Finalizing Character Models

With the core game play elements mostly complete, I decided to dedicate a whole week finalizing the visuals for the characters.  As usual, I greatly underestimated the amount of time and effort required to do this.  I will likely spend many more weeks on this until it can be considered done.

It’s been a while since I’ve used my pen tablet (Wacom Intuos).  I generally try and do all related work together in bulk.  So the last few weeks was mainly small coding work to tweak the game and add any minor features.  Now I’m doing texture work and modelling.  It took me a while to get used to digital painting again, it always does after not doing it for a couple months.  But I find that my skills improve (slightly) every time I come back to doing art.  The results are pretty good for programmer art.  It’s not at a professional level but maybe with enough time, I’ll get close.  I mainly used Blender to do all my texture painting but touch up the images with Photoshop Elements and Paint Tool SAI.

Below are images to briefly describe the work involved in completing texture work for the Guard character.

The final look of the Guard character in Unity. The color scheme will probably change. I’m pretty bad at picking colors and often make changes once I realize how bad they look.

All textures were painted using projection/texture painting in Blender. Because I’m not very good at choosing colors, I painted all textures in gray scale and used shaders to apply color (more on that later). This allows quick iteration but it limits the visuals you can achieve since you’re just multiplying colors with a grayscale image.

Projection painting in Blender works well. But I had difficulties painting smooth seamless bands for the upper arms and lower legs. I ended up using Blender to rough in the lines and then used Paint Tool SAI to do final line work. I’m so glad I bought this program. I will use this tool more often. It’s unfortunate that there is no native support for TIFF files. It lacks some layer options and filters that would make this my default tool for texture painting.

As I mentioned before, all colors are applied using a fairly simple shader. It also does toon ramp and subtle rim lighting. To apply the colors, I use a separate image to define masks for 4 different color values using the RGBA channels. Here is the texture and corresponding mask texture for the boots. As you can see, I’m using Photoshop Elements that came free with my Wacom tablet. It has some issues but it’s usable. Maybe I’ll get an Adobe Creative Cloud license after releasing this game. I’m sure Photoshop would have some added features that would make texture work more efficient.

That’s all for now, back to crunching.