Making Of 'Warrior' by Jukka Tahtinen

I'm going to go through the steps I took to create my warrior. I'm not going go into to much of detail in every step, but more to show the workflow and how I think while working and the overall process making it.


First thing I had to build was a generic body mesh of a man. I wanted to be sure that the armor parts fell into the right places, and wasn't going look strange or out of proportion. So, by having the whole body underneath and working out of that as a template, it made it easier to build the parts correctly. I'm always using and reusing my meshes, so I can speed up my progress in more complex scenes. That's why I used an earlier built mesh that I had already completed. I modified it so it could be used as the warrior's base mesh. For inspiration when making the armour, I was looking in all kind of places, Warhammer art, LOTR movies and pictures, spawn figures, comic books and anything that could give me some nice ideas.

When all of the armor parts were built and done and I was satisfied with the design, it was time to start preparing the model for Zbrush. First thing to do was to apply Uvmap coordinates on everything before exporting it. I didn't want to Uvmap in Zbrush because I felt that I had more control doing it in an other 3d application than Zbrush itself.

ZBrush Part

When all UV mapping has been done, it was time to take it into Zbrush. Zbrush imports and exports .dxf and .obj file formats. So by exporting the mesh from Maya to .obj file format made this step easy. The mesh was then smoothed or subdivided about 6 times, so I could paint or sculpt in the detail as I wanted. The painting process was straight forward, just adding detail after detail gradually. And not adding new subdivision levels before I needed to. An important thing I had to remember this not to rush things, because at the same time as I was modelling/sculpting, I was also learning the program. I wanted to have a expression on the face that was suitable for a warrior, so I used my own facial expressions as a reference when I was sculpting. When I felt happy with the result, I exported the displacement map from Zbrush, and by applying that image in Max as a displacement map, I could render the changes I had done.

Screen shots from ZBrush

Rendered with Vray, showing with and without the displacement map.

Screens from ZBrush

Rendered with Vray, showing with and without the displacement map.

Texturing Part

First part of making the texture was to get the base colour, no details really at this stage. Then adding gradually, layer by layer more detail to it. A good trick I usually use is to start around the eyes and mouth, when working on a face texture, and then fill in the gaps. As a last thing, I add shadows or dark areas where the edges of the helmet was going to be. When the colour map was in a stage that I felt happy with it, I created the bump and specular map.

Bump and Specular.

I used the same process to the armor as for the face. Starting off by having a base colour, But in this case I could used the displacement map I got out from Zbrush, because it already had nice shadow information in it. And then adding layer by layer more detail to the texture.


Bump and Specular.

Rendering Part

I used Vray to render the warrior. Vray is a very fast GI renderer, and with some nice features in it. The only down side would be that there isn't any special shadrs for ex, skin, currently.So since Vray didn't have a pre-defined skin shader, I had to create one myself.

And here is how the skin looks like.

When creating metal, the reflection is very important. So by increasing the colour in the reflection channel on the Vray material, from black to a white colour, you are enabling reflections on the shader, also how much relections, dependings on the colour value.

A high value on reflection glossiness, will result in sharp reflections. And a low value will result in blurry reflections.

So by using these parameters and in combining it with a specular, bump and a color map, one can get really interesting looking metal.

Hair and Fur

I created the hair and fur by using Ornatrix plug-in in max. It is a very powerful and easy to use plug-in. It works simply by selecting the object that you want to have hair on, and then you simply just pressing add hair to selection.

By using all of the control modifiers that comes with Ornatrix, I was able to control the shape and look of the hair. And also, by using all of the different kind of hair materials I could get even more control over it.

And this is how the hair and fur ended up looking


The cape was created by using the same texturing methods as shown earlier. But with a added alpha map added to it, so that you can create all of the holes and make it look like it was worn and damaged. To help me making the cape hang and fold as cloth, I used the new cloth extension which 3d studio max has and it is really easy to use and very simple. But still powerful. To get it looking like it was hanging from the shoulders of the character, first I had to add cloth to the mesh. Then by selecting the vertexes, and grouping them as preserved, those selected would not be affected by the cloth simulation, and the cape would be hanging from those. By selecting a pre-defined cloth type in the properties dialog, and making minor changes to the parameters, I started getting it looking and behave as cloth. Finally calculating it into place and getting it to fall down and look like a real cape would.

This has been the overall working process I used to make the warrior, and I hope this step by step making of has been useful and interesting. I also want to thank you for taking your time and reading this.


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