Hand-Painted Female Warrior - Block Out Revisit

Work In Progress / 11 February 2020

I'm back working on my hand-painted female warrior. I had a blog post previously that showed my block out progress but I just wasn't too enthusiastic about the look. It simply didn't look very good so I ended up taking it down.

I've since restarted the block out entirely using the new methods I've been practicing for the past few months. You can check out some of the before and after shots below. I've still got some work to do on it e.g. create her undershirt/gloves and clean up her hands as there a bit too skinny at the moment. I won't go too far with details however as since it's going to be hand-painted, all I really need are the key shapes and forms as small details can be represented purely through a diffuse texture.

Her old chest armour in particular was horrendous. It looked more like a barrel than chest armour. Also, as I said in my concepting post, I'm trying to avoid some of the tropes often seen in female armour designs (e.g. little to no actual protection, high heels, over-sexualisation) while still retaining an identifiable female character.  I feel I've achieved this through attention to her silhouette, emphasizing the pear shape associated with the female form. I'm also much happier with her face, previously it looked slightly uncanny but now I feel I've obtained a nice balance between masculine and feminine while avoiding a generic pixie style face. Their is still some work to do on it with the possible addition of an eye patch and scar. I'll test this out first, so it's not a definite. Hope you all enjoy and any feedback is more than welcome. 




Geralt of Rivia - The Witcher (Netflix) WIP

Work In Progress / 29 January 2020

I've put my handpainted warrior on hold just now as I wanted to practice a few things before taking on an original character. Firstly, I wanted to try out a new method for blocking out characters and I also wanted to practice ZModeller. Typically I'll model bulky items such as props or armor within an external software such as Blender then import them into ZBrush for detail sculpting. However this can be a bit of a pain sometimes as the back and forth process can be cumbersome. I knew of ZModeller but hadn't used it much so I wanted to try and make an entire model and all its assets entirely within Zbrush. This way I can get a handle on it before tackling the bulky armor of my hand painted warrior.

So for this project I've chosen to make a little tribute to the Witcher Netflix show. I'm a big fan on the Witcher franchise and I've always wanted to make some sort of Witcher related art, so It's been a lot of fun so far. The Methods I've been practicing have been working out really well so far, in particular the new block-out style. I'd maybe still model complex assets in blender but most assets I think I'll use the ZModeller approach from now on. You can see some of my progress so far below.

The sculpt is complete and I've just finished retopoing and UV'ing. I'm going to try baking the studs of his armor so there purely represented by the normals. However if this doesnt work out I'll just go back and replace them with low poly meshes. Really happy with how it's turned out so far. I'm going to do two alternate textures, one of Geralt in his normal state and another in his potion/toxic state. Any feedback is much appreciated.

Hand-Painted Female Warrior - Concepting

Work In Progress / 12 November 2019

With each project I typically try and identify gaps in my skill set or portfolio and build a project around filling in one or more of those gaps. With this project I'm aiming to tackle a female character, something I've frequently overlooked in the past. I'm also wanting to focus on my hand-painted skills. In the past the majority of my projects were hand-painted but I always felt like I was making mistakes, especially in materials such as metal, hence why I'll be making an armored warrior type character. I would often look at other hand-painted artworks and instantly I could tell my work just wasn't up to the same standard. So I'm aiming to effectively overhaul my hand-painted abilities with this project and bring them up to industry standard.

For the character itself I've also a few goals. Firstly I'm wanting to go against some of the silly trends seen in many games of overly sexualised female warriors. You know the type I'm walking about. Midriffs, cleavage, high heels, boob breastplates, armor that covers about 20% of the body. The same goes for the characters face. I'll be trying to avoid the standard "pixie" face that so many characters seem to use. I get why these trends are used but I'd like to make a character that stands out and people can relate too. So un-conventional features perhaps. I also had a few armor features that I really liked the look of going into this project that I knew I really wanted to incorporate. Those being some sort of neck-guard and banner/sash style elements on some part of the armor. Lastly, I really wanted to tackle designing a suit of armour. The layers and complexity of armor can be daunting so I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could create a stylized yet also reasonably maneuverable set.

Much of the inspiration for this character came from Meve from Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales as well as similar characters such as Cassandra from Dragon Age: Inquisition and Brienne from Game of Thrones.

So the major goals are as follows:

  1. Overhaul my hand-painted abilities (Metal in particular).
  2. Create a female character.
  3. Use un-conventional and non-sexualised features.
  4. Design a suit of armour.

I watched a great tutorial by Marc Brunet on character design to get my mind-space right and get some pointers that may assist me in designing the armour.

I started with thumbnails, designing 9 different armour sets, They can be seen below. They're messy but the aim was to build some different forms and mess with different shapes to try and find a design I liked. As mentioned earlier, I knew I wanted some sort of neckguard as well as sashes so every design features these in some way. From the 9 I felt that 2, 3, 6, 8, & 9 were closest to what I was looking for. I liked pretty much all of them but these were definitely the closest to my original vision. I ultimately narrowed it down to 2 and 8 before finalizing on 8.

After this I focused on blocking in the majority of the mid and small sized details. I'm no 2D artist so it's no masterpiece but I'll likely experiment in 3D to come up with the smallest details. I just wanted to get a rough idea of what I was creating before I moved over to 3D. You can find my finalized concept below the thumbnails. Marc's tutorial helped me focus on the motif's and the "hook" of my character. Those being the regular arrow style shapes embellished around the armor with the hook being the split look of much of her armor e.g. the splits in her neckguard, tabard/plateskirt, sashes, sword & shield as well as the half bracers and shinguard's. Again, I may experiment with this even further in 3D. That's all for now, thanks for reading. Any feedback is welcome.





Dwarven Explorer W.I.P

Work In Progress / 08 October 2019

Thought I'd share some of the progress shots of my character that's going to play a big storytelling role in my Fool's Gold environment. Below are some shots from his development.

I started by defining a rough muscle shape and focusing on getting his face looking good. Much of his muscle wouldn't be visible but I still wanted to get the proportions right. At this point he was a bit too tall, which I fix up soon. I also thought that if I got his body to a good standard, that I could reuse or expand upon it in later projects.

I shortened him a bit and expanded upon his face, giving him a friendlier look, sloping out his forehead and  defined it using pinch and flatten brushes.

I tried out a new approach for hair which I'm really happy with. His eyebrows still use my old approach but I think the new method works great for larger volumes of hair such as beards and head hair. It uses a combination of IMM appendages which are then shaped using pinch, crack and hard polish Brushes.

His clothes were mostly masked and extracted then defined using pinch and cloth brushes. components such as the goggles and belt were made using ZModeller then remeshed for finer details.

The brushes I use the most are Clay Buildup, Form Soft, Move, Flatten, Hard Polish, Standard, Dam Standard as well as Michael Vicente's cracks brushes and Shane Olsen's pinch and cloth brushes.

Still working on him and refining bits and pieces. Hopefully you enjoy, feedback is appreciated.