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Making Of 'The Steam Master'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:
This tutorial is intended for people with a prior understanding of the basic tools used for modelling and texturing.  This is not a step-by-step walkthrough, but more of a project overview.

This tutorial will present the workflow used by character artists working at AMC Studio when creating a Next Gen character. There are alternatives to this, but prior production experience has led me to believe that this method gives the most satisfactory results.

The inspiration for the character comes from Asimov's sci-fi novels, with a bit of Steam Punk, Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury's dystopian novel, etc.

Basically, there are 5 phases to be followed:

  1. Concept
  2. Prehigh modelling
  3. High-res modelling and face textures
  4. Low-res in-game mesh and UVs
  5. Texturing


1. Concept

Here's a quick sketch I did.  It doesn't contain too much detail in it as I'll probably change a couple of details during this tutorial.  Working with technical restrictions usually causes this (Fig.01).

Fig. 01 concept sketch

2. Prehigh Modeling

You can use any 3d modelling package for this stage.  I used Maya, but that shouldn't be a problem for people using other programs as the descriptions are pretty general and can be easily applied to other 3d packages.  This phase is very important as it defines the proportions of the characters, its silhouette and functionality.

Now is the time to decide which parts can be modelled separately.  Most of the time, the accessories should be separate geometry which can be modelled fully in Maya.  It's also very important to keep the entire mesh built out of quads so that the work we'll be doing later in ZBrush will be easier.

Here's a breakdown of this model (Fig.02):

Fig. 02

Each part has a different material to it (Fig.03):

  1. Skin Face
  2. Hood
  3. Goggles
  4. Glass

Fig. 03

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