As became clear after my last post, the community helped me see the flaws in Kain, as pertaining to faithfully recreating the original GlyphX model. His features needed work, specifically the facial proportions. I hoped that this would be doable without some road block again. I’ve come to expect them. Thankfully, I was able to fix it in Zbrush with only minimal hassle. For the most part, you can alter models at their lower base, or a subdivision, or few, above, without harming the precious sculpted detail on the highest division. Sometimes, however, UVs do get a bit messed up, though.
Anyway, after work to get his head and body done, I also tackled the hair and cape, which were two parts that really weren’t coming across in the low poly model like they should have. I moved the various polygon strips so they, mostly, do not intersect each other. The hair now doesn’t have the squiggly lines from where parts went through each other in Marmoset. I made Kain’s hair less contrasted and bright in the diffuse, and turned down the specular sheen in Marmoset, so now it looks more like natural white hair, or slightly silvery white.
The cape is another beast. I’ve made a few attempts since I posted Kain to make one that works. I had to remake it entirely. It’s very hard to do. I eventually decided on making a totally flat cape, as if it were a flat piece of fabric laid out on the floor, and I added the symbol and details there first, before wrapping it on Kain’s body. Three attempts to wrap that later, and I have one that I think feels naturally like it’s folded up onto the shoulder, and flows out near the bottom more. However, I made this one thinner than the previous one, and I believe due to how thin it is, Marmoset has issues displaying it right since the polygons from one side are so close to the other side. The stretching factor also made it a bit tricky to get added folds detail for the normal maps from Zbrush, but I tricked a way around that a little. This is the reason, I take it, that the cape from Batman in the Arkham games is only a flat polygon model, with the top side mirrored to show on the reverse side. It’s the only way, it seems, to get the render engine to know how to shade it right. I was having issues with the cape showing odd shadow patches where the one side must be too close to the other side. it’s a shame, because otherwise the cape looks better in this full version. For some renders, because of this, you’ll see the full low polygon modeled cape, and other wider renders, you’ll see me use the one-sided cape that displays the outer portion on both sides.
Anyway, that took the longest. I did another major change besides the above ones. I made the gauntlets both wider, and longer, shrinking the hand guard portion. I noticed when viewing Kain that the hand guard rode too far up and made the gauntlet guard portion look small. And, Kain’s gauntlets should be wider fitting around his already slightly wider forearms. I always loved the design of these evolved vampires, that their forearms are the larger muscled area than even their biceps and shoulders, which makes sense to support those large claws of theirs.
After this all, texture tweaks. Most everything has been slightly desaturated and some minor hue changes. His cape, some of the brown leather portions, and all of his skin is slightly altered. His skin now has a duller gold reflection, and while preserving the reds and some of the rusted gradients like on the crown and ears, it feels more natural than the saturated look I had before. His skin is a tough bird to get totally right.
Sooo, with that all explained, here’s, hopefully, the mostly final Kain. I should only need, if anything, slight tweaks to textures, but otherwise I need to move on to rigging and animating him.
This took me a couple of nights to make sure all renders where right, and also I realize that, if I am going to continue showing this all, I need to make sure to sign and watermark my work. That gets tedious…
And for those of you wondering if he’s really the same as the GlyphX render this time, I offer this animated gif:
The High Poly Model in Zbrush in a similar gif:
Is every single solitary crack and curve on him going to be totally the same? No, but this is pretty much as close as can be.
Now, these images show what I mean on the cape. The harsh shadow in the center shouldn’t be there. I want to see some shadowing to note the cape is indented there, but this shows up like a darkened stain, a cutout into the model. And on the single-sided cape, almost the opposite is true — shadows aren’t as deeps as they should be. Kind of frustrating. I’ll keep looking into what might solve this problem.
Took some time to work in these mock-up backgrounds, but it drives the point home better 😉
I do note that his butt chap area might need pulling down here a little. I’m not going to worry about it right now, though, but yeah I might fix that probably before rigging him. Bear in mind that since I still have no ability to animate the model here, that he’s not going to be in totally the same pose, and certainly he doesn’t have the same expression in these shots.
Anyway, these revisions I’m mostly happy enough with. Unless anyone sees something further that I am not, in which case please let me know. Otherwise, next update I’ll be showing will hopefully be good progress on rigging and animating him, along with the Reaver model that I’ve had forever, and human Kain, when I can get to him.
Until then, I’ll leave you with one last Kain eye, as remember … he’s always watching :p