Create a Game Character: Jouster - part 10
This exclusive, free tutorial series will explore game character creation workflow. I will cover my entire process of taking a concept through to the final game asset.
You can see how the concept was designed by Marc Brunet on LayerPaint in his two-part tutorial.
During this tutorial series I will cover:
1. Blocking in the proportions
2. Sculpting the face
3. Sculpting the armor
4. Creating the armor meshes
5. Finalizing the details
6. Creating the low poly model
7. UV unwrapping and texture baking
8. Texturing the armor
9. Texturing the face
10. Model presentation in Marmoset
I hope you'll find this series of helpful in some way and if you have any questions feel free to contact me. Let's get started!
Posing and presentation
Step 1: Rigging
In this chapter we'll be covering setting up a simple rig, posing the character and creating some presentation shots in Marmoset.
There are some automatic rigging scripts/plug-ins available with some nice controls for animation. However, for this character I just create a very simple joint setup for posing the character.
Use Skeleton > Joint Tool to create some joints for the body, taking care to align them correctly with the mesh. Some parts of the mesh, like the lower legs, feet, shoulder and elbow guards can simply be parented to the joints by selecting the mesh, then the joint and going to Edit > Parent (P). For the other meshes, use Skin > Bind > Smooth Bind and adjust the skin weights using the Skin > Edit Smooth Bind > Paint Skin Weights Tool.
Step 2: Posing
Due to the armor for this character, the movement is somewhat restricted, but generally try to have the character in balanced pose. Small adjustments like rotating the shoulders and hips and tilting the head slightly can make the pose seem more natural.
Once the character has been posed, split up the meshes based on the material type; for example the armor, face, eyes, hair and lance (weapon) will need to be split up because they will have separate materials applied to them. Select all of the meshes, go to File > Export Selection and set the file type to OBJ.
Step 3: Marmoset materials
In Marmoset, click Open Mesh and import the posed character into the scene. In the Material tab, click New Material and save a material for each of the different surface types needed. Set the type of material from the Channel Model dropdown option.
For the armor and lance I use Phong Environment and for the hair I use the Anisotropic Environment material. Use the Anisotropy Direction slider to control the angle of the specular highlights for the hair. For the face and eyes I use the Skin Environment material.
If using the Skin Environment material with meshes that have skin and another type of material, use a black and white mask in the Skin Tone/Mask slot to control what parts of the mesh have the subsurface scattering effect applied to them.
Step 4: Marmoset lighting
Under the Light tab, Marmoset has some Sky Light Presets to play with. I like to find one that can be used as soft ambient lighting and drop down the brightness setting. Next, add some lights to the scene.
I like to start with a standard three-point lighting set up and then add any further lights as needed. The three-point lighting setup consists of a rim light, key light and a fill light. I end up adding an extra rim light and a couple of small fill lights to my scene.
Step 5: Presentation shots
When you're happy with the lighting, under the Output tab, specify the output directory and click Save Shot (F12). Import the saved screenshots into Photoshop where you can make some Levels adjustments, if needed. Then it's all finished!
I hope you've found this tutorial helpful. Each artist may have a different workflow or process, but the important thing is finding one that works for you.
Please feel free to share your own creations on the 3dtotal forums, where I will try to drop by and answer any questions. Looking forward to seeing your results - best of luck!