3D Beginner Looking for Critique

Hi Guys, I've recently started doing 3d Art, and I'm looking to improve, especially my painting technique. 
So here's some 3D models I've done and painted.

So first of all, a flatshaded? lowish poly model of a very stylized soldier/guard/militia I made to start out with. 


I think it turned out overall quite nice for being my 2nd humanoid model, ever.

The Body has about 1,4k Tris, the chestpiece about the same(because I used solidifiy, else it would be much lower) the legpiece around 600, the sword 250, the shield 100. I guess in a proper game you'd hide the parts of the mesh that are covered, but I'm not worrying much about optimizing the tricount right now. Overall I'm happy with the models more or less, it's the paintings which followed which are iffy.


First I tried painting this sword, it's sort of dull which is good because it's supposed to be a very cheap looking sword, but it's also dull in the sort of "I can't paint" way I guess?


Next, I did this chestpiece, I think it's a slight improvement and overall my best texture so far, especially the front. Note I have no idea why it has a white outline in blender, but that's not usually there, and really it isn't all that bothersome and infact I kinda like it in a way. Happy little accident I guess.

Finally, I made this buckler, with which I'm not all that happy, it kind of looks like a manhole cover or something? The only thing I liked is the rust.

So what do you guys think? I'm gonna do the boots and the legs next, and probably go over the other textures too if I feel like I can improve it.

Replies

  • Carabiner
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    Carabiner polycounter lvl 5
    Are you using references for the handpainted stuff? I know you're going for a stylized look, but looking at concepts or photos can be really helpful to get you started with ideas. Your textures lack the kind of details and thought that I think you'd get from looking at reference.

    Here are some concepts and artists I think would be helpful for you to take a look at:

    https://www.artstation.com/artwork/Lmaz0
    https://www.artstation.com/artwork/W28ZwJ
    https://www.artstation.com/beccahallstedt

  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis quad damage
    Hey, if you're a beginner, don't worry about the polycount yet. You should show your wireframe, which people on here could more importantly dissect. The models look neat (good job :) ), especially for a mobile game. The texturing of the sword is a little boring, try googling for images of stylized swords. Cool work on painting the shield, though it looks like its meant to be viewed from far away. Up close, you should probably put more sharp features in the paint.
  • wdawg
    Carabiner said:
    Are you using references for the handpainted stuff? I know you're going for a stylized look, but looking at concepts or photos can be really helpful to get you started with ideas. Your textures lack the kind of details and thought that I think you'd get from looking at reference.

    Here are some concepts and artists I think would be helpful for you to take a look at:

    https://www.artstation.com/artwork/Lmaz0
    https://www.artstation.com/artwork/W28ZwJ
    https://www.artstation.com/beccahallstedt

    No references, unless you count me googling "buckler" and looking at a few designs, and the same with the sword/dagger(it's a cross between a sword and a baselard I guess). It's not that I'm not aware that it should have cracks and stuff, but I just failed at handpainting such details in, it looked really bad. I guess I'll try again after sleeping. 


    Hey, if you're a beginner, don't worry about the polycount yet. You should show your wireframe, which people on here could more importantly dissect. The models look neat (good job :) ), especially for a mobile game. The texturing of the sword is a little boring, try googling for images of stylized swords. Cool work on painting the shield, though it looks like its meant to be viewed from far away. Up close, you should probably put more sharp features in the paint.
    I guess it would be fine in a rts or somesuch, but really the problem is I can't figure out sharp features. Here's a few wireframes, I assume they're terrible because I paid them no heed at all.



    I really don't even know what's good in a wireframe and what not. I guess the solidifiy I used on the chestpiece made the wireframe look kind of weird?  The model is rigged and animated, and deforms just fine for me(except in some super extreme poses). The animations are really terrible though.
    I made the clothing by extruding from the characters skin and then separating it, so it's already weight painted, it's really the only way I know how to.
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis quad damage
    Are you planning on getting into ZBrush? If you want to do character art professionally, you would want to pick that up rather soon. Google references for property character topology for video games sometime. If you handed this off to a rigger, they would probably try to attack you :P
  • wdawg
    Are you planning on getting into ZBrush? If you want to do character art professionally, you would want to pick that up rather soon. Google references for property character topology for video games sometime. If you handed this off to a rigger, they would probably try to attack you :P
    Not currently planning on that, no. Not really itching to become an AAA character artist either, especially if any sort of highpoly realistic art would be involved. 
    As for this topology stuff I've been looking at it and I understand it in theory, and I know that there's some oddities in some poses, but I wouldn't really know what I need to change to fix it.


    This is pretty much the worst deformation I can get aside from twisting the bones in ways humans couldn't.
  • vonboe
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    vonboe polycounter lvl 7
    Learning how to make hand painted textures I can highly recommend Tyson Murphy's ( former blizzard character artist, now lead artist at Riot  ) hand painting tutorial http://3dmotive.com/series/hand-painted-texturing.html 

    It gives a good understanding of shadows, highlights and color theory. 
  • wdawg
    I tried repainting the shield, to give it more details, and generally make it look less like you picked up some trashbin lid, and more like a shield. I still think the middle bit is quite bad looking, but the wood I'm sort of happy with. I guess I'll try improving the sword next.


    vonboe said:
    Learning how to make hand painted textures I can highly recommend Tyson Murphy's ( former blizzard character artist, now lead artist at Riot  ) hand painting tutorial http://3dmotive.com/series/hand-painted-texturing.html 

    It gives a good understanding of shadows, highlights and color theory. 
    He's certainly very good, and the free sample lectures are quite nice, but there's also thousands of hours of free texturepainting tutorials on youtube, that really aren't all that different, atleast from what I've seen in the hour or so of samples he gave.
  • wdawg
    I feel like I'm going around in circles, not really improving much, and I feel like it would be the same for the chestpiece, so I'm just gonna move on to the leg piece.  I spent most time improving the blade, adding a few scratches and stuff to make it appear a bit less flat, but It's really not that huge a difference to me?


  • Obscura
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    Obscura high dynamic range
    The sword is definitely better than its previous version, just put them side by side and see. But it still lacks lighting so it still appears somewhat flat. Lets look at somesone esles work for an example:
    https://cdna.artstation.com/p/assets/images/images/003/927/624/large/zug-zug-iron-sword-con2.jpg?1478612467
    See how there is a dark gradient on the metal parts. Also, the handle has some darkening towards the silhouette. You could be more brave with the highlights too. Your current stuff is just the texture of the materials, but you need to add some lighting to them.
    Example 2:
    https://i.imgur.com/yI1P9Ed.jpg
    Pretty much the same to look at here.
  • wdawg
    Obscura said:
    The sword is definitely better than its previous version, just put them side by side and see. But it still lacks lighting so it still appears somewhat flat. Lets look at somesone esles work for an example:
    https://cdna.artstation.com/p/assets/images/images/003/927/624/large/zug-zug-iron-sword-con2.jpg?1478612467
    See how there is a dark gradient on the metal parts. Also, the handle has some darkening towards the silhouette. You could be more brave with the highlights too. Your current stuff is just the texture of the materials, but you need to add some lighting to them.
    Example 2:
    https://i.imgur.com/yI1P9Ed.jpg
    Pretty much the same to look at here.
    I committed the apex newbie mistake and forgot to save my texture, so I had to start from my first texture again, but no matter. I tried giving it more of a gradient and tried giving the handle more of a 3d shape.  I also somewhat refined my brush technique.


    I also completed the legpaint yesterday, but seems like I triggered the spamfilter and it wouldn't go through. 

  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis quad damage
    Liking those pants!! The separation between the metal and the leather looks a bit blurry on the top parts. Are you using Maya? Go into the Maya viewport menu > Render  > Edit > and turn on Anti Aliasing. That'll make it nicer working in your viewport.
  • wdawg
    Liking those pants!! The separation between the metal and the leather looks a bit blurry on the top parts. Are you using Maya? Go into the Maya viewport menu > Render  > Edit > and turn on Anti Aliasing. That'll make it nicer working in your viewport.
    I'm using Blender, pretty sure it has AA on by default,  that's the conclusion I came up with after googling a bit anyways. The reason it looked so blurry is that I literally overpainted the edge and and forgot the fix it. I know about faceselect painting but I feel like I'd rather make those stupid mistakes once in a while in most cases, rather than go through the chore of selecting faces.

    Anyways I've redid the chestpiece to be more detailed with my new experience on doing stitches and even improved the metal a bit. I also found out about why you want to do a good job on your UV's and not waste literally 50% of the space like I do.



    Next up is the boots, and then the hair. I'm confident on the boots which are the same sort of material as the coatpiece and the leg, but the hair will be a disaster, I'm sure.
  • Obscura
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    Obscura high dynamic range
    The armor doesn't show progress, sorry. Lacks any lighting. The sword is a little bit better, you need much more contrast. Don't get too much disappointed by this kind of comments though, artists needs to face this every day and this is how you learn and progress. 

    I saw that you are not aiming to make realistic stuff, but stylized things kinda relies on the observation on how things works in the reality and they "simplify" that. For example, if you take a look at a picture of a realistic metal material, you can see how it reflects the environment and how that changes the overall look of the object. Even overcast lighting wouldn't look as flat as the armor for example. There are colored things, and ambient shadows on the things around objects, a this will be reflected on metals. If you want mostly neutral lighting, try doing the gradient thing on the metal parts of the armor. But keep the curvature of the shapes in mind, when painting the gradients. 

    The leather could really benefit from some ambient occlusion. You can observe how it works, by doing some ao bakes, but even the polycount wiki hand painted section has some nice examples. 

    After you got the lighting more correctly, you can add some higher quality surface texture definition to your materials. Again, looking at real life examples can really help here because even stylized art reflects material properties, in some simplified way. For example, roughness plays a big role in material definition. Rough stuff will have fully blurry reflections. So blurry, you would even say it doesn't reflect. But it does. Everything does but roughness defines how.
  • wdawg
    Obscura said:
    The armor doesn't show progress, sorry. Lacks any lighting. The sword is a little bit better, you need much more contrast. Don't get too much disappointed by this kind of comments though, artists needs to face this every day and this is how you learn and progress. 

    I saw that you are not aiming to make realistic stuff, but stylized things kinda relies on the observation on how things works in the reality and they "simplify" that. For example, if you take a look at a picture of a realistic metal material, you can see how it reflects the environment and how that changes the overall look of the object. Even overcast lighting wouldn't look as flat as the armor for example. There are colored things, and ambient shadows on the things around objects, a this will be reflected on metals. If you want mostly neutral lighting, try doing the gradient thing on the metal parts of the armor. But keep the curvature of the shapes in mind, when painting the gradients. 

    The leather could really benefit from some ambient occlusion. You can observe how it works, by doing some ao bakes, but even the polycount wiki hand painted section has some nice examples. 

    After you got the lighting more correctly, you can add some higher quality surface texture definition to your materials. Again, looking at real life examples can really help here because even stylized art reflects material properties, in some simplified way. For example, roughness plays a big role in material definition. Rough stuff will have fully blurry reflections. So blurry, you would even say it doesn't reflect. But it does. Everything does but roughness defines how.
    If I wanted only praise, I'd probably post on deviantart. I realize that stylization is merely the abstraction of reality, and I'm not trying to explain away my own shortcomings as a choice. It's not that I don't want the metal to reflect, it's that I'm struggling a lot with the metals and highlights, even after watching a few more tutorials and stuff. It's easy to say, but it's hard for a beginner like me to implement.



    So I tried making much bolder highlights and increasing the gradient on the metal, but I don't even know if it's going in the right direction.
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