I had two objectives for this project. Firstly, I haven’t worked on any texturing projects for quite some time, so I wanted to undertake this project to polish my texture skills. Secondly, my goal was to explore Unreal Engine 5 for real-time rendering.
- Substance Painter
- Unreal Engine 5
Reference & Inspiration
My main inspirations were God of War and Diablo. For references, I examined a lot of the work from these games, and I made a quick paintover on a character sculpt I created a few years ago for an online competition. With a rough concept art in hand, I started the sculpting process.
For high-poly sculpting, I used ZBrush, primarily utilizing the clay brush, dam standard brush, and move brush for my sculpting. When creating ropes, I often used curve brushes, but when I needed more control, I utilized the bend curve option under the gizmo, which sped up the process (attached video).
Retopology & UV Unwrapping
For this project, I employed decimated meshes as the low-poly base and UV-mapped them within ZBrush and Rizom UV. It’s a quick and efficient method if you don’t want to invest time in creating a proper low-poly model. For a more detailed explanation of this technique, you can refer to The Marco Plouffe YouTube channel. I used 2 UDIMs for the body, 2 for the leather, and 1 for other parts.
I baked the normal maps in 4K resolution, but my substance texture layers were in 2K resolution. I started by blocking out materials with simple fill layers. For the leather, I utilized default smart materials inside Substance Painter. To avoid seams, always try to use tri-planar projection.
Lighting and Rendering
I used Unreal Engine to render the beauty shots. Initially, I employed the typical 3-point light setup for the character, and later, I added 2 extra rim lights and 1 extra fill light to create more dramatic renders.
I hope you enjoyed reading this brief article. I had a lot of fun working on this project and look forward to doing more in the future. If you have any questions regarding my work, feel free to reach out to me. Cheers!