Making Of 'Demon Hunter' by Wuxu

Introduction

Hello, everyone! I'm very glad to share the process of creating my character Demon Hunter.
I liked the design concept of Diablo 3 very much, so I decided to start this piece while looking forward to the release of the game!

Concept

I collected a lot of reference pictures, including the original character concept art, some other artists' paintings and cosplay images. The reference materials were chosen for two aspects: details and textures (Fig.01).

Fig. 01

Fig. 01

Modeling

I create a basic body in Maya and properly lengthened the legs to make him look more agile (Fig.02).

Fig. 02

Fig. 02

Next I defined the body further. I knew that only the head would be showing in the final image, but I thought it would be good practice to make the rest of the body parts too and that perhaps I could use them for other characters later (Fig.03).

Fig. 03

Fig. 03

I adjusted the angle of his arms and then started the next part of the production. I used the NEX topology low res head in Maya, then used simple shapes to build all the equipment.

It's important to pay attention to overall proportional relationship between clothing - or armor in this case - and the overall silhouette of a character. I used different colors to separate the armor, leather, fabric etc (Fig.04).

Fig. 04

Fig. 04

Then I created the details, distinguishing different regions, to prepare the model for the later production in ZBrush (Fig.05).

Fig. 05

Fig. 05

Sculpting and ZBrush Pass

I separated this character into several different parts, such as metal, leather, cloth and head. Then I added details to each part in ZBrush, such as folds, skin details, etc., (Fig.06 - 08). I made the lower body and gloves symmetrical in order to make the texture maps have a higher level of precision.

Fig. 06

Fig. 06

Fig. 07

Fig. 07

Fig. 08

Fig. 08

After the high res model was completed, I divided it into several main parts to export it as an OBJ. There are two reasons I did this; firstly so I could bake a Normal map for the separate parts of the model and secondly so the topology of the models could be tackled separately in Maya (Fig.09).

Fig. 09

Fig. 09

Low Poly Model

Once I had exported the high poly models into Maya they could be used as a reference to create the low poly, final version of the games character (Fig.10). I used NEX and Maya's standard tools to do this. When the low poly model was created I began the UV mapping in Maya.

Fig. 10

Fig. 10

The weapon is a single UV. I expanded the UV of the head, gloves and small parts of the character in order to show more details. The same parts in the UV are overlapping.

I think the weapon's map size was 512 x 512 and character's map size was 2048 x 2048 (Fig.11).

Fig. 11

Fig. 11

In order to avoid an error when baking AO and Normal maps, I separated the overlapping part after the UV was completed. Before baking I used triangulation to avoid the abnormal shifts in the following normal mapping (Fig.12).

Fig. 12

Fig. 12

Baking

I used Xnormal to generate Normal and AO maps. In order to solve any problems caused by separating the model, I used the low res model in Maya to generate a whole AO map and overlapped them (Fig.13 - 14). Then I fixed some minor problems in Photoshop, and the final Normal and AO maps were completed (Fig.15).

Fig. 13

Fig. 13

Fig. 14

Fig. 14

Fig. 15

Fig. 15

Texturing

The Diffuse map can be seen in Fig.16:

A. I made the base color by referring to the Normal map
B. I overlaid the basic texture of various materials, and increased the wear of the dark armor
C. Next I increased the stain, scratches and general details.
D. Finally I adjusted the AO hue and the transparency, set the Normal map to Multiply to create a Cavity map and adjusted the overall hue and contrast of the map.

Fig. 16

Fig. 16

First of all, I drew the relationship between light and dark, and then overlaid the color change, drew details, and made final adjustments to complete the head map (Fig.17).

Fig. 17

Fig. 17

Specular Color

First I removed the saturation of the Color map. Then I adjusted the contrast of the brightness between the different parts using Levels, with the aim of separating the contrast of the brightness between the leather, cloth and metal. Finally, I used Color Balance for each part to add a bit of color tendency (Fig.18).

Fig. 18

Fig. 18

After that the Gloss map were produced based on the Specular maps, and placed into the Specular channel: Alpha 1 (Fig.19). Next I converted some of the details of the Color map and added them to the Normal map, such as metal, scratches and stains.

Fig. 19

Fig. 19

Finally I produced maps of the weapons using the same method (Fig.20).

Fig. 20

Fig. 20

Posing in Maya

I used Advanced Skeleton v3.7 to bind in Maya. Then I chose a pose that I wanted, adjusted the model, output it as an OBJ, and started the following production (Fig.21).

Fig. 21

Fig. 21

Rendering in Marmoset Toolbag

For the final render I used Marmoset Toolbag v1.05. I used a few groups of lighting sets (Fig.22):

A. Key light
B. Auxiliary light
C. Back light

The open shadows generation can be seen in Fig.22 - 23.

Fig. 22

Fig. 22

Fig. 23

Fig. 23

You can see my render settings in Fig.24.

Fig. 24

Fig. 24

And here's the final, completed image (Fig.25 - 26).

Fig. 25

Fig. 25

Fig. 26

Fig. 26