"I hope that if I were to influence anyone it would influence people in the sense that you don’t have to draw the best or you don’t have to be the best to have a good time and if you’re lucky, make a living at what you enjoy doing."
Samwise Didier (Art Director at Blizzard Entertainment)
First of all, in this preview, you will see a small part of the sculpting process that we followed to create the character. Just as if we were molding the character out of clay, Rune Carver is gradually taking shape.
Once we have this base, we separate off from the rest of the body the more important pieces and those pieces that will later be interchangeable – in this case fists –, and then we start adding the details.
As you can see in the video, the process used in this kind of 3d modeling software is very similar to clay molding. We have tools that we can use to add base material, to make holes, as well as different pencils, etc. so we don't really need to worry about polygonal modeling.
Sometimes, people prefer to start modeling the low poly character and add detail at later date, but in my experience, the artist will have more freedom working with sculpting software that has no polygon restrictions.
Paint and color
It is often said that "the order of factors does not alter the product", so some people might prefer to create the low poly model with UV unwrapping in the first place, and then project the high poly model before texturing.
Mapping and low poly modeling.Low poly mesh
In this process, we take a model with very few polygons. The starting point is a mesh with several million polygons and we need another one that we will be able to use in real time rendering that has about a thousand polygons. To achieve this, we use the high poly model as a support for the new model in order to then "paint" the new mesh over the old one.
Based on the high poly character, we project all of the details on the new low poly mesh in such a way that all the additional information remains printed on a texture map. By using colors, we can then express the direction of the normals that will affect the direct lighting of our mesh.
By using this technique, we end up with a model that has about one thousand polygons, and a very similar result to the high poly one that has millions of vertices. This model is now ready to be rendered in real time into the game engine – just take a look at the image below.
To complete the Rune Carver, we just finish off the different texture maps using external software to paint the details so that we achieve the proper result.
Before we sign off on this blog post, we wanted to share some more images with you that show the character in low poly, followed by a comparison between low/high modeling and a final high quality version of the character without fists.
The Many-Worlds team.