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[WIP] Insanity Catalyst, LP -> HP for 3D Printing

polycounter lvl 8
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Brendan polycounter lvl 8
Now that I've got a 3d printer, I'd like to make a few things from my fave games.  The first of these being a catalyst from Demons Souls.

I've got the model and textures from the game (god that was a pain).  They'll serve as reference for size/materials only; they're far too low-poly to be of use otherwise.  

First task is me getting the game object into Unity to look at the mesh, see what was done to save polys and what is actually a hard-edged 4-sided shape. 

Seems like most of the pommel is meant to be square; hard edges all around and a strong silhouette.  

The handle/grip on the other hand...should be square-ish in cross section?  Maybe IRL it would be square with soft edges because of a leather/material weave.  It looks like it's got some sort of weave in the grip, but the pattern seems off, like it's got 1 too many strands compared to the usual.

The ornament (top bit) is supported by 5 pieces; on central pillar and the 2 paired spirals on the outside.  In section, those pieces seem to be like forged steel with all the scale left on, and thick square gold/brass rims on each corner.  I'd say there's a potential weak point at the bottom where it meets the grip; everything's loaded on one small square section.  

The fabric obviously is going to have to be real fabric, not plastic.  I'll to to a fabric store and see what they think.  It's actually 2 pieces in figure-8 formations, one starting at the top of the grip and another at the top.  I could hide the seams either in the overlap or when they pass through the metal ornament.  I might need to glue them (???) to the ornament as well so they don't just fall off.  

One of the stranger things about this is the size - 0.5m long and between 5 and 15cm wide; quite a large object (though I suppose it needed to be for in-game visibility @ 720p on PS3).  I might scale it down to 30cm perhaps.  Always thought it'd be something similar in size to a slightly larger 2-handed bottle opener but there you go.

The catalyst in Unity.  

Lighting test - Albedo, Normals, Both.  Light at 0 degrees angle, from the right.

RGB Lighting from XYZ, shadows at 0.5 strength.  Just to show fine detail and directionality.

This is a bit of a challenge for me since all the detail is going to have to be in one super-high-poly mesh.  Normal maps obviously aren't going to do anything, nor heightmaps.  Unless...would it be worth using height/displacement maps for small detail to offset the mesh?

And I will have to then cut the object into pieces to fit into the print volume, maybe even include some tabs/keys so they align correctly together when assembled.  For strength, I have some carbon fiber tubes, I might end up setting one through the center of the handle and ornament for strength.

I know the fabric is going to have to be real fabric.  What about the grip?  Should I print + paint that, or look into leather wrapping?

Wish me luck lads and ladettes.  
I'll post updates soon hopefully.
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