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Kratos FanArt (Overwatch Stylized)

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Hey Polycount,

I got so much great feedback on my last couple characters so I want to continue these posts since I really learned about 100x faster here so seriously thank you to this community of artists for the help.

Anyway, Kratos. So as the title suggests it's going to be a stylized version of him which at first thought may be not super interesting so that's where I'm curious about what people are thinking. Also I will be trying to emulate the Overwatch Art style in him so it's not going to be full cartoon but more semi-realistic proportions with stylized materials and silhouettes.


Edit: Current Progress



This is my reference board and some notes just so you can see my thought process.



This is where I'm at right now, I don't like where the head is at and while I feel like this is one of my better anatomical sculpts I don't know if it really says "Old Man Kratos"

I did something different this time around for the anatomy as well, I blocked out the main muscle groups that I knew were going to be visible with spheres.




I also struggle a lot with hands so I really took my time to try and make better hands this time around by using the same technique as I did for the muscle groups.



Overall I don't think this is bad for a days worth of work, but there is definitely a lot to be done. I think the thing I'm not 100% about is if I should adapt his clothes to be stylized or try to find a way to make new clothes that look like they could fit in the Overwatch universe. I'm not super great that designing so I don't know how smart that would be to do that, but I'm curious what everyone thinks.



And here's a quick PolyPaint just see how things are going.

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  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug keyframe
    Quick update, I worked on the face a lot this morning and I'm starting to like where this is going. I was unsure if he was going to be able to adapt Kratos, but I think it's going to look better than I thought. I still need to mess with the brow line I think. I keep making his forehead bigger because every time I look at reference I swear his forehead just keeps getting taller, but maybe it's at the correct height now.
    Also did some slight retouching on the muscle forms, but I'm afraid the abs almost look like armor so I'm going to need to soften those up a bit. I'm still not sure how I want to do his clothes, whether that be stick to his original design just stylized or iterate to make it like look more Overwatch. I think an Overwatch version of the Axe would look super cool but I don't know what the clothes would entail. I think for now I'll just stick with the base outfit and see how it looks.

    I may also do an early retopology this time around and project it back onto the mesh in zbrush so that way it will be easier later down the line and also help with any kinks that show up from zremesher.
  • kanga
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    kanga sublime tool
    The head looks large.  Hands look flat. Missing the anatomic volumes on the legs. The feet need work.
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug keyframe
    @kanga Yeah I've been working on the legs and feet, still just had them as placeholder.

    Thank you for the notes about the head and hands though, I'll make sure to fix those up
  • kanga
  • DavidCruz
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    DavidCruz interpolator
    Cool new stuff you are working on looking forward to more, i like that you went with a different approach will help you find what techniques you like best,  when i started i stuck to one way stubbornly but once i was comfortable enough to explore outside the comfort zone it got much more fun when i didn't feel pressure to do things in one way.  (now-a-days its much easier with so many options around.)  Good luck.  (i like the eyes.)
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug keyframe
    I've been working on lots of little fine tuning, the face is a challenge to try and decide what is important to keep and what you simplify down since he has so much high detail basically everywhere. My goal is to get all the main hits that denote his angularity. IE: Nose, angle of ears, brows, and beard. There's a few wrinkles that really stand out on him so I modeled those as well as the major shape of the eye bags, just made them angular also to help push that V shape he has. Aside from that I also want to incorporate the divit on the back of the skull area since I feel like it is a very distinct shape that I always noticed in game play for some reason. Also added the scars, I used soldier 76 as reference though to try and stylize it a but more since I felt his scars captured what I was intended best.

    Otherwise I've just bee slowly blocking in his armor details, I'm going to take some time soon to retopoligize the base mesh so I can make the hand wraps easily without having to extract them. I find the method of duplicating the bash mesh with clean topology and just masking the parts I need, results in cleaner modeling especially for something like gauntlets.

    I also have been reworking his Triceps since it looks a little odd.
    Added belts and started the stitching just so I can see if I like that level of detail.
    Also shrunk the head down as @kanga pointed out. I think it's looking better now.
    Only thing I'm struggling to decide right now is what I should do about the beard, I know I want it to be polygonal hair so I can use the anisotropic effect on it like Overwatch does but I've messed up hair in the past by oversimplifying the Low poly mesh, so I need to make sure I don't do that this time around.

    Still messing with leg proportions, I find legs to be the most challenging when it comes to this so it'll take some time.

    And thanks you @DavidCruz
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug keyframe
    Another Kratos update, just pluggin away at the rest of the gear. I've also started studying how Overwatch does their fur and have made some good progress there. I'll have a dedicated post for that since I think I sort of figured out how they did that. But for now just lots of fine tuning and making sure I detail the necessary areas. I started to make things more asymmetric then before. Also I touched the legs a little but still trying to make sure that it feels good.

    One thing I have always struggled with is hair so I'm trying to break down his beard into the essential shapes and then I'll simplify it all down once I like the main shape.


    I'll make sure there's no clipping but I've moved a lot around so there is areas I missed. There are some pieces I modeled in other 3D software since there are somethings I find more of a hassle to do in zbrush. I most likely will apply the fur once I've brought everything out of zbrush since I've already started a texture for it.

    Let me know if there are any glaring mistakes at this stage.

    Also I find my models get a little lumpy in some areas in zbrush just because I don't have a ton of control over where poles form when zremeshing so I'm considering making a retopo of the muscle groups and making a high poly out of that so I can get the cleanest bakes possible. Let me know if this sounds too overkill or if there are better alternatives. I know there are smooth grouping options with poly groups in zbrush which I do use often. However, I feel for skin it would end up looking too unnatural. Even though it's stylized I still what the muscle groups to look believable.

    Anyway, I'm going to do more big updates now until I get to texturing and hold off on super constant updates since its just a lot of fine tuning at this stage.

    Thanks everyone!
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug keyframe

    Made a lot of progress these past couple days. Mostly finished the pieces, the fur piece is placeholder right now. I have a few things set up in Maya to add to the model once I retopo him. I colored him in more detail then I've done for my other characters at this tage too to make sure I don't forget certain colors.

    The beard is something I'm going back and forth about. I may need try some other things in Maya perhaps to try and get those curves looking as good as possible.

    And the Axe was put together pretty quickly, I really only focused on the necessary big shapes and I'll do more detail work like fin wood grain in the texturing stage. 

    Here's a closer look at the axe. I have to detail the Pommel a bit more but I wanted to only get the main crevasses on the blade and I'll add the rest in Substance.
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug keyframe

    Threw together a high poly comp that Overwatch team uses, I tried to recreate it as best as I can with Marmoset since I'm sure they use Keyshot. The eyes are being worked on right now hence why they don't look like the eyes in the High poly comps Blizzard makes. But I wanted to try my hand at emulating those modeling sheets.

    Aside from this I've just been taking my time with retopoligizing and making sure I get the topology good this time around. A few projects in the past I've rushed that step and it just comes back to bite me in the future so I'm aiming to avoid that this time around.

    Let me know what you guys think!
  • BagelHero
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    BagelHero greentooth
    Wasn't too keen on this concept-wise (totally just a matter of personal taste), but the latest update's really selling it! Sculpting's really coming together too.

    If you're still up to pushing around some polys
    1. make sure the anatomy and positioning of the feet is up to scruff with the rest of the sculpt; as well as the "anatomy" of the boots. Figure you just haven't really gotten into them but they're looking a tad wonky.
    2. Similarly, maybe go over the legs to see if you can push the silhouette a little more, and in what ways. Exaggerating the kneepads, or maybe the way the pantlegs tuck in, right now they're reading as a bit too straight compared to the shapes ovw would usually go for.
    Keen to see your wires once you get far enough into retopo too! :p
  • PeterK
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    PeterK greentooth
    What matcap are you using here for the ZB render?
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug keyframe
    @BagelHero, thanks for the feedback about the legs and feet. I'm still fine tuning a lot of stuff so I can take a second pass at that. The feet are weird because I feel like the original character relied on a lot of texturing so I wasn't trying to put too much information there and I was honestly just thinking of remodeling it in Maya to get the cleaner edge flow for baking so I will mess around with that. As for the knee pads I see what you're saying and I agree. I'll go through and adjust some things.

    @PeterK If you are talking about the zbrush renders from the previous update (the colored version) then all I used was the basic material. If you meant this most recent update (the one with the beige coloring), I actually rendered it in Marmoset. I was trying to fake the look the Overwatch Team uses in their High Poly renders but I think they use keyshot, which allows you to color the AO. Marmoset unfortunately doesn't support that though to my knowledge. I tried to fake the look by adding some subsurface that's red but it's real subtle.
    Hope that's helpful, also if anyone knows any custom Marmoset shaders that do allow for AO color tinting then let me know I'd love to use it.
  • BagelHero
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    BagelHero greentooth
    @BagelHero, thanks for the feedback about the legs and feet. I'm still fine tuning a lot of stuff so I can take a second pass at that. The feet are weird because I feel like the original character relied on a lot of texturing so I wasn't trying to put too much information there and I was honestly just thinking of remodeling it in Maya to get the cleaner edge flow for baking so I will mess around with that. As for the knee pads I see what you're saying and I agree. I'll go through and adjust some things.

    [snip!]

    Hope that's helpful, also if anyone knows any custom Marmoset shaders that do allow for AO color tinting then let me know I'd love to use it.

    https://marmoset.co/toolbag/add-ons/ -- Second shader on the official list is colored AO! Hope it works for your needs.

    Also yeah, remodeling might work for this case. They do seem pretty simple. I do think a quick check of the underlying foot structure might help a bit. Against something like this maybe?
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug keyframe
    @BagelHero Ok thank you I'll check it out! And thank you for the reference.
  • PeterK
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    PeterK greentooth
    Thanks for the info, Looking forward to seeing the completed asset.
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug keyframe

    A majority of the topology is completed, just optimizing the dense parts and tweaking some silhouette parts.

    Not the most interesting update but thought I'd share it anyway.

    Also I'm trying a different approach for the beard, it's not going to be cards even though it looks that way at the moment. I just want to emphasize the main strokes in the beard and then simplify some of the shapes in zbrush.

    I've been messing with the legs a lot and I ended up scraping the changes I made and went back to my first pass. So for now I'm keeping this shape which looks pretty bland in this format but I'm curious to see if the texturing is going to change the focus anyway and maybe it will be ok.

    Also this is how I layered the fur so far, Still tweaking the cards but its basically a trimsheet that I cut out and layer.

    I made High Poly geo of the fur and baked it onto a plane and used the alpha baking feature in marmoset.
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug keyframe

    Here's an update about the texturing, renders were done in Substance so it's not accurate to what the Marmoset render will look like.

    After a lot of fine tuning I finally started texturing and really have just blocked in colors and baked maps. I'm going through now and hand painting things more. The fur and eyes are in separate scenes and I'm still working on getting the beard shape correct but once I finish that I'll take a Marmoset render. Also some of the fabric pieces are too shiny right now because I plan to break it up with noise.

    I'm really focusing on the unlit color layer and the roughness layer this time around. I would neglect the roughness layer in the past a bit however that's a critical step in trying to achieve the look I'm going for.
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug keyframe

    Here's a Marmoset Render with a few new additions to the textures
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug keyframe

    Here's a few screen grabs of today's progress. I'm going to start refining the beard today as well as fixing the fur texture, they don't feel integrated with the rest of the geo so that's going to be a big focus.

    Something I was having an issue with if anyone could help is that I have a plane over each eye in Maya with a ramp to fake a shadow over the eye. It's a Black to transparent plane, but when I try to set it up in Marmoset it won't gradate, it just clips out an edge.

    Problem (Marmoset)


    Desired Look (Maya view port)


    I've tried the Dither setting too but that looks even worse so if there is a way to do it I would love to know. I can't seem to find this exact issue on another forum so I could just be setting it up incorrectly.

    I've tried both Black to White and Black to transparent but they essentially result in the same issue.

    (Note: The eye texture is Placeholder, still working on blending more tones)
  • DavidCruz
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    DavidCruz interpolator
    Put the alpha to add and the change it to R instead of A, it might be wrong in how to do things right but it should fix the issue.
    Looks nice, congrats on sticking to it.
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug keyframe
    @DavidCruz I can't seem to get that to work either so I'm going to mess with it a bit more but thank you for the help. It could have to do with my texture so I'll try a few things
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug keyframe
    A quick text update.

    I have a couple friends that are going to rig and animate him so I'm going to clean up the model a bit more and pass it off to them. There are some texturing things that need fixing but I'm going to do that after I've optimized the mesh more.
  • MisterWolfen
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    MisterWolfen polycounter lvl 4
    This is so dang cool @Astrocoolbug the facial hair and feathers are so well done ;___; I'm so glad you're going to get him rigged as well, can't wait to see him full rigged and moving around  =)
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug keyframe
    @MisterWolfen Thanks, I appreciate it! Yeah this has been my favorite character to make so far and I too am excited to see what the rig will look like.
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug keyframe
    Alright so, since that big upload there's a few things for this character I'm going to finish and also rework.

    1. There's some areas texturing wise that didn't get the same level of treatment as the rest so I'm going to make sure that I fix that up.

    2.Overall the texturing is stylized but I feel like I was still relying too heavily on procedural textures for somethings, because of this I some parts felt like stylized assets with more realistic textures slapped on top.
    (The roughness still need more tweaking but I want to go for more of that chunky noise breakup since the Overwatch leans more towards that. I'm using a leather procedural on the left image and after looking at it for awhile I just feel like it's competing with the stylized look and really doesn't belong. This sort of thing exist throughout the model so I hope to go through and address that. However I am curious what everyone thinks about this since it may just be my subjective eye that has been looking at this man for over a month now)

    3. There were some baking issues around the model so I went through and started cleaning that up.

    (There are still some baking issues with the beard at the moment so that is going to need a second look as well.)

    4. This is a quick one, but I need to fix up the fur, it's just not working as intended.

    5.This last point may be one of the biggest issues with this model and my models in general. I feel that I have a tendency to make everything shiny, including things that don't need to be. This is most likely because I want to show off the modeling but I have to keep in mind that people's skin and various other pieces don't look like plastic. separating what is shiny from what is not is super important because it helps draw attention to each part due too the contrast. I started fixing this on his skin and will be giving the same treatment to the leather and cloth pieces.

    (In addition I also feel like his skin is pretty dead looking in some areas so I'm going to add more color to break up the base color)

    Overall this has been my most successful and fun project, I've really enjoyed working on this character. I think Organic models are just more engaging for me. I really appreciate all the feedback I get from this community, so thank you all!
  • Astrocoolbug
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    Astrocoolbug keyframe
    A quick update on Kratos, I'm still working on the textures but it's a little off and on. I was working on him pretty much non stop for a month so I needed to take a break. My friend is also still working on the rig. I started a new character to keep things fresh but I'll have more updates soon.
  • Olingova
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    Olingova greentooth
    Yeah sometimes it feels good to take a lill break and come back on it with fresh eyes :D:D It looks really really good!! I think you got it pretty right with the shininess tweaks but i wouldn't have changed the roughness of the leather to be honnest, i think it's better when slightly shiny, and maybe add a bit more variation on it? Just my two cents, i look forward to see how it goes and see it rigged!!
  • BagelHero
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    BagelHero greentooth
    Yeah, look after yourself and keep your eyes from gettin tired of this guy! Aside, his skin is looking dreamy... love to see that progress.
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