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Wildebeest (Overwatch Concept - Taken from the Art of Overwatch)

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Astrocoolbug polygon

Edit: This is a later update that I wanted to tag at the beginning to compare, past this point is all the history of this project, enjoy!

Hello everyone, for the last 2 months I've been really trying to study the Overwatch art style and have taken the time to try and make a full character based off of an early Reinhardt design that was originally called Wildebeest. I thought the design was really cool and I wanted to try making a full hard surface character as well so it matched pretty well.

Concept is from the Art of Overwatch, made by Arnold Tsang.

I would really appreciate some feedback as I go along through this, I'm currently in the block out stage right now and I'm trying to find some of the forms. I took some more detail in some areas but I've hit a bit of a wall with some of the pieces, so feedback would be greatly appreciated.

There are a lot of things so far I feel that aren't working but I'm not really so sure where to go next in those parts.

1. The way the leg connects to the hip in the concept is a lot more in line with the silhouette whereas mine is sticking out kind of far, but I'm not sure how to really fix that shape without Losing the circular part from the side.
2.There's an overall top heavy feel to the concept that I think looks cool, so how would I go about translating that into my 3D model.
3. The hair that goes down the back is polygonal right now but I know that fur is done differently in Overwatch but I'm not sure how they achieve it, any tips for that? I think they use cards but I could be wrong.

Here's also a closer look at the arm which is the part I've spent most time on now, what can I fix here?

I think the Fingers are looking okay from my perspective but is there anything I can do to imply some more anatomical forms? I know it's a metal hand but shouldn't I also show some anatomy in order to sell the forms?

Here's also a closer look at the leg which is the part I'm have the hardest time matching to the concept
In addition to this here's also a close up of the head. I think I have the basic shape down but I just wanted to get critique on this as well.
I want to spend a lot of time in this phase to try and flesh out the silhouette and forms before making too many details.

For how I plan to continue this, I want to make a low poly version in Maya.
A high poly version in most likely Maya with some Zbrush perhaps.
Then Baking down in Substance for texturing
and rendering in marmoset.

Ultimate goal is to have a character that looks like it lives in the Overwatch universe, so that way I can rig it and hand it off to a friend for animation. It's only a portfolio piece but I want it to look like I could drop it into a game engine.

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  • DavidCruz
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    DavidCruz polycounter lvl 8
    Best i can do as far as critiques go is make an outline hopefully bringing out the forms more, i've never seen this thumbnail/sketch ever until you posted it so i draw over what you supplied, if its bigger it might've helped me out more but that is what i could do with the res i had. 4 seconds.repeats now.
    Updated decided to just do it right(got to stop but it so cool and fun..)

    (note i added my own liberties to it of what i would do.) 
    Maybe providing a front, back and side view will give you more direction.

    Stomach area is a bit confusing with the lines going through it (for me) i like whats going on with the shoulder area and i see you picked up on it.  Idk if you are also using the current or older design of him as a reference, you can find that online if you search (for the learning purposes only, i have them but doubt it would be wise to share it on p.c. so do some searching)
    ^That should really help you out on understanding what they wanted or went for with the silhouette / shapes.

    Hope that helps, atm i can't help more so maybe someone will come around.
    Nice start and yes, go slow and get it right it will pay off, Good luck.
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug polygon
    Oh wow, okay great thank you! That's a huge help. I tried doing that on my own too but just couldn't figure out the form. This is a huge help. I'll make sure to keep posting with updates.
  • DavidCruz
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    DavidCruz polycounter lvl 8
    Cool no problem glad it helps, i tried to figure it out the best i could, i updated it.
    If you want modeling help, if you provide alternative views that will help probably get more people to comment. (make it easier for us, basically.)  Spent more time on this than i should have but i also learn how cool artist do cool things, so it helps me & you. 

    If you use the rulers and line tool you could make a fake entire model sheet layout before continuing, its what i do when i don't have much to go on and try to figure out things that way.  Like building my own back side by mirroring this view and leaving the silhouette intact and guesstimating where things go, it does take time but for me i am learning no matter what.

    Any whoozle,
    Looking forward to the results.
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug polygon
    So I've made some more progress in the past week. I haven't had too much time to really tackle everything so I've just generally reworked the legs (still finishing the upper legs there) as well as the mid section of the body. I've also generally made proportion changes to make him look more bulky in his back.

    I took some creative liberties on top of DavidCruz's sketch over of the original concept. I think that new design for the mid section looks a lot better than the original concept and makes more sense functionally.



    Let me know how some of these forms are looking. I'm still planning on really just forming these basic shapes out before I consider and higher details. I really want to focus on making the block-out stages look right since in the past I've tended to rush this step which I think has historically been a big mistake. Thank you again to the help I've received on this project so far!
  • Astrocoolbug
    I've made a lot more iterations since my last post and that the holidays have ended.

    I wanted to have some feedback on a few more things this time.

    -How is the model looking from the back since I have no reference of that, there are a few areas I have yet to hit on the back but overall how is it working?
    -I'm trying to capture a real top heavy feel so I wanted to know if the character feels like that.
    -I've reworked the silhouette many times now and I think I have it in a better place, thoughts?
    -Probably the most challenging part for me to fix was the circular shapes on the thighs, not sure why but it just really stumped me, how is it looking now though?

    I took some creative liberties myself in the knees, hands, and back so I would appreciate feedback about those specific area too.

    Again thanks for all the help, I think things are coming together.

    After this, I'm planning on touching up what needs up, making the weapons, and then perhaps starting the high poly pass before heading to zBrush and Substance for high detail work.
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi insane polycounter
    Get ready to bevel almost all the things
  • Astrocoolbug
    @DavidCruz Forgot to mention you, wanted to see what your thoughts were on the progress so far?
  • Astrocoolbug
    Small Update: I had worked on an Overwatch Smart Material for a little bit prior to this project so I've applied it onto what I've UV unwrapped so far. There's some High Poly Baking going on but it was mainly a quick style test to make sure that it's looking okay before I go any further. The edges need some clean up and the scale of the noise doesn't seem too uniform so I'll tweak it when I go to bring the whole character in.

    The Iray renderer in Substance is not my intended software to render out in so I'll try to match the cartoonier look in Marmoset down the line.

    Overall just trying to see if the shapes are working with the textures and lighting. I'm really liking the hand right now.

    When I unwrap some more stuff I'll get some more close ups.
  • Astrocoolbug

    I'm also redoing the hair. If anyone has a good technique for turning these into a plane texture I'd love the insight. Basically I want to put this onto a single plane as a texture with an alpha map. I use Substance for texturing so if there's a way to do it reliably I'm all ears.
  • Torch
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    Torch greentooth
    It depends how much level of control you want on those hairs, i.e. Will they bend, have physics, do you want clumps to move in patches? If not bothered and they're just going to be static I would just bake them as a strip of polys. If you're baking in toolbag it allows you to bake an alpha map, if in painter I wouldn't know as I haven't used it extensively. I'm sure it should be able to bake opacity though? Nice progress.
  • Astrocoolbug
    @Torch Interesting, didn't think about baking in Toolbag I'll look into that. I'm thinking since I'm trying to emulate the Overwatch style as closely as I can, I may to a layered thing that the existing characters have for fur and what not. If you just google Mei sculpt or the Balderich Rein sculpt, you can see how they use a layered polygon effect to achieve the fur or fuzz. I'm going to try that first but it's also possible that I could just keep them as polygons so I can have more control. I'll play with both and see which one seems most convincing.

    Thank you!
  • Astrocoolbug

    So for the past weeks I've been tweaking UVs, adjusting bakes, and adding some set up for a rig later on. Now that most of house keeping is done, I've just now run a quick bake into substance and rendered out a shot inside the software. I think some of the high poly details are coming through in some areas but I'm going to take the high poly into zbrush now and really add some detail there. I know this render is very crude but I wanted to get something out just so people can see some more progress.

    For future plans, I have the following left to do.

    zbrush High Poly Pass
    texturing in substance
    rigging
    animation
    marmoset render

    Also out of curiosity, I've seen people bake maps in marmoset but since I will be texturing in Substance, would that be something i should try? I don't know if there's an advantage to one over thew other but since I have both I thought I'd ask.

    edit: The hair is also missing because I think I'm going to have it separated in it's own texture set for the anisotropy effect.
  • Carabiner
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    Carabiner greentooth
    Really nice progress! Right now, imo the beaded necklace is reading as faceted geo -- maybe you could add a bit more space in between to emphasize that it's beads?
  • Astrocoolbug

    So after messing with the model in zbrush for a week, I've come to realize that I've lost some of the shapes that the original concept has. So I'm going to spend some more time trying to get the silhouette to look correct.

    These are just some of the notes I was able to put together on my own. I think the thing I'm struggling with most is how to make his hips a little more tight and in line with the concept without making it look like he has chicken legs.
  • Astrocoolbug


    So after taking a closer look at the concept and making notes to myself, I've now gone back and readjusted a lot of the forms.

    1. Hips are now more narrow
    2. Forearms and hands are slightly smaller but also tighter in design (I've forgotten that I will eventually be adding the shield over the top so it should look better)
    3. Belly area was really reshaped and I got rid of the tubes for now. I'm going to have to take a second pass on that because my original pass was destroying the silhouette a bit.
    4.Shoulders/Pauldrons have been reshaped and resized to reflect the concept more.
    5. The horns on his back were made smaller to help add more interesting shapes to the silhouette. (This was the biggest creative liberty I took, I'd be interested in feedback about it. It's from another one of the Wildebeest's concepts in the book, but I felt it could be cool on this version hence why I added it.)

    Overall I'm very pleased with how it's starting to look.

    Note: I'm aware the necklace isn't finished. I got to figure that out still, along with the pauldrons that have no inside faces.

    A few more days in zbrush to really polish the remaining things I need to do, so feel free to point out anything you see!
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi insane polycounter
    This pleases me.
  • Astrocoolbug


    I've been doing a lot of little troubleshooting on the main character for the past week now so the baking process has slowed down a bit. I should have more progress for that in the coming weeks. But in the meantime I've started work on the club and shield. here's the club so far.

    I think the main head is looking good in terms of the silhouette so I'm going to continue polishing and add detailing next week.
  • DavidCruz
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    DavidCruz polycounter lvl 8
    Hey sry been away and some how my explorer refuses to keep the pass for here so its ahead ache looking for it.  Anywho in a comp atm, but looks like you did what i would've suggested in that you look at your work critically (which you've done really well) also looking at the over watch stuff doesn't hurt either.  I also when i made the draw over for you kept looking for a better version and i found out i was wrong in a couple of places.  https://imgur.com/a/8DXem
    If that link works for you its a bigger version of the page, i didn't even know about this book so lucky you few who did got some neat stuff to work on.

    I like what you've done atm however i can't really review this thread working on something and the time to finish is coming up, :) glad you mentioned my help and wanted more feedback i've been away from here for 2 months thou so its tough getting back into the pc thread viewing groove i can spend to much time here tbh. :) I'll return though atm its looking good to me i like your changes and the textures look neat i am glad you went back to things to spice them up, we all do it or at least though's of us that want to make something look nicer than it would the 1st time around, take my current project, i redid parts 3 or more times to get it to a spot i like it so that is all it is review,*10, till you are happy with it (within a reasonable time-frame this stuff does take long, for some of us.)

    Ill be back =p

  • Astrocoolbug

    I was able to bake tonight which was unexpected but I think the results are looking pretty good. I threw my Overwatch smart material onto him and painted some decals and he's looking to be a good amount of the way there.

    A few more areas need some touch up and I need to add the hair back. I'm going to try baking the hair in marmoset as opposed to substance because I haven't been super impressed with how transparency is made in substance. Maybe I'm just going about it wrong but I figured I'd try it marmoset since the rest of him turned out so great in it.

    Next on my list is working on the weapon and shield as well as finalizing the hair. Once I have those things down, it'll be off to rigging so I can hand it off to a friend to animate.

    @DavidCruz thanks for getting back to me as well, no worries about being here but I really appreciate the help you gave me at the start. Your draw over was really helpful in getting the shapes right, and I think it's starting to show now so thank you so much! Good luck in your project as well.
  • Astrocoolbug

    Here's another close up again.
  • Astrocoolbug

    I've added the hair back in and took a couple high res renders, I've also post a marmoset viewer on my art station which is linked in my signature. I'm now working on the rig and weapons, let me know what you guys think!
  • Dihemi
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    Dihemi polygon
    Hey Astrocoolbug, I was looking at your textures two posts above. Have you considered making a separate UV layout for your emission/illumination texture? I don't know if it will help performance that much but you could change that 2048 texture for a 256/512 one just focusing on the few parts requiring emission. It's a bit finicky to do but shows you know how to optimise.

    Also, image above spells "WildebeSst" with two s, one e. But both this thread and your Artstation page spell it "Wildebeest". Typo?

  • Astrocoolbug
    Thanks for the feedback @Dihemi, I think I'll go back and make a texture set for the emission now that you say that.

    Also I don't know how I missed that typo thanks for catching it haha. I'll update it before the weekend.

    I appreciate the feedback!
  • Carabiner
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    Carabiner greentooth
    Armor and hardsurface is super solid. IMO the hair looks a little lackluster, have you tried using more an anisotropic style like Overwatch uses?
  • Astrocoolbug
    @Carabiner, I agree, in all honesty that part was more rushed compared to the rest. I've tried setting up the anisotropic shaders but I'm struggling to get that Overwatch look. I can't really seem to find any great documentation on it either that would be relevant for what I'm trying to achieve. Do you happen to have any good tutorials or documentation on how to pull that off?

    Also as a follow up I'm not sure if using cards is the way to go for this or if I should make it more detailed than that. Perhaps I should vary the cards better so that it blends nicer, especially in the front.
  • BagelHero
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    BagelHero polycounter lvl 6
    Now that we're focusing on it-- it's kind of weird that the hair is glued to the armor/growing out of it-- I had imagined it sprouting from a gap between the armor.

    In terms of technique-- A mix of geo like you have now with maybe some cards to fill in gaps and break up the silhouette and bulk it out should be fine.

    Might be something you can use here?
    https://polycount.com/discussion/comment/2449327





  • Astrocoolbug
    Wow that's some great stuff you found thank you. I knew about flow maps but I just never saw anyone be kind enough to share how to make one. Thank you for this.

    As for the first part, I think I'll need to take a second pass on making a gap for the hair as you said. I think this was the result of me modeling the high poly without the hair in zbrush. So I'll work on these things over the next couple weeks.

    Also the weapon and shield should be posted soon, I want to get some feedback on those as well.

    Thank you @BagelHero
  • Astrocoolbug


    Here's some marmoset renders of the weapon that I baked this morning. I'm working on fixing the hair right now but I wanted to get this out there as well.
  • Astrocoolbug

    Here's a screenshot of the shield in Substance, just trying to get the decals in.
  • Astrocoolbug
    I've been working on multiple parts of Wildebeest off and on since I hit a bit of a wall with the hair. The anisotropy process is fairly cumbersome to wrap my head around so it's taken a good amount of trial and error for me. So I've been doing some set up for when I skin him to a rig in the meantime. I also tried my hand at the hair on another one of my models that I will be working on after Wildebeest to see if I can get the desired effect

    Here's the hair shader running in Marmoset, I think I managed to get the anisotropy effect working but it looks kind of plastic like. Let me know if you guys have any feedback for that, also bonus points if you can name the character I'm testing this shader on. (As I said above, once Wildbeest is done I'll be making a new thread with her progress)


    Things to finish now are

    Fixing hair for Wilde
    Finishing rig (this is not going to be anything crazy since I mainly want to have the project focusing on modeling)
    Adding weapons into the file and making sure the colors and shapes aren't clashing

    Once all that is done, I'll post some final screenshots and then send it off to my friend to animate!
  • Astrocoolbug

    Alright it took some trial and error but here's the hair! I did some small adjustments to where the hair meets the armor but I'm not sure if it's passable or not, let me know what you guess think. I'm going to do some more set up and take a render with him posed soon because I want to see how that's going to look.
  • Astrocoolbug

    The rig is mostly done just tweaking some of the aim constraints I set up for the shoulders and kneepads, hence why they look a little weird right now. Also just cleaning up some general skinning things but I wanted to get a pose out there.
  • Astrocoolbug

    So he's all rigged and ready for animation. Did some small posing which isn't my strongest skill set so this coming week a friend is going to animate with the rig while I touch up the texture and any extraneous things. More or less this project is nearing the end and I've been super grateful of all the feedback I've gotten. It's really been a huge help, and I already know a bunch of things I will do differently on my next project. This is probably the biggest and longest character I've done so many hurdles popped up but the hardest stuff for me like the hair and the block out stages really were helped by you guys so thank you again for that.

    I'll be making smaller posts as the weeks go by until the animation is finished and then I'll make one last post.

    I've also updated a full breakdown on Art Station, link in my signature.
  • Astrocoolbug
    So a lot has happened in the past month. For one I'm now going to be animating Wildebeest myself so I will continue posting for a bit more on this thread.

    I also discovered some new baking techniques in Marmoset so I may redo the textures a bit, hence why I deleted that post that showed the textures.

    And I aim to try and put together a demo reel with these new characters I've been working on since I now have no where to go.


    Here's a rough of what I've been working on, Once I get this basic POTG animation down I'm going to try a more complex one, so we will see how this goes. Animating I think is my weakest area so please feel free to pick apart anything that looks weak or stiff.

    Thanks again to everyone who's helped out!
  • Astrocoolbug

    Here's a comp I also made for a thumbnail
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi insane polycounter
    I gotta admit, the textures could use some accentuated gradations and off hues to make it pop a little more and not feel flat.  I'd argue the red painted metal could use that especially, and keep the pure metal clean.

    This is just a suggestion for a solution to this criticism I have right now that it's reading a bit flat.

    The resolution of the normal map around the immediate head feels too low, and the "jaggies" are sticking out a lot more than I'd like them too.  can they be given more uV space? Or how are the UVs organzied for the whole model, including weapon and shield?

    Feels like a solid translation.  I would argue his POTG animation needs more weight behind it; I'm not buying him moving so fast.
  • Astrocoolbug
    Thank you for all your feedback.

    I think prior to fixing the baking issues there was more gradations because I baked the AO all together but now I did it will each piece separated so I agree. I'll go back and manually add that back in.

    As for the head I think I understand what your saying, the main thing I'm seeing is that the back part of the head has more jaggies. 
    I can try to get the silhouette of that looking better.

    As for the animation I've started adding the weight but maybe the movement I did was the wrong decision. Most of the default POTG animations terminate their main gesture after 20 frames or so to time with the music hit. So I'll try to sell it a bit more but if it still looks too fast still then I may have to choose a different motion all together.

    Thanks for the feedback @Brian "Panda" Choi !
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi insane polycounter
    Well actually it's less the head, but the collar elements that are getting jaggies.

    That being said, I don't think more polys would hurt.
  • Astrocoolbug
    I tied down some more of the movements, I'm going for a feeling of strong but kind of quick still. I want him to feel sort of wild yet look like he's controlling it. I know it's just a generic POTG animation but this is very much trial and error for me. Let me know what you all think.

  • Astrocoolbug


    This is also the most recent texture where I re baked the AO map to not intersect with parts that are going to be deforming. There was an issue before where when certain areas deformed, baking intersections could be seen. So I fixed that.
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi insane polycounter
    Oh . .  Oh you know what, what if you made the mace aggerssively vibrate, and he's constantly trying to keep it under control, like he has Parkinson's or something?  Like have the head of the mace aggressively glow and shake like it's thicc.
  • Astrocoolbug
    Here's a update with my project, I've been bouncing around between a few projects so it took me a bit to upload this.

    I think I'm going to be finishing up this project for real now. I learned a lot from this project and I'm very grateful for all the help from everyone. I've also posted a bigger collection of renders on Art Station so go give it a look if you're interested. https://www.artstation.com/artwork/k40Az6

    Thanks again everyone!
  • Astrocoolbug
    Alright so it's been a month now and I've had to swallow a pill I was trying to ignore. Wildebeest's current design just isn't working there's a lot wrong with it. I could state it all but I think @BagelHero said it better then anything I could say. SO I'll link that thread if you're interested in what that is about.

    BagelHero's Comment: https://polycount.com/discussion/220555/portfolio-feedback-3d-modeling#latest

    That aside I've devised a plan this time around to really make sure I stay on the mark.

    1. Match the concept (This is something I struggled a ton with, but I learned a lot from one of my recent projects where the forms were a lot easier to digest and see. But I think I have the skills now to execute it properly on WIldebeest). This is going to entail a few things
    • Really capture the Silhouette, Overwatch Sillouettes are so strong and really can stand on their own. Not a single character in that game blends with another even if you completed remove textures and lighting. My execution of Wildebeest did not demonstrate that. So I will be going back and reworking the geo to reflect the concept
    • I took liberties in some areas that don't really make sense so I will be reverting back to the concept to make sure I again stay on track.
    • My colors need to be a lot better, and just simply match the concept. Not much else to say there, I was being too samey with my color palette. (BagelHero did an awesome draw over in the other thread that literally illustrates these issue)

    2. Making sure my high poly pieces are clean enough for baking before just thinking "eh it wont show in the low poly, why worry?" I think there are some cases where I can get away with that but for the most part I think that's a terrible excuse. This is an extension of one of the bullet points where not only am I recreating some pieces now for the silhouette, but also to make sure my geometry is clean. I have a tendency to put poles in terrible places so I will be super conscious of it this time around and I will make sure that topology is making sense without losing detail. Also I just straight up was too lazy to fill in the hole of the leg, terrible. That's going to change too.

    Just a sample of bad parts on this model that show just what I need to fix

    3. I did a lot of texture experimentation recently and bought a few tutorials from professionals that really helped me learn a lot more about stylized materials specifically so I really want to try and match the Overwatch textures as best as I can with the programs I have. I'll be honest here, I didn't use reference when texturing which I now don't understand what I was thinking. SO I've already compiled a whole collage of images for the texturing process when I get back there.

    4. I'm not going to worry about rigging and animation until I'm really done, I was too quick to try and finish the character so I could jump to this stage. Again not sure what I was thinking, I will make sure this is really done before continuing on.

    5. And lastly, I learned a lot more about lighting recently too, but this is still one of my weaker areas. I need to just really study this and execute it well. If anyone has any good tutorials/reference for making good lighting I would really appreciate it. That one is bit harder for me to see for some reason but I think it'll come with practice.

    Alright so this is my plan, I'm posting so that way I can feel like I'm being held accountable and that way I will be more motivated to get it done. I've already begun reworking the geo in parts, I started with the shoulders because I think this is one of the more complicated pieces but also one or the most important ones. 
    Left: Original Geo || Middle: New Geo (Still WIP) || Right: Concept

    Drawover to help me figure out the planes.

    The bottom area of the shoulder opening is a little big right now but I think it is FAR better than the original shoulder piece. Anyway, I wanted to make this update as a marker for me to start this up again and really get it right this time. I'l make more iterations and post the progress at a quicker pace since now I have a lot more time. Thank you to everyone being blatantly honest about what needs to be changed.

    Round 2 here we go.
  • BagelHero
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    BagelHero polycounter lvl 6
    Late as always, but I suppose consider this a friendly bump, lol. Thanks for the tag!

    Your fresh start on the pauldron already looks much, much closer! Addressing the modeling and core issues first is the right path with this I think, but let it be known that I'm excited to see what you've learned re: texturing and lighting. Your plan and problem areas look spot on too. I'll be following for updates! :3
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