Home 3D Art Showcase & Critiques


It was some kind of a graduation work and a challenge for me after couple years of studying 3D.
Since this was my first attempt at creating a character and almost the first time I opened ZBrush, he has problems, poor optimization, etc. but I steel would like to hear anything about it, criticism or whatever, so feel free.

Here are my portfolios if you're interested:

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  • samurairob
    First, let me start by saying, I wish I could draw that well! I only offer critique because being a samurai is something I live and breath by, for over 30 years now, and it's a bit of pet peeve, since some of the stuff would of bothered a great deal of Samurai, and accurate information I understand is difficult to find.

    So the period of armor he's showing is roughly around the sengoku era, but the lacing shown is clearly late or post edo, not to mention, also incorrectly shown. A samurai would of only worn that lace pattern as an ornamental piece, as it is understood that lacing non - khozane (scale construction), or lame armor as above, placed to much stress on the lames, by having too many holes in plate strips, the armor would not withstand heavy attack. So this armor was not worn previous to the warring states period ending, if your fellow is post 1600, then it's fine, but if you expected him to be a combatant, then surely he is not..

    Although the lacing is still present in the sode, haidate, shikoro, and kusazuri (shoulder, lower thigh, neck, and upper thigh) armor. The lacing is very sparse, regardless of if its sugake odoshi or not, and its missing several key components, it is generally understood that if using lace that has fewer passes through the armor, the thicker the lace should be, because it should still give a rich and luxurious appearance. Keep in mind, lacing of the armor is in many ways a nod, to all the samurai who came before, since the very first armors, the lacing was the way in which you personalized it, either by clan, tradition, school of martial expertise, religion, or prowess, but either way, by the time this samurai could of donned armor, lacing armor was a 700 year old tradition. The X's in the cross stitching is considered very poorly laced, if they actually look like x's, since the lacing is supposed to be thicker, usually around an inch wide is used at least, in sugake, upto 2 inches thick, the cross stitch should look like a really fat T, the best armorers made the x, look more like a period, you couldn't see the underlying cross, unless inspected within an  inch or two, they folded the first stitch, underneath the overcross.

    Although it is true, during the sengoku period, some lacing "requirements" were forgone, such as at the bottom most plate, various patterns can be utilized, some of these were shortened, for instance, instead of three cross stitches at the bottom of every ending plate to a section of armor, they did one set, or did the ita only, this was likely due to manufacturing requirements, because of constant war. HOWEVER, if your suit displayed any kind of pattern, this pattern must be maintained throughout, like the ending pattern of your sode, haidate differ, this would of been unacceptable. If it's used, it's used throughout the entire armor. Additionally, you have the Ita cord showing (it's the first row of lacing, running down armor, on both the left and right side of any armor piece), this cord is always a different color than the cord next to it, as this cord is a suspension cord, it runs throughout every laced piece of armor, starting at the top of any piece, running down one side, cross stitched at the bottom, and back up the opposing side, onto the next piece of armor, this lace is literally the tie that binds all plates together by a common thread, normally it's a fancier lace than the others, as it can be of a spotted or plover pattern.

    Speaking of suspension cord, the kusazuri would be very difficult to wear, if the many rows of cords that suspend them, were tied up in a sash, the belt is correct, as it was a weak point in the armor, so a chain mail woven thick round belt, as you have depicted was tied over the kusazuri to prevent it being cut off, but in that configuration, would bind the cords up, making the kusazuri bound off your legs, rather than part when you walked/rode a horse.

    The suneate, are missing the knee cap assembly, all suneate came in two parts, even the full plate ones of late sengoku, its just the second part could be riveted to the lower plate, but it was always present, as the knee caps are a favored target of opposing samurai, and towards this period, enhancement for protection of that area did as well, with knee cap guards extending off to the side of the leg to which ever was the "stance direction" upto the middle of the thigh are not uncommon. But even poor samurai, using the lightest loadout, would of still had knee cap protection, beyond the shin guard. Most cheaper versions of suneate, would be strips of metal, bound by chainmail between, with a knee cap, that had some kind of liner, either leather, hemp, etc, with some chain mail, and some kind of plates, tied on by an additional rope.

    Speaking of chainmail, at the kote, I was super pleased that you put the hiji gane on (the elbow ornamental/functional guard) on. The hand guantlets are of a correct type, two piece thumb, and two piece back hand to first row of knuckles, which was the most common load out of the 1500-1600 period. The chainmail, although of a correct pattern, fails in a few places, namely, from the knuckle guard, to the cloth, not only did chain link the pieces of the guard together, it ran in front of the knuckles and was secured to the rope lining the hand, and was sown under the rope, and the rope sown over the chain mail, additionally you have chain running under the forearm guard, when it would of been secured to either end, and used as the connector for in between  forearm plates, something else missed, is that the rings that connected armor, ranged a great many sizes, that is, like the rings that connected the knuckles to the back hand plate, would of been smaller gauge, and likely doubled up in count, this is true for all plating connections, as usually 3-4 varying sizes of mail were used. There is also missing the expanse chainmail webbing, which runs from the lower part of the bicep to the upper forearm, this webbing chainmail, looked like a weave of square netting, or "web units" which looked like large circles of chain mail loops, this was to ensure that when the arm was fully closed at the elbow, that the chainmail didn't bind up because of compression, thus allowing full range of motion in the elbow and arm. The plates under the sode, would of had more connecting links linking them together, but otherwise correct. The sode lames, kuszuri, haidate, and do, should all be the same size, one should not be wider than the other, or use more plates than the other. The sode is also missing the top most lame, that has a 90 degree bend at the top, which protects the attachment mechanism. The frogs used to secure the do's shoulder straps, I have not seen before, normal ones consist of two oblongish triangles, the female one being smaller than the male one, of various sizes used to secure all manner of items to the do. The helms visor is separate of the helm, but the plate design overall is correct, however I've never seen a helm, that was uniform as yours. Most helms are purposely "mis-shaped", since most armorers crafted the helm by hand and without templates, they usually didn't come out symmetrical, this is even true of 100+ plate super expensive helms. They looked more like an inverted lima bean.

    He is missing his Mempo! Even a half mask would suffice. The only samurai who went without helmet or face protection, were usually daimyo or general type figure, the ones with the 5 foot horns, or sun array, or huge lobsters dancing on top, a retainer would carry for them, but these samurai usually didn't see front line combat, and they usually occupied a command tent, but if I'm on the front lines, I'd like all the protection I can get.

    All the critique aside, I can tell quite a bit of effort went into your depiction,  as I see a great many just horrendously depicted Samurai, which is primarily why I decided to comment, as I know how hard it can be without direct access, to sort through Samurai history can be. Thank you for taking the time to read my rant, safe travels, if you have any questions about Samurai, I would be more than happy to assist, but I assume your project is over!
  • AlexandrKryuchek
    Well, let me start by saying that I would like to know samurai as much as you do!)

    I am very flattered for this attention, appreciate and thank you very much for everything you said!
    Now is the time to try to explain myself a little, dot the i's and cross the t's..

    And yes, it is pretty frustrating how difficult it is sometimes to quickly find some information that you can quickly assimilate. But since this applies almost to everything that has a history of at least a few years, in such cases on real projects we just need historians and experts, and not non-profiled students like me)

    First of all, I would like to point out that it would be easier for your mental health to accept this as a representation of a samurai from a parallel universe with an eye on the existing ones. As you understand, I just wanted to test myself in character creation, learn a couple of new programs, anatomy and other things from scratch, and all this in !A COUPLE OF MONTH! so historicity would suffer in any case, even though I hoped that there would be an expert who I will please with a few strokes and which will smash my work into trash and here you are, thanks again)

    Plus I always had a shapeless idea of ​​how an ideal samurai looks in my head, all that remained was to collect references and assemble it all in 3D. After researching, it turned out that the ideal samurai, in my understanding, lived around the end of the 16th century at best, and maybe even closer to the 19th. In general, this is the quintessence of the armor of the third-plan soldiers from the 2003 film "Last Samurai", several Pegaso figures, authored by Viktor Konnov like "Samurai in full armor", my sick imagination and lack of time. A distinctive example of the fact that this was all in my head is this piping along the boundaries of the plates, which I did not notice on real samples, but I thought that it was there all my life...

    In fact, I still seem to have done a good research work as in general I knewed most of these problems, but I could not prevent them due to the complexity or lack of time, I just do not know at the moment how effectively make kozane in 3D or kusazuri cords, which I hid under the belt, and to understand the lacing palettes and implement such subtleties, you need to read and absorb a lot of information. Suneate without a knee cap is just an intentional departure due to my imagination and well, the time has shortened a little...
    The chain mail turned out to be an unpleasant technical snag with which I experimented for a couple of days and tried to do it five times, and it haunts me to this day. Menpo also came under the knife because of the time, unfortunately, like many other things, such as hair, skin details, jinbaori, maedate, neat waraji, tare, ornaments and patterns, correct lacing, maybe some other weapons and technical details. In general, I rely heavily on later periods as I realized that many of the "requirements" become at least less strict, but still it's better to think of him as an Japan-inspired warrior, and not as something specific, even though I called him a samurai) 

    Otherwise, you're right about everything and it's precious, thanks!

    However, it is still funny what many many obvious things I missed, for example, the fact that the visor should be removable, and forgot that such symmetrical things are difficult to do in such conditions. It's funny, at first it really turned out to be quite uneven by mistake and I redid it a couple of times with indignation) 

    "...huge lobsters dancing on top..." — ahaha, im crying, such an accurate description🤣

    Actually not so much effort as struggle with tech in a tight timeline. But unfortunately, this is almost the main problem, since building a house on a bad foundation, if not a bad idea, than it's simply exhausting, so I had to finish at that for now. But thanks for your understanding, in the later stages of its creation, I really felt like the most beaten person in the world)

    By the way, if you're interested, here's a really elegant and long-term interpretation, or at least visually more impressive from a more experienced and tough guy: https://polycount.com/discussion/204199/finished-samurai/p1
  • samurairob
    Indeed Onna-Bugeisha! Yes, I see the many improvements and refinements you have since implemented. Let me apologize, I was not intending to sound so overtly critical of your work, I can easily see how it was, given the huge wall of text I wrote.

    In the last 8 months to a year of looking through countless 3d files, searched for by myself and a few of my students, of the hundreds of "Samurai" renderings I've gone through, I have only found one, that was accurate. And the gentleman, was commissioned by a museum that gave him countless high definition photos of just one set of armor, since he was copying directly from a full set, and semi-knowledgeable people were the ones taking photos for his reference, and being available to him, to answer any questions he had during the process, they were very specific with him and they wanted an accurate 3d model, of the one suit, so it was kind of spoon fed to him.

    Although, he did a wonderful job, and the detail was impressive, he even rendered the small pin head cherry blossom rivets, that are used to hold fukurin (metal trim that's less than a 1/4", that's used to fix ornate leather to the armor) in place, these rivets are tiny, and even people with average knowledge of the armor, aren't aware of them, especially in O'yoroi, since much more of the "metal" that makes up the armor, is concealed by the kozhane, it's easy to overlook something the size of half a match-head.

    So, although there is no shortage of Samurai art, very little if any of it, is actually representative of Samurai. On one hand, I understand this is in part due to information, or lack thereof that's available on Samurai, and a general unwillingness of Samurai to make information available, I fall victim to this all the time, in which I just don't share my knowledge. I've practiced for nearly 30 years, and you are the first person I've ever talked to on the internet, about Samurai. But on the other side, it's sad for me, many people can venerate, or try to emulate whatever aspect of Samurai that stands out to them, but very few try to learn about the actual thing, I worry about this a lot... Someday, when I die, all my knowledge goes with me, this is a reason I took on students this last year, I worry that our history, culture, meaning will vanish, and all that will be left for better or worse, will  be a huge conglomerate of..... hmm.... say politey! Entirely inaccurate view. I watched this new documentary on netflix, about Samurai just the other day, by the british, but in the first hour, they had already either outright fibbed at least a dozen items of pretty strong historical meaning, or did the poorest research on the Samurai or periods related to. Maybe I don't notice when I watch other documentaries, because I'm not an expert or have working knowledge like I did here. And their is such a richness to the Samurai way of life, that's been handed down for over a thousand years. So, it saddens me, to see so little in todays information rich environment, how little of the Samurai is known, and actually represented accurately.

    So, when I saw your art, I could genuinely tell, that you had put effort into your work, and since I know that sometimes the error can be because of the information that's been input, I wanted to share. In hopes, that if I did, who knows, maybe the next time, your art would move me to tears for its authenticity. And although my list looks daunting, you did just as many things correctly, the sincerity there, is what compelled me to say anything. Please forgive my poor internet etiquette, as I was and am, still impressed by your work, especially given the time frame in which you accomplished it.

    In fact, perhaps you can help me, if you still do 3d artwork, I could commission you a task. My original reason for going through all those files, and delving into 3d myself, is, two of my students are just about experienced enough, to want to train in armor. I happen to make armor, on special occasions, so I had wanted to rig some characters up, that I could swap out various parts on the model, so they could first design their armor and be a part of it, but then they also get to visualize a model, that way they don't have buyers remorse, or an option sounded boring, but they loved it when they saw it, not when I explained it lol, so they could chose their colors, their various armaments, and I would have a visual aid. I thought blender would be like inkskape, sure it's hard to learn, but 1-2 months later, its manageable. Well, it has not been lol! It's been 6 months now, and I have just been to consumed with my other affairs, to make any progress. And I'd really like if my students got a chance to do something I didn't get when I learned armor, and then it also would be a nice reference of work, my students could use when I'm gone and I could pass that chunk along to the next generation. I am not rich, but as long as it's reasonable, I would be honored to work with you, to put together, 1 character rig, and one fully accurate set of armor, and any accompanying bits. I have about 6 months, before I should start making their armor, at worst, I have 3-4 months, hopefully this is doable. Thank you for taking the time to respond to me, and I am sorry it took me so long to respond to you.

    May you be as the dragonfly, to never go backwards, always forwards, to only know decisiveness and confidence in your life's decisions, that you never have to repeat or retreat, may your efforts yield that which you give, and success always be yours.
  • AlexandrKryuchek
    I didn’t do Onna-Bugeisha, just to be clear.

    There is no need of apologize, you didn't say anything wrong, and I am very glad to hear criticism, especially from an expert who has invested decades in this knowledge.

    Yes, I understand what you are talking about, sometimes I am also worried about the idea that over time the story turns into a fable with "unicorns", but I think that this is simply inevitably good or bad...

    Your offer is tempting, but unfortunately I don't think I can handle it at the moment.
  • samurairob
    Yes I know, but to me it is, since (this is changing as of recent times, but when I went through most of my initial training, this is what I was taught, so I lean more towards the 1890-1970 viewpoint) my frame of reference, a woman could not be samurai, like I said, this has changed drastically over the last 10-15 years, but mostly changing in the last 5-10 in terms, that women are occupying the soke position, and are also being named as next in line to lead a clans xyz as a head. Now, don't go writing me off yet, for my views as I learned them, were tied to clan views most commonly held around the 1100-1350's period, as this was the period my sensei was mostly patterned after himself, as he taught me, I didn't really learn about anything occurring after the collapse of that periods shogunate, or the events that ultimately led to the warring states period of time, or its conclusion, the edo period, or restoration, and establishment, until I was in my 20's. So, this was a period in which, women had a very strong role, and in many ways was equal to Samurai. And my points of contention, are strictly from an honor perspective, not one of gender.

    You see samurai, is a title bestowed to the men of the class, and was originally saburau, and later became the understood version used today, of samurai. And indeed, before being nobility, my knowledge starts when sei'i-taishogun is issued and the clan, who at the time, isn't really a clan, but our information from this period, is mostly in a dialect, that we no longer know how to read, and since it only relates to how the clan formed from, isn't an area that is actively pursued. The clan originates from this period, from the Minamoto clan, of which a member during the first shogunate formed by the famous Minamoto, the brother of said general, Minamoto No Yoshimitsu (not the famous one, which is Minamoto No Yoshiie, the head of the Minamoto) in the late 1100's. His son, Minamoto No Yoshikiyo, takes the surname of Takeda, by 1181 they are recognized as an official derivative of the Minamoto, serving many times, over many conflicts, if I recall correctly, I believe the highest title bestowed, was daishogun sometime before the 1400's. It was in this period, 1100-1400, that my sensei's mostly originate from. This is the period in which our name changes, mostly as a function of what can be viewed as a grammar update, to Samurai, it is also in this same period, in which women earn their bestowed title, the equivalent to Samurai, Onna-Bugeisha, there are stories of it occurring earlier, but isn't recorded in any capacity that the clan can attest to, that is factual, so our position is it occurred when it shows in their records, which happens to be during the same period in which we begin documenting clan history in any currently legible history, and I should also throw in a caveat here, although we begin documenting things during this period, and even to this day, large chunks of stuff is passed through what is essentially oral traditions, there is a lot of contention surrounding any written work, namely because the clan records things that are written, kind of as a function of service to the imperial class, we may or may not be truthful in these accounts, on any number of subjects, it is well known within a clan, that we often have several versions of something, as a made up example, we might record a name as being born to the clan, to a minor province, when it's a internal understood, that it's referring to the 3rd son of the current head of clan, by way of concubine, and really indicates a jurisdiction  that is responsible for the start of his "officer" training, or tactical school, or various other skill sets known to the clan, in which is deemed to be needed for the kids future role, another date might be recorded that references some tax collection some years later, that references the full completion of formal training, this type of stuff is rampant, and unfortunately, once it's past 3-5 generations, is only anecdotally remembered to of occurred, as having the specific details is no longer relevant, the information stops being carried forward. That's one kind, another kind, which relates to our arts, is very complex, as some documents can be read directly, by anyone and sound like a report on grain stores, but could be a systematic recording of arts mastered by what clan members, etc. Essentially stuff that's in plain sight, but doesn't mean the same thing to you, as it does me. Another type, and this is very broadly, as this topic is hard to get at, and is very nuanced, is information actively recorded that is designed to fool even the most observant, in which entire systems are fictitiously created, and all of these things can be intertwined, have multiple versions, be used by many subsets of the same clan, for various reasons. So even when you have an "official" document, it might not be... It's also not helpful, that each clan member has a different understanding of all these subterfuge techniques in play, at any given time within their own clan. And you can guarantee (about the only thing you can), that whoever is leading the clan, probably doesn't at the very best, know more than 70% of these things at the height of their power. So you have to always view even royally sealed documents (especially those          required by the non-military nobility), as by 1200, we have a mostly love/hate relationship with most of the ruling nobility in Japan.

    At any rate, across many documents, royal transcripts, and clan documents, this is when it is recognized that a woman may pursue (who is a woman that is born to the samurai class) additional roles assigned to the Samurai class, this is when she is officially recognized in ceremony, and battle deeds are recorded just as they are for their counterpart, the Samurai. However, just like the Samurai, they are bestowed entirely unique honors, that represent the honor obtained through service. Namely the title, armor specific to them is officially developed and fielded, and their class symbol bestowed, the Naginata, men and Samurai can no longer field this weapon, it is entirely bestowed to them. This is also conversely true for Samurai, only honor bound Samurai, who take the primary oath, may be referred to as Samurai, they also have armor specific to their class, that only they wear,  they are also bestowed the Daisho, a bit later, as their class symbol. Only Samurai may wear the short blade, and katana combo, anyone else, regardless of stature, rank, sex, or any other name, is an offense that does lead to execution, it's serious business to mascaraed, to pretend to be of a different class, regardless of rank. Samurai do not wear court clothing reserved for the emperor or those of magistrate, indeed Samurai clothing is often considered the very bottom of acceptable royalty wear, and our clothing, goes through many iterations to  become even tolerable to be seen in by upper royalty, and that's just so we don't offend them... So, it's viewed as an insult to both the honor of the Samurai, to have Onna-Bugeisha dressed in Samurai armor, wielding daisho, and calling themselves Samurai, which if actually occurred, would of been grave enough, to have implications that would of impacted the clan and your family for generations. Because you have the exact same title, but one that is specific to your deeds, that has equipment suited to your chosen and preferred weapons and tactics, it's essentially like if you walked up to the queen and called her king, oversized her robes, and insisted that she act as a man, or calling the king, queen, changing his formal wear, and insisting that he behave as that class, or calling the duke, duchess, or the baroness a baron, doing so directly, I'm quiet sure would have dire consequences, they are not the titles earned, nor used. And to those who earned their own title through warfare, would have been offended to have been mistaken for their counterparts, specifically because they paid for their title in their own blood, of their own accolades, which is why they are honored by their own title, and those who did wore that title proudly and predominantly. Unfortunately, by the conclusion of the warring states period, and later edo period, for some reason, women are relegated to lesser positions, and no longer viewed as equal to Samurai, which up until the late 1500's early 1600's, are considered just as vital, capable fighters, and honorific as the male Samurai.

    So I refer to them out of honor, by their name. This is changing as of late, with women sometimes preferring, or being named as Samurai. This isn't unilateral however, as some are really opposed (current bugeisha) to this development, while clearly some women are seeking unification of the role differences, to the universally recognized Samurai name. I follow suit, with the clan's recognized view, we respect all women who served as warriors with the title recorded by their clan, which is for the moment, 98% Onna-Bugeisha up until 2010, when other titles have actually been awarded and documented as differing. So if she went to war in the last decade, she could be a Samurai, if not, she would likely be as offended as the Samurai she was mistaken for, especially when the honor of a last stand is related to future generations! I guess it all boils down to what period she was a part of, whether or not, she should be referred to as. And then again, it's your art, I don't have any desire to own anyone's expressions, or depiction of any creative work you create.

    The only thing I can ever offer, is knowledge that is directly related to this particular subject, that is specific to the Samurai I interact with, or have learned from, or works I have direct access to.

    If you ever want any information related to Samurai, you can always contact me, I am more than happy to share what I can, I have many documents I can share, or confirm information specific to 1400-1700, with most of my information centered around 1400-1500 era, I literally have countless volumes directly from that era, documenting nearly every facet of Samurai life, from head viewing etiquette, to eating, summons to court, the many clothes worn by samurai  for the event attending, armor creation, and repairs conducted during that period, all manner of things required and used by the clan, in everyday life, from acceptable variants of household furniture, to the recording of every mask used in an official festival in a given decade, transversely, the Government of Japan, holds contact information to every clan that has been officially recognized for some capacity as at least a historical, and cultural asset, up to those that are considered priceless national treasures, and as far as I know, every clan is more than happy to answer any questions related to their clan, and most will provide examples of actual things employed, this has always been a Samurai quirk, you will almost never see internet documents or any publications from a Samurai of this nature, however, if you take the initiative to contact a clan, 98% of them, will be happy to share what information they can, with you. It's kind of like a test of sorts, I don't want to spend time, sharing information that may or may not be used, just to put it out there, but if you show to a Samurai, interest in their culture, contact them directly, and if you're doing something like a period piece they will provide you with period accurate information, if its sci-fi samurai, or fantasy endeavors, they likely don't care.                     

  • samurairob
    As a parting info, here is a picture of actual Bugeisha armor, that was fielded by a real live Bugeisha a few years back, during an official demonstration, and following parade. I don't recall the clan, she's a part of, if you want to know, I can find out for you.

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