Jungle Jewel Scythe

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JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
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Hey all.

Ever since I got the art of Darksiders 2 I've been in love with the weapon design. I've already made a few Darksider 2 inspired weapons last year and after doing lots of hard surface sci fi stuff and not using Zbrush I decided to jump back in.

So this is the Jungle Jewel, a very powerful and sacred scythe.

rVDxscU.jpg?1

I have already highlighted some issues that I plan to fix but if there is anything else please say so.

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  • mystichobo
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    mystichobo polycounter lvl 8
    Pretty sweet man!

    Have you considered not just doing it as a bit of fanart, and putting it in the dota workshop instead? Could see a lowpoly version of that doing quite well there :)
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks mystichobo

    That's idea, maybe look into it actually. Its something I have definitely considered in the past.
  • SaboR1996
    The real question is, what hero would it fit?, but thats rad.
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks SaboR1996.

    I'm having a look now to see what hero it could work with. Over the weekend I may look over the guides to see what I need to do to maybe getting either this or something else into Dota workshop.
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    Says at the bottom its WIP 2 but its more like WIP4 as I just wasn't happy with the previous version once I was past the rendering and post pro.

    RdHh4lu.jpg

    I've already started the retopo but if something is a bit crap then let me know and I'll fix it.
  • thiel_joe
    neat ! cool weapon

    what types of materials are you thinking for this ?
    it looks to me like bone or thorns of large vine. lets check out some references for the different elements.

    i think the first WIP has some good design elements that are missing now.

    the overall shape of the blade and hilt had a nice dynamic angle to them.
    and there was more interesting details along the scythe with its sharped edge more defined.

    rVDxscU_wip1_feedback.jpg

    i think the WIP 2 is a lot softer and bloby. for dota 2 it would be good to enhance some of the shapes and planar surfaces, especially the sharpened edges.
    this is a cool Xeno bone blade by Mike Loh that migh be relevant if its to be bone/organic
    http://uratz-studios.deviantart.com/art/Xeno-Bone-Alien-Tail-Sword-197642196
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    The axe materials are the following:
    Wood Handle with crystal jewels
    Sharpened thick vine with thorns

    That bone reference is lovely but I think i want to stick with the vine and thorn, keeps that jungle vibe.

    Oh shit you are so right about that dynamic with the hilt and blade, I'll bring out the 'twigs' a bit to get the same of thing.

    'Bloby' was definitely not what i was going for so I will work on this, maybe go over areas with the polish and trim dynamic brushes.

    Thank you very much thiel_joe for the great feedback.
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    Used the feedback provided by thiel_joe as well as some from fellow work colleagues.

    I may start retopo or I may leave it until the weekend just in case.

    Rzrgv0o.jpg
  • PatTl92
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    PatTl92 polycounter lvl 6
    Nice work James, better than the first version. Keep it up
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    Cheers PatTl92. I actually did some more work after the render just tweaking little bits.

    One question I want to ask everyone and anyone is whats their opinion on the colour I'm using for presenting? Does it put you off? I'm using the Grey shader, should I stick with a standard grey or is this one ok?

    Thanks.
  • Spoon
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    Spoon polycounter lvl 7
    Havent read comments, just quickly dropping in.
    If that is a design directly from the book, you probably shoul not use it for Dota 2.
    I dont know how much of your own spin is on it.
    Looking great, though
  • Lloth
    Cheers PatTl92. I actually did some more work after the render just tweaking little bits.

    One question I want to ask everyone and anyone is whats their opinion on the colour I'm using for presenting? Does it put you off? I'm using the Grey shader, should I stick with a standard grey or is this one ok?

    Thanks.

    My personal preference would be to see a grey model. Just because I'm more used to seeing those :)

    Cool sculpt man. Keep it up
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    @Spoon This is 100% my own idea in the style of Darksiders 2. Heres a poor concept:-

    7tSnG26.jpg

    Also I wont be doing this for Dota but I may do one in the future.

    @Lloth For the next wip I'll render out in grey and see how it looks once I do all my post pro. Thanks.
  • Alphavader
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    Alphavader polycounter lvl 7
    I like the design. Its nice to see your progress.
    Here suggestion regarding your concept and texturing later on.
    Like in the Dota2 guide - i recommend you some colors that work a bit better
    together. You can use colorsheme - to see some nice results.


    Anyway - nice progress.

    here one of two dota2 guides : styleguide
    Maybe darksiders has something similar
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks Alphavader, Yeah the colour scheme needs work but I'll get to that once i've retopologize, thanks for the links.

    I was hoping to finish the sculpt last night but I wasn't satisfied with the result (and it didn't help falling alseep whilst sculpting either...long day)
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    One last push to work out those smaller details.

    I'm going to start the retopo, I can still tweak the details as long as it doesn't effect the silhouette.

    0YVFlUa.jpg
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    Got the low poly sorted as well as the bake. Could do with a bit more of a cleanup but its definitely a good start
    hGctmmS.jpg

    Figuring out the best colour scheme for this weapon, tried using colourscheme that Alphavader recommended. I also looked through the art of darksiders 2 and found that most of the colours are pretty saturated but that could be just the concepts. Good excuse to get the game out and have a play and see what works.

    Comments and crit always appreciated.
    pToNOsE.jpg
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    So I've been working away at the texturing for 2 weeks straight.

    I have:-

    *added more details to the sculpt
    *adjusted the topology and took the model from 1700 poly's to 600 poly's
    *4 re unwraps
    *Triangulated model for better bake
    *5 re Bakes alogn with bent normal map
    *converted normal map to a cavity map and a specular map pretty much blacked out with highlights showing
    *made about 5 different diffuse textures and then tweaked to the point where I felt like bashing my head against my desk as I felt like I was just getting no where.

    Even through all of that I still feel it looks like shite, what is it? Does the colour scheme even work? Does the actual design work?

    Maybe I lowered the polycount too much, those straps look awfully flat.

    It definitely doesn't have that Darksiders 2 texture look for sure.

    L9zGkrH.jpg?1

    Maybe its best to leave this for a while before I gouge my eyes out with a plastic spoon.
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    Here is also a texture breakdown.

    ahAVU0W.jpg
  • Nosslak
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    Nosslak polycounter lvl 12
    The material definition is very off. I'll be honest with you, I can't tell for sure what material any of the parts are supposed to be. I mean I guess that the handle is supposed to be wood with some crystals on it and some leather straps wrapped around it, but I can only tell that from the colors and nothing else. So some quick pointers about the materials:
    - Sculpt some wooden fibers on the handle as it desperately needs it to read as wood. I'd try to go for driftwood, but that's up to you.
    - If the yellow parts are supposed to be crystals then give them a hard gloss (like this). They may be a bit too saturated as well.
    - Make the leather straps a reddish brown and add some soft gloss.
    - I can't tell at all what material the blade is supposed to be made of but I'd try give it materials similar to that of a thorned roses stem (like this or this).

    Also the cutting edge of the blade is too lowpoly in my opinion as you can easily see every polygon it consists of.

    Don't just use a specular map autogenerated in Crazybump. I wouldn't use Crazybump at all (you can probably get a better map with cuyrvature in xNormal), but it should none the less only be step one with many others to follow. The same can be said for the diffuse as you don't seem to use anything else (no painted details at all) apart from the baked textures.

    You've probably seen it already but here's an excellent example of a Darksiders weapon from the contest held a while ago, that could maybe serve well as a reference. Looking at some other references as well, it looks like most of the weapons have fairly muted colors with a single saturated color (like fire or ice) in most cases, which is perhaps something you should try out as well, if you haven't already.

    So in closing the highpoly is good and shows promise (could however use more detailing to better show off the materials each part is supposed to be made of), but the lowpoly let's it down both because of a bad color scheme, poor material definition and an over-reliance on baked textures without any manual effort whatsoever (yet at least).

    I am sorry if this sounded harsh but I'm just trying to help as I really liked where the highpoly was heading when I first saw it.
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks Nosslak, some great feedback there. Its not harsh at all, just honest constructive feedback. As i always say honesty is the best policy.

    A few things I'll clear up firstly, the final diffuse at the end of the texture workthrough is not what is on the model. Its used as a base and I paint in all the details. This is what I've done 5 or so times.

    Second thing, there is a proper sepcular map on the model and not just the specular highlight from CB. I did have a gloss but abandoned it.

    I will post both the final diffuse and specular later on.

    Yeah I've had a few people saying CB in some regard is out dated piece of software. I get that, I was just trying something different. I will look into what you've suggested with xnormal or maybe even ndo2.

    Yeah totally too low poly on the blade, as well as where the straps are too. I plan to maybe go so far as to going through the topology and add a bit more to certain areas.

    The material of the blade is exactly what you've suggested, it appears I have failed at trying to achieve that.

    I am well aware of all the contest stuff, I have a folder full of mostly every contest entry as well a pinterest board full of darksiders 2 reference. I also have the art of book which has been a valuable piece of reference.

    I also watched the BoBo darksiders weapon tutorial he did a few years back that provided a lot of useful information.

    The sculpt above is actually out of date, I went back and added a bit damage around the crystals. The reason why there isn't much wooden fibers as you've suggested is because I was following some reference, maybe I just read it wrong. But whatever I did is just lost in the low poly it seems.

    I plan now is to rest over the weekend, gather as much feedback possible and figure out an action plan. In the mean time I will most probably just make a basic asset, a rock or a piece of wood and practice a better work flow.

    Thanks for the awesome feedback, I cant agree more that the low poly is a let down from the sculpt. Lets hope once I've rested my eyes I will be able to achieve a worthy result.
  • asdaq
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    asdaq polycounter lvl 4
    Hi,

    Few comments about the design. It has to tell the story of this weapon.

    When working on the shape, form and features I'd suggest imagining the process of building the weapon.
    1.You take a piece of tree branch - you broke it from living tree or you found it in the swamp?
    2. You attach blade made of sharp leaves of some plant (awesome idea!) How do you do it? you pierce the wood with it? and add some straps of to make it stabile?
    3. You add magic stones to it - how? embed it with some magic spell? Does the spell burns the wood?

    and so on...

    Same goes with having clear idea of how this weapon is going to be used. Take a look on scythe shapes - most of them are bent to adjust to the motion of taking the swing.

    You don't have to write a book about each piece you're making. Just ask yourself these questions when working - in addition: when designer or animator asks you about that stuff you will have some decent answer.

    I took the liberty to do some sketches over your work. Check them out.

    I agree with previous comments about the textures - I have troubles with understanding what's what.
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks for that asdaq

    'It has to tell the story of this weapon.'

    This always something I think about. The idea was that this weapon was a sacred and held in high regard and only the best warrior could use it.

    '1.You take a piece of tree branch - you broke it from living tree or you found it in the swamp?'

    This is something I've already dicussed with a friend, is the branch dead or alive, if its dead than the Vine blade should also be dead. Could it be that the Crystals could be keeping the whole thing alive? This is something I will look into.

    '2. You attach blade made of sharp leaves of some plant (awesome idea!) How do you do it? you pierce the wood with it? and add some straps of to make it stabile?'

    Thanks for that, the blade is a vine, and from what Nosslak said I need to rework it a bit. The blade originally was glued into the branch with melted down animal bones and teeth, but maybe adding some sort straps to hold it into place.

    Thanks for the sketch over, i like that bend alot.

    Its going to be an interesting weekend, it will be good to leave this for a few days and gather more feedback, its a shame I am planning to go so far back but its all in aid of creating an awesome piece of work.
  • pixelb
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    pixelb polycounter lvl 8
    james_paintover_zps7480c89a.png

    Hey James, here ya go.

    One thing to consider is where you’re putting your contrast, both in your shapes and values. I think the crystals should be the focal point here so I’ve given them more value contrast, in addition to muting the values on the handle. There’s also a lot of contrast near the business end of the scythe because, you know…pointy.

    I tried to create some natural transitions by tapering off the size of the thorns and having the crystals gradually recede into their root. Your thorns have a very harsh, unnatural transition from large to small and creating some intermediates ties them together nicely.

    I also tried to improve the silhouette by balancing noisy edges with smooth ones. The outside of the scythe is jagged and the inside comparably smooth- emphasizing the razor-sharpness of the blade.

    As this is Darksiders, your edges should be crisp and deliberate. Same goes for small details- the cracks and nicks- these are sculpted individually, not a pasted-on texture.

    and +1 for the curved handle.
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    Oh man that's sick, thanks a lot pixelb

    I'm going to add the bend handle, it just adds more to the silhouette.

    The thorns are really nice, i like the 'razor' edge so I'll implement that.

    I love that razor sharp edge of the vine, just looks so deadly rather than what I already had.

    I wont copy what you've painted exactly but I'll take the best elements for sure.

    My latest sculpt I have done I actually reduced the number of jewels and only had a few larger ones scattered about. From seeing your paintover I really like the hidden smaller ones, I really like the build up too. I've also looked at driftwood as already suggested by Nosslak which has been great as it has a really nice flow to it.

    I plan to finish my new sculpt tonight and render it all out too. I plan to have a few more angles especially the other side of the scythe.
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    As much as I liked pixelb overpaint I didn't want to copy straight from it.

    Maybe I added too much detail into the wood, I'm not sure.

    I purposely made the bend more subtle as well not to make the blade as 'razor' as the paintover or curved, though I may play around with it.

    dVidoJJ.jpg

    I'm feeling better about this, however most of the feedback given was directed to the execution of the low poly. But the more I looked at certain parts the more I just wanted to go back and push myself further.

    I'm thinking of hiring someone to stop me from tweaking as I just cant seem to feel like I've done all that I can. At this rate I'll never have this weapon done, that being said I've already started concepting the next one. No rest.
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    I got some feedback from a guy I work with who told me I should follow pixelb's paintover closely as following it would teach me some valuable lessons.

    I did this but still adding what I felt was working with the last version. I hope this is me done with the sculpt and I can move on.

    Please let me know what you think.

    GWDA30H.jpg
  • SaboR1996
    Looking much better, so much more readable than previous versions.
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks SaboR1996, this what happens when you listen to feedback and willing to learn from it.
  • Jeff Parrott
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    Jeff Parrott polycounter lvl 14
    Texture process looks solid. The idea is neat. The design is a bit messy.

    It looks like the wraps were sloppy put on all over the place. Centralizing the wraps in the grabby area will also help separate the wraps from the handle wood base too. Right now it blends in. When you zoom out things just sort of get mashed together.

    jeffparrott_JamesMeader_PO001.gif

    This is awesome that you're taking the time to get feedback, decide what (if any) you want to incorporate, and iterate. I think a lot of Artists (myself included at times) don't do this for personal work. Don't be afraid to iterate! Keep it up.

    /end compliment sandwich.
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks a lot Jeff Parrott, its really appreciated.
    I have already started tweaking certain parts but the wraps were not one of them so thank you for pointing it out.

    I had it in mind that the warrior holding this would hold it at the bottom so they would have more movability to swing and slash.
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    Last bit of tweaking before retopo.

    Took what Jeff Parrott said and placed the straps in what I believe is the likely holding position for this weapon.

    mzfM730.jpg

    I really need to stop now and move on now
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    There have been tears, plenty of arguments with myself mixed with a lovely dose of depression and shame with myself with how I could of let the last game model version get by.

    How shit was that?! Honestly, I am so surprised that I didn't have someone here say 'What the fuck are you thinking?!'? I was so ashamed of myself looking back.

    But if I hadn't of done that it wouldn't of led me to this.

    With this final I think drifted away from a more darksiders texture workflow.

    I just wanted something decent.

    Sure there maybe some things I can adjust but I've spent so long on it I just want to move on.

    6Et7wLh.jpg
    JvGepBO.jpg
    fEIig1h.jpg

    Thank you to everyone that commented on the last versions, this has been a hard project.

    I have commented more about it over on my blog so take a look.

    Going to have a week off I think and then start with the next weapon.
  • pixelb
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    pixelb polycounter lvl 8
    It really is a massive improvement from your first version- I feel like I can read all the details comfortably in this new one, and the silhouette is more confident. The presentation is so much nicer with the subtle rimlight hitting the handle and the whole model on a flat background. I have to say I prefer the gray material to the yellow you were using before. Only thing I would change is making the wireframe a flat frontal view of the scythe.

    Be proud and move on. You've accomplished a lot.
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    pixelb, thank you very much. Ok cool, yeah i thought i'd mix it up and try a different matcap. I think I will re do the wireframe is its more flat frontal.

    Thanks, I feel like the paintover is still a big reason for the improvements so thanks again for that.
  • Nosslak
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    Nosslak polycounter lvl 12
    Yeah, I agree with Pixelb, the progress you're displaying here from the first version to the last really is quite amazing.

    There isn't a whole lot to critique as I think it looks really good but the biggest objective problem I can see is that the blades texture is duplicated on the texture even though both sides seem to look identical. If you were to use the same texture space for both sides you could've packed the UV a bit tighter as well and gotten a little bit more definition out of them. I would probably have straightened out the UVs for the blade as well to make them even easier to pack.

    Other than that I would perhaps have tried to shift the blades yellow color to be a little closer to a dark green color, but otherwise there isn't much to critique as I think the model is looking very solid right now. Good job, man!
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks Nosslak

    Yeah the blade uv issue was kind of a dumb move, there was a reason why i didn't overlay the uv's on top of one an other but after a while when it was too late I couldn't really go back and sort it.

    The blade overall was a pain to get right.

    Thanks again for the nice comments and for the honest feedback from before.
  • mrklaes
    A really promising start James :) haha, just getting back at you from one of your comments on my work...

    I like the wood texture. looks nice and smooth. also the cloth looks nice, but a shame it´s not overlapping eachother, but that an artist decision.

    I think you need some AO in the glowing things sticking out of the wood. you need to be able to sense the form... 6 sided, 4 sided 5 sided?? so on.

    I am not sold into the sharpness of the "blade".. what are your design / concept thoughts here. If going for sharpness. have really strong lines between light and dark. and then a highlight on the edges to really spice it up.
    I would work the blade some more, and study wow and darksiders weapons.

    the best bit is without a doubt the wood texture. Impressive. :thumbup:
  • JamesMeader
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    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks mrklaes

    'A really promising start James'
    What a joker hahaha.

    Yeah I totally get what you mean with the crystals, would be better if they were a bit edgy or you could see more of an edge, the gloss map did a good job of that but only when moving the light around.

    Yeah the blade again was a hard thing to convey, I tried various techniques to make it more 'sharp' but just couldn't get it right.

    I have been studying darksiders weapons for so long now, the art off book is nearly falling apart.

    Thanks again for the comments, I really like how the wood turned out too.
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