Create a Game Character: Jouster - part 2

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.

The tutorials are intended for intermediate users with some knowledge of the software being used, plus a base understanding of character art workflow.

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!

Sculpt the face

Step 1: Separate the head and body

In this section of the tutorial we'll cover sculpting the face. To begin, we'll need to split the head and body into separate SubTools. The reason for this is to allow us to subdivide the head independently from the body and later sculpt the body/underlying body suit separately.

Move to the highest subdivision of the body and select Geometry > Del Lower to delete the lower subdivision levels. Using the Selection Lasso tool, select and hide the head and neck, then select SubTool > Split > Split Hidden. This will split the head and body into separate SubTools.

Step 2: Define the facial features

To start sculpting the face, use the Move brush to work on the overall shape of the face and with the Clay brush, roughly block in where the features are going to sit in relation to each other.

The character's face in the concept is quite stylized, which means we can take a few liberties with the overall proportions of the head and position of the facial features. I'm going to be varying a bit from the concept art, but I still want to try to make her look interesting.

At this stage, it's a good idea to begin establishing the planes of the face. Use the Clay brush to create the cheeks, brow and jaw structure, making sure to check the shapes from different views. It helps when sculpting female faces to keep the transitions subtle and soft.

Step 3: Work on the lips

I tend to jump around the model a lot, working a little on each feature and then moving to the next. This helps keep the forms consistent and working with each other. For the purpose of this tutorial I'll concentrate on one feature at a time.

When sculpting the lips, start by roughly defining the upper and lower lips with the Move and Clay brushes. Use the hPolish or Clay brush to lightly flatten the upper lip, and the Move and Clay brushes to pull out the lower lip and create the overall shape of the lips.

Use the Clay brush to bring back some 'fullness' to the upper lip and define the philtrum. The DamStandard brush can be used to define where the upper and lower lips meet, and to define outer border of the lips, but keep it subtle! It's important to note that the lips sit on a curved surface, so make sure you are not sculpting them flat.

The upper lip can be broken down into 3 simpler shapes and the lower lip into 2 simpler shapes. The upper lip overlaps the lower lip and there is a small, subtle mass at the corner of the mouth that sits above the upper lip. Keep in mind that the subtleties of these shapes vary from person to person.

Step 4: Create the Nose

We'll move on to the nose next. Use the Clay brush to roughly block in the bridge of the nose and use the Move brush to shape the bridge and tip of the nose, checking from the front, 3/4 and side views.

Use the Clay brush again to build up the side wings of the nose. The DamStandard brush can be used to carve in the shape of the wings. Use the Clay and Move brushes to carve in the nostril, or alternatively you can mask the nostril shape on the underside of the nose, invert the mask (Ctrl + click on document background or Ctrl + I) and the use the Move brush to drag the unmasked polygons upwards into the nasal cavity.

For this character, I wanted to create a shorter nose and kept experimenting with the shape and position of the bridge, wings and the tip of the nose until I found something I liked.

Step 5: Perfect the eyes

Using the Clay brush, block in the brows and carve out an area for the eyes. Select SubTool > Append > Sphere3d to append a sphere. Use Deformation > Size (making sure X, Y and Z are highlighted) to rescale the eye to fit into the eye cavity. Use the Move Transpose tool (M) to position the eye into place.

Using the Clay brush, build up the surfaces to create the upper and lower eyelids. Use the Move brush to shape the eye lids. To mirror the eye to the other side, select Zplugin > SubTool Master > Mirror, check Merge into one SubTool and click OK.

Use the DamStandard brush to define the upper eyelid crease. Create the area of the tissue that sits above the upper lid by masking off the upper lid, and use the Inflate and Clay brushes to build up that area.

Step 6: Some quick PolyPainting

Once I've got the eyes in place, I like to spend a couple of minutes and block in some PolyPaint on the eyes. The PolyPaint is nowhere near the final textures, but it's a quick way to help visualize the look of the eyes.

To start, select Mrgb, choose a base color for the sclera and a MatCap for the eye (I like to use one of the Zbro's eye MatCaps from With the eyes SubTool selected, go to Color > FillObject to fill the eye with the chosen color and MatCap.

To paint the iris, select the Standard brush, turn on RGB and turn off ZAdd. Start with a darker color first and work your way in towards to the pupil, varying the color. Try adding a lighter color in the lower hemisphere and a darker color in the upper hemisphere to fake the concave shape of the iris.

Step 7: Finalize the face

Although the ears won't be seen under the helmet, I've quickly sculpted them. They'll be a good reference point when creating the helmet later on.

When the facial features have been sculpted, it's a good time to start adding some details and do any further proportion changes. For this character I decide to shorten the face and move the eyes down slightly to get a closer feel to the concept.

For this character, we'll keep the details to a minimum. Use the DamStandard to add some lines to the lips. Alternate between ZAdd and ZSub (Alt) to add variance to the surface and smooth it back slightly if needed. For the eyebrows, use the DamStandard brush to sculpt a few follicle clumps, following the directionality of hair. Once the head is complete, we can move on to the armor.

Click HERE to see the next part in this series.

Click HERE to see the previous part in this series.

Want to start from the beginning? Click HERE to see the first part in this series.

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