Making of Post-Apocalyptic Pirate captain

3D artist, Roumen Filipov, shares how he created the cool pirate captain
using 3ds Max

In this tutorial I'll cover the process of making my last character in the piece Post-Apocalyptic Pirate Captain. I'll talk about sculpting techniques for high res models, low poly topology, baking maps and painting PBR materials in Substance Painter and 3d-Coat, as well as doing a real-time render in Marmoset Toolbag.

The character was made based on the awesome art of Johannes Helgeson.

Step 01: Sculpting the character

Since this is a real-time character, I wasn't very worried about my mesh integrity and could go really free with the sculpting. I start by sculpting the body and then "dressing" the character, some of the accessories where modelled in 3ds Max and imported in ZBrush for detailing, but most of them where just extracted from the main body mesh. The monkey was sculpted the same way, always doing some PolyPaint where necessary in order to predict the textured result.

Johannes's original concept

Johannes's original concept

Characters sculpt

Characters sculpt

Step 02: Retopology

After decimating and exporting all the meshes from ZBrush to 3ds Max, I used the PolyDraw tools to create the low res topology. I tried to keep it low poly but still thinking on how the mesh deforms, especially in the face and joints. I found to be really important to keep the mesh as close as possible to the high res one, since you can use only one distance value for the whole body in the baking software.

Low poly models

Low poly models

Step 03: Painting textures

This was maybe my favourite part. I did all the baking inside Substance Painter and in just a couple of hours got a really good result with the materials. My idea was going full PBR with some hand painted textures, especially for the skin, so I exported the meshes to 3D-Coat to give the final touches.

Baked maps, PBR materials and 3D-coat painting, respectively.

Baked maps, PBR materials and 3D-coat painting, respectively.

Step 04: Rigging

My goal with this project was to make a full animated character for games, so I did a pretty complete rig with all the facial features I could put into it. I basically did a CAT skeleton in max and a list of morph targets for the whole face, later connected to some controllers via reaction manager. For the monkey is the same but with less control for the face.

Rigged characters in 3ds Max

Rigged characters in 3ds Max

Step 05: Render

To finish, I posed the character trying to match the concept art but with some changes to work from all views. I did some beauty shots inside Marmoset Toolbag using a simple setup of key and rim lights and an HDRi for reflections and ambient light. I also exported the model to Sketchfab so I could display it in real-time everywhere.

Marmoset setup

Marmoset setup

Thanks for watching this quick tutorial and I hope it was somehow useful. Please feel free to mail me
Cheers, Roumen

The final image

The final image

Related links

Have a look at more of Roumen's work here
Grab your copy of Sculpting from the Imagination: ZBrush
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