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Mexican Bandit WIP - (Caution image heavy)

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BradMyers82 interpolator
Okay here is a new project I started for a mod group called: "Fist Full of Frags".
(I think the site might be under construction now, but you can see plenty of videos at youtube if you do a simple search)

It's a half life 2 multiplayer modification settled in the old west (player and equipment customization, 15 weapons, fist fighting etc.)

Anyways, they posted here on polycount a while back asking for help with some modeling and I figured I would give it a go, since I don't work on enough team projects and they are a good hardworking bunch.

I am making a "Mexican Bandit" player model.
The specs given to me are:
Around 4,000-5,000 Tri's
1 x 1024x1024 Body Diffuse
1 x 512x 512 Head Diffuse

The workflow I have decided to follow is:
-Create concept
-Create base mesh for high poly sculpt
-Create High poly
-Create final low poly
-Create UVW's
-Bake AO from High Poly to Low Poly
-Create Diffuse Textures

-Also note: he needs to have various meshes included as equipment for customization:
Mustache, Bandolier, Dynamite (around waist which can be blown up), and hat

The original concept I made was a "no go" because of the way the dynamite need to be targeted on the player model. Also there was issues with rigging with the long rag at his waist. So I made the second concept and I included both here just for the hell of it.

I am currently about 50% finished with the high poly sculpt right now.

The main critiques I could use ATM is on the high poly sculpt. Specifically I am having difficulty with making his face look authentically Mexican.

I don't mean to sound politically incorrect or anything, but what facial features makes a person look Mexican vs. white? I am guessing its mainly in the eyes. I know that the skin tone I use in the diffuse will help, but I would like him to still look Mexican if he isn't wearing the hat or big mustache.

If anyone has suggestions on making his facial features more Mexican or anything in general it would be highly appreciated.

Oh, and many of the folds are symmetrical because I am planning on mirroring the uv's on most of him anyways.

Here are images of all my WIP up to where I am currently at.

Current Fist Full Of frags player Model:

References Pulled from the web:

Concept Art:
First attempt-

Second attempt-

Base Mesh-

Sculpt: 50 percent done-

Please excuse the long post, and thanks for looking.


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    LEViATHAN polycounter lvl 11
    The creases are way too random and wavey, makes the material look wet and/or silky.
  • AnimeAngel
    Ya the shirt arms and the pants look kind of weird, especially in the crotch area. Other wise looks pretty good.
    BTW I did a few models for FoF. Did the train and stage coach models in the El paso map. Its a fun little mod.
  • Ruz
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    Ruz polycounter
    looks ok but a bit hurried. take the time to dot the i's and cross the t's
  • butt_sahib
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    butt_sahib polycounter lvl 11
    Hey brad :D

    Everything looks awesome.Pretty different from the things you have made lately.It must be refreshing!
    The base mesh looks great and so does the high. The only problem you have in the model is,guess what, the wrinkles :p The are just really random and dont really give any indication of the form underneath.
    The main thing you have to keep in mind is the concept of areas. There are areas of extreme tension, regions of the wrinkles dying in the surface and regions of rest. Now this isnt all there is to it but its a start.
    Lets take the arm for example, you could go with wrinkles going around the arm.Or you could go with the wrinkles like you have now but there arent any wrinkles which compliment the flow of the previous wrinkles.
    You also have to keep in mind that theres going to be an difference between the density,shape and size of the wrinkles as you move between the regions. The tighest wrinkles are going to be near places like the elbow,the shoulder, the knee etc etc. You should also have some wrinkles that overlap one another. Another thing to note is you dont always have to have aLOT of wrinkles,just do some major ones and some minor ones and some really minor ones (for all the wrinkles ive studied yet, ive seen there are again three categories, the biggest,the ones in the middle,which often compliment the biggest and the smallest ones, usually seen the at beggings of the biggests i.e. extreme tensions)
    Just to show what i mean;
    It will do you so much good if you did some wrinkles studies either in 2d or 3d. Or just look at your Goddamn bedsheet ;)When im working on wrinkles, i often cheat with the nudge brush in zbrush rather than sculpting :p

    I hope i made sense :/ i bet you know all of this information,but you always have to keep it in mind and always keep looking at references. Much like anatomy for me to be honest.
    Looking forward to updates
  • BradMyers82
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    BradMyers82 interpolator
    Leviathan: I agree about the creases. I have worked on them a bunch now.

    AnimeAngel: Thanks, and its cool to hear from other polycounters who are; or have worked with Fist Full Of Frags.

    Ruz: Yeah, it was a bit hurried, I took my time and worked on the folds in this last pass.

    butt_sahib: Thank you so much for the in depth crit. I found it really helpful when re-working the cloth.
    I have been kind of avoiding studying folds for a while now, but if I want to make it as a character artist, I know I have to do it sooner or later (especially considering that most characters are clothed and clothing takes up the majority of a characters surface area).
    So with your advice I think I have most of the folds making sense now. I know its still not the best, but its my first real fold/wrinkle study with cloth.

    I realize its been a while since I have updated the thread, I have been busy working on my portfolio and recently started sending job applications out.

    But, I got a chance to start working on the high poly Mexican bandit again, and I think the high poly is done now. I have included some screen grabs from 3ds max. Again, this is simply for baking AO, as it will be a all diffuse character. Therefore, I probably went a little overboard with the detail on the high (seeing as how I could have just painted much of it) but its good practice non-the-less.


  • NyneDown
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    NyneDown polycounter lvl 11
    Hey man, good start. Try getting some good references to go by for that cloth work. It can be a pain in the ba-donky-donk without it. It would probably be a good idea to do some seperate cloth studies to help you out. That way when you jump back on this guy...it will feel more natural and unforced.

    The face right now looks like he's about to cry....must be those puppy dog eyes ;-) Try making the eyes smaller and giving him a more fierce expression and if you loosen up those forms too much....he'll begin to look a little old. Depending on his age, I'm not sure if this is what you're going for. I'd try to tighten up some of those forms around his cheek bones and mouth. Nostrils need a little flare and the nose in general needs a little more definition. For the hair you should try making that a separate mesh if you're going to sculpt it. Typically for long hair, alpha planes look really nice....same with the mustache. Keep it up though man...:-)
  • okno
    Is it normal to only make a sculpt just for the AO? I would've just painted the lighting in from scratch, starting with a low-poly AO base. Judging by your concept and the 2D art in your portfolio, it seems like you're currently better at modelling/sculpting than at painting. It would probably be a good idea to bring your painting skills up to the same level as your modelling/sculpting, which will probably take a lot longer if you resort to tricks like this too often.

    But apart from that, here are 2 good links for folds/creases:
  • BradMyers82
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    BradMyers82 interpolator
    NyneDown: Yeah, next time I do a high poly character like this its going to be a regular person wearing jeans and a shirt. It's hard to come by Mexican bandit references on the web, wearing tight leathery pants, and a puffy pirate shirt, ha ha.
    Unfortunately, I don't have the time to leave this one and come back, otherwise I would.
    Your crits are all right on. The face was pretty bad before, actually worse then the previous version I think. I worked on it some, and I think its looking better now.

    okno: It's not all that common to sculpt just for AO, but I found that a few other polycounters often times do this, and with great success. The painting in my concept was rushed because I just wanted to get the idea across where I was going with the Mexican bandit, and not spend any time rendering out the forms. Excuses aside, I did feel that I would have the most accurate results if I sculpted and baked AO, and I want to make this a portfolio piece if at all possible. So I am going the longer route here (high poly sculpting/baking AO). Truly, my painting has come a long way since I started working on the PSP characters in my portfolio, I should do some more 2d art and get rid of the old stuff.
    BTW thanks for the reference links, they're' great!

    Well, I worked on the face some, and the folds in the crotch area. I am going to have to move on now and call the high poly done, as I am running out of time. Any further modifications I will just paint in the diffuse as okno suggested. Thanks for the feedback so far, and I'll post the final low poly model soon.

  • BradMyers82
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    BradMyers82 interpolator
    Little update here, I baked the AO as planned.

    So, I need to fix up the AO some, and get to texturing the diffuse.

    Lastly, I made the low poly exactly 5,000 tri's because the other cowboy character was right around 5,000 as well, and it seemed reasonable.

    I'll be posting again with a more interesting update as I work on the diffuse.

    Screen Grabs From Max:
  • woogity
    hey brad srry to get in on this thread so late. I think i noticed a hiccup in an otherwise very nice sculpt. the wrinkle on the knee seems to float strangely, with cloth pants there tends to be no fold there but with leather the folds are more energetic so it would have deeper/more folds to it. also the lack of fly on the pants along with the knee makes the lower body kind of flip backwards for me. srry if im too late to be of help on this. AO map is looking nice tho!



    maybe somewhere inbetween these two?

  • Jeremy Lindstrom
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    Jeremy Lindstrom polycounter lvl 14
    whats with the dynamite belt? How hard it would be to light them all before the first one went off? His enemies could also easily sneak up behind him and light one. :D

    Just asking because I'm curious why some design choices are made. maybe he could have had just a bundle of dynamite, etc..

    Looks much improved though... :D
  • Ged
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    Ged interpolator
    Dekard wrote: »
    whats with the dynamite belt? Put a little more into design choices, you know how hard it would be to light them all before the first one went off? His enemies could also easily sneak up behind him and light one. :D

    Just asking because I'm curious why some design choices are made. maybbe he could have had just a bundle of dynamite, etc..

    I assumed he would take one stick out, light it and then throw...not light them all and explode haha
  • Jeremy Lindstrom
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    Jeremy Lindstrom polycounter lvl 14
    yeah, that's why i was curious. :D LOL sucks he has some behind his back though.. :D hopefully nobody would sneak up behind him and light one. :D
  • BradMyers82
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    BradMyers82 interpolator
    Ha ha, that's funny Dekard. I never thought about that. Yeah, its not my design choice, but from my understanding there are to be various kinds of Mexican bandits that can be spawned.
    Some can throw dynamite, but the downside is, if you shoot them in the torso area (a specific collision area) they blow up. There are also heavy Mexican bandits hence the ammo strap around him.
    So he can be spawned with or without the: Dynamite, ammo strap, hat, and mustache for different variations.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    BTW I'm glad you guys are taking an interest to my work here and Fist Full of Frags. I'm pretty excited to finally be able to play one of my characters. It's something I haven't done yet to be honest.
  • BradMyers82
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    BradMyers82 interpolator
    Woogity: I somehow missed your post before. Okay, I see what you mean. I'll try and work directly on the texture map instead of messing with the high poly at this point. Thanks man.
  • System
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    System admin
    Cool, diggin those boots :D Don't agree with the dynamite placement, he should have them bunched alot closer together (maybe even touching) opposite the holster. For me that would be the most sensible place.
    Maybe you could make another shoulder strap for them on the other side, that way the animation/targetting would be easier.
    Edit: or like this http://open.salon.com/files/thing_russell_dynamite_flame_thrower1222708158.bmp
  • CheeseOnToast
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    CheeseOnToast polycounter lvl 16
    Can I ask why you'e not using a normal map? It's certainly supported in HL2. If you've gone to the trouble of making a high-res sculpt and baking AO, baking the normals is just a couple of clicks away.
  • BradMyers82
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    BradMyers82 interpolator
    GCMP: Yeah, I agree about the dynamite placement. The reason it is placed the way it is, is for gameplay purposes. If I cluster them together more, I will need to make more dynamite sticks which will increase the polycount quite a bit. Also, the dynamite sticks have to go all the way around his body, so that if that particular area is shot, (the collision point) he blows up.

    CheeseOnToase: You're right, and actually I just made a normal map as the individual in charge of the mod just told me to go ahead and create one. I'll post with updates soon. Thanks.
  • Microneezia
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    Microneezia polycounter lvl 10
    hey man, nice sculpt! Mexican Bandits!

    I dont want to send you far back with some suggestions but, maybe you are making more than one? I think that the face is looking pretty english swashbucking caucasian almost in the closeup... Watch the movie Treasure of the Sierra Madre, pretty classic in terms of bandits. the mexican bandits in that movie have this stupidity about them, it almost masks how incredibly lethal they are... too bad this one is so fit, FAT mexican bandits dammit! haha nice work though! cant wait for the textures


    edit: come to think of it, just putting a haggard division in the center of the mustache will go a long way I think
  • Mark Dygert
    I like what you have so far, cool idea pretty well done up to this point.

    - His pants tent is distracting.
    - The straight across belt of dynamite is a little distracting, it would probably be less so (and easier to animate) if you sloped it. Higher in the back and lower in the front. Kind of like the belt on this guy.
    - Yea kind of weird that you're not making a normal map...
  • BradMyers82
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    BradMyers82 interpolator
    Microneezia: Hey thanks for the reference. Yeah, I wish I had this before I started cause he is classic Mexican bandit all the way.

    Vig: Much appreciated! Yeah, I still haven't gotten to the "pants tent" I'll probably just dial it down in the normals and AO to fix it if its still distracting with this update.
    I slopped the dynamite as you suggested. Thanks for the tip, it does add some more realism to it I think.

    Okay, here he is now. The images here should be self explanatory, but I have included the diffuse map of both the head and body texture (at half res) incase it helps with any crits this time around. The diffuse is a combination of both photo sources and hand painting. I still have a lot of clean up and detail work ahead of me and its all hand painting from here out.

    Just as a side note, there is no spec map, and no alpha/opacity map, and there won't be because of the requirements I was given. So unfortunately I can't do any fancy hair alphas and the spec has to be painted in the diffuse. Let me know what you guys think so far. I figure I'm about 70 percent done with the texturing now.

    Full character shot (all equiptment)
    Face close-up (No mustache)
    Body Texture Half Res.
    Face Texture Half Res.
  • Microneezia
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    Microneezia polycounter lvl 10
    Looks really good man, i like it. The face is looking dirty, which is good. I have a couple ideas tho;

    Perhaps for the dynamite, some of the paper peeling off the tops and bottoms exposing the brown tube or whatever underneath. I realize you have only one stick in your map but you could reverse the uv's on some going up to down and also rotate the sticks actual geometry to break up the repeats. Also on that grey bit in the middle, maybe some kind of flap and snap to add interest in the diffuse.

    Also he looks like maybe he just robbed some dude walking out of the tailor's shop. Rough up his pants and shirt. holes, or loose threading, maybe some burns on his shirt near the cuffs from him liting dynamite?

    BAck Pockets! no pockets on the ass of pants is restricted to dead-beat cougars that wait outside the only club not checking check ID...

    Maybe some kind of fade where his head meets the hat or something? There should be some form of trim where geo intersects like that i think.

    Mexican Bandit + White shirt = armpit Stains.
  • Pope Adam
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    Pope Adam polycounter lvl 11
    Hey Brad, looks really solid here sir. come a long way on this character.

    I think microneezia made a good point about white shirt = armpit stains, and I think that should also apply to much more than just the underarm. Perhaps consider the top parts of his hat being more sun bleached and desaturated, and maybe the cloth on tops of the shoulders, thighs knees as well. Maybe the man's rear, backs of his calves might be spackled with old dirt or dried mud from running away.

    The texture is well executed here, as of now, but it doesn't really tell any story at all. Also Brad, the only thing here that says "Mexican" to me is that he's wearing and old timey scarf, Cheech and Chong Mustache, and sombrero... which is very cliche. Consider going back in to your textures and adding some kind of embroideries on his clothing that harkens back to a more cultural feel, thus telling more story about this man. Maybe like these:


    Good work though Mr. Brad. Always remember to tell a story with your work!
  • woogity
    Hi brad,

    likein' the textures, the face looks really nice. and he looks real nice from midrange which id assume would be the standard viewing distance for this guy. also props on the light facial hair, that can be tricky imo. watchin for updates!

  • BradMyers82
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    BradMyers82 interpolator
    Microneezia: All really great ideas there, thank you. I tried to incorporate everything you mentioned, the only thing I haven't gotten to was the back pockets. I actually started to model the back pockets when I was doing the high poly, but they weren't looking so hot so I ditched them. I figured that his clothing would be really simple and cheap, so he might not even have back pockets. BTW, I was laughing at a bunch of the stuff you were saying when I was reading ha ha :)

    Pope_Adam: Thanks Adam. Yeah, I added a little flare to the hat as you suggested. However, I kept the rest pretty simple and dirtied up the textures as you mentioned. No doubt he is very cliche, but I had certain requirements to meet for the character and he is kind of supposed to be. Adam, great crit here as always.

    Woogity: I'm glad you dig the character so far. Hope you like how it turned out.

    Well here is the Mexican Bandit finished unless there are any big mistakes you guys can point out. I'm going to rig and pose him now, then make up a few presentations sheets. These are all screen grabs from max, and the texture sheets are at half res.

    Far shot (all equipment):

    Close up (no mustache):

    Head Diffuse (half res):

    Head Normals (half res):

    Body Diffuse (half res):

    Body Normals (half res):
  • Pope Adam
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    Pope Adam polycounter lvl 11
    textures look immensely better man! the boots are KICK ASS!

    love the optional mustache - nice touch!

    good work mr. brad
  • pliang
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    pliang polycounter lvl 13
    Digging the Sanchez on this guy, the neck however looks like he has a bit of sun burn going on though.
  • BradMyers82
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    BradMyers82 interpolator
    Adam: Much appreciated, thanks for seeing me through on this one.

    pliang: Thanks, and yes, the sun burn neck effect is due mostly to the AO overlay. As it stands I'm okay with it though.

    I rigged, posed, and sent him to the man in charge of the mod so I guess I'm pretty much done here. Here is the Mexican Bandit posed.

    Presentation Sheet:

    Turn Table:
  • vj_box
    Hey BRAD,good work on this,My question to you,
    Why you did not opt for alpha hair/mush for this guy?,could make him more appealing that way.
    His hand Cuff area kinda looks weird to me,not really sure of others. The lower body is fine.
    Good work on this. Hope you also remember the our P.M s days back.

  • Gannon
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    Gannon greentooth
    haha, mustaches count as equipment.
  • BradMyers82
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    BradMyers82 interpolator
    vj_box: I didn't use an alpha because RYall, the man in charge of the mod said that he only wanted a diffuse and normal map for this character. I would have certainly used an alpha/opacity map for this character if I had the option, and it was particularly hard for me to not want to use one for areas like the spur and those things sticking off the side of his pants.
    I definitely didn't forget about the P.M's, so please give me a shout if you hear anything from your friends.

    rdmlegend: lol, yeah it's pretty funny now that I look at it. :)
  • vj_box
  • Tumerboy
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    Tumerboy polycounter lvl 12
    btw, you get Tumerboy's Stamp of Approval (tm) for including his mustache in "equipment"
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