19 October 2020

Killjoy – Real-Time Character Production – Ama Ro


Hello there! My name is Ama Ro, I’m an aspiring character artist. I’m still studying and practicing and I have a long way to go! I still haven’t worked at a studio but I’m very excited to one day, do so.

I’m a big fan of Riot games, especially the game VALORANT. I love the artistic design, therefore I decided to create one of the characters from it. I decided to go with Killjoy, I love her colorful color palette and outfit. I wanted her to be accurate to her character model in-game and concept, yet add a touch of realism.




I always start with body/face references, slowly adding more references based on which part of the outfit I’m working on. When looking for the references, I like to consider which area I want to improve on. Knowing that, I look for twice as much reference. I always decide which material I want an accessory to have before the texturing phase. These are a few of the final board of references I found through google images and Artstation:



Now, I begin sculpting the body in Zbrush, in this phase I focus on the anatomy and face. I usually use my previous character models base with a lower poly count. I always try to improve the anatomy and change the face to match the character I’m creating. A great tip is to use 3D scans as anatomy references, my mentor “WendyDeBoer” on Artstation suggested me this and I have found it very useful. In regards with matching the characters face to my realistic attempt, I usually like gathering references of people that look similar to the character and I also consider what I think makes that character recognizable. For example, when I think of Killjoy’s face, I think of big lips and thick eyebrows. Now that I have this information I try applying it, but slightly softer to match realistic yet stylized proportions.


Once I finish my base I like to start modelling a lowpoly base for the clothing. Once I do this, I play around with dynamic subdivision and the Z-modeller tool on Zbrush. I usually don’t model all the accesories bases just yet, I like creating the most noticeable pieces (jacket, pants, shirt) first. After doing so, I start sculpting on them, of course, using and following the references of the desired clothing item. Once I’m happy with the sculpting of these pieces I start repeating the process with minor accesories such as her beanie, belt, backpack etc.



Once I finish the sculpt and have polished all parts of the character, I start the retopology and modelling stage. To save time I usually like using the lower division version of a few parts and clean the topology of them. Only do this if the lowpoly division of the sculpt has a reasonable topology to work off of. I do not do this method nor recommend this with the body, due to the body sculpt not having a clean topology. Unless you use a base made for bodies that have a clean topology, either way, always check the exported sculpt to make sure its clean. When retopologizing and modelling by hand I use Blender.

In this stage I also start working with the hair. My method of creating hairs consist of using tubes as a base then on top using hair cards for more realistic hairs. I use hair tubes to help me with the volume, that way I don’t have to worry about a hair card showing the inside of the head or looking flat.


Finally! This is my favorite part yet the scariest. In this stage I gather as many references I need for the piece I’m working on. Regarding matching the material, I would recommend trying to copy it as much as possible. I used to guess what a material might look like, instead of properly studying/copying it. I used to do this with skin and leather, I would just guess without actually gathering references. I didn’t know skin had so many diferent color variations until I looked for references. I now repeat this process with other materials.



After a long process we are finally reaching the last stage, soon saying goodbye! Here I start deciding what I want to do, to showcase Killjoy. As always, I look up some references of renders I really enjoy. I wanted Killjoy to have an accurate pose and lighting set up to her character, so I decided to look at Killjoys trailer and concept to see what color scheme would be a nice pop and pose I wanted her to have. For the pose I looked for ingame shots or illustrations to get the vibe that I wanted her to feel like. I decided to go for a relaxed, smug yet slightly happy vibe.



We have reached the end! This is basically my process, of course I left out some pretty boring stuff such as UV and rigging, its pretty tame. In conclusion, reference and patience is key! I used to be very inpatient but thanks to my mentor, I was able to notice that patience is the most important factor on creating a good result. Doesn’t work out the first time? Take a small break, go back to it with some relaxing music and take the time you need.I hope you learned a thing or two, have a good day and take care. Goodbye!! Adios!!!