Hi, I’m Matthieu Teste, a part-time 3D character artist. I recently joined SunSpear on an RTS project. You can find out more about the company and the game on their website.
I did a 3-year program in a French 3D school for animation and went on to work as a freelancer after that. I learned and transitioned to 3D for video games, which is where my passion lies.
In the process of learning 3D for games, I picked up Substance, and chose this concept by Hui Zou to get familiar with the program.
Note: I renamed him “Claude the Clawed” in addition to his original name (wild flame) because I’m a sucker for bad puns and wordplay. ^^
Step 1: The Sculpt
I started working on the model in ZBrush. I find it most natural to get proportions and shapes right in DynaMesh, starting with a sphere, do most of the work here and then retopo the model.
Once the general proportions are correct, I use “extract” in the subtool panel to create the different bits of the armor and proceed to detail them.
The tools I find myself using the most are :
- Move topological
- Masking for the DynaMesh proportions and blockout
For the next step, I use Orb_Cracks, hPolish, and TrimDynamic. Since this model had a lot of hard surface, I find that a combination of those brushes works best for me.
You can find Orb_cracks online pretty easily; it behaves a bit like the built-in “dam_standard” brush, but I like it more.
After the parts are cleaned up, I usually use the ClayPolish option under the geometry panel, using the default settings. Try it at different mesh resolutions for different results, see what works for you!
To anyone looking to speed up their ZBrush workflow, I highly recommend that you bind keys to the tools you use the most.
Step 2: Retopo and UVs
I then use ZBrush’s Decimation Master plugin to lighten up my meshes while keeping most of my details. This step can be skipped depending on your rig.
For retopology, I use Topogun. I wanted to keep the model pretty light and ended up at 17K triangles, not counting the fire ring.
Step 3: Textures
The baking and texture work was done in Substance Painter. Since it was my prototype project, and since the style was rather simple, I mostly used simple default materials that I tweaked a bit and applied to the model.
I then painted over certain parts but it was mostly minor tweaks.
Step 4: Sketchfab!
Once I had my textures done, I exported the albedo + metalness + normal + emissive maps and plugged them accordingly in Sketchfab.
I played with the lighting and post-process settings and got to the result using these:
I was satisfied with the render and used it as my final shot for my post on this character over on ArtStation. You can find it here alongside other characters I made.
Thanks to the Sketchfab team for giving me the opportunity to talk about my work here, and thank you for reading! I hope this short guide was helpful.