24 October 2020

Dark Souls 3: Siegmeyer of Catarina Fan Art – Hansel Febrianto


Hi! My name is Hansel Febrianto.

I am a 3D Artist from Indonesia, currently working as a 3D Environment artist Freelancer, because of the pandemic. I got my first job as a game artist in an outsourcing company called Lemon Sky Studios in Malaysia. In the past 2 years, I have been responsible for making 3D environment game assets for Blizzard and Bandai Namco Project.

About this project

The reason why I wanted to make this project was to practice my skills with Zmodeler in Zbrush, I wanted to try and do all of the armor plates using only Zmodeler. My workflow is very simple: Blocking everything in Zbrush with Zmodeler, retopologizing in Maya and texturing in Substance Painter.

First, I began to collect the concept art made for the character and some in-game previews of the character, since this character already has a detailed figure made by Gecco, I can get even more good references from it.



The figure from Gecco helped me get vital information about the height of the character, knowing exactly the proportion of this character in real life-size is hugely beneficial.

So, I started adjusting and making the blockout for the character using the Zbrush male Ztool, to get the proportion right for the armor blockout I used 2 methods, first, I copied the subtool from the body mesh, then masked parts of the subtool for the armor plate and did some more adjustments with Zmodeler, to do this you can do either use panel loop, extrude or qmesh.

Secondly, if the shape is too far different from the body shape (like the helmet armor), I do a low res dynamesh sculpt, mask the area you want to use for the plate and then do the Zremesher, make sure the plate armor blockout has low polycount for easier adjustment.


Hi-Res Sculpt

This stage is very straightforward, I mostly use Trim Dynamic with square alpha, Dam Standard, Orb_Crack, TrimSmoothBorder, Clay Build Up for the armor edges and damage. For the surface imperfection, I use clay tube with low intensity for some hammered effects and Zbrush surface noise for more small details, for better control of the noise effect, I apply mask by noise and use layer brush with drag rect in the damaged area. There is a speed sculpt video on Youtube from Gilberto Magno for sculpting armor. For the leather parts like the leg and hand, I just copy the mesh from the body subtool, add thickness and sculpt the details.


For the body chainmail, I use nano mesh on the 2x2m plane and grab the height information using Zgrabber (make sure tiled perfectly) and export it to Designer to make a tiling material for Painter. For the lower area chainmail, first I start as a cylinder and mask the area following the shape from the concept, then do the Zremesher. Make sure the topology as even as possible and then use nanomesh again.


Low poly, UV and Bake

I don’t have anything unique for this step. I only use the lowest subdiv from the subtool for my low poly mesh, for parts that don’t have lower subdiv they will be decimated and exported to Maya for retopology. I mirrored the UV for the lower part like the feet and the leg, since the focus will be more on the upper body and weapon. I delete all hidden meshes inside the armor and other parts that cannot be seen.

For better normal bake result, make sure to straighten the UV island and by doing this you can get more resolution too. For the soft/hard edge on the mesh, I use a script to make every UV island edge cut to be a hard edge. I use Painter to bake using by name method and for the AO, I ticked the always option to get all the AO from each part. I usually export the baked normal map to Photoshop and sharpen it and reimport it back to Painter.



For this project, I try to keep my UV texel around 10.24. You can find more details about this in here: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/qbOqP

For this case, I make 2 texture sets, one 4K for the body and one 2K for the chainmail, sword and shield.
Since the paintwork from the figure is very nice, I try to follow the same texture style, from afar it looks like a solid brown-yellowish gray with subtle green, but if you zoom in, you can see some bluish-gray and a bit of orange-red there.

Subtle colour change is really important to make the texture more believable and to break the flatness. All the texture process was done in Substance Painter starting from scratch or from a smart material. I usually start from a good base color and add some color variation, adding layer on layer of different kinds of grunge, aging effects. As you can see for the dark gray noise damage on the plate edges, I only use mask generator with minus height channel and mask it with Dirt 3 brush.



The presentation is very simple, I just exported the model and textures into my other UE4 environment project and placed a cinematic camera, you can adjust the settings to make the background more blurry to achieve some kind of cinematic feeling. To adjust the depth of field focus area, turn on the visual, depth of field layer. The focus area indicated by the black color, blue is far and green is near. For the post process, I adjust a little bit of contrast and added a vignette, nothing fancy here.



Thanks for reading, and I hope there were some insightful and helpful tips to help you build your next character!

Please follow me on: