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Complete Character Ceation By

Richard Tilbury from an original character by Seong-wha Jeong


The Swordmaster

Is our new precise, step-by-step tutorial for highly polished, low polygon game character with detailed texturing for real-time rendering. We have had the tutorial created for the 5 major 3D applications, but even if you are not a user of one of them, the principles should be easily followed in nearly all other 3D applications. Over the next 8 Chapters we will outline, in detail, the process for creating the ‘Swordmaster’ you see on the left. Chapter 01

Modeling the head Chapter 02

Modeling the Torso Chapter 03

Modeling the Arms & Legs Chapter 04

Modeling the Clothing & Hair Chapter 05

Modeling the Armour Chapter 06

Mapping & Unwrapping Chapter 07

Texturing the Skin & Body Chapter 08

Texturing the Armour & Clothing Enjoy ...


SwordMaster

Part 1

Modeling The Head Introduction: Welcome to the first of an ongoing tutorial which will run over the next eight issues and provide a step by step guide to building a low poly character based upon a model by SeongWha Jeong. Over the next eight months we will be covering how to build, map/unwrap and texture the character based upon the original. As the original model is low poly and tailored towards a game environment the mesh is not made entirely of quads and so we shall also be making use of a few “tri’s” in places to minimize the mesh density. In this first section we will start by creating a simple box and then moulding it into the final head shape using the editable poly tools.

1. The first step is to create a box with 4 length, width and height segments as shown on the right in Fig01. You will notice that the“Generate Mapping Coords”box is checked but as we are going to map our mesh later on this is not important here. Right click on the box and select “Convert to Editable Poly “from the dialogue box. 2. With our box now converted to an Editable Poly we can now begin shaping it at the subobject level, ie. vertex, face, edge etc. Select the vertex level under selection and begin by moving the verts in the left or right viewports first to get the rough profile shape. Be sure to keep the “Ignore Backface” box unchecked so that you select all the verts across the mesh, evident in the User viewport. In this way we can keep our mesh symmetrical on both sides of the center (Fig02). I find it is best to work in a profile view and move the verts into a reasonable shape and then switch to the front view and do the same.

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SwordMaster 3. Once you have shaped the existing geometry it is time to add a subdivision by selecting an edge (shown in black) and then clicking on Ring, followed by Connect (highlighted in red) in Fig03. By selecting the little square to the right of the tab you can bring up the dialogue box where you can alter the parameters. You can see in the top left that I have chosen just one segment in this case. Much of the modelling process will involve this procedure after which the new verts are then manipulated into better positions. You can see the variuos views of the mesh at this stage on the bottom right.

4. Now that we have a rough shape to our head it is time to add in some of the features. Select the two central poly’s (ringed in green) and then click on the Bevel tab on the right and bring them outward, scaling them down somewhat (Fig04).

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SwordMaster 5. The next step is to make a start on the eyes. Select the two poly’s that are ringed in green in Fig05 and then click on the little square next to the Inset tab (highlighted in red). Click on the “Group” radio button and then simply alter the inset amount to form the eye shape similar to the image. If you select “By Polygon” each poly will be inset individually – something we wish to avoid.

6. With the nose and eyes underway we have just the mouth left to make a start on. Select the four poly’s highlighted in green in Fig06 and then use the “Cut” tool on the right to make four horizontal cuts (shown in red) emanating from a single vert. Once this is done simply move the new verts into positions to form a mouth shape as seen in the image.

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SwordMaster 7. The features are now beginning to form, albeit in a rather crude way but there is still no evidence of a chin so pull up some of the lower verts to alleviate this (Fig07).

8. To help refine the cheek bone and nose shape use the “Ring / Connect� tools to add in a further cut around the head as shown in red in Fig08.

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SwordMaster 9. Now that we have a reasonable amount of detail it is time to delete half of our mesh and apply the Symmetry modifier in order that we can work on just one half of the model and see the results mirrored in a duplicate. In this way we can ensure that the head is the same either side of the central line but reduce the number of poly’s that need manipulating. Begin by selecting the “Window/Crossing” icon on the tool bar along the top of the viewports (top left Fig09). Now in sub-object poly mode, select all of the right half of the head (make sure Ignore Backfacing is unchecked) by including part of the left side just past the central line. Delete these poly’s,go to the top of the stack and then apply a Symmetry modifier from the modifier list making sure the head is mirrored along the vertical axis as shown on the right of Fig09. When you go down the stack to the Editable poly level the duplicate will now disappear. Toggle the “Show end result “button so that you can see the copy and now when you work in sub-object mode at the editable poly level you will see the results mirrored (bottom right of the image). 10. Now we are working purely on the left side of the head select the poly’s highlighted in red in Fig10 and use the”Cut” tool to make two horizontal cuts joining the middle verts. This will help create a more convincing socket shape for the eye and remove the sharp angle apparent in Fig08.

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SwordMaster 11. The eye area is somewhat improved but we need some more detail above the brow so move the existing line of verts up slightly (yellow line in Fig11.) and add a new subdivision below this and the brow (green line) which will help form a better forehead shape.

12. As we gradually refine our model we inevitably add more detail but sometimes it is useful in low poly characters to actually remove unnecessary detail that can be supplemented by a texture. At the moment we have six rows of polygons running over the top of the head – more than we really need. In Vertex mode click on the “Target Weld” tab and weld together the line of verts running upward from the corner and center of the eye starting with the one ringed in red in Fig12.

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SwordMaster 13. We have partially improved the eyes and so should refine the other features. First thing is to get rid of the harsh angle under the nose so select the poly and apply a Bevel (Fig13). As we are working on a mirrored half we now end up with unwanted poly’s between the selected polygons. Delete these and then move the inner verts to line up with the central line using the snaps tool. One other thing to do is add a cut below the lips to create a better shape to the chin (highlighted in red).

14. On the nose weld the middle vert to the one below and the one on the left to the adjacent corner one (Fig14).

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SwordMaster 15. Select an edge in line with the green line in Fig15 and perform a “Ring/Connect” once more resulting in another subdivision as shown by the yellow line.

16. To improve the chin a bit more we shall make a further cut to help form the jaw line as shown by the red line in Fig16. You will also notice that the purple poly (the one we originally cut) is made up of two triangles. We can delete this and create a quad in its place using the “Create” tool in sub-object poly mode. This will leave only the one further back on this section of the jaw.

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SwordMaster 17. To remedy the very flat underside of the chin we shall now make a further cut across from the vert in the middle (shown in red in Fig17). The extra verts can now be pulled downward to form a more rounded profile and the the one left of the center can be welded to the central one to reduce the poly count.

18. To economise futher weld two more verts to the outside edge as shown by the red dots in Fig18. With this complete it is now time to create the ears so start by moving the verts into positions that resemble a rough shape as seen by the red outline.

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SwordMaster 19. Select the three poly’s that make up the ear shape and hold down shift and drag the selection outwards. This will create a copy and bring up a “Clone” dialogue box – select the clone to element radio button and hit OK (Fig19). This will keep the new polygons as part of the head and not as a separate object.

20. With these poly’s still selected in subobject mode click on “Extrude” and give the ear some volume by an amount similar to that seen in Fig20.

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SwordMaster 21. We now have a rough ear shape but you will notice that on the opposite side there is a hole. To fix this, copy the same selected faces using the same technique we have just used and rotate them around 180 degrees. Now all we need to do is attach them to the other side. Select the 3D Snaps tool on the toolbar (highlighted in yellow –top of Fig21), right click on it and tick vertex under the snaps settings. Now select the vertices on the new faces and drag over to the corresponding ones on the ear to patch up the hole indicated by the green dots. With these verts now in place select all the verts on the ear and click on the little tab next to “Weld” in the modify panel. In the dialogue box alter the threshold to 0.001. You will notice that we have a discrepancy of 8 between the before and after – this corresponds to the 8 verts that we have snapped to the other 8. We can only see 8 but there are in fact 16 separate ones and so by hitting OK we are welding this 16 into 8 and so reducing the count from 161 to 153. In other words if two verts occupy the same space they may as well be one. 22. We can now attach the ear to the side of the head using the same technique by first moving it into position, snapping the verts together and then welding them up. To give the ear a better shape scale the outward faces down a little and then add in a vertical subdivision using the “Ring/Connect” tools and move the extra verts to form more of a curve to the outside (Fig22).

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SwordMaster

23. We are almost there now! Add an Edit Mesh modifier on top of the stack and then go into sub-object edge mode as seen on the right in Fig23. Select “Turn� and then start to swap the direction in which some edges traverse certain polygons by clicking on them. You can see in the image where edges in red have been turned to follow a more suitable line (shown in green on the right). In this way we can create better contours across our mesh and make sure the numerous planes read more accurately too. 24. In Fig24 we can see the final version of our head. There are a few verts here and there that could be tweaked somewhat to refine the shape but we have a reasonable head to build on. It is important with low-ply models that we have smooth transitions between polygons so that we conceal as much as possible the low level of detail. Hopefully you will have learnt enough techniques to go on and improve upon my model.

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SwordMaster

Here are some progress shots from the viewports, and a render of the flat shaded with wireframe over. Next month we will continue by building the torso.

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SwordMaster

Part 2

Modelling the Torso Introduction: Welcome to the second part of an ongoing tutorial which will run over several months and provide a step by step guide to building a low poly character based upon a model by SeongWha Jeong. In this installment we shall start with the head model covered in last month’s edition and build upon the mesh to create a torso. 1. If you have followed the previous tutorial on making the head then open that file and begin by selecting the bottom row of edges as shown in green in Fig01. Now hold down the “Shift” key and using the “Move” tool drag this row of edges downwards to make a copy. Remember that we still have the “Symmetry” modifier on top of the stack and so are only working on the left half of the mesh. 2. When you have done this start to pull the verts outwards to form the top of the shoulders (Fig02). You can see in the illustration that the small picture shows the positions that the new verts have taken up.

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Chapter 02


SwordMaster 3. We are now going to make a cut across the front three poly’s to form the clavicle as seen by the red line in Fig03 using the same technique as before – selecting the poly’s in sub-object mode and applying the “Cut” tool.

4. Now once again select this bottom row of edges and “Shift copy” them down and re-arrange the new verts to form a better shape (Fig04). It is a good rule of thumb that whenever you add more detail by way of copying edges or adding subdivisions you should move the new verts into suitable positions before adding any new edges. It can save time and is a lot easier to work this way.

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Chapter 02


SwordMaster 5. We have made most of the shoulder area already by simply copying edges and repositioning the new verts and now it is time to start to form the top of the arm area. We need to make two new cuts on the front and back poly’s that form the outer edge nearest the left of the image. This is so we have enough edges from which to “Extrude” an arm later on. In Fig05 you will notice that these are represented by the first cut in green and the second in red – the new verts are then moved (red dots). We have now created two triangles by the last cut but these could be deleted and replaced by a quad if one so wished.

6. Now it is time to begin forming the chest area by selecting the bottom row of edges on the front of the torso (green line in Fig06) and duplicating them downwards (red line in Fig06) using the same method.

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Chapter 02


SwordMaster 7. We can do the same thing to also form the upper back (Fig07).

8. Back to the front now ! Grab that bottom row of edges under the chest and copy these downwards once more but this time pull them inward to form the lower part of the chest (Fig08). Also add in a small cut indicated by the red line.

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Chapter 02


SwordMaster 9. If we look at Fig09 we can begin to see the shape that the upper arm will assume when it eventually materializes from the hole. Before we close the bottom edge copy the edges highlighted in green to start off the abdomen and lower back areas.

10. With this done it is time to seal the bottom of the arm area. In sub-object poly mode create a poly that bridges the gap and once this is done add a “Cut� and pull the new vert down slightly to help form a better shape under the arm (green line in Fig10).

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Chapter 02


SwordMaster 11. We now have a complete upper torso with a hole ready to build our arm. All that we need to do now is extend it downwards to form the lower back, abdomen and pelvic area. Once again grab the lower ring of edges and copy them downwards (green line in Fig11).

12. To help shape the muscle form on the back you could weld the vert shown in green in Fig12 to the one to its left. This will form a triangle and follow the shape of the muscles running downwards from the shoulder blades.

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Chapter 02


SwordMaster 13. Now select the bottom row of edges once more and copy these downwards by quite a way (Fig13).

14. What we will do next is add a few subdivisions across the new section of poly’s we have just made. So in “Edge” mode select any of the vertical edges (green line in Fig14) and click on “Ring/Connect” and add in three segments as shown in the dialogue box.

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Chapter 02


SwordMaster 15. The next thing to do is to simply manipulate the newly created verts into positions that form the shape of the lower torso and top of the buttocks (Fig15). Is is best to do this in the same way we began moulding the cube into a rough head shape, ie. move the verts first in the front view and then in the profile view before tweaking them in the User or Perspective viewports. The illustration shows a profile and front view which will give you a good idea about the positions of the verts.

16. The last thing to do before we start to make the arms and legs is add a small cut across the base of the buttocks in order that we have a little more geometry to deform when the character is eventually animated. This will help smooth the curve of the leg when it is extended (Fig16). You can see in the illustration that the added cut (in green) has helped the curvature when the legs are extended, evident in the screen shots above. You will also notice that I have added another cut (in red) above to help the creasing in this area. It is always worth remembering that it helps to have more detail around all joints as these polys are subject to more stretching and movement. In the case of the red cut, I have created two triangles on the side of the leg as this pattern will be used around the knee (the reason for which we will see in the next tutorial) but you could in fact have just made a cut to the lower vert creating only a single triangle. Configuring poly’s around joints is often determined by the types of animation required and it is sometimes worth attaching a skeleton to the model before it is finished in order to test the mesh. This concludes the torso section of the tutorial and next month we will go on to build the arms and legs to complete the body.

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Chapter 02


SwordMaster

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Chapter 02


SwordMaster

Part 3

Modelling the Arms and Legs Introduction: Welcome to the third part of an ongoing tutorial which will provide a step by step guide to building a low poly character based upon a model by Seong-Wha Jeong. In this installment we shall start with the torso covered in last month’s edition and build upon the mesh to create the arms and legs. 1. If you have followed the previous tutorial on making the torso then open that file and begin by selecting the edges as shown in Fig01. Now hold down the “Shift” key and using the “Move” tool drag this row of edges downwards to make a copy. Remember that we still have the “Symmetry” modifier on top of the stack and so are only working on the left half of the mesh.

Fig01

2. In the next step move these edges inwards and join them together with another poly in between as indicated by the red poly in Fig02. This will now form two holes from which we will extend the legs. You can do this by either using “Create” in poly mode or simply target weld one edge to the other and then add in a new edge using the “Ring / Connect” tools. Either way is fine.

Fig02

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SwordMaster 3. Make sure you reposition the verts to form a decent shape and then extend the edges downwards using “Shift� and dragging as we have done previously to begin creating the upper thigh ( Fig03 ).

Fig03 4. Using this same technique extend the leg downwards to create the upper part of the leg. Remember to tweak the positions of the verts as you do so in order to form the best shape as we go along. You can see in Fig04 that I have formed two additional edges down to the knee area.

Fig04

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SwordMaster 5. The next stage involves applying exactly the same procedure inorder to extend the leg downward to form the knee, calves and ankle. In Fig05 you will notice that this comprised of six new edges all of which were shaped differently in accordance the parts of the leg.

Fig05 6. We have now built the leg and it is time to create the foot. You will notice that the poly’s that make up the leg are open ended and need to be capped in order to form the sole of the foot. We do this by either selecting one of the edges in sub-object Border mode and then clicking on “Cap” or simply creating three extra poly’s that run across the foot in Poly mode as seen in Fig06.

Fig06

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Chapter 03


SwordMaster 7. We now need to level these poly’s so in a profile view (left or right) select them and then right click the “Select and Non-uniform Scale” tab on the toolbar. This brings up a dialogue box as shown in Fig07. Right click on the bottom arrow in the Y axis (highlighted in red) and the poly’s should all align nicely.

Fig07 8. To start the feet off select the two front poly’s and “Extrude” them forward, scaling them down as you do so (Fig08).

Fig08

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SwordMaster 9. Make a further extrusion to add the toes and in order to add a little more curvature add a further cut as seen in green in Fig09.

Fig09 10. We now have two complete legs and feet but there is one last thing to do before we move on to the arms. In order to get a better deformation around the knee area we are going to add in two new cuts which will help maintain a more consistent shape at the back of the leg when we bend the knee (assuming off course that we are going to attach a skeleton). You can see in Fig10 that I have made two diagonal cuts and when we attach a skeleton and bend the knee backwards you will notice in the two insets on the right that the lower one is more realistic as a result. The upper diagram shows a kink in the mesh and is due to a cut intersecting the bend (green line on the left leg). For this reason it is best to choose the configuration on the right and add in the two extra cuts.

Fig10

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Chapter 03


SwordMaster 11. With the legs finished it is time to extend the arms. Continuing from our torso in the previous tutorial select the top seven edges and extend them to make a new set (green line in Fig11). Now weld the two verts in red to the corners indicated by the arrows.

Fig11 12. The next step is to extend these edges out once more and then weld the two outer most verts (highlighted in red in Fig12) to the verts highlighted by the green dots.

Fig12

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SwordMaster 13. Now select only six of the edges leaving out the one nearest the chest (marked by the two red dots in Fig13). Weld the marked verts in the direction shown at both the front and back resulting in configuration seen on the right of the picture. Once this is done add a cut across the fron poly indicated by the purple line and then make the two triangles below into a quad.

Fig13 14. Remember to reposition the new verts as and when you create them in order to get a good shape. When you are satisfied select the poly furthest back in the new group and add a cut from the corner downward as shown by the red line in Fig14. Then select the ring of open edges and extend downward to form the top of the arm and a new section (green line).

Fig14

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SwordMaster 15. Now that we have a start to the arm we can continue by shift dragging edge selections and transforming the verts until we get to the wrist as seen in Fig15. In this case I have added a further eight extrusions.

Fig15 16. As we did with the foot we are going to cap the end of the arm with five poly’s as shown in Fig16. You will notice a single triangle on the left but do not be concerned about this at the moment.

Fig16

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SwordMaster 17. In order to prepare for the thumb extend the two right most verts outward as shown in Fig17.

Fig17 18. Next add a cut on the underside (Fig18) in the position numbered 1. This will leave a five sided poly on the palm side of the hand and so to alleviate this continue the cut upwards in the position mumbered 2. Now to give the thumb area more shape add a further cut in the position numbered 3. This will add a little more curvature to the thumb when we extend it downwards eventually.

Fig18

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SwordMaster 19. When we look at Fig19 we can see the underside of the hand on the left. We have four poly’s that can be used to extrude the four fingers but the shapes including the thumb area need re-shaping slightly before we do this. First make a cut as indicated by the red line (inset 2) and then move the new vert down slightly. Follow with a cut from this new vert to the outside of the hand (red line on inset 3). Now delete the two triangles next to it and create a quad (shaded in green) which will result in a row of four quads ready to create the fingers and the beginnings of a thumb.

Fig19 20. Select these four poly’s and extrude them downwards making sure to select “By Polygon” (Fig20).

Fig20

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SwordMaster 21. Rotate these new poly’s a little and then do a further two extrusions, scaling them down somewhat to shape the fingers (Fig21).

Fig21 22. The next step is to shape the thumb which will involve the same procedure and so select the lower poly’s and extrude downward making sure to select “Group” this time. In order to create a better flow from the palm make sure you re-orientate the hidden edge to correspond with the red line in Fig22. You can do this by selecting the polygon in question and clicking on “Edit Triangulation” and then clicking on “Turn” and selecting the edge. This will cause the edge to flip in a different direction or alternatively you can make a cut as we have done in the past.

Fig22

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SwordMaster 23. You can then go on and extend the poly’s to build the thumb. In Fig23 you will notice that I have re-orientated the poly’s at the end to form a more even split compared to the original seen in the inset. This is not entirely necessary and may even inhibit a better shape when adding the curvature at the thumb tip but we are not adding much detail here so it should be ok.

Fig23 19. The final stage is to select the six poly’s that make up the tips of the fingers and add a “Bevel” with the amount similar to that shown in Fig24. This essentially wraps up this particular section and we now have a complete figure.

Fig24

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SwordMaster

This concludes the tutorial on creating the arms and legs and next month we shall go on and add clothing and hair.

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Chapter 03


SwordMaster

Part 4

Modelling the Hair and Clothing Introduction: Welcome to the fourth installment in the series which will provide a step by step guide to building a low poly character based upon a model by Seong-Wha Jeong. Now that we have fully built the character it is time to add in the hair and clothing which we shall do this month. 1. If you have followed the previous tutorials on building the character then open the last file and begin by adding an “Edit Poly” above the Symmetry modifier and then select the poly’s highlighted in Fig01. Now hold down the “Shift” key and using the “Move” tool drag this selection upwards to make a copy. You will notice from the image that I have selected “Clone To Object” from the dialogue box but this is only to keep

Fig01

the hair separate at the moment. What we will do for the hair is model the various elements seperately and then group them together at the end and mirror them over to the other half. 2. The next stage involves copying these new poly’s over the the side and “Snapping” the bottom row of verts to the top of the forehead in the positions marked in blue in Fig02. Copy this group once more and then again snap the bottom verts (in red this time) to the edge of the face. This is so this front group can eventually be unwrapped with the top of the face to create a seamless texture for the hairline.

Fig02

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SwordMaster 3. We can duplicate these extra two sets over to the other side of the face once they are done and begin on the second row of hair which falls directly behind the front row but offset slightly to intersect with the front set (Fig03). You can use a group from the front set to create these and simply delete two rows of poly’s resulting in four quads as seen in the picture. Then it is just a case of snapping the verts to the line across the forehead and re-shaping them slightly.

Fig03 4. For the next step we are going to duplicate this new set of poly’s and move them behind the second row except this time we shall ignore snapping the verts to any on the scalp (Fig04).

Fig04

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SwordMaster 5. Now we have made a start on the front we shall begin building the back section of the hair. In Fig05 you can see a large yellow piece of geometry that has been positioned. You will notice that it is in two pieces and this is because when we finally map and unwrap our mesh we can copy a section of mapped geometry and it carries with it the mapping co-ordinates. Therefore to save on texture space it is best to unwrap parts of the mesh before duplicating them and so enabling us to use a single area of our template to paint numerous parts of our model. In this case it will mean mapping only one half of the yellow area and then copying that half over and welding the two up. This is something we shall explore in more depth during the texturing phase but for now we shall just model all the parts so you can see how thay will eventually look together.

Fig05 6. Now to build the central sections – three rows of nine quads as seen in Fig06. Once again do not worry about the verts aligning, just concentrate on shaping the mesh to follow the shape of the head in the same way we have done before.

Fig06

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SwordMaster 7. To finish this section add two more rows as seen in Fig07.

Fig07 8. The front, back and central section of the hair is now complete and all that remains to do is add in a group of planes that will form the sides. A few pieces of the geometry will eventually be mapped later on before being duplicated but for now simply add in two rows along the side of the head similar to Fig08. You will notice I have placed a couple of planes just behind and below the ear to mimic Seong’s model but basically put in enough to mask the scalp.

Fig08

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SwordMaster 9. When these pieces are copied over to the other side we end up with the finished article (Fig09).

Fig09 10. Now it is time to add the clothing, the first part of which shall be the trousers. First thing to do is select the group of poly’s that will form the trousers as shown in Fig10. Detach these and make them an element in the dialogue box so they remain part of the main mesh and then universally scale them up slightly.

Fig10

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SwordMaster 11. With this done add in a row of verts at the top to join the trousers back onto the body and then proceed to transform the verts into positions that resemble Fig11.

Fig11 12. Then add in two subdivisions using the “Ring /Connect� in the areas marked in red in Fig12.

Fig12

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SwordMaster 13. Add a further cut in sub-object poly mode from the front of the mesh and around to the back as shown in Fig13.

Fig13 14. The next stage involves making further cuts in along the lines shown in red in Fig14 at the back of the trousers. This is to provide the correct creasing in the right areas and once done you can create quads in the areas highlighted in green which will finish off the trousers.

Fig14

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SwordMaster 15. The next item we shall create are the shin guards. Simply selest the group of poly’s that make up the front of the shin as seen in Fig15 and click on “Extrude” making sure to select Local Normal and bring these out somewhat and that’s it!

Fig15 16. Now onto the footwear. Start the boots off by detaching the foot as we did with the trousers and again scale the poly’s up a little as before and then create a group on the top joining them back to the leg (Fig16). Now we need to add a heel and sole to them so first select the two quads at the back and extrude them down as seen on the left highlighted in red. Now repeat this for the rest of the poly’s as shown on the right of the picture. You will now have some extra depth to the boot but the sole is still flat with two hidden poly’s so grab the two verts furthest back on the second extrusion and weld them to the ones at the upper front of the heel (green dots on the right). This concludes the footwear and next onto the kneepads.

Fig16

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SwordMaster 17. Referring to Fig17 select the poly’s shown in red and holding down shift in “Select and Move” mode select Clone to Object from the dialogue box and name the object kneepad. This will create a new object which we can then scale according to the one shown on the left.

Fig17 18. You will notice that at the moment it has no depth at all and so to amend this we will add a “Shell” modifier from the modifier list. In Fig18 you will notice this at the top of the stack and when you alter the inner amount by about 0.2 it creates a set of inner faces as seen in the middle image. All that remains is to select the front two top poly’s and do two extrusions scaling inwards slightly to form the upper part shown on the right.

Fig18

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SwordMaster 19. This brings us to the final piece of clothing that we shall add in this tutorial; the belt. Start by creating a shallow box, convert it to an “Editable Poly” and place it in front of the upper part of the trousers, rotating it slightly as seen in Fig19. This will form the beginning of the object and what we shall do next is create a spline that wraps around the body from either end of the box and then extrude one end of box along this spline to form a belt shape.

Fig19 20. Under the “Shapes” tab in the Modify panel click on “Ellipse” and then left click and drag out a shape in the top view. Right click on the object and select “Convert to Editable Spline”, (you will notice this is the name in the modifier stack now). In sub-object “Vertex” mode select the bottom most vert and then click on “Break”. This will now give you access to two verts wherer there was once one. Move them apart slightly and then after selecting the left one click on “Make First” (this will now add a small square around it as opposed to a crosshair). Now what we need to do is position the spline around our character in a manner that follows the path of our belt (Fig20). Use the “Snaps Toggle” (set to 3) and tick the boxes shown in the inset dialogue box. Now move the two broken verts to both ends of the box and centralize them midway down. Now turn off the snaps tool and move the verts to roughly the middle of the end faces – does not need to be perfect. Fig20

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SwordMaster 21. In sub-object poly mode select the left end face of the box and click on the settings tab next to “Extrude Along Spline”. This will open up the dialogue box seen in Fig21 with a pick spline tab in the top left. Click on this and then select your spline shape. You should now see a belt magically appear around your character’s waist. Change the segements to 10 so it has a reasonable shape and then delete the two end polys making sure to snap and weld the verts together afterwards.

Fig21 22. Now that we have the belt wrapped around the character we just need to transform the verts and fit it properly around the mesh (Fig22).

Fig22

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SwordMaster 23. With this done all that remains is to extrude four of the lower faces that make up the left underside and create the cloth that will eventually hang by his side (Fig23). You can see in the picture that I have made three extrusions downwards which completes this section of this months tutorial.

Fig23

Fig24

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Next month we shall go on and finish the modelling stages by adding the Armour elements before readying ourselves for the texturing phase.

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Part 5

Modelling the Armour Introduction: Welcome to the fifth instalment in the series which will provide a step by step guide to building a low poly character based upon a model by Seong-Wha Jeong. Last month saw us adding clothing and hair and now we reach the last phase in the modelling section which will cover giving our warrior some armour to wear. 1. If you have followed the previous tutorials then open the last file which saw us make the belt for his waist. The first thing we are going to do now is re-position some of the verts on his left arm. In Fig01 you will see some of the existing verts (highlighted in red) that have been moved into different positions on the mesh. The green line across the front and back sections

Fig01

represent additional cuts. When you have reached this stage it is time to create the actual armour for the arm. 2. The next step is to select the poly’s that make up the whole of the armour section (seen in red in Fig02). What I do then is detach these, universally scale them slightly and then reposition them central to the shoulder edge and then re-attach them to the main mesh. You can then create a line of poly’s to join them back up thus adding volume to the armour (see green poly’s in inset).

Fig02

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SwordMaster 3. Now onto the forearm section which will be initially made from a separate cylinder. First delete the poly’s highlighted in red but on the opposite side where the armour is located (Fig 03). Now create an eleven sided cylinder and then convert it to an editable poly deleting the top and bottom faces. Scale the top row of verts and scale them in somewhat and then bevel the two bottom rows of poly’s to form the shape seen on the right. Now place the cylinder between the elbow and wrist and scale it to fit as closely as possible to the elbow. You can then snap the arm verts to the cylinder top and then attach the two. All you need to do now is create a set of poly’s around the wrist and do not worry too much if the hand is not central.

Fig03 4. Next piece to be made is the elbow guard. This we will do in a similar manner to the knee guard. Start by creating a tube making sure to add a slice of 180 degrees (Fig 04). Add one segment and a similar number of sides to those in the picture.

Fig04

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SwordMaster 5. To finish off the piece extrude the middle section of poly’s down as shown in Fig 05 To form the rounded front section just select and extrude the end poly’s highlighted in red and then make four cuts (two on either side seen in green) from the corners. It is then just a case of pulling in the corner verts.

Fig05 6. Right, well we have the armour across his left arm but now we need to create a strap that wraps around his body that holds it in place. This will involve creating a spline that roughly follows the contours of his torso around which we will Loft a rectangle shape to form the strap. This first of all involves making a spline from under the Shapes tab on the control panel. Choose Line and make sure you set the Initial and Drag types to Corner (Fig 06). Start the spline at the center of the face ringed in green on the back of the model and curve it round to the front section of the armour just short of the shoulder (eight verts in this case). You will notice that I have also made a small rectangle (in orange which has the same proportion as the face from which the spline starts) and this will form the shape of the strap.

Fig06

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SwordMaster 7. Select the spline shape and under the Geometry tab and Compound Objects click on Loft and then click on Get Shape followed by the rectangle (Fig 07). Under the Skin Parameters make sure to uncheck both capping boxes and set the Shape and Path steps to zero. You should now see a rectangle stretched around our character’s torso similar to the picture.

Fig07 8. All you need to do now is snap the end verts to the armour (ringed in red in Fig 08) and tweak the shape so it hugs the torso. You will notice also that I have added two smaller straps which connect it to the front section.

Fig08

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SwordMaster 9. We now arrive at the final stage of the process – adding the shoulder piece. The first step is to create a shape similar to the one on the right in Fig 09 which you can do either by creating a Plane or converting a Spline. Once you have the shape apply a Shell modifier to give it some depth as seen on the left.

Fig09 10. Now duplicate this which you can do using the Symmetry modifier and then collapse the object to an Editable Poly making sure to weld any overlapping verts afterwards ! Next select all the front Poly’s and perform an Extrusion, keeping the height to zero and then clicking Apply and OK (Fig 10). Now with the poly’s still selected scale them down slightly as shown in the picture.

Fig10

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SwordMaster 11. With the same group selected add a Bevel by an amount similar to that shown on the right in Fig. 11. To enable the model to fit around the shoulder it will need to be curved which we can do by adding a Bend modifier. You will notice from the picture that it has been bent around the X axis but it is perhaps better to apply this when the model is complete to form a better shape as we will add some more subdivisions first.

Fig11 12. The next step is to make a cut across the front as shown in red on stage 1 in Fig 12. Now select the poly’s in red on stage 2 and Extrude them outwards by a similar amount. Now weld up the verts highlighted in yellow to form the version on stage 3. The second row down from the top can be welded to the row above as indicated by the white arrows.

Fig12

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SwordMaster 13. Now add two cuts along the front marked by the red lines on stage 1 in Fig 13. Then select the new verts shown in green and one by one perform an extrusion altering the height and base width to form teeth shapes similar to step 2 on the right. If you did not add a Bend modifier beforehand then do so now and fit it around the shoulder area.

Fig13 14. All that is left to do now is add a few small details and we will have completed the modelling phase. In Fig 14 you can see that I have made a small cylinder and placed it at the center of the shoulder (2) and made some studs to go around the wrist area (3). I have also added a few extra poly’s around the shoulder strap that will be used to texture the buckles eventually (1).

Fig14

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This concludes the modelling phase of the tutorial and next month we shall begin mapping and unwrapping the mesh in preparation for the texturing stages.

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Part 6

Mapping and Unwrapping Introduction Welcome to the sixth instalment in the series which will provide a look at mapping and unwrapping our finished mesh. This is quite an involved process and will be covered in only one tutorial. In order to keep this from becoming too long I have not detailed every step along the way but rather opted to provide an overview of the principal techniques used. This should hopefully equip any beginners with enough information to tackle the entire model and complete it on their own. The crucial methods necessary will be covered and then can be repeated to map sections that have been omitted. The important thing to remember is that the tutorial has been filtered to contain only the key procedures.

Fig01

1. The first step is to apply a material to our model so open up the material editor and select all the geometry and then click on the Assign Material to Selection button (highlighted in red in Fig01). Notice how the model has now adopted the grey colour of the assigned material (top center) and is now surrounded by four white triangles indicating it belongs to an object in the scene. Get used to naming your materials too – in this case Swordmaster. 2. In order to check the integrity of our mapping co-ordinates and enable us to successfully unwrap our mesh we will need to apply as texture to our geometry to act as a guide – in this case a checker map. The idea here is that the squares are a consistent size and so will easily show any stretching and badly mapped polygons. To load the texture make sure you first of all have a checker map and then click on the small button next to the Diffuse slot (highlighted

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Fig02

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SwordMaster in red in Fig02). This will bring up the map browser where you need to select Bitmap at the top (bottom right of image). Click on Ok and the map should appear on your mesh – if not click on the checker cube along the toolbar (ringed in red). You will now see a very messy checker map across your character which will require mapping. The checkermap will eventually be substituted by our painted template and the idea is that if the squares appear correctly so then will the finished texture. 3. The first step to correcting this is to apply the UVW Mapping modifier which you can find in the modifier list. Before doing this select all the poly’s that make up the head and neck area as seen in Fig 03. Now apply the mapping modifier which you can see in the upper right and click on the little + symbol and highlight Gizmo. Now select the Cylindrical radio button just below and click on the Fit tab as highlighted in red. You should now see the yellow cylinder fit neatly

Fig03

around the selected poly’s with a green line representing the seam which you want to align with the edge along the back of the head. If it dos not appear in the correct position simply use the rotate tool on the main toolbar to move it. Hopefully you should also see a much more consistent checker pattern too. 4. The next stage in the process involves applying the Unwrap UVW modifier directly above the mapping with the poly’s still selected. You can see the modifier in the stack on the top right in Fig 04 and the selected poly’s highlighted on the left. This modifier enables us to manipulate the mapping co-ordinates and move UVW verts and faces that correspond to those on the mesh – in other words we can transform the mapping so that we get a true and proper checker map without any obvious distortion.

Fig04

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SwordMaster 5. In order to do this click on the large Edit tab under parameters to open up the Edit UVWs window (Fig 05). This window gives us access to our mapped geometry in the form of a flattened lattice of verts and faces – in this case a head and neck area. You will notice along the top of the window are some of the standard transform tools and in the window itself you will see a blue square that represents our template size which in this case is a1024x1024 map seen in the upper top right.

Fig05 6. Using the transform tools we can alter the mapping co-ordinates in this window which will directly affect the texture. On the left of Fig 06 you will notice a vert highlighted in red which has been moved out of alignment with its edge and as a consequence the checker map has been stretched in the corresponding position on the mesh, encircled in red. The basic premise of this part of the process is to use the tools available within this dialogue box to accurately mirror the checker map across the surface of our geometry. Start by using the scale tool to make the checkers appear square and then concentrate on details where stretching occurs. The green lines’ surrounding the unwrapped head represent the seam lines / open edges and are also visible on the model in the viewport. There are two polys which you will notice fall outside of the neat edge and we shall go on to correct those later. Fig06

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SwordMaster 7. The next thing to do is map the outer faces of one of the ears. The way to do this is first apply an Edit Mesh modifier on top of the Unwrap UVW and then select the necessary poly’s in sub object mode and apply another UVW Mapping modifier. In the left or right viewport click on Planar under the mapping parameters, expand the gizmo as before and then click on the View Align tab. This aligns the gizmo with the view and if you wish you can use the rotate tools to better align it with the selected faces if they are not perpendicular (which they will not be) using the top view as a guide. You can then click on Bitmap fit and select the checker map and proceed by applying another UVW Unwrap modifier. It is a good policy to move any unwrapped geometry outside of the blue template square as all the geometry will inhabit this area by default otherwise when you unwrap the entire mesh you will have all the separate elements overlapping one another inside the template. (Fig 07) You can also move

Fig07

the mapped faces before you unwrap them as the gizmo itself represents the template shape and so if you move this in the viewports once you have applied the planar map the UVW’s will appear outside the blue square when you unwrap them. It is entirely up to you which way you do things. 8. As you map your model use the checker pattern in the viewports to try and keep the squares a similar size by scaling the gizmo, so our texture will have a consistent resolution. We will actually break this rule later on but for now just unwrap everything to a similar size. If you map some geometry and forget to move it outside the template boundary you may find when you unwrap it along with further poly’s later on there will be some overlapping as we have mentioned. In Fig 08 we can see an example of this. We see the previously mapped outer faces of the ear already outside the template but when the inner ones were Fig08

mapped they were not moved. When the entire

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SwordMaster head is selected we see the ear overlapping the face. Instead of selecting all the culprit verts individually we can tick the Select Element box at the base of the window (highlighted in red) and then move the whole piece across. You will also notice that the outer verts of the other half of the ear are highlighted in blue. These correspond with the verts that occupy the same space on the actual model and are welded together. The idea is that if we wish to unwrap the model in large sections we know which verts to weld in the Edit UVWs window which we will do next. 9. First thing to do is move the inner faces of the ear outside and scale them to match the outer facing sections. At the moment the two halves have the same orientation so the newly mapped faces need to be flipped horizontally. Select all the verts and click on the symbol ringed in red along the top of Fig 09. Now select the left edge of verts and you will see the ones

Fig09

that correspond in blue alongside. 10. Make sure that the two sections of the ear are very close and then region select two adjacent verts and then right click and you will see four context sensitive quads appear. Scroll down and click on Weld Selected as shown in Fig 10. To make sure you weld both open the Options by clicking on the tab in the bottom right (highlighted in yellow) and turn the Weld Threshold up to 10.0. As open edges are welded so some of the green seam lines become white to indicate they are now closed.

Fig10

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SwordMaster 11. As we mentioned earlier we shall now go on and fix the two stray poly’s along the top edge. In Fig 11 we can see how the edge traced in red mirrors the seam line across the head model in the viewport. What we really want is a neat, straight line running from the neck to the top of the scalp. Select the two verts in red, right click and then click on Break as shown in the image.

Fig11 12. Tick the Select Element box and then move this poly across to the right side where it belongs as shown in Fig 12. You do not need to worry about welding it up for now. We now have two sets of two verts which we need to weld together to close the three open edges seen in green on the left. Region select the two groups ringed in red and then weld them to close the edges.

Fig12

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SwordMaster 13. Close the UVW Unwrap window, apply an Edit Mesh modifier on top of the stack and then select the half of the head in sub-object poly mode that has not had the ear unwrapped. Delete these polys and then apply another UVW Unwrap. Now move the verts around along the top edge using the checker map as a guide to improve the distortion across the scalp. Do not worry about it being perfect as there will be some degree of stretching but it will eventually be concealed by the hair anyway. You should aim for something similar to the shape in Fig 13 with a nice neat seam line through the center.

Fig13 14. Close the window and collapse the stack and then in sub-object poly mode duplicate the head and neck area that has been mapped. With this new half selected apply a UVW Unwrap and you will notice that you see an exact copy what we have done so far. This is because duplicate geometry carries with it any mapping co-ordinates that have been applied. Move the entire unwrap aside away from its current position. Now close the window, weld the two halves of the head together and then select all the poly’s that make up the head / neck. Apply another UVW Unwrap and you will notice that you have two identical halves. Flip the newly unwrapped section and then move them next to one another so the central line of verts overlap down the middle of the face as seen in Fig 14. Turn the Weld Threshold down to 0.01 (bottom right) and then with all the central verts selected click on Weld Selected. You should now have a completely mapped head with a seam around the base of the neck and from the top of the forehead to the top of the shoulders.

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SwordMaster 15. Now it is time to move onto the torso. Select the front half of the body from the neck line down to the trousers and half way around the side as seen in Fig 15. As with the ears apply a Planar map whilst in the front viewport making sure to then click on View Align and then Bitmap Fit under the Alignment parameters.

Fig15

16. Follow the same procedure for the back to complete the torso area and then with all of these poly’s selected in sub-object mode apply an Unwrap UVW. In Fig 16 you can see that I have moved the two pieces alongside one another with the intention of welding the verts highlighted in the top left which run under the arm. You will also notice that the two sections have been moved outside the template and are currently of a lower resolution than the face due to the larger checker pattern.

Fig16

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SwordMaster 17. In Fig 17 you can see that the verts have now been welded and the section scaled to make it more consistent with the head. You will have to re adjust the verts in the Edit window once welded in order to reduce some of the distortion.

Fig17 18. Now it is time to deal with the limbs. As you saw with the head any mapped geometry that is duplicated retains its mapping co-ordinates and so to save time delete one complete leg from the waist down (inset 1 in Fig 18). Now select all the poly’s that make up the trousers barring the three quads under the groin (inset 2). Apply a Cylindrical map making sure to click on Fit and then rotate the gizmo so the green line is aligned with the inside edge as closely as possible (see main image). Then Unwrap this section exactly as we have done before. The basic procedure that will be repeated throughout this tutorial is to select poly’s in sub-object mode, apply the UVW Mapping modifier followed by the Unwrap UVW. Then apply another Edit Mesh on top of the stack and when the stack gets a little too big just collapse it – you will not loose any of the mapping!

Fig18

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SwordMaster 19. You can follow the same procedure with the lower leg using a cylindrical map and then transforming the verts in the Edit UVWs window to refine the mapping. With regard to the feet simply apply a planar map from the left and right sides as seen in Fig 19. You can see in the top views that the gizmo has been rotated to better align it with the general direction of the polygons.

Fig19 20. When both sides have been mapped unwrap the whole foot except the sole and then rotate and move the two respective sections together as seen in Fig 20. Weld the two edges of verts within the red rectangle to close the seam line seen running down the top of the foot on the right. Then tweak the vert positions to minimize any obvious distortion.

Fig20

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SwordMaster 21. Now it is on to the arms using the same procedure again really. In Fig 21 you can see a cylindrical map being applied to the left arm. It runs from a line at the top of the shoulder down to the wrist. You can see that I have rotated the gizmo to follow the orientation of the arm using its local co-ordinates (highlighted in red along the main tool bar). You will also notice in the inset that I have positioned the green seam line on the inside of the arm in a less conspicuous place. When you select new groups of Poly’s you will automatically be creating a seam line along the boundary at which the selection ends and so it is important to think about where to place these. Adhere to natural seams in order to ease the texturing process such as the top of the trousers and edge of the armour but other than that decide on where they will be least visible.

Fig21 22. In Fig 22 you can see that the seam lines on the limbs are on the inside as this is usually the least visible area. This means that if there are any problems with edges not matching exactly on the final texture they will be less noticeable here. On the torso you can see one seam line on one side under the left arm and there is one above the top and one below the trousers. This is a good area to have them ensuring a sharp edge to where the texture changes on the character, similarly with the shoulder armour on the right arm. The seam line down the front of the trousers and face will eventually disappear when the mesh is complete.

Fig22

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SwordMaster 23. When the leg is fully unwrapped it is time to copy it over and weld it to the main body. In Fig 23 you can see the duplicate leg on the right which is still a separate object. Before welding it up move the UVW’s – of which the trouser section is shown in the window on the left. With the entire leg section shifted over now weld the mesh together. The hand can also be mapped and then copied over and re-scaled but you may want to map the two arms separately as they are slightly different – it is up to you really.

Fig23 24. Now it is time for the armour pieces – the first of which is the main shoulder section. As this is symmetrical we can delete one half to start with. Before we start to map it we are going to alter the pivot point. Click on the hierarchy tab at the top of the Modify panel and then on the Pivot tab (highlighted in yellow in Fig 24). This will show the pivot point of the object in question (the three arrows in the main window). We need to align this with the center of the open edge as seen in the image. You can do this by clicking on the Align tool on the main toolbar and then entering the values as shown in the dialogue box on the left. If your pivot point has a different orientation you will need to change the parameters accordingly but the main thing is to get the pivot point aligned with the open edge even if it is not central.

Fig24

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SwordMaster 25. Now map both sides separately using a planar map, rotating the gizmo to keep the checker pattern as accurate as possible (Fig 25). Once done, duplicate the piece by first selecting the whole object and then clicking on the Mirror tab on the main toolbar.

Fig25 26. When the dialogue box opens select the No Clone radio button and either the X, Y or Z radio button above to give you what we see in Fig 26. You can use exactly the same methods to map all the armour pieces. In the case of the accessories you can planar map all of these and will not need to do anything different to what we have done already. Once you have finished with the armour and clothing it is time to move onto the hair. Because there are many pieces that make up this area it is unnecessary to individually map every element as it would take up far too much texture space. There will be just under fifty separate meshes that make up the hair but we will only have to map nine of these. The idea is that we map the nine sections and then duplicate them to make up the rest of the hair.

Fig26

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27. These groupings are visible in Fig 27 and are colour co-ordinated to show how they have been organised. In the top right you can see that the front three poly’s have been separately mapped (numbers 1-3). Along the top of the head there are three blue poly’s so you would only map/unwrap one and then copy this twice, snapping the verts to line up exactly with the remaining groups. There will off course be a bit of stretching on the checkermap as each of the meshes varies slightly but nothing serious. When this is done delete the two redundant versions and then repeat this until you have completed the rest of the hair pieces.

Fig27

28. When the hair section is mapped you can attach the front three sections to the main body as shown in red in Fig 28 but leave the rest of the hair pieces as separate objects; the reason for which shall be revealed next. Select the main body and apply an Unwrap UVW and then move the three front hair pieces in line with the top of the forehead, scaling them accordingly.

Fig28

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29. In order to save even more texture space select the row of verts highlighted in red in Fig 29 and Break them. Now move the right element of the head over to the left and overlay it with the area marked in green by flipping it horizontally. The reason is that this section of the head will be under the hair and therefore carry little detail and so can be symmetrical. More importantly the face area which is the focal point can still look different on both sides as it is mapped in its entirety. The two small purple poly’s should also be broken from the main lattice and overlapped to make way for the three hair pieces which you can see have been welded to the forehead on the right. The purple and green areas showing the vertices now represent both halves of the head thus saving space which means that we can now paint a smooth transition between the face and hair line. The three hair poly’s on the right of the face represent all five front pieces and mean we are

Fig29

also saving more space. 30. This concludes the mapping section of the exercise and now we need to assign a material to our mesh in preparation for texturing by dragging the material onto each and every mesh. Open up the Material Editor and select one of the example slots. Click on the Standard tab (highlighted in red in Fig 30) and select Multi/Sub-Object from the browser. You will be prompted with a Replace Material box ; just click OK as either option is fine. You will now see ten sub-materials under the Basic Parameters– click on Delete at the top of the window until you see only three remaining. Notice how the material is now a Multi/SubObject material that contains three Standard materials.

Fig30

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31. Now name these accordingly as shown in Fig 31. You can also change the colour of the materials by clicking on the small colour swatch on the right so you can easily identify each one on the model. On the left of the labels is an ID column and this corresponds to an ID number that is assigned at the sub-object poly level. You can see that ID 1 represents the main body, 2 is the armour and 3 will be assigned to the hair. Now we need to select each of the meshes that make up our character and assign the appropriate numbers. So in sub-object poly mode select all the poly’s that make up the body and then scroll down to the Surface Properties –Material and choose 1 next to Set ID. These should now adopt the colour schemes in the editor (in this case grey). Go on and assign the rest of the ID numbers to the model as indicated in the picture. If you wish to select all poly’s of a certain ID number then use the spinner arrows in the Select ID box and then click on the tab

Fig31

next to it. 32. Now select the hair material and check the 2 Sided tickbox as seen in Fig 32 under the Basic Parameters. This will enable the hair to be visible from both back and front and mean it will look thicker as we orientate around the character. You can see how the poly’s are now also apparent from behind our character on the right of the picture. Now as you remember from earlier on in the tutorial we unwrapped each of the meshes that make up our character. Before we begin the texturing phase we need to arrange all of our pieces into a template that we will export as a wireframe and will represent our final texture layout. As there are so many elements they will not comfortably fit into one template and so we need to split them into two separate ones.

Fig32

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33. In order to see all the unwrapped geometry together we will have to attach all the pieces of geometry into a single mesh temporarily. Select the main body and then click on Attach in the modify panel and then select the remaining meshes as shown in Fig 33. You can see in the picture that the model on the right is a single mesh by the highlighted geometry where as the left version does not yet include some of the armour. When you apply an Unwrap UVW modifier you will now see every piece of geometry in the edit window and what you need to do now is decide which pieces to put into which template. This is entirely subjective and does not ultimately matter but keep the various pieces intact when you divide them up and avoid splitting individual pieces across two different templates. You may decide to try and keep the head and body parts together or split them up depending on how you wish to make use of the space available. You will inevitably need to

Fig33

re-size certain elements and I advise that you afford a bit more space to more detiled aspects such as the face and hands for example. Sometimes certain shapes fit better together and mean less wasted space but again it is a personal choice how you divide everything. Arrange as many of your chosen pieces as you can into the template and then close the dialogue box. Now make sure the same elements are attached as a single object. You will need to Detach pieces from the character and then re-attach them in the same manner as before in order to do this. You will have to do this in sub-object mode and to make things easier you can make selections in sub-object Element mode (next to polygon mode). This will enable you to select entire elements of geometry. The remaining pieces can then be attached into a second mesh that can be unwrapped in one piece and these will make up the second template. 34. In Fig 34 you can see that the three

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SwordMaster characters show the three ID groups : A. body B. Armour and C hair. You should endeavour to keep the elements intact but can combine them in any way you see fit. For example you could place the body poly’s in A with the hair in C as well as shoulder piece 2 in B. Once you have arranged all of the geometry into two separate unwraps you are ready to export them both. 35. In order to get the wireframe templates that will act as your guide you need to install Texporter – a free plugin available to Max. Once installed click on the Utilities tab on the Modify toolbar and select it from the list under the More tab. You will be faced with a set of options similar to those seen on the right in Fig 35. At the top you can specify the size of the Image which in this case will be 1024x1024 as shown. Under Display make sure to uncheck all the tickboxes except Edges. If the model were a single mesh and the poly’s were divided into two ID groups then you could tick the Only ID box

Fig35

and enter the relevant number next to it but in this instance we have two separate meshes that represent our two templates so this is irrelevant. IN the Colourize section below choose Constant and set the colour to white. Now click on the Pick Object tab seen in yellow and select the mesh. You will now see a window appear which mimics our UVW co-ordinates. Save this image by clicking on the Save Bitmap icon on the toolbar and then repeat this procedure for the second mesh. 36. You should now have two templates that between them represent the entire character. Before we begin texturing there is one final thing to do. You will have noticed throughout the tutorials so far that the geometry has looked very angular with numerous hard edges. We are now going to iron out the creases by applying smoothing to various polygons which will help disguise the limited amount of geometry important when modelling for games. Having Fig36

a hard edge is important in some areas and

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SwordMaster deciding where these boundaries will lie is a determining factor when assigning smoothing. The way to go about this is to first select a number of poly’s in sub-object mode and then scroll down to the Surface Properties – Smoothing Groups section and click on the Auto Smooth tab which is set at a default of 45 degrees. You can see in Fig 36 that the hair has been selected and the difference this has made on the right hand character – much softer ! If your character is made up of separate meshes then you can go through each piece individually and follow this procedure. If some of the angles or edges remain sharp simply increase the angle and try again until you are satisfied. 37. When you wish to retain a hard edge on a single object you may find it is best to assign separate smoothing groups as shown in Fig 37. The poly’s that make up the arm shown in red have been assigned as group 2 where as the rest of the body has been assigned as group 1. The advantage of doing this is that you will have more control over where hard edges remain. In the lower inset in the top left you can see an example of an Auto smooth applied to both the arm and body together and the remaining two edges that look sharper than the rest. In the picture above the arm has been assigned a separate smoothing group whereby the angle can be modified until the upper edge is also smooth. The problem with not assigning separate groups is that in order to soften any unwanted sharp edges you may end up over compensating on the rest of the model and giving it the appearance of a clay maquette that has been placed under running water. This technique preserves hard edges where you require them but also allows different settings for selection groups giving the user more control. 38. When you have been through the entire model and completed this task all you need to do now is load the two wireframe templates onto the mesh ready to begin texturing. You should now see a black character overlayed with a wireframe guide as seen in Fig 38. This concludes the mapping stage of the tutorial – phew ! It has been a lengthy and detailed section even though I have not covered everything. I hope you have managed to follow every step without too many problems. Next month we will begin the last phase of the tutorial – texturing.

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Part 7

Texturing skin and hair Introduction: Well, we have at last reached the final stages of our tutorial: Texturing. This is perhaps the only part of the exercise where you will not be held by the hand throughout the process. I can only really point you in the right direction but the final texture must be created by you, as the steps involved are far too numerous to detail here. I will break the texture down into the key components and talk a little about how to structure your PSD file and organise the various levels so that changes can be made quickly and easily. 1. The first thing to establish are the colour blocks which will show the key areas of our Fig01

template – in this case the skin tone which will be done using an RGB value of 198, 152, 98. This is placed over the body, arm and head, as seen in Fig.1. Create these on a separate layer and name it so that it is easily recognisable. You will also notice that I have blocked in the hair colour (R179, G173, B157). The remaining areas comprise of the armoured arm and boots which we shall ignore for now. 2. Now, create another new layer which we will use as our shadow layer and will contain all the shading for the skin. This is perhaps the most important layer of all in that it defines the muscle groups more clearly than any other. This layer is set to Multiply as a blending mode and uses various shades of a single colour (R47, G29, B5), as seen by the small square inset in the top left in Fig.2.

Fig02

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SwordMaster 3. First of all, concentrate on only one half of the face as we can copy this over when it is finished. Choose a standard soft round airbrush with a pixel width of around 30 (Fig03a) and carefully paint in the general areas of shadow without worrying too much about detail (Fig.3).

4. You can alter the opacity and flow values of the brush along the toolbar to help control the strokes and, when you are happy, then select a hard-edged airbrush (Fig.4a) to refine the detail so that it looks similar to Fig. 2. Remember to use only one colour for all of the shading and keep it on a single layer. Now that the face has a shadow layer intact it is time to add another layer, this time dedicated to highlights. I chose an initial pale yellow, as shown by the square inset in the top left of Fig.4, and set the layer Fig03

blending mode to Soft Light. I also used a nearwhite colour in a few areas to add the brightest highlights. On the right of the face is the final version and on the left is the layer set to Normal blending mode and without any shadows so you can see more clearly where it is placed. When painting textures for low poly characters, try and imagine that there is a soft ambient light above the character, as if they are outside. This helps the eye read the forms better and generally creates a more realistic lighting solution.

Fig04

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SwordMaster 5. With the head area well underway, it is a good time to start on the body section. The same principles apply for all the skin sections. Start with the shadows and then move onto the highlights layer. I also find that to help get details in the correct areas, it is useful to create a new layer which I call “Guidelines�. On this layer, I draw line configurations and then save out the image and load it onto the model. This enables me to see where to paint in certain parts of the texture, as seen in Fig.5. I have used a white line to depict the area covered by the armour strap and also drawn in the abdominal muscles before starting on any shading.

Fig05 6. To help get the armour strap in the right place, simply look at a front view of the character in your 3d program and use the wireframe as a guide (Fig.06)

Fig06

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SwordMaster 7. When you have finished the shading on the torso, use the guideline to paint in a shaded area that follows the strap on a separate layer, which will help bind it to the body (Fig.07). You will also need to repeat this for the back section of the character too. Use the same colour as the shadow layer and set the blending mode to ‘Multiply’ to keep things consistent.

Fig07 8. We have covered the crucial stages of painting the skin but we are yet to add in the details which we shall yet again do on a new layer. In this part of the tutorial we will deal only with the eyes, eyebrows and nipples. There are no special techniques here, just careful painting using a small standard airbrush. In Fig.08, you can see a close-up of the eyes and eyebrows. I have chosen blue as a colour, but the important thing to remember is that they do not appear too bright and feel very much as though they are sunk in the head and in shadow. I also added a small highlight on the tip of the nose to help distinguish it.

Fig08

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SwordMaster 9. Now add a further layer and set it to Soft Light (I named mine ‘colour tints’), and, using a purple colour similar to the small inset in Fig.09, begin adding some colour variation across some of the body and face. Be sure to keep away from the seams and do not overdo it – you will notice I have concentrated around the eyes and nose on the face with small patches on the chin and cheeks too. This will help break up the monochromatic quality and create some interest across the areas of skin.

Fig09 10. With regard to the arm and back section of the model, I suggest you always start on the guidelines layer and draw in the shapes of the muscle groups and then save out an image to test the accuracy on your actual mesh before embarking an any significant detail and shading. This is essentially trial and error and will mean many changes and test renders before you are confident in painting in the main shadows and highlights that will define the form (Fig.10).

Fig10

11. With the face and body sections well

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Fig12

underway, it is a good time to make a start on the hair. This will utilise an alpha channel which shall be used to control the opacity within Max in order that we can identify hair strands. What I do here is create a new layer which I call ‘Hair alpha’ and I use a pure white colour and paint in the hair strands, as seen in Fig.11. We shall then copy this entire layer and paste it into a new Channels layer. 12. Select the Channels tab and click on the small icon ringed in red in Fig.12a. This will create a new channel that is called Alpha 1 by default. Now, before we paste our hair outline into this new channel, zoom in on two opposite corners and paint in a 1x1 pixel square, as seen in Fig.12. This will not effect the texture as the two squares are outside the mapping co-ordinates but will ensure that the hair shapes remain in exactly the same positions when they are pasted.

13. Copy ‘hair alpha’ into the Alpha 1 and then

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SwordMaster save out the image as a 32 bit tga, which will retain the alpha channel. In max, load the tga into the Opacity slot in the Maps rollout of the Material Editor, as shown in the upper part of Fig.13. When you click on the map slot (ringed in red) it will take you to the Bitmap Parameters where you will need to select the two highlighted radio buttons. When you look at your character in Max, the white areas should remain visible and the surrounding black areas should become invisible.

Fig13

14. In Fig.14, the white areas will be the hair, which we will see, but the grey boundaries of the poly’s will disappear in the final render.

15. Now that we have the outline of the hair we

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can begin painting within the alpha areas on a

Fig16

new layer. Use a mid to light grey, similar to the colours seen in Fig.15, making sure to keep the roots slightly darker. To help these blend in with the scalp, I have used a grey colour across the top of the head also. Do not forget to also blend the hairline in along the top of the face. 16. When all is done and applied to our model it should look something like Fig.16. There are a few areas that could be refined somewhat but you get the general idea hopefully.

17. When we apply our texture so far to the

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SwordMaster model you may notice that there are a few areas along the seam lines that do not match up very successfully. It is a good idea to create a new guideline layer to establish which edges are adjacent on the model. Try painting different coloured lines and matching them up along certain edges as seen in Fig.17. You can see that the black and orange lines on the body are joined with the top seam of the arm in the upper right, and so on. What you need to do now is to make sure that the RGB values along the corresponding edges are similar and have a relative variation on each poly.

Fig17

18. In Fig.18, you can see the seam problems around the top of the arm on the left side of the image where the edges do not match. On the right side is the revised version which shows an improvement.

Fig18

This just about concludes the most crucial

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stages of texturing the skin areas and hopefully gives you a good picture of how to go about structuring your PSD file into key components. All that is left are the ear and hand, which are predominantly done using methods already outlined. The hair could be tweaked to a degree to improve the look but you should be armed with enough knowledge to try your hand at painting a texture from scratch. Next month will see the conclusion of this Swordmaster tutorial, when we tackle the armour and clothing.

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Part 8

Texturing Armour and Clothing. Introduction We have finally arrived at the end of this series of tutorials. Last month we covered the initial stages of texturing the character by painting in the skin and hair. This month concludes with us adding the clothing and armour. As with the mapping section this is a very detailed and lengthy process and there is simply not time to cover every aspect. Instead I shall detail some of the key stages which can be applied to numerous areas of the template and hopefully provide a practical overview. 1. The clothing itself is by far the simplest to achieve as this will comprise of only two key layers of detail in the form of shadows and highlights, much like the skin previously. As

Fig01

such, we will start with the armour as this is a little more involved. We will begin with the elbow pad as this is a relatively small part of the armour but one that utilises most of the techniques we shall use on the more dominant pieces. First of all, select a neutral grey and block in the area on the template and then, using the elliptical marquee tool, select a small area within the curved section. Now, on the main menu bar, click on Layer – Layer Style – Bevel and Emboss. Alternatively, you can click on the small “f” icon at the base of the Layers palette. This will bring up a dialogue box similar to Fig.01. Here you can alter various settings that will determine the direction of light, along with the type and depth of bevel. You will notice that I have chosen an Emboss, and the angle of light is directly above in this case. This is because the orientation of the detail on the texture map is such that the top of the ellipse will be facing upwards on the character and hence the shadow will be underneath. Experiment with the slider bars and styles and observe the effects.

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Fig02

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SwordMaster 2. One more thing which will help is to add a subtle Drop Shadow, which you can find at the top of the list. Check the tick box and then slide the Distance arrow down to zero and increase the Size and Spread until there is a soft shadow around the ellipse. Now, on a new layer, create a smaller ellipse inside this one and fill it with the same grey colour. Right-click on the ellipse 1 layer and select ‘Copy Layer Style’ and then paste this into the new layer, as shown in Fig.02. You will now have two ellipses that both incorporate an emboss and drop shadow. 3. On another new layer add in some rivet heads using the same technique, but perhaps leaving out the drop shadow (Fig.03).

Fig03 4. Now add one more layer and start to draw in some outlines that will trace the shape of the elbow pad and create some extra detail, as seen in Fig.04.

Fig04

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SwordMaster 5. Now, believe it or not, that is essentially the structure of our elbow pad. It doesn’t look finished yet, but with a few minor tweaks it will be. As this is a relatively small area on the template, we are going to apply our final adjustments on the main colour block layer, as opposed to adding any further layers. You can either use the Colour Dodge / Burn tools or choose lighter and darker shades of grey to do this - both methods will require some painting by hand. We are aiming for something similar to Fig.05, in which you can see some modulation to help emphasize the grooves and curvature of the metal. Already we can see an improvement, but one final layer will create the finishing touch.

Fig05 6. This will be a metal overlay which shall eventually be used on all of the armour and so must be near the top of our layer stack. Choose any photo of metal that demonstrates the right kind of scale and then set it to ‘multiply’ and lay it over the top, making any colour / tonal adjustments as required (Fig.06). This then describes the general process we will apply to all of the armour sections, no matter how complex. Use the marquee / selection tools to add shapes followed by Layer Effects to add in detail and lighting. Then, either on a new layer or on the base colour, paint in the refinements, such as shading and highlighted edges etc. You can then clone parts of the metal overlay onto the designated area to complete the armour. Remember to use a guidelines layer initially, as we did with the skin section, to check the integrity of your mapping – no point in spending half an hour painting an area of detail only to find it is not correct on the model! Fig06

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SwordMaster 7. Now on to the hand - a fairly small but highly detailed area. The first step is to find a suitable image of chainmail which can then be copied into our template and scaled to a sufficient size, as seen in Fig.07, to form the palm.

Fig07 8. Now add a series of straps across the fingers with a slight shadow at the edges and a small highlight in the centre, as seen on the left in Fig.08. The next step is to add two layer effects, seen on the right in the layers palette, which will help define them further.

Fig08

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SwordMaster 9. The top of the hand, which shall be armour plated, will be a little more intricate. First of all, use the guidelines layer as a gauge by drawing in the outlines of the metal plates, as seen in Fig.09.

Fig09 10. Now make separate selection groups around the guidelines so you end up with a series of shapes, as seen in Fig.10. Afterwards, you can fill in with a flat grey colour, consistent with the rest of the texture, and when you apply the layer effects they will occur on each piece.

Fig10

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SwordMaster 11. In Fig.11, you can see the effects of the two layer styles that have been applied; the inner shadow which provides a dark outline and the drop shadow which is below each piece.

Fig11 12. Now when we overlay some more of our metal texture and some finishing touches, we end up with something like Fig.12. You can see here that I have added some shadows between each finger, together with some highlights across the tops. I have also created some rivets, as before, and painted in some lines to further embellish the hand. When tackling the rest of the armour, follow these procedures and be mindful of the fact that you want there to be an ambient light source above the character.

Fig12

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13. Now for something that features quite heavily on our template – the belts. There are three altogether and all are made in a similar fashion. Block in the base colour and then find a suitable photograph of some leather and paste it over the top in a new layer. Set the blending mode to ‘multiply’ and alter the hue, brightness and saturation accordingly. This will give you a good starting point, similar to Fig.13. 14. We can now position the rivets, which we do on a new layer, by using the circular marquee tool set to a fixed aspect ratio, as seen along the menu bar in Fig.14. The way to paint these is to first fill in a circle with a grey colour. Then go to Select - Modify - Contract and choose about 3 pixels, dependant on the size of the circle of course. Then delete the inner portion until you are left with a simple ring. All you need to do now is to apply a Bevel and Emboss effect and “voila”! Now simply Ctrl + Alt drag two more to finish.

Fig14

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SwordMaster 15. Next we will add two indentations where the belt forms two straps. You can do this on the main colour layer as it is relatively simple. Make a rectangular selection and paint in a dark band under the top edge (a) as shown in Fig.15. Now invert the selection (shift + Ctrl + I) and lighten the lower edge to form a highlight (b). Now do the same on the upper strap to finish off.

Fig15 16. The two other details that are still missing are the buckles. Again these will be done on separate layers in order that changes can be made quickly. In Fig.16, you can see two buckles that have been painted in. To create the left one make a circular selection and fill in with a grey colour. Now contract this selection group and hit delete, leaving a ring, as we did with the rivets. Now delete half of the remaining shape and use the circular selection once again to add the small semi-circles around the inner-edge. Now just use a brush to add in the highlights and shadows manually. These elements are best done by hand in the end and so there are no clever tricks to speak of, just an awareness of where you want the light source.

Fig16

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17. The next stage involves adding in rivets and a few vertical straps, as

18. To complete the belt we now need to add in the shadows and

shown in Fig.17. You can see that I have also painted in highlights across

highlights, which can be done using two new layers, as with the skin in

the middle of the straps.

last month’s instalment. In Fig.18, you can see that I have placed some general shading around the centre of the belt, as this area falls under the arm, and also made sure there is a shadow around the buckles which helps fix them to the leather and avoid the appearance that they may be “floating”, as it were. Again, I have added some thin stitched lines along the length, which can be traced by a highlight.

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SwordMaster 21. Now using a shadows layer set to ‘Multiply’, start painting in the direction of some of the folds, using the same colour as the trousers. Using a standard soft round airbrush they will naturally come out darker, due to the layer blending mode. Use a larger brush to begin with, to get a soft edge, and then reduce the size of the brush to sharpen crease lines. In Fig.21, you can see the arrows which dictate the direction of the creasing. Try and vary it slightly as there is always variety where folds are concerned.

Fig21 22. Now on the highlights layer (Set to Soft Light), simply trace around the shadows to emphasize them, as well as placing a few strokes in between, as shown by the arrows in Fig.22. Bear in mind which areas will receive more direct light (in this case the outside of the leg), and focus the stronger highlights in this area. Use a colour that is almost white, but with a shade of the green, in the trousers, which will help. Use a small, soft brush to add crisp edges to some of the more extreme creasing down the outside of the leg. Generally, creases appear more around areas of tension, such as joints - hence the detail around the groin, so keep this in mind.

Fig22

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SwordMaster 21. Now using a shadows layer set to ‘Multiply’, start painting in the direction of some of the folds, using the same colour as the trousers. Using a standard soft round airbrush they will naturally come out darker, due to the layer blending mode. Use a larger brush to begin with, to get a soft edge, and then reduce the size of the brush to sharpen crease lines. In Fig.21, you can see the arrows which dictate the direction of the creasing. Try and vary it slightly as there is always variety where folds are concerned.

Fig21 22. Now on the highlights layer (Set to Soft Light), simply trace around the shadows to emphasize them, as well as placing a few strokes in between, as shown by the arrows in Fig.22. Bear in mind which areas will receive more direct light (in this case the outside of the leg), and focus the stronger highlights in this area. Use a colour that is almost white, but with a shade of the green, in the trousers, which will help. Use a small, soft brush to add crisp edges to some of the more extreme creasing down the outside of the leg. Generally, creases appear more around areas of tension, such as joints - hence the detail around the groin, so keep this in mind.

Fig22

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23. One final layer, to help provide some subtle

Conclusion

shading, can be added on top of the previous

Once you are satisfied that you have completed

three. This will incorporate a Gradient, which

each of the components on the texture, you can

can be found on the toolbar (seen ringed in red

add a couple of finishing touches if you wish.

in Fig.23). First of all, create a selection area

These incorporate painting in some shadows

around the wireframe containing the trousers,

around the clothing and armour, particularly

and then click on the gradient tool. This will

under the shoulder piece and elbow guard.

open up a dialogue box, similar to that on the

This will just emphasize the geometry and add

left. Now select the preset in red along the top

a richer and deeper contrast to the shadows

of the editor, and proceed to click on the three

when the character is placed in a scene. You

tabs under the gradient bar, ringed in green.

will notice that the trousers have not been

Change the colours to black, white and black,

unwrapped in their entirety and so it will not be

as shown, and then drag a line from the left of

possible to place a shadow under the waist belt

the trousers to the right, making sure that the

and banner, as it would be mirrored on both

layer mode is set to Multiply. You should now

sides. Ideally you should unwrap both legs in

see a consistent shadow down the edges of the

order to solve this problem, but for the sake of

trousers fading away in the middle, as seen on

saving time I have neglected to do this. One

the right. A similar approach can be used on

remaining aspect you can add is some wear

the waist banner, except that is for the gradient.

and tear to the clothing and armour, through dirt

Begin with some broadly painted shadows using

maps. Finding a suitable image of rusted metal

a Soft Round airbrush, and then tighten the

will provide a good base from which to extract

creases with a smaller Hard Round brush before

some detail which can be colour adjusted and

emphasizing them with a highlights layer.

then overlayed.

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You could use a Multiply mode to add dirt/rust, or perhaps Soft Light/Screen to add scratches. Have a go and see what you can come up with. You could also try using Layer Effects – Bevel / Emboss to add dents and create a battle, hardened look. This, I hope, covers most of the crucial aspects of the texturing phase of the tutorial. You may find that some of the texture is stretched slightly when applied to the model, as is often the case. An alternative to changing the texture itself is to tweak the mapping within Max to solve the issues, which is usually far quicker. Simply apply an Unwrap UVW and transform the verts, as outlined in the mapping tutorial. When the texture is applied to the mesh, and rendered in a simple scene, we end up with something similar to this image.

Tutorial By

Richard Tilbury rich@3dtotal.com The ‘Swordmaster’ character was originally created by

Seong-wha Jeong www.xcloud.net sephiloss@naver.com

3dtotal swordmaster  

3dtotal swordmaster

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