At the end of every project, I like to ask myself what I could have done better, what went wrong in the creation of the character and analyze what I could do differently in other projects
Multiple style changes - Due to having no solid concept, I bounced back and forth between a few different ideas. Mainly feeling as though I wasn't pushing myself hard enough creatively, I ended up reworking major areas of the character multiple times and practically scrapping the idea of a soldier with lots of gear in favour of a more armoured soldier with moderate amounts of gear. I lost days on things like the holy hand grenade and the gauntlet. In the end, any change I decided on was for the best, but it still caused problems that could have been avoided by spending just a little more time on concept work.
Working against my budget - Even though I am very proud of the way this piece turned out, the technical side of me sees faults. Due to technical limitations, I had to cram a lot of things into the texture that would normally rely on geometry. The biggest victim of this are the bullets on the chest; basically if the torso twists at all, the bullets will stretch. In an ideal situation, these would have been handled with geometry and would have allowed me to make a more dynamic pose.
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Here are some small tools and plugins that I used while creating Bishop and that I highly recommend:
Subtool / Transpose Master / ZApplinkÂ (http://www.pixologic.com/zbrush/downloadcenter/zplugins/
) - The ZBrush community has tons of plugins for you to use.Â These three, which are more of a formal release, made my life much easier by easily manipulating the amount of detail I had in my character.
) - Another ZBrush plugin. I have always been annoyed by ZBrush's prompts that it gives when saving. I assigned my save and sequential save keys to overwrite the original ZBrush hotkeys. This has actually made my workflow faster as I no longer need to dig around in folders to find where I saved, be bothered by pop-ups or misplace one of my models in a different folder (which had happened to me before!)
) - Â I rave about this application all the time. It's probably the best solution for baking out normal maps based on it's speed and limited stress put on your machine. Support by the developer is unbelievably quick, open and generous.
Marmoset Toolbag (www.8monkeylabs.com/toolbag/toolbag_install.exe
) - The guys at 8 Monkey provided the community with access to their amazing tools and let many of us, myself included, use it freely to display our work for Dominance War and other personal efforts. Easily one of the best tools I've ever used and definitely worth checking out as an alternative to something like the Unreal Engine for viewing models.
Slickjot / Slickrun (http://www.bayden.com/SlickRun/1033/SlickRunHelp.htm
) - A handy little application for writing down quick notes. Save a tree!
Xoliul's Max Viewport Shader (http://laurenscorijn.com/projects/viewportshader/
) - A nice viewport shader with many features that, I think, really helped me translate what I was creating in Max into what a game engine would produce.
Throughout the creation of Bishop, I had a lot of feedback and attention from my Polycount brothers (as well as a few "traitors" from other forums who somehow made their way into our territory!) Just wanted to say thanks again to Polycount members:
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Your feedback was very important to me and was a key factor in motivating me to cross the finish line. Thanks.