Insider 6/29/2010

Recently, a 3D modeling student asked if she could use Epic Doomshaper as a basis for a modeling project for her school program.

When we saw the final product, we were blown away. Here’s the process she went through to create her model of Doomshaper.

"My name is Chelsea Edwards, and I am a student at the Art Institute of Dallas studying 3D modeling and texturing for video games. One of our assignments was to find a solid concept of a character and bring it to life in 3D. I began searching for some concepts on the Internet and came across Andrea Uderzo's page. I immediately fell in love with the Doomshaper concept. It exhibited so much character, and I knew it would present a huge challenge with all of the additional props and texture surface variations.

One of the most difficult things about 3D modeling is trying to envision what a concept would look like as a 360-degree sculpture. Oftentimes, you only have one image to work from, which is usually a front perspective view, so it can be challenging to establish proportions and information not included. Since Doomshaper is an established character, I was able to do some research and come up with some more views of the creature to help me bring it to life in 3D.

My goal in this project was to create a high-polygon version of Doomshaper, which would be used to create a low-polygon version styled for a video game. I first built a base mesh with quad polygons in 3D Studio Max that I could take into Zbrush to add details. To make the sculpt more realistic, I had to continuously gather research on surfaces, such as cloth folds, leather, skin, stone, etc. Using the research and the tools in ZBrush, I built up the anatomy of the character and started painting on the cloth. After finishing the high polygon Doomshaper, I brought the mesh back into 3D Studio Max and created a low-polygon version that could run in a game engine. I used the detail information from the high-polygon sculpt and baked it into the low polygon version, creating a normal map which I could apply to the low-polygon mesh. The goal of this process is to make a simple, low-polygon mesh look as much like the high-polygon model as possible. This allows you to “fake out” details on your low-polygon model that a game engine can handle, as a high-polygon mesh would not run in an engine. After creating the normal map, I generated an ambient occlusion map to represent shadow information on the character, which I used to build the diffuse (color) map for Doomshaper in Photoshop. I combined all of the texture maps I created to get the final result, presented in the Marmoset engine."

The process step by step: