoshop. After applying Gradient Map adjustment layers for each element (hair, skin, etc), I was able to get a nice foundation for my textures!

On a new UV I created the floating plants from the concepts. I kept them as a plane since they were so thin and to reduce sculpting time. The flowers on his hair were retopo-ed from a sculpt I made in Zbrush, but in hindsight I could have created the flower using square planes with alphas like I did with the plants to reduce polycount.

After all of the components were added to the scene, I spent the rest of my time adding details. While the bakes did help me a lot with the face, they weren't super successful elsewhere so I had to go in and touch things up. I used 3D Coat to texture, switching to Photoshop occasionally throughout. Most of my time was spent working on the earrings and the hair, as I wanted to make sure there was enough contrast and shine on them to catch the eye.

And it's done! I'm happy I could submit it before the deadline :) Normally I reduce as much as I can for efficiency, but since there was no tri count + map size limitation I gave myself some leeway and ended up with a tri count of 14.7k and 4k maps.

Rohan WIP - Sculpting + Posing

General / 10 November 2018

I've been a little quiet lately, so I thought I'd post a WIP! I've been working on my Astro project in my free time, but before I finish it I decided to return to my Rohan sculpt.

Rather than going through the entire game character pipeline, I'm instead keeping this as a high poly sculpt. I've posed him using TPoseMesh, which was really helpful for the posing process but did end up destroying some of the mesh details. I still have some work to do, mainly going through and fine tuning the clothing folds, hands, stomach, and expression. I'm hoping to be done with this project soon! : )


Astro Mage WIP #1 - Sculpting, Modeling, and Texturing

General / 14 August 2018

Along with my Casca project, I also wanted to work on a smaller project that focused more on shaders and animation, since my portfolio is currently lacking in both. Originally I wanted to make a quiet beach scene, but as usual I ended up working a character into the project. I sketched up some ideas of things I wanted to try out with this project which include: cel shading, water shader, day and night cycle, idle animation, and glow effects.

For his design, I was inspired by a combination of Yuna from FFX, the FFXIV class Astrologian, and the robes of Shinto priests. I love stars and moons and decided to make him a mage character centered around those designs.

Since my focus was not on the character itself but rather the project as a whole, I tried to move quicker than usual with the sculpting / modeling / texturing process so I could use my time more towards the shaders  / animation later down the line. Despite the deadline I gave myself, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I kept the shapes more on the bubbly / simple side to better fit my concept. In the end, it also worked better with the cel shading style I ended up going with!

I also wanted this to be my first project using strictly Blender for modeling so I could force myself to learn it quickly (I've been using Maya for all previous projects). It took a little time to adjust to, but it's starting to feel more comfortable. I did retopo + partial UVing using 3D Coat and modeling + partial UVing in Blender.

Texturing was pretty minimal. Aside from some details, like the eyes and cloth seams (which I will be adding later), I intend to keep most colors flat. Before I went any further with texturing, I wanted to test out cel shading in UE4 and see what the outcome would look like by default. After trying some things out, I decided to follow this super helpful tutorial and was very pleased with the results! I actually had a lot of fun working with shaders in UE4 and I'm excited to try more things! :)

Casca WIP #1 - Sculpting

General / 19 July 2018

For my next character, I've decided to go a bit more realistic! I wanted to practice and learn things such as hair cards and hard surface modeling. That's when I decided to return to Casca from Berserk, a character I had once sculpted a while back as Zbrush practice. 

In terms of reference, I'm aiming for a happy medium between the Casca designs from the original manga and the video game, Berserk Musou. I like the artstyle of Musou, but her clothes and features are slightly altered in the game, such as the chestplate design, addition of a belt, etc. I'd like to get as close to the original manga design as I can!

I'm currently still in the sculpting phase, so this isn't complete. The biggest areas I need to finish are the chestplate, gloves, cape, and creating a sword + sheath. I also need to decide how I want to create the haircards! For the armor, I'm going back and forth between Zbrush and Maya.

Lunen the Alchemist WIP - Sculpting and Retopo

General / 30 April 2018

I'm changing a few plans and working on a new, smaller project before continuing with Rohan. I decided to make a stylized version of my D&D 5e character, Lunen (who was an Artificer with the alchemy specialization~). My primary goal with this project is to brush up on my baking + PBR skillset since my last few projects have been diffuse only. 

I've really been enjoying this project, I've learned a lot so far! One really neat tool I came across was the Strokes tool in 3D Coat, which made retopo-ing the hair waaay faster!

Currently I am still in the retopo phase and hope to move to baking soon!

Zbrush Adventures Part 2

General / 08 March 2018

I've decided to make a full project of my old Rohan bust! I reworked his face and hair a lot, added a body, and started sculpting his clothes. This is my first time working on a full figure in Zbrush and I feel I'm starting to get a stronger grasp of the Zbrush pipeline. I also dabbled a bit with polypaint, though in my final product I plan to texture him with Substance. 

Once his high poly sculpt is complete, I intend to retopo, bake, texture, and pose him :)

Zbrush Adventures Part 1

General / 20 January 2018

Hi all! I've recently been on a brief 3D hiatus since I've started work in December, but I've been learning / practicing Zbrush in my spare time the past few months and wanted to share my progress!

Most of my past projects are modeled exclusively in Maya, with my latest character Gwyn having very basic details added in Zbrush (all I really knew how to do was use the Standard and Move brush to add / subtract / smooth), but I've wanted to learn how to use Zbrush properly for a while now and decided it was time to do it. After watching many tutorials, I decided to jump right into making a character bust (because I'm impatient). 

I learned so much from sculpting my first Zbrush character bust of Casca from Berserk. It was a long journey getting her to this point and I learned many awesome tips and tricks (and things to avoid doing) along the way. She's not complete and I'd like to return to this project, improve the sculpt, and then texture it if possible. But, overall, I was happy with what I learned and was able to accomplish : ) Thanks to my Zbrush buddies out there for all of the advice you've given me!

Another character bust WIP of Rohan from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. I started this one when I was starting to lose motivation with my Casca sculpt. Same with Casca, I'd like to complete this bust and add textures if possible.

That's all for now! I'm excited to get back to these projects once I get some more free time in my schedule. Also, I am always open to suggestions / critique on how to improve my work : )