With this model my goal was to learn how to use normal mapping for a low poly character, a technique that was new for me in that moment. The model Arkeon Sannath it's from a game called Confrontation.
Probably cause I'm more used to working in high poly than in low poly, I decided to started modelling the high poly version first. Compared to other models, this part was a bit difficult, basically due to the small size of the reference that I'm working from. The real figure is only a few centimetres high, so it was difficult to see all the details. The modelling pose of the arms was really strange, but it was the closest to the original pose to the real reference. The big shoulders didn't allow for much arm movement, so I decided to model it this way to avoid problems.
I modelled most of the parts as separated meshes, and doing nothing really special with it. After all the poly modelling done, I only had to add some chamfer edges in parts to keep the hard edges when turbo smoothing.
Once I had the high poly version finished, I cloned it and started to delete some edges and lots of the bolts and bumps to keep the poly count as low as possible. Really I didn't have any poly limit, so I just tried to make it with less possible polys as possible, without losing too much of the quality. At the end I finished with 7887 tris for both the character and the sword.
Once the character was modelled, It was time to unwrap the low poly version. First I started by unwrapping all the pieces separately, some using cylindrical mapping, but the majority using pelt mapping. To save work I just unwrapped one side of the symmetrical parts (legs and arms) and then mirrored them to have the other side cloned and unwrapped.
When I had all the pieces, I attached all of them in a single mesh, and added a new unwrap modifier (really in two meshes, one for the sword and one for the character). Then I just had to scale all the pieces and place them trying to have the maximum space occupied, as in the image. Once finished, I collapsed the unwrap modifier and detached the pieces as they were before attaching them, because I wanted to create the normal maps separately for each piece, as I thought it would be easier that way.
To learn how to do the normal mapping I had read the tutorial that comes with 3dsmax. They explained it really well so I'm not going to explain it too, but there's a very important thing. In the tutorial it said to change the "Normal map space” from tangent to world. If you're doing a character, don't do that change, or all the normal mapping information would be wrong when moving the character. Leave it in tangent, and it will work well.