Modern Knight

Character Breakdown

Placido Obama


Placido Obama

Character Artist


Hello everyone, I'm Placido Obama Mexia, a Senior 3D Character Artist from Spain, currently working at Firesprite a PlayStation Studio in Liverpool, UK.

Goals for the Project

The aim of my Knight project was to put all my knowledge as a 3D character artist in a real-time model using Unreal 5, creating everything from scratch without relying on any metahumans files or scan data.

This character design originated from an idea for an Artstation challenge, “Medieval: Back and Forth.” Firstly, I searched on Google to find suitable references for my character.

I had a rough concept in mind for this character with a red jacket, stylish shoes, and cargo pants for a modern touch, while the rest were more medieval aesthetics.

Once satisfied with the mood board, I began blocking out some ideas, always keeping in mind incorporating different materials to create various shaders in Unreal since this is one of the main goals for this project.


My Workflow

  • Blockout
  • Highresh
  • Retopology
  • UV
  • Texturing
  • Xgen
  • Material creation in Unreal
  • Rig and posing
  • Lighting and Rendering


For blockout, I use ZBrush. I prefer dynamesh and sculpting to avoid worrying about topology at this stage, focusing on finding forms and shapes. I experiment with different ideas until I achieve the desired design.

I also use Marvelous Designer to create a rough model with folds, providing a base for clothing.

High Poly

Moving on to the high-poly stage, one of my favorite phases, I analyze the reference to ensure I have enough information to mimic the desired materials.

I sculpt using ZBrush, occasionally ZModeler for some pieces like belts and armor plates and switch to 3ds Max or Maya for a solid base when needed.



For the face, I wanted to create everything by hand. After the blockout, I projected one of my low-poly face meshes with good topology and added details by hand using alphas. Doing as much as possible by hand helps train your eye for details and materials.


Retopology and UVs

In this project, I aimed for a bit of next-gen quality and avoid going too low.

Retopology was time-consuming, done in 3ds Max, while UVs were created in Maya, focusing on providing good texel density and straight UVs to give enough texel density and straight uvs for most of the objects to be able to add detail maps later on.


Texture creation became my favorite part since I started using Substance Painter.

Following the same mentality as the high-poly stage, I did everything by hand without using any smart materials, slowly building the materials while frequently checking the progress in Unreal.



I aimed to push the hair and try adding strands to a real-time character.

For the hair, I followed the tutorial “Making Dreadlocks With Xgen” by Romanticide on YouTube and highly recommend it.


Material Creation in Unreal

One of my primary objectives was to craft appealing materials, and I already had a specific vision for their aesthetics. I found good information in Epic documentation which made everything a relatively straightforward process.

My main focus during this phase was on detail maps, aiming to incorporate fine details that contribute to a realistic material and specular response.

Rig and Posing

Although I could create a simple pose in ZBrush, this time I wanted to learn how to do a rig, and I enjoyed it.

I followed a rigging course at Gnomon School so it was pretty easy to understand the basics, I hope to continue rigging for my future characters. Once satisfied with the rig, I created some simple poses and imported them into Unreal.


Lighting and Rendering

Finally, with the entire character ready, I added lights and captured videos and screenshots.

I utilized the HDRI Backdrop from Unreal for nice reflections and incorporated some Megascans rock meshes for certain shots.


Thanks for taking the time to read this article! I hope it proves helpful.

If you’re interested in my work or have any questions, please feel free to contact me at: