I wanted to take this time to show everyone what we did to go from a base model to a final model in Shadow Heroes. To begin with, all our characters are very low poly. We try to keep them low so we can have a lot of them on screen instead. that being said they still needed to animate properly and look good. This article will explain how this was accomplished.
The initial model was created and from there we are able to get a basic idea of the model itself. This is a very low poly version that gets the point of the character across without too much detail. As you can see, the model is very flat but has the proper geometry to define the edges of the model. Some flat materials are also applied in order to demonstrate the basic colors of the model as well.
After that the base mesh is imported into ZBrush for detailing. This sculpting process really brings the mesh to life by adding the embossed patterns on the mesh as well as the rivets and bolts on the armor and weapon. This mesh allows us to generate highly accurate normals on the mush as well as the ability to later combine the meshes together. Here we have a lot of tweaking and playing with different angles on the mesh itself to get the correct lighting and shadows
The last step is to actually combine the two meshes together. This increases our poly count but keeps it low enough (due to awesome normal maps) that we are still around 2,000. Here, the mesh is textured and we apply some lighting. The idea is that we can play with some lighting and specular settings on the mesh to create a whole range of effects we can use later in the game engine.
Here, the mesh is fully textured and rendered out. It's not 100% accurate to the in game engine because the rendering capabilities do not fully match but it's close. If I get the chance, I'll try to post some news about the way we implement the characters in Shadow Heroes as well. But that will have to be for another time.
Hope you enjoyed and I look forward to hearing you comments.