Lenny's Workshop

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Lennyagony Polycount Sponsor
[html][/html]Welcome to my Workshop Thread here on Polycount.
I'm Looking forward to filling this space out with Dota 2 items, and when i find the time, asset/workflow breakdowns.

My Steam Workshop
If you like my work be sure to throw me on follow to receive updates on new items

Item Collections

axe_saberhorn2.jpg lich_permafrost2.jpg

Single Items


  • Pierate
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    Pierate polycounter lvl 8
    Your stuff is so clean, I love it.. Great guide aswell.
  • Jalcober
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    Jalcober polycounter lvl 4
    Love your work man! Cant wait to see more.
  • mrpresident
    Great stuff, love that lich set.

    I remember a long time ago you posted a set of screenshots showing what different combinations of masks looked like on that tide weapon... would you maybe still have that?

    It would be pretty awesome to be able to see more detailed variations of what the masks are capable of than are shown in the valve mask guide; I know I'd use that reference. Also you could update your already great guide with it :D. Just a thought, if you don't have the file anymore don't worry about it.
  • Lennyagony
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    Lennyagony Polycount Sponsor
    Cheers guys,

    mrpresident, i do have that screenshot and you know it was pretty interesting look back through some of thos older files. I grabbed a few more comparisons from my wip folder that are a pretty good example of what a rebake, updated color and reworked masks can do.

    For anyone new to this, when i first submitted this wep to the workshop i received some solid crits from Bronto and Tvidotto, where they suggested i bump the quality in a few areas. They were absolutely right so i went back and updated the Cannon based on that and spent a fair amount of time fucking around with the mask files in the process.

    Here i have the original color map and preview image. I still kind of like the flat color map, but the lack of contrast and painted in lighting ended up looking pretty nasty in game.

    So i adjusted the highpoly, rebaked the normals, remade the color and both mask files. When you compare the images you can see this is the same lowpoly model with identical UV's, with the only difference being the four shaders.

    I also made a proof sheet in photoshop while previewing, i find this incredibly helpful when trying to decided which combination works best. Although i think my original photoshop file may have had many more minor variations.
  • Konras
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    Konras polycounter lvl 9
    The canon really benefit from those changes. Valve published those PDF files about style, but as you said its always better if someone will direct us directly on our items. That's why I am really looking forward to what great items can shop up after we got this separate forum area here on polycount for DOTA2 workshop.
    Keep up the good work.
    ps. I am really impressed with your tutorials. I would sticky it everywhere, and for sure will point people to it if I would have opportunity, because it covers everything step by step! Perfect :)
  • mrpresident
    Thanks for posting that image up! It's really dang useful when experimenting with mask variations.

    And yeah, the before and after textures really show how important high-contrast between segments is in dota's engine/visual style.
  • Lennyagony
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    Lennyagony Polycount Sponsor
    Having released Slarks Shell Dagger a few days ago I have had some messages and comments about the transition from concept to final and how to keep things similar. I don't have the time to do a detailed rundown but I do have a bunch of saved files which chart the progression mostly well and I do use pretty much the same method outlined in my Pudge Weapon Creation Guide. The few areas where I do deviate from the guide process ill be sure to note and give a small writeup.


    Apart from this weapon being more detailed and somewhat organic, the first section is very similar to the process used to create the pudge offhand weapon, create two splines, extrude, bridge, move verts around, etc. Sure the shapes are harder to bridge and it is difficult to keep a reasonable polygon distribution but I just took my time and adjusted the splines or moved the vertexes where needed.


    At this point you can see where I align many of the connecting edges between objects, I also chamfer the edges that will be bladed. On the handle in particular I made sure the edge flow follows the detail in the concept, I know I'm going to be sculpting in some large detail and I don't want to be fighting my mesh to do that.

    I also go on to use a FFD box to change the overall thickness of the dagger and taper it towards the tip. In retrospect I slimmed the dagger far too much and ended up having to reverse the process with the high poly and low poly before bake, which was messy and less than ideal.


    I now have the base mesh completed and have reduced the size of the handle and increased the size of the blade to closer match the proportions of the original weapon. I have also attached all the parts together to from one mesh, setup some smoothing groups added 3 levels of subdivision and feel it's ready for sculpting.


    I ran into another problem at this point, I started sculpting which was taking far too long to add needed detail. Not only was it taking too much time but it looked lumpy, it took great effort to create a separation between the sections and was just looking horrible as you can see on the left in the below image.

    So i went back to the base mesh in 3dsmax, separated the dagger into its original three parts, capped any holes, adjusted the smoothing groups and sent the three new meshes back to Mudbox.


    Progression is now pretty quick with the new mesh breakup, I work at a low subdivision level with the sculpt, flatten, scrape and wax tools. I also Auto retopo my mesh when needed, which is a new feature in Mudbox 2014 and even though it's pretty good it's still buggy, so make sure to save your scene before you give it a try as you will often end up with holes in your mesh.


    Now I'm going to want to start lining some sculpted detail up with the concept. To do this I start by taking a screen grab of my base mesh from 3dsmax and overlayed the concept sketch on a new layer in photoshop with 50% opacity, I then used the warp tool to align the concept as best I could with the base mesh and save this color image for later, where it will be used for the color map.


    I then desaturate the image, and crank the levels until I have something like this


    Which I then add to Mudbox as a stencil, I then align the stencil with my model and sculpt using the stencil and sculpt tool until I have all the rough shapes I want. Pretty messy, but I like to think of it as a rough sketch which I can now refine.


    From here I refined the handle using grab, sculpt, flatten and scrape tools.


    And I start refining the main blade section in a similar way as above. Take note of the large jagged parts, these were pulled out with the grab tool, cleaned up as best I could with the geo being stretched and then auto retopologized. I used the stencil again to see where and how far the jagged sections needed to be extended out too.


    And finally I do one last detail pass where I clean up some forms and add any subtle high level detail.


    Back to max for the low poly, UV's, Cage and baking in Xnormal.


    In Photoshop I open my bakes from Xnormal and add them as layers into a single image. I then past in the previously created warped version of the concept and match it to the bakes/UV's with scale, rotate and warp. I then roughly clone around the edges to make sure everything is covered and use the liquify tool to move some things around, which is what you can see in the centre image.

    From here I colour pick from the concept and paint using a brush until I'm happy with the texture, I also adjust the blending of any bakes I have and test in max and Dota2 throughout the painting process.


    And there you have it, colour map matching normal map detail and your concept image.


    ALso if you haven't already be sure to take a look at DoubleLeafs thread, the creator of the original concept image.
  • Vayne4800
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    Vayne4800 polycounter lvl 3
    Lenny you are the best in providing informative detail. Thanks for this.
  • DoubleLeaf
    Wow awesome guide so that how it looks so close to the concept! Awesome!
  • Sukotto
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    Sukotto polycounter lvl 6
    Dang thats a great guide! Much help indeed!
  • bozza
    Thanks so much for putting in the effort of writing these up, just starting out i found your pudge offhand tutorial super helpful and still go back to it to check things because my memory sucks!
  • Lennyagony
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    Lennyagony Polycount Sponsor
    In an effort to bring this thread upto speed ill be going through and posting some of my older work until its current.

    First up i have the skeleton king sword Shattered Destroyer, concepted by DoubleLeaf and created for one of the monthly unofficial dota 2 challenges here on polycount.






    Edit - just found these two wip shots in the old contest thread



    And the associated Youtube tutorial video

    [ame=" Color Map - YouTube[/ame]

    What makes this one a little interesting is i then received some feedback from Valve.

    "Could you bring the blade of the weapon more in line with the cool colors of the original blade? The wrap is ok in that warm red, but it would be nice if the rest better matched the blade/his bones color."

    "Also, could you scale it down a bit? The length is ok, but the depth and width should come down."

    Fair call if you ask me especially about the scale. So i went back and made some adjustments, i found changing the scale a little problematic as it very quickly robbed the blade of the originals character but i feel i was able to bring most of it across, while hopefully making enough of a change.



  • cottonwings
    Oh gosh that little touch on that one-sided hilt gives it a great charm for SK, bravo! :)
  • pior
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    pior ngon master
    Very solid work, and thank you for taking the time to post the feedback sent to you by Valve. Very valuable stuff.
  • MechBgum
    Looks very good in game!
  • Lennyagony
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    Lennyagony Polycount Sponsor
    Cheers for the comments cottonwings, pior and MechBgum.

    After the SK sword i moved onto a weapon for Chaos Knight, Shadow Brand. Concepted by DoubleLeaf and again for the unofficially monthly Dota 2 challenge.






    As you can see in the WIP images we ended up shifting the colors to better match Chaos Knights pallet, this came about after seeing him running around with it in game and was one of thos pre release moments where you just haveto backtrack and make the change, inspite of wanting to release right away.

    Another great change came early on from Doubleleaf, i sent him over this screenshot of the base mesh, he replied with an immediate paint over and explained he was envisioning two prongs, which would give the weapon more heft. Which was a damm good call and produced the final design.


    I also made a quick video tutorial on basic skinning in 3dsmax using this item.

    [ame=" and Exporting, 3dsMax to Dota 2. - YouTube[/ame]

    Additionally this was added to the Polycount chest which not only had me doing a happy dance, but brought with it some great new particle effects added by Valve.



    Although it looks like the Normals may have been changed on the upper blade sections, creating some pretty heavy blue rimlighting that wasnt on the original submitted to the workshop. Would anyone know how i go about bringing an inconsistency like this up with Valve? just post about it on the dev forums?
  • hopgood
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    hopgood polycounter lvl 6
    You have a developer comments section on your workshop item that is used to communicate with Valve. You can try posting in there saying you submitted a revised version using the importer tool and see what happens.

    Dev forums could also work too.
  • Lennyagony
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    Lennyagony Polycount Sponsor
    Hey polycount, long time no post.

    Iv been chipping away at several things over the last while, learning some Zbrush on the side and hope to get back to regular workshop submissions in the very near future.

    All concepts by the ever patient DoubleLeaf

    Razor Helm, which is pretty much finished - final mask's, touchups and marketing images and he should be good to go. Will have a time-lapse video of the creation.



    Slardar Wep - needed a few scale changes to match the original wep and to fit in his hands, although looking at it now ill likly go back and do some in game scale tests before moving onto the sculpt.



    QOP Wings - needed to move them around a bit to better match the bones.



    And the Nyxx set, would love feedback on the "wing/blades" i was concerned with them clipping but after some in game testing they dont clip with the arms too much, mostly on mana burn. Plan is to add a different style without them just incase it pushes things to far.

    And however much i love the lower jaw horns they clip way to much and had to go.


  • DoubleLeaf
  • MdK
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    MdK polycounter lvl 5
    Really great models as usual Lenny. In regards to your QoP wings, they seem to be tilted forwards which makes them feel a bit off. I think you need to make the wings more parallel with her back.
  • robertg
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    robertg polycounter lvl 3
    gunna try making some items for dota, and this thread is super helpful, thanks a bunch man.
  • Lennyagony
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    Lennyagony Polycount Sponsor
    Hey everyone, here's my first workshop submission in a while now and i haveto say, it feels pretty damm good to get back into the fray of things.

    Arcing Supremacy a Razor headpiece, concepted by Doubleleaf.







    I worked on this item over a pretty long timeframe as I traveled throughout the holiday period and managed to screencapture my process as i went along.

    I ended up crunching the video down to what turned out to be a pretty disappointing and jangly time-lapse, but for completions sake here it is, with a few notes on processes and things I'll be doing differently nextime around.

    Part One and Two - 3dsmax base mesh.

    I have a tendency to do allot of work in Max pre sculpt, this works well but all the vert pushing involved takes up a bunch of time. This is something im currently working to change and feel I will likly skip over much of these steps once im more competent with Zbrush, or at least the majority of the 2nd video which will hopefully lead to a more refined and a quicker workflow.

    [ame=" Helm Time-lapse Part 1 Base Mesh - YouTube[/ame]

    [ame=" Helm Time-lapse Part 2, Sculpt ready Base Mesh. - YouTube[/ame]

    Part Three and Four

    Due to the level of detail modeled into the base mesh the sculpt ends up being mostly small details and a few fixes.

    I go onto paint the color map directly onto the highpoly with mixed results.

    On the one hand having a highpoly with color that can be baked out to a variety of different lod levels or used for other resources could be incredibly handy in the right pipeline.

    But the inability of Mudbox to bake these maps out with the control of a cage, and Dota2's relatively low polycount lead's to some very inconsistent results at bake time, leading to much repainting, which you can see in the next few videos.

    For future projects ill skip this step, go straight to baking, layout my bakes and overlays in photoshop and paint the remainder directly onto the lowpoly.

    [ame=" Helm Time-lapse Part 3, Mudbox Sculpt - YouTube[/ame]

    [ame=" Helm Time-lapse Part 4, Mudbox Color - YouTube[/ame]

    Part 5 and 6

    Pretty standard Lod1, UV's and Bakes in these two videos. I take a little time doing test bakes and making adjustments for a cleaner bake about halfway through. I also setup a quick Hemi bake and do a small exploded bake but all in all pretty standard stuff.

    [ame=" Helm Time-lapse Part 5, Lowpoly & UV's - YouTube[/ame]

    [ame=" Helm Time-lapse Part 6 Baking - YouTube[/ame]

    Part 7 Color map and Masks

    I spend the majority of this video reworking the color map by linking my .psd in mudbox to photoshop which allows you to switch back between the two pieces of software and maintains your photoshop layers.

    The Masks went pretty smoothly on this guy.

    [ame=" Helm Time-lapse Part 7 Color maps and Masks - YouTube[/ame]

    At the end of the day i found recording my own workflow incredibly helpful all on its own and highly recommend giving it a go, even if you don't show it to anyone just seeing where you can improve your workflow is pretty awesome.
  • agito666
  • Spudnik
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    Spudnik polycounter lvl 6
    Looks great, I'd love to see a whole set of that theme.
  • quockhanhlk
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    quockhanhlk polycounter lvl 4
    Very awesome head!! and thank you so much for those videos too, great learning stuffs :D
  • David-J
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    David-J polycounter lvl 8
    awesome work. those timelapses are great
  • Lennyagony
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    Lennyagony Polycount Sponsor
    agito666 wrote: »
    fabulous peacock-like razor head! :D

    He just needs a fabulous peacock-like dance emote and his world will be complete :poly121:

    Spudnik wrote: »
    Looks great, I'd love to see a whole set of that theme.

    Thanks Spudnik, i think it could really work as a set too.

    Very awesome head!! and thank you so much for those videos too, great learning stuffs :D
    David-J wrote: »
    awesome work. those timelapses are great

    Glad your liking them, will see about making it a semi regular thing seeing as thought i cant really stream due to a slow internet connection.
  • DoubleLeaf
    Turned out awesome and the videos are very helpful :)
  • Lennyagony
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    Lennyagony Polycount Sponsor
    Always blows me away to see the amount of time between my updates of this thread, Anyway long story short I decided earlier in the year i wouldn't over commit by taking on too many projects all at once, sure enough that may have slid a little.

    Lately iv been progressing a few singles, which have been on hold with the lack of chests, I had planned to just role them into future sets but after reading Anuxi's great post and Valve reply am moving them forward again.

    The QOP wings are a mesh smoothed pre sculpt test, I did this as I wasn't sure if I would be able to hit the lod1 polycount and wanted to make sure I didn't waste sculpt time if I couldn't. The picture is lod0 and I think I can squeeze in the lod1 with some reasonable design changes.


    I ended up making some pretty drastic changes to this OD staff, mostly I couldn't have the floating rocks without supporting animation. I also wanted to see if I could do a quick sculpt as I have a tendency to wast time over detailing at the sculpting stage. So far im not convinced, and have ended up using the same if not more time dicking around with texture painting, which i need to re do anyway (looked rubbish in game).

    Concept by DoubleLeaf


    And i have been agonizing over this Slardar Mace and its textures, mostly im finding the change in huge/saturation between the larger character select screen, the ingame daytime and nighttime can be pretty dramatic.

    Its still not 100% finished as you can see by the incomplete shell pattern and a few other areas, but i would particularly appreciate any feedback at this stage, would definitely be a big help towards bouncing me out of this tunnel vision.



    And the ever helpful Doubleaf suggested I dust off and finish up my old warlock set. This thing has been rattling around on my harddrive for over a year now, so im looking forward to wrapping it up, and moving on.

    Most of the parts are already sculpted and have lowpoly versions with 90% finished shaders ... although having transitioned the sculpt over to Zbrush im going to give them all a quick update.

    His belt is baked out separately so i can tile the weave, and the offhand and satchel arnt in the scene yet. Will be remaking his weapon.

    Old image of the lowpoly in my max viewport

    Sculpt currently in Zbrush
  • hopgood
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    hopgood polycounter lvl 6
    Slardar weapon looks great, though I feel you could include more of the red hues from the concept into the handle to set it apart from his skin colour. Currently his hands and the staff kind of blend into each other.
  • Vayne4800
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    Vayne4800 polycounter lvl 3
    Wow Lenny, you are already awesome with Zbrush!
  • Lennyagony
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    Lennyagony Polycount Sponsor
    Hopgood - thanks for the awesome feedback, i will definitely be making those changes :).

    Vayne - cheers man, i was going to make it a slow transition from Mudbox but i used Zbrush once and havent sculpted in Mud since. Still use some Mud for texture work here and there though.

    The projects im currently working on have shifted a bit, but im still chipping away at the Warlock set and The Nyx items casually while i work on something else.

    For the Warlock i sculpted some of his offhand weapon, still need to clean a few areas up and sculpt the gemstone in the center.


    And i cleaned up his bracers a little and sculpted the gemstone


    I also did some texts on the Nyx set, much like some of my other items from my last post i was worried about having trouble hitting the polycount on a few slots. So i baked out a pre sculpt base mesh and had mostly ok results, my main concern being the claws, which i was able to squeeze into the lod0 but changes will be needed for lod1. Similarly the back slots ok, but i still need to add the parts to each of the six legs, and im tempted to fiddle with the way the shell layers towards the back



    Anyway if you do have any feedback i really do value it both positive and negative :)
  • GhostDetector
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    GhostDetector polycounter lvl 4
    The nyx set looks nice.

    The bracers for the warlock (gem) seems a little too complicated. Try just a basic 4 face or 5 face gem.
  • [NB] Mohsen
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    [NB] Mohsen polycounter lvl 3
    Hey lenny, when you make a set such as shoulder and arm pieces, do you make a base mesh first or do you straight away sculpt it in zbrush?
  • Spudnik
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    Spudnik polycounter lvl 6
    Nyx is looking badass. The way you sculpted the bracer is interesting, what material is it supposed to be, cloth or metal?
  • hopgood
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    hopgood polycounter lvl 6
    Yeah I agree, I get the sense that the polished areas should of been masked before you sculpted the cloth like folds. Maybe the diffuse can bring out the material difference but it's looking a bit confusing from the sculpt.
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