As mentioned earlier, I had no official concept for Bishop and, for the most part, just played everything by ear. I had a decent idea of the gear that I wanted him to have, but had to build it in 3D before a decision could be made. A nice way to go about this, I found, was to sculpt a very rough version of it on my model in ZBrush, combined with building objects out of very primitive models like cubes and cylinders in Max. This helped me to block in details and know almost instantly if an idea was going to work. The workflow for modern game art has evolved to a stage where, even though concepts are very important in solid character design, they are no longer tied to being in 2D. Quick "speed sculpts" can be used as not only a concept, but even a base for your final model to start from. At this stage I also began thinking about what colours I would use for Bishop.Â This was done by bringing a screen shot of my ZBrush model into Photoshop and simply painting over the model.Â Not only does this help visualize what the final product will be like, but it also helps break up the materials and helps your eyes separate these different sections (Fig.07 & Fig.08).
I then began modelling out sections of the armour in Max and imported them as subtools into ZBrush. In Fig.09, you can see that I built these plates using an optimized export of my character's base as a guideline for where the plates should go. I repeated this for all of the armour plates and, practically, all of the gear on Bishop.
Fig.10 will give you a rough idea of how far I took my base mesh models. Generally, I blocked out the rough shape in Max and then brought up the details in ZBrush. Things like bolts and cloth wraps were floating subtools so that, if I were to change my mind about them, they could easily be removed.
Using the same methods as mentioned in previous steps, I began working on the details. Starting with the shoulder pad, I tested out how high frequency detail would look at this scale, attempting to give the final sculpt an embossed "death" theme (Fig.11).
I carried this style throughout all of Bishop's armour plates and touched up his under-armour by adding more detail that would be created not only by his weight and the shapes underneath, but by the armour pieces added on top. All of the armour detail was painted by hand and, other than the alphas previously mentioned, no stencils or alphas were used.Â The reason for this is that I really wanted to sell the idea that this armour was forged specifically for him, like a one of a kind ornate piece of work, and in order to do this I felt that the detail needed to be produced manually and not generalized by a set of skull alphas (Fig.12 - Fig.14).