[Dota2] – Templar Assassin – Nightshade

Complete!

Templar Assassin - Deadly Nightshade

dota2_-_ta_ns_itemset_splash_page00.jpg

Full set can be found at the Steam Workshop here:
Steam Workshop :: Deadly Nightshade


Work-In-Progress information can be found below:


I was notified by my friend and co-worker about this contest and I thought it would be pretty awesome to join in and contribute.

I'm only vaguely familiar with the Dota universe so I had to read up, using the resources provided, and ask some of my friends who actively play it for advice and extra information. Though the roster was packed with so many visually interesting characters, I ultimately decided to choose the Templar Assassin.

Here are some inspirational images I gathered so I can get some ideas running through my head. Some of these images directly influenced my design choices, some didn't and some are just characters that I was reminded of when reading up on Lanaya, the Templar Assassin:
dota2_-_ta_itemset_inspire_sheet00.jpgdota2_-_ta_itemset_inspire_sheet00.jpg
(All image credits belong to their respective owners.)

Here is the original design for the Templar Assassin:
dota2_-_ta_itemset_sketch00.jpgdota2_-_ta_itemset_sketch00.jpg
I really dig the angular design with the huge shoulder pads as well as the insignia being pervasive throughout the costume. Though it seems very signature to this character design, I felt I should conceptualize something in contrast to that, just to play around with theme and possibly come out with a design that is just as aesthetically appealing.

And here two variants of the concept sketch I made on top of the in-game model.
1:
dota2_-_ta_itemset_sketch00a.jpgdota2_-_ta_itemset_sketch00a.jpg

2: (Changed the pouch to a tome, the mask to a veil, and added pants.)
dota2_-_ta_itemset_sketch00b.jpgdota2_-_ta_itemset_sketch00b.jpg

I will most likely go with the second variant, unless the poly count goes too far, then I'll probably opt for the first or a mix of the two. My main concern is the poly count, so I'm hoping it turns out well, if I can get that far. If I do finish, the final design may vary from the concept sketch.

Also, as a question, if anyone knows--is it possible to add extra bones for the rig? Like if I decide to add a cape or flowing cloth for this design, how will I go about doing that and having it implement properly in the game? If it's something I cannot worry about, then I don't mind--I just figured the character would look pretty cool with a cape and it would be nice to have that addition.

Any questions or comments, requests or suggestions, please fell free to let me know and thanks for looking! (And apologies for the large images!)

Replies

  • DRa90NBoi
    Also, and idea for an alternate mask:
    dota2_-_ta_itemset_sketch00b_alt.jpgdota2_-_ta_itemset_sketch00b_alt.jpg

    I am a bit iffy on it, but it does look nice.
  • Okoo
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    I really like your first concept but with the pant of the second concept, keep the pouch, Lanaya don't read, she just RAPES! but .. needs a pouch for her golds... =}
  • Draggy
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    This is a really awesome concept! I have to say I like the form fitting pants over the billowy ones. It seems more suiting for an assassin to not have any more extra cloth bunched up on her legs than necessary, plus the billowy pants have a very Princess Jasmine-esque feel to them if I'm honest. The other pants with the outfit don't give that vibe at all. I do like both veils, but the purely cloth one appeals to me just a little more for some reason. Keep it up, looking forward to seeing where this goes!!
  • foeffa
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    I like where this is heading! :)
  • DRa90NBoi
    Okoo wrote: »
    I really like your first concept but with the pant of the second concept, keep the pouch, Lanaya don't read, she just RAPES! but .. needs a pouch for her golds... =}
    Heheh, yes, I'm fond of the pouch concept as well. With the suggestions from my friends, I think the book suits the Templar Assassin more and relates to her back story. But I'll see--it would really come down to what will save more polygons (if I'm lucky, I may be able to include both!)
    Draggy wrote: »
    This is a really awesome concept! I have to say I like the form fitting pants over the billowy ones. It seems more suiting for an assassin to not have any more extra cloth bunched up on her legs than necessary, plus the billowy pants have a very Princess Jasmine-esque feel to them if I'm honest. The other pants with the outfit don't give that vibe at all. I do like both veils, but the purely cloth one appeals to me just a little more for some reason. Keep it up, looking forward to seeing where this goes!!
    Yea, I know what you mean, and I had my doubts when I added the pants in during conceptualization. I definitely did not want to make the character look like an existing Disney character, of course, heheh. Though I do understand the use of form-fitting pants, the loose pants do provide more freedom of movement (as long as it's not too baggy!), and mobile assassins need that. But ultimately, I decided to add the pants because it changes the overall silhouette of the legs, making it look more like a complete item set than just objects slapped on with with a neglected bottom using the plain default pants. And again, if it turns out that the pants are not forgiving to the poly count, I wouldn't mind changing it or cutting it out completely. We'll see what happens when I get to actual building...

    And yes, I agree, the fuller face scarf looks pretty cool as well.

    Thanks for the support and suggestions!

    Here are the slot divisions for the item set so far--hopefully model work to come soon!
    dota2_-_ta_itemset_sketch00b_div.jpgdota2_-_ta_itemset_sketch00b_div.jpg

    Since the poly count for the armor is so limited, I may have to move some pieces around, like the pants to the shoulder slot, and that might help in the texture space as well.

    Thanks again for looking!
  • zephyri
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    Reeaally like the look of this... it's like a badass princess jasmine assassin (and I make that kind of comparison in the awesome design way :) ) I think the pants are an awesome choice and the overall asymmetry is brilliant. *gush* no complaints here, keep with it!
  • DRa90NBoi
    Alright, after going over the design again with friends, I think I settled on a good final design that incorporates everything that is cool and relatable to the character and concept:

    The itemset design:
    dota2_-_ta_itemset_sketch00c.jpg

    And the divisions:
    dota2_-_ta_itemset_sketch00c_div.jpg

    I have a bad habit at picking at everything and changing stuff little by little--I should move on to import/export testing and start the modeling process!

    Hope you dig and thanks for looking!
  • Futashia
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  • Draggy
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    DRa90NBoi wrote: »
    Yea, I know what you mean, and I had my doubts when I added the pants in during conceptualization. I definitely did not want to make the character look like an existing Disney character, of course, heheh. Though I do understand the use of form-fitting pants, the loose pants do provide more freedom of movement (as long as it's not too baggy!), and mobile assassins need that. But ultimately, I decided to add the pants because it changes the overall silhouette of the legs, making it look more like a complete item set than just objects slapped on with with a neglected bottom using the plain default pants. And again, if it turns out that the pants are not forgiving to the poly count, I wouldn't mind changing it or cutting it out completely. We'll see what happens when I get to actual building...

    And yes, I agree, the fuller face scarf looks pretty cool as well.
    You may be too far along for this but I thought I'd toss it out there anyways. Looking at your concept sheet, if you're looking to change the silhouette, what about going the opposite direction? You have a lot of refs of characters like Jade from MK and a couple others that I can't think of the names for right off who have more like the upper bodysuit and no pants. So what about something like that and then designing some sort of leg armor-type thing that was knee or thigh high? Either way, I still love how this set is coming along. Keep it coming!
  • DRa90NBoi
    Draggy wrote: »
    You may be too far along for this but I thought I'd toss it out there anyways. Looking at your concept sheet, if you're looking to change the silhouette, what about going the opposite direction? You have a lot of refs of characters like Jade from MK and a couple others that I can't think of the names for right off who have more like the upper bodysuit and no pants. So what about something like that and then designing some sort of leg armor-type thing that was knee or thigh high? Either way, I still love how this set is coming along. Keep it coming!
    Thanks for the suggestion, and yes, I think I am too far along to change my mind on the concept, but I like what you're thinking. Initially, the thought did cross my mind to change her to a more bottom-heavy design, but I figured since she attacks with her arms and you view the character from above, much detail on the legs will be missed; so I didn't think too far into it after realizing that. However, when I was thinking of things to add to the legs, I really wanted to change it's silhouette but not take up too much of my poly count limit. I opted for the pants since they matched my concept for her top portion and included just enough detail while covering the original legs without much cost.

    Well, here is what I have so far from modeling the armor portion of the item set:
    dota2_-_ta_itemset_wip01.jpg

    Omit her bald head, heheh--I have yet to get around to modeling Lanaya's hair and scarf yet, but I wanted to concentrate on getting the armor right since that relied heavily on the budgets than the other pieces. I wish this particular section had larger texture space, but I'll just have to work with what I have. Not much difference can be seen for the different LOD meshes, but the main changes were for geometry definition (like in the back of her pants and in the tome), and doubled geometry for backfaces (since the technical requirements says there's no double-sided shaders.

    Before I continue working on other portions of this character, I will have to bind the pieces and attempt to import it in the game and see how it goes--hopefully I won't run into any issues...
  • DRa90NBoi
    Success!

    dota2_-_ta_itemset_wip01a.jpg

    The geometry import/export test ran smoothly, besides a hiccup with the spelling with the mask filenames (remember to rename files from "_masks1" to "_mask1"). The texture is just a test texture to show the stretching and resolution, so apologies if it looks a bit garish. Things to work on that I could see immediately is the weighting and adjusting some of the geometry as there are some points of interpenetration, especially in the pants area.

    More to come soon!
  • Draggy
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    You know, I take it back. Seeing the base texture on the model itself those pants look just fine, not nearly like I thought it would! Keep it up, very interested to see where this goes :)
  • Chaemirix
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    Does Templar Assassin's model support transparency/opacity on the masks?

    If so I think this set would look great with a light transparency to part of it, since it has a very strong middle-eastern vibe going for it.

    Can't wait to see how this turns out.
  • System
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    Wow, loving the set so far. Love the billowly pants. Can't wait to see it finished.

    Also, good work squeezing that much detail out of the polycount for the armour.
  • DRa90NBoi
    Draggy wrote: »
    You know, I take it back. Seeing the base texture on the model itself those pants look just fine, not nearly like I thought it would! Keep it up, very interested to see where this goes :)
    Thanks! I'm glad the pants turned out well--I'm hoping I will get a good result with the other parts as well.
    Chaemirix wrote: »
    Does Templar Assassin's model support transparency/opacity on the masks?

    If so I think this set would look great with a light transparency to part of it, since it has a very strong middle-eastern vibe going for it.

    Can't wait to see how this turns out.
    Unfortunately, the Templar Assassin doesn't use a Transparency map. I don't think the model uses the Detail or Diffuse/Fresnel masks either. I agree, it would be cool to have some semi-transparent parts.
    Eleryn wrote: »
    Wow, loving the set so far. Love the billowly pants. Can't wait to see it finished.

    Also, good work squeezing that much detail out of the polycount for the armour.
    It was a task to economize the geometry, but now I hope the textures will turn out well with such a small resolution...

    Here is what I have for the shoulder slot:
    dota2_-_ta_itemset_wip02.jpg

    I obviously have a lot of geometry left over for LOD0 and a bit for LOD1. Even though I call the modeling done for now, I later left some extra empty space on my UV sheet in case I decide to add something else to it later (maybe a cape, if possible, or something to cover the shoes).

    Next is the hair and then sculpt and texture work!
  • Anuxinamoon
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    I love this design so much! Keep up the great work!
  • DRa90NBoi
    Finished modeling the hair:

    dota2_-_ta_itemset_wip03.jpg

    I ran through another import and adjust the geometry and weighting for all the pieces. So far, everything seems fine, but when I run through some of the animations, I notice some of the verticies wiggling outside of where they should be. I'm not sure if this is a common issue with anyone else, but it's a bit of a nuisance...

    I didn't notice it in the LOD1, but the LOD0 is definitely noticeable. I double and triple checked my weights and readjusted them but it does not fix the issue. I am unsure if the weights are redistributed, there's some hidden influences for the animations, or if the imports just aren't updating properly. If anyone has any advice for this, I'd really appreciate it.

    In the meantime, I'll delete files and folders the game created for the items and try the re-import the pieces at a later date and hopefully that fixes the issue if it's an update problem.

    Sculpting and texture work to come soon!
  • DRa90NBoi
    Sorry for the long time without an update--here is my progress so far:

    dota2_-_ta_itemset_wip04.jpg

    Because I'm new to sculpting still, I decided to get some hard modeling out of the way first, then I'll get into the more organic sculpts. Hopefully more progress to come soon!
  • DRa90NBoi
    So many delays on my end, but here are more hard-surface models:
    dota2_-_ta_itemset_wip05.jpg

    Sculpting is almost done and normal transfers and colors to come soon!
  • Repter
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    Tis is sooooo good. I rly love tis.
  • Naso
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    Someone, looking really good, can't wait to see some in game shots with textures on them!
  • DRa90NBoi
    Took a while, but here are the transferred normals:
    dota2_-_ta_itemset_wip06.jpg

    I had to paint in some touch ups and corrections, but that part didn't take too long. I have an issue with the normals not even showing up in-game, but I think that had to do with flat mask layers, otherwise it's the file format I am saving it at (correct me if I am wrong, but 24-bit .tga's are the way to go, right?), so I'll try to get that sorted out. Going to transfer other maps and work on colors, so more to come soon!
  • rory
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    Nice, bake looks good. Get cracking on that diffuse :)

    Normal info is right. Could be the masks giving you problems. Make sure with your masks that each channel isn't one solid black color. That can give funky results. So say you want mask1 (g) to be all black. Leave some pure white marks in an unused corner.
  • DRa90NBoi
    rory wrote: »
    Nice, bake looks good. Get cracking on that diffuse :)

    Normal info is right. Could be the masks giving you problems. Make sure with your masks that each channel isn't one solid black color. That can give funky results. So say you want mask1 (g) to be all black. Leave some pure white marks in an unused corner.
    Heheh, okay--finally got a good portion of the diffuse done--I will post a WIP of it as soon as I have it looking pretty. In the meantime, here's the really basic breakdown of the colors and shades in the texture:

    dota2_-_ta_itemset_wip07.jpg

    I have no idea if my normal's green channel is flipped or not (normal maps were baked in Maya with mostly default settings), but I will test it in the game when I get around to it...

    Man, getting pressed for time...
  • Lotto
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    This is awesome. Just throwing my support behind this and hope you can finish this on time! Keep it up!
  • DRa90NBoi
    Lotto wrote: »
    This is awesome. Just throwing my support behind this and hope you can finish this on time! Keep it up!
    Thanks for the support!

    Here is the WIP of the texture:
    dota2_-_ta_itemset_wip08.jpg

    I am going to color correct it, fine paint in some details and adjust some occluded parts, test it in the game engine, and prepare it for some presentation shots--so hopefully I'll have something up this weekend if all goes well!
  • Anuxinamoon
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    I saw on the workshop thread you are having trouble with your masks? Try inverting the alpha on mask 2.
  • DRa90NBoi
    I saw on the workshop thread you are having trouble with your masks? Try inverting the alpha on mask 2.
    Yes, I am having trouble with my mask maps. Once I saved them to the required 32-bit .tga format, it either doesn't display properly (overblown specular, but the normals are visible) or crashes my game. If it's 24-bit, it imports fine, but doesn't show any information at all, making the normals and any specular information not visible.

    Here is the current texture layout for the model:
    dota2_-_ta_itemset_wip08d.jpg

    Also, I tried what you suggested, by flipping the Alpha on Mask2 and it blows out the light even more, heheh. Here is the result:
    dota2_-_ta_itemset_wip08e.jpg

    From my understanding, the Alpha in Mask2 works like a what some call a glossiness map--where it affects the specular exponent to either be sharp and small (white), or soft and wide (black). After that experiment, I guess I can say that the masks do work to an extent, but I'm still getting crashes for my shoulder texture... I want to fix this problem before I do any refining to match the game's settings. Not sure how to solve this issue though I'm willing to try out more suggestions if time allows.

    Thank you very much for helping so far!
  • DRa90NBoi
    Okay, I might have solved the issue. I went back to the textures and removed all the white dots from my unused maps. So far, the hair texture didn't change in appearance, but the armor textures only had specular information displayed on just the areas with self-illumination masked out... and the shoulder texture finally loaded without crashing the game, and looks like this:
    dota2_-_ta_itemset_wip08f.jpg

    Though like the hair, it's specular was kinda blown out--but it works and I'm happy for that. I will try to experiment some more to find out what works and what doesn't.
  • Anuxinamoon
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    Usually when I'm trying to figure out the problem channel (sometimes I would import and my metals would be black and hory) I would start one by one, turning each channel to 0,0,0. Except the alpha which needs to have a white pixel otherwise the complier will exclude it.

    Not sure why its crashing with your 32 bti tgas though. I've never had a problem with textures.

    I noticed some channels did the inverse of what the document told me, and in the end I just copied what the original character masks were. Anyway I hope you find a non hacky solution xD Love this set so much <3
  • DRa90NBoi
    Usually when I'm trying to figure out the problem channel (sometimes I would import and my metals would be black and hory) I would start one by one, turning each channel to 0,0,0. Except the alpha which needs to have a white pixel otherwise the complier will exclude it.

    Not sure why its crashing with your 32 bti tgas though. I've never had a problem with textures.

    I noticed some channels did the inverse of what the document told me, and in the end I just copied what the original character masks were. Anyway I hope you find a non hacky solution xD Love this set so much <3
    Thanks for the advice and sorry for the late reply--I've been spending hours trying to figure out a solution and when I get it, I end up running into another variable causing the same crashing issue. But I think I got all the bugs kicked out while learning a few things in the process.

    I realized that even though knocking out the pixels I added into the R and G channels of Mask1 help temporarily, my main issue was probably the resolution of the mask textures. I'm unsure if others have run into this situation, but the 4096x2048 32-bit .tga's were just too much for the compiler to handle, so that ended up causing the crash (I assume). After I compared both my custom masks and the original source mask, I noticed they had resized the masks to half the size of the color/normal maps. So I resized my masks and it ended up working--let's hope another error doesn't occur...

    Also, you are right, some of the maps do work in reverse for some strange reason. When trying to solve the specularity issue, I found that not the Specular map, nor the Specular Exponent map, but the Specular Tint was causing that issue... so after I fixed that, everything fell into place. My masks also ended up very similar to the original masks, though with exception to the Specular Tint, which was pretty much inverted.

    Here is another WIP image before I get to the final presentation pieces:
    dota2_-_ta_itemset_wip09.jpg

    Not sure about the shiny stuff on her pants and all throughout her character--not much I can change about that, but I assume it has something to do with the game's shader that I have no control over.

    Any comments or suggestions are welcome, though I know I'm too pressed for time to change much, heheh. Thanks again for looking!
  • DRa90NBoi
    Alright, after all that, here are some in-game renders:

    Head:
    dota2_-_ta_ns_scrn_head00.jpg

    Shoulder:
    dota2_-_ta_ns_scrn_shoulder00.jpg

    Armor:
    dota2_-_ta_ns_scrn_armor00.jpg

    I don't think I'll have time to fiddle around with making the full set appear before the deadline, but I might try it after it's due and see what it looks like.

    And for an added bonus, a drawing I made to accompany the short lore I attached to these items:
    divine_shades00s.jpg

    Thanks again for looking!
  • Dipsoid
    Dude, looks fantastic!
  • EVIL
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    Awesome! turned out really well!
  • DRa90NBoi
    Alright, posting the final images now--Hope you dig!

    Here are some eye-candy splash images for each item with painted effects:
    dota2_-_ta_ns_itemset_pose_head00.jpg

    dota2_-_ta_ns_itemset_pose_shoulder00.jpg

    dota2_-_ta_ns_itemset_pose_armor00.jpg

    Here are the images explaining the lore for each item:
    dota2_-_ta_ns_itemset_info_head00.jpg

    dota2_-_ta_ns_itemset_info_shoulder00.jpg

    dota2_-_ta_ns_itemset_info_armor00.jpg

    And finally, here is the presentation image:
    dota2_-_ta_ns_itemset_splash_page00.jpg

    The first post will be updated to reflect the completion after I upload everything to the Steam Workshop. Thanks again for looking!
  • Naso
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    Looks really nice, glad you finished this :)
  • Born Backwards
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    I love the everliving shit out of this set, but I fear the purple hair won't go over well with Valve and especially the DOTA 2 lore freaks.

    I understand very well why you chose to make it purple. I personally like it and I think it's integral to the look as a whole. However -- yeah. Valve doesn't like to anger the community and the community gets angry very easily. I hope you don't, but I fear you may be forced to compromise. Something like keeping the hair black and only having a few purple streaks. I don't know.
  • DRa90NBoi
    Dipsoid wrote: »
    Dude, looks fantastic!
    Thank you and everyone else very much for the positive support and I'm glad it turned out well!
    I love the everliving shit out of this set, but I fear the purple hair won't go over well with Valve and especially the DOTA 2 lore freaks.

    I understand very well why you chose to make it purple. I personally like it and I think it's integral to the look as a whole. However -- yeah. Valve doesn't like to anger the community and the community gets angry very easily. I hope you don't, but I fear you may be forced to compromise. Something like keeping the hair black and only having a few purple streaks. I don't know.
    Yes, a couple people have pointed that out to me so far. I did question the purple hair a few times myself while working on it, but no one pointed it out prior and it just fit so well with the rest of the colors I didn't want to rub it out. I did try out a few combinations that I did not save shots of, but none of them turned out well, especially when I tried applying streaks--it was just too much and looked awkward. However I do not mind adjusting the color and saturation slightly if it comes down that I have to; otherwise, I think it looks perfect.

    I also would like to note that while the hair looks brighter in a couple of the promotional images for clarity, it is definitely darker combined with the shader effects in the game. Though thanks for your concern!

    ---

    And finally, I got the complete set to work in-game, so here are a few shots of it in action (sorry I don't have video so you can see it in motion, but hopefully stills will do!):

    Idle:
    dota2_-_ta_ns_scrn01aa.jpg

    Running/Meld Pose:
    dota2_-_ta_ns_scrn01ab.jpg

    Within the environment:
    dota2_-_ta_ns_scrn01b.jpg

    Thanks for looking and and thank you again for the feedback! I learned a lot and appreciate every comment!
  • Anuxinamoon
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    Just wanted to congratulate you cause I love this set so much and I was so happy when I saw it was picked! WOOOOO!
  • ENODMI
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  • D4V1DC
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    grats
  • Dvonio
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  • Beats
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    Congratulations, amazing job!
  • DRa90NBoi
    Just wanted to congratulate you cause I love this set so much and I was so happy when I saw it was picked! WOOOOO!
    Thanks, I'm glad you really like it! Encouragement and input like yours really helped keep me motivated throughout the process and I am very thankful for the positive feedback.
    Beats wrote: »
    Congratulations, amazing job!
    Thanks, and same to you too--Congratulations on your winning set! I really dig the set's overall look, which really matched the game's aesthetics in my opinion. Keep up the great work!

    And thank you very much everyone for the congratulations; I appreciate all the support!
  • duyandnau
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    Congratulations, it's truly amazing set :d
  • Echronos
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  • BrendtheCow
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    Congrats man! I think I've only ever seen one other UCF alumni on here. Good to have another :D
  • Born Backwards
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    Congratulations!

    I can't wait to finally equip your set.

    I'm relieved to see that they approve of the purple hair. I'm really glad Valve aren't the kind of nitpicking assholes that some of the community can be.
  • sadies
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    Big congrats! Really solid set, and the portrait in particular looks fabulous :D
  • DRa90NBoi
    Congrats man! I think I've only ever seen one other UCF alumni on here. Good to have another :D
    Thanks! Heheh, I do owe a lot of my beginnings into 3-D digital art to the UCF animation department. Definitely a lot learned with all the trials and troubleshooting involved while in the program. Great to see a response from another UCF alumni and thanks for dropping by!
    I'm relieved to see that they approve of the purple hair.
    Me too! Well, there are no suggestions to change it yet anyway, heheh.
    sadies wrote: »
    Big congrats! Really solid set, and the portrait in particular looks fabulous :D
    Thank you very much! I am glad it turned out well, especially in the portrait.

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