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[Finished] Northern Armor Project

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NOV 2020 Edit: This project has been complete. It can be found on my Artstation.

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FEB 2020 EDIT: The initial project is now complete. A full gallery and breakdown of my work can be found on my Artstation.

Below is the original first post:
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Hello! I am working on a new character for my portfolio, a medieval-inspired warrior from an unfriendly taiga climate. I wanted to start posting my work here in order to get feedback before I get too far along in the sculpting process. Here are some shots of my current basemesh (without pike):


I started posting this character in my sketchbook thread, which I'll continue updating with minor fixes while I use this thread to show off my progress. Please let me know what you think!

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  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    Here is a small update with a breakdown of the different materials/textures my character will need:


    In order to give him a little more variety I've drawn some influence from WW1/American Western sources in addition to my original Mongol/Rus concept. This is my first time making a character with plate armor/chainmail, so figuring out what to model in zBrush and what I can get away with using Substance textures will be a challenge. 
  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    I ended up redoing a lot of the model due to issues with the topology and to match it better with other assets I'm making. The revised model can be seen here:




  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    Here is a small update for January:

    I've retopologized and unwrapped the helmet in order to practice before I tackle the larger parts of my model. Using some temprary textures, I can get a good idea of what the final product should look like. I am having some trouble baking the highpoly curvature map to the lowpoly model, and some of the finer details like the eyeholes and studs have too much geometry. For the overall character, I'm aiming for a polycount of around ~25k tris so I'll have to find a way to preserve detail while reducing the extraneous topology. 
  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    Here is another update for February:


    I have fully retopologized, unwrapped, and textured my character model while keeping under my polycount goal of 25k triangles. I have split the textures between four 2k materials (Helmet, Chest, Gloves, and Pants) in order to keep my character modular. All that remains now is finishing up the weapon (1k-5k tris) and additional waist props (1k tris). Once these are finished I will pose the character and create some final renders for my portfolio.

    I am still looking for critique on this model, feedback would be appreciated!
  • Crazy_pixel
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    Crazy_pixel interpolator
    I love the shapes, that will be a really nice piece for a portfolio :)

    My advise would be working on the materials. the colors are very even and I'm missing the contrast ( for example between leather straps and gloves and the rest of the fabric).
    Furthermore the roughness values are off for the metallic parts. It feels more like plastic than like metal plates.

    Keep it up and I'm looking forward to see the modularity and the weapon and props!


  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    Thank you for your feedback! Here's a small update:

    I reworked some of the color on my model to give it a more winter-y color scheme and adjusted the roughness/metallic values of certain parts to help them contrast with one another.

    I'm going to continue pushing the materials to a more finalized level while I finish unwrapping and baking the textures for this character's weapon. I've still managed to keep the total triangle count under 25k, which is good.
  • constantinuslupus90
    Looking nice! just an idea, perhaps try adding some snow or some kind of icy crust on the armor and clothing? :)
  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    Thanks! I'll try adding some frost, that'd be a cool detail to include.
    In the meantime, here's an update on the weapon prop for this character:


    I had to sacrifice a little detail in order to keep the whole model under 25k, but I think I've made up for it with texturing. I may have to tweak the roughness/metallic a little more, but otherwise I've tried to keep the material textures consistent with the character textures. I'd be happy to get feedback on this model as well before I move on to creating the other weapons.
  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    Another update:

    I am reaching the final stretch of this project. Right now I am just adjusting the textures bit by bit in order to make sure they render correctly in Marmoset. I need to tweak the ambient occlusion and basecolor of the weapon's textures in order to make the model details "pop" better, but the character's texture is largely finalized. My next update (barring feedback corrections) will be my final for this project.
  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    I am proud to say that this project is now finished! Here is the final render:

    More renders and a texture/polycount breakdown of this character can be found on my artstation.

  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    Hello. Since this is the final day of April I wanted to post an update on what I've been working on during this quarantine to stop myself from going nuts. I wanted to begin by explaining my plan for this series of assets:

    As I've mentioned before, my goal has been to make a set of "modular" nonhero armor sets that keep within a standard budget for nonhero realtime (game) assets. To accomplish this, I have split the three sets into respective "light", "medium", and "heavy" sets in order to work on one at a time with a focus on making each sets' individual parts interchangeable with one another. This is so the overall appearance of each final warrior asset can be highly customized to avoid looking too homogeneous. In addition to the nonhero sets, I would optimally like to create a final hero asset to compliment the others. However, as this is a daunting task I have left it for the far future.

    For the last two months I have been working on creating base meshes for the light and medium armor sets. These were largely created by cannibalizing parts of the current heavy set and optimizing them for better use. I plan on tweaking the heavy set  soon to match the final light and medium sets and to utilize a better optimized texture set. Here is an example of the current "base" I have made that the light, medium, and heavy sets will build off of:

    Currently, I am using basic materials from Substance Painter. I plan on creating unique textures (lamellar plating, chainmail, worn leather, etc.), but my current efforts in Substance Designer have been poor. Here are some examples of my work from one week ago, for your critique:
    This has been a massive learning experience for me, and I look forward to the challenges this project will continue to bring. As always, I am open to feedback and hope to show you some finished assets soon.
  • Anura_Interceptor
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    Anura_Interceptor polycounter lvl 2
    Historical maille has alternating sets of riveted or soldered links and closed links, that might get some more visual variety to your chainmail if you have the texel density for details this small, could also end up being too much visual noise. On the northern armor I'd make that belt tighter so it compresses the chainmail against the body, the purpose of those belts is to provide an anchor point to stop the armor from swaying around and to pin some of that sagging weight against the hips so it doesn't all rest on the shoulders, would also break up the torso shape and make it less square. Liking the style you've got so far, looking forward to seeing how this turns out.


  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    Thanks for the suggestion! Unfortunately, I don't think I have enough texel density to incorporate riveted mail. I'm still struggling with my current chainmail and lamellar plate textures. However, I was able to revise my basemesh per your critique and completed the light armor model set:


    Most of the roughness/metallic values are still wonky and certain parts of the model's texturing need to be pushed a little further, but I'm satisfied with this start. The model itself came together fairly easily, and sits well underneath my polycount budget:

    After making revisions to these texture sets and fixing whatever minor baking/modeling issues are left over, I plan to take advantage of the remaining ~9.4k triangles to make a good face model and some props such as pouches/equipment. These will be used over all three nonhero assets, and should be a fun challenge to tackle.
  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    I have uploaded the light armor set to my Artstation. I don't want to spend any longer making little tweaks on it, so I'm moving ahead to the medium armor to avoid falling behind. Here is a render of my final asset:

  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    Another small update. I posted a higher-res version of two of the custom materials (chainmail and lamellar plating) I made for this armor project on my Artstation so that I could more easily get some feedback on them.
  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    Another small update, here's a overview of the weapon/prop hipolys I'm making:

    I'm going to take these from Maya into Zbrush and tweak them a bit, than re-import them into Maya and make sure they export correctly with the color ID masking I've done.

    Additionally, here are a few of the models on the (updated) light armor mesh:

    The reason I'm keeping these weapons/props separate from the armor is because the majority are reused across all three/four armors. Therefore, I want to try squeezing in as many as I can onto a single texture sheet in order to save UV space. Optimally, I should have one material assigned to all weapons/props, but if necessary I can split them into two materials. If anyone knows a better way to go about this, I'd appreciate the criticism. Until next time!
  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    Another update. I finished my first batch of props. The final renders and a texture breakdown can be found on my Artstation


  • wHromek
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    wHromek triangle
    Here is another update:

    I have completed all three of my armor sets. Final renders of each can be found on my artstation.
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