Once I had all the normal maps done, I attached the low poly pieces so I only had two objects, the character and the sword. I also collapsed all the normal maps, creating just two maps. Before starting to texture, I did another render to texture. I added a white skylight to the scene and a plane to make the ground, and added a flat grey material to all the objects. With this I did a lighting map of the sword and the character with render to texture. I used this map as a top layer of the textures in Photoshop, set on multiply and 30% opacity, to make the texture look less flat and to help with the painting.
To create the textures I used some base layers, some masks and some self made brushes. For example, with the metallic texture that I have used on most parts, I started with a metallic base layer, nothing special, just a very clean metal texture, that I duplicated and moved to make it fill all the texture size. Then I used a very oxidized metal texture with a mask to add the oxide spots. I also created two brushes from mask images to add some scratches that I used in different layers with different opacities and blending modes. The same with the mud and the blood, I used combinations of masked layers and self-made brushes. I've also added some hue/saturation and brightness/contrast layers with masks applied on them to do the darker bolt colour or the gilded parts, and finally, I added some layers with dark or white colours to enhance the shape of the modelling in the texture.
I created 2 textures, the colour texture and a specular/reflection texture, that was the same colour texture in black and white and with a few changes in some layers to make it look more as I wanted.
As I just wanted this character to test the normal mapping, and I only wanted him to be posed and not to be animated, I used a simple biped to rig it, and the skin modifier to skin it. I only added a few bones with splineIk to move the cloak. If it was for an animated character I would probably use bones for all the character, but in this case, the biped was ok for most of it
The final renders were done with Brazil. I used an hdri skylight and an area light for the main light source
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