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So, where to start?
Some time ago I’ve decided, that I want to become a specialist in my favorite game setting - dark gothic fantasy.
also I’ve realized, that general 3d visualization is not what I want to do professionally.
In my living room I’ve got a bunch of old retro stuff like radios, vacuum cleaner, stove and numerous boxes, all made in USSR and I can’t wait to make photorealistic renders of all these things, but in my free time.
In the past, I have wasted a lot of time deciding if I want to do visual stuff or game ready, and now, at last it is game dev art for me. 100%.

So I needed something simple to start with, before I could start creating knights, wizards and all the shit.
Also the idea was to create a model which I can both put into my portfolio and make a store asset, so it should be something neutral, right?
So farmer it is!
Need to mention that top-down hack and slash games are my passion, so I was focused on a character in a way where it could fit games like grim dawn, path of exile, etc.

I’ve started with making a moodboard and a simple 2d sketch.
It’s like an ordinary start in the pipeline, but… I can’t draw.
I do simple sketches all the time, but it’s the first time I’m publishing one, so please try not to shit your pants while laughing.

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I think it is very important to make ones, even if you can’t draw, bc you need to mark down all the details you want to show on the model and only then search for apropriate refs to make them.
And this is my moodboard, the screenshot was made in blender 2.8, but actually I’ve started the project in blender 2.79.

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Then you need to make sure, that your scene is set up properly:

  • make sure scene units are similar to the real world ones, so you can avoid scaling problems in the future
  • the charatcer should stand in the zero coordinate
  • also I think you should set up fps (24 by default in blender), but it will influence animations, so if you are going to put character in other blender scenes, all you animations has to be same fps, but this is a thing to study for me

also I needed to figure out how much time I’m spending on each part of the pipeline, so these are for sculpt:
(resolution is constant details in blender sculpt)
1,5h head, resolution 50, symmetry
1,2h coat, 20, symm
2h shirt (the thing under the coat), 20, symm
30m pants, 20, symm
45m pants, 50, symm
3h legs (bandages + shoes + wires on shoes), 20, symm
5h apron, 50, asymmetry
1h45m hat, 50, symm
1h20m sickle and belt, 50
1h10m palms, 50, symm
1h10m hammer, scissors, coif, 50

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before the retopo, I need to add some asymmetry to the sculpt:
35m pants, 100, asymm
30m shirt, 100, asymm
30m coat, 100, asymm
2h - minor details

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you need to make sure, that all parts of the sculpt has ‘smooth shading’, bc when you switch FROM sculpt mode to object mode, blender switches object to ‘flat shading’.

at some point I forgot to check the time while I was retopologising (is this even a word?) the model.

approximately I’ve spent 20h on the whole retopo, and that was really hard, bc I’ve wasted so much time deciding what should be the final poly budget for LOD-0.

I could not decide if I’m going to make LODs at all, and the final poly count, and how dense the topology should be on which part of the character for the proper game-ready model.

also I decided to make retopo of the face and the coif merged (why, for the fuck sake?), so later I got problems with texturing.

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6,5h on rigging
2h on unwrapping (the first time, as I said, I’ve screwed up with coif)

before you start texturing, you need to bake high resolution sculpt into the retopo, bc you will need to see all the details while texturing.
I’ve separated all sculpts in two parts: huge and small ones. this is bc you’ll need different ray distance for different parts.
baking huge parts was made with ray distance 0.3 and small ones with 1.7

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also do not forget to set up margin for uv islands, I did 23px for 5k texture resolution.
then you need to combine two normal maps, and here is a small hint - pick small details texture for the base, bc huge part are easier to select in 2d software (gimp in my case).

here is the ’explosion’ before baking

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I’m very bad in animation, so I didn’t check the timer, while animating.

also I did a small test. with the resolution 100 I’ve got 600k polygons on each shoe, so I reduced poly count on one shoe with blender ‘decimate’ modifier to 240k and there was no difference at all.

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a lot of time was spent on countless minor fixes, which I really don’t want to describe.__ the whole texturing was made in blender, and I also added cloth details to normal map from albedo with gimp addon ‘gimp-normalmap-1.2.3’.
just convert any color with specific scale, for me it was 15.

also, people who are not familiar with 3d stuff were asking me, why one need a normal map (hi, Nixel), and this video is for them (left model has normal map, while right one is ‘flat’):

when I was testing the model in godot and unity, I faced a stange bug or just some specific behavior.

when the charatcer was blinking, it was alright in blender, but in 3d engine eyes, for some reason, were a bit further upfront eyelids. I fixed it by simply moving eyes a bit deeper into the head.

thank you, if you have read all this nonsense!

and some more random screenshots.

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p.s. I really like how wrinkles baked out and how they look in combination with pale skin texture.

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