This project started off as a quick-lunch break test, that eventually evolved into a full game ready asset. It was a nice break from my environment piece [ which you can find here ] in which I learned and experimented with some new techniques.
So here is the original concept art by Fernando Correa. I suggest following him as his work is pretty damn cool. Great color palettes, line work, and compositions. Will probably end up recreating another one of his amazing pieces. You can follow his Artstation over here -> Fernando Correa
As part of my pre-production steps I took the image and generated a color palette to later use in Substance Painter as a jumping off point. I ended up losing the original color palette through my light rig, post effects like AO, and the 50+ layers in substance painter that were used to recreate this piece. I completely forgot to check my palette throughout the process. It was a kind of use once and put away kinda mind-set and never came back until I realized I needed to generate the final comp palette. Definitely keeping note of this so that in future projects I will remember to always check back to the palette. With that, here are the side by side of the two. As you can see my rendition [bottom] is darker than the original.
My workflow for this piece was your standard process. It went from Block Out > High Poly > Low Poly > Bake > Paint > Render. With the most time spent in Zbrush and Substance Painter. Over all I went through 9 variations, as shown below. The transition is due mostly to the amazing feedback that I got from the Polycount, Level Up!, and various Game Industry discord communities.
For a quick breakdown, 1-3 was experimenting with colors and beefing up come components like the straps and handle. After that, 4-6 has very subtle changes but that bunch was working on roughness, emissive, and pushing the colors some more. Then 7-9 was adding gradients, pushing my metal map and emissive map, and finalizing my light rig.
Out of this I learned a new technique to push the stylization in my textures. Just as a word of caution don’t get to crazy with the filters as you can really ruin a piece and make it look over the top. [ Unless that is the style you are going for, then use as many filters as you want. ]
The Oil filter in Photoshop is a very subtle filter that smooths out your colors, giving it well, an oil paint feel. The top image has the filter applied and the bottom does not. Again very subtle but helped smooth out the redness in the blade.
So here are the final renders!
Update : Also it made it to Polycount’s front page, which is a huge personal accomplishment.