3D character modeling: Concepts

For assignment 3, we were given the task of finding concept art, or making your own to create a 3D model out of. What we did not know however, was that we would make concept trades when everyone had chosen and written a background on our characters.

This was the concept I found and wanted to create, but traded away to Oscar Mohlin, in the link, you’ll find his work on the concept.https://i2.wp.com/fc08.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2010/356/3/1/fynn_turnaround_sheet_by_fightingfailure-d35gr5v.jpg

The original creator of the concept is called Fightingfailure on DeviantArt.


About the character:

Name: Distant Feather Tawhito

Nickname: Hito


Gender: Male
Age: 11, He is very mature for his age however, having a good sense of duty.

Physical health/ attributes/ handicaps: He is a healthy boy with a lot of energy and playfulness. At the same time he is very interested and serious when it comes to his shamanistic duties.


Movement: He runs wherever he goes, his movements are a bit clumsy because of his very big poncho however.


Appearance/ Hygiene: Hito does not care all too much about his appearance, he has his big poncho covering most of his body, a headband to keep his dishevelled hair in place. And two giant feathers that he got as a gift from the great eagles, which are his most prized possessions.
Favourite food: Despite being small in size, Hito eats a lot more food than most of the tribesmen, he does really enjoy when he gets vegetable stew with lots of meat in it.


Intelligence: Hito is incredibly eager to learn new things, and is a natural talent at shamanistic magic. And being the youngest shaman-in-training they’ve had in the village, he is very skilled when it comes to communicating with the eagles.


Culture: The tribe that Hito lives with is a peaceful people that respect nature and lives alongside the giant eagles of the green plains. The village folk worship these giant eagles, using shamans to communicate and take care of them. Becoming an Eagle shaman however, takes many years of training in the old arts of magic.
History: Hito was brought by an eagle to his tribe when he was a baby, with only a blue orb around his neck on him. The shamans of the tribe saw his green eyes and pale skin as a revelation from the spirits, and took him in as one of their own, teaching him the ways of the shamans. Hito was a natural when it came to focusing and controlling the spiritual powers of nature. He could also at a very young age, talk to the eagles at will. This shocked the shamans, since it usually takes half a lifetime to learn such complicated magic.
Religion: He comes from a village that worship giant eagles; Hito himself is the youngest eagle shaman-in-training in the village’s history.


Income: They do not have a currency in the village. They all distribute and share their food, crops and water like a big family.



Education: Hito is studying to become a shaman of the village.
Why did he have choose this occupation?

He was raised in the ways of the shaman; it is expected of him to become an eagle shaman of his village. And he is happy to do so.
Hobbies: Hito really likes learning new things and exploring the fields with his pet; Breko, hoping to find treasures or ruins to explore. When he is not exploring or learning new things, he sits atop the eagle nest, talking to the great eagles, asking them questions so that he can take part of their wisdom, or he just sits with them cuddling.


Family: The village is his family, with the head shaman being the closest thing to a father he has.


Friends: Hito does not play all too much with the other children of the village, since he has shaman duties and practices. He does have his pet as company most of the time, called Breko.


Inner rhythm: Hito is calm and collected most of the time, thinking carefully about his next moves. He is still a child however, and does get spontaneous from time to time. He also finds himself pondering on where he came from originally, who were his real parents, what kind of village could be found there?



His main goal in life: He wants to become the head shaman one day, making his village proud.


His biggest secret and why: The great eagles once told him that grim times were on its way, an entity that spouts fire wherever it goes, and will turn the great green fields to ash. The eagles told Hito not to tell the others, as it would just cause panic among the villagers. They did tell Hito that he had a part in solving this problem, just that they have to wait a little longer until he was able.


Does anyone else know this secret? Who? Why?

Only the eagles are aware of the incoming threat

About the game:

What platform(s) is it aimed at?

PC, ps3/4 , Xbox one

Who’s your target audience?

People from 14 and up

A quick actionpose I made for the character.
A quick actionpose I made for the character.


describing the game world in one paragraph:

The great plains, with grass and trees as long as the eyes can see, with ruins spread out across here and there, architecture from another time long forgotten, a time of great prosper and bustling cities. The world is now silent however, with small tribes spread out across the fields, and giant eagles ruling the skies. And who knows? Maybe the constructs of old are still operational somewhere in the world? This is nothing that the little shamanistic village knows about. But maybe they will soon enough?



  1. Giant feathers x2
  2. Gold ornaments
  3. Leaher boots
  4. Leather pants
  5. Shamanistic poncho
  6. Headband (red)
  7. Bone necklace
  8. Mystic pearl

This was the written information I made about my character, and gave away to Oscar, so that he could identify who he was, what he did and so on, bringing that into his 3D modeling.

And that’s all I have about Tawhito the eagle shaman.

Until next time. Cheers!


Assignment one Week 2-3

After we had created crates with different genres in mind, which you can read about in this blog post, we had to choose one of the three boxes we had created and optimize them, preparing to make Uwv maps. The optimization was normally done to your models by other colleagues, so that they could look at the models with fresh eyes and hopefully find the problems with them. This however, was not the case for me, since during that week, I was away at the Tokyo game show in Japan at the time. When I came back from the trip, I was a bit behind schedule with the optimizing, and had to do it on my own. I had no problems with this though, and only had minor optimization problems with the crate I had chosen to continue with, which was the thrash can. The other two models had some problems, especially the treasure chest that I made, it had some serious issues with overlapping surfaces, and was quite the hassle to fix.

The model that I chose to continue with of the three.
The model that I chose to continue with of the three.

After finishing with the optimization for all the models, I had to start with Uwv mapping, one of the things that I thought was really hard at the time, and still have issues with sometimes. Since this object was fairly simple, it wasn’t all too painful to divide the thrash can into smaller bits and make it flatten out. It did take a while though, figuring out how the seams worked etc.

After the Uvw mapping, it was time for the texturing. I did this by putting the uvw map into photoshop, and applying textures that resembled rusty metal and concrete. This was not enough though, since I had to define the dirt on the trashcan and make it look more grimy and dirty. By putting it into Mudbox, I could paint these details directly on top of the model instead of having to do it in photoshop, and I must say, it is very, very nice to be able to do so.

The texture map for the thrashcan
The texture map for the thrashcan

After quite a lot of working with making the dirt and grime look good and in the right places, I could start with the specular map, something that I had not done before at all. I started with making my diffuse map black and white, where the light values would reflect more light and darker values would reflect less. I had a bit of trouble with this since the model was so dirty and dark. What I did was that I put pure white on the spots that had spots of visible metal where the texture had peeled off, and using a airbrush to add some kind of turbulence to the lighting, since the surface of the thrashcan is very bumpy and craggy.

The specular map. The very bright spots are the areas where the texture peeled off.

Last bot not least, was the Normal map, This I had to redo several times, due to some problems with making it correctly. The first time around though, I just dropped the specular into Crazybump and made a specular. This caused the surface of the normal become extremely bumpy and just looked awful.  I fixed this by actually working around with crazybump for a while and making all the details less extreme on the normal. In the end it worked pretty nicely for being the first time one had worked with such things.

The normal map.

When all the texture work was done, all that needed to be done was to apply everything and throw it into UDK to see how it looked, and I must say that I was pretty happy with the result.

The final look of my Thrashcan.
The final look of my Thrashcan.

So what did I learn from the first project we had? Quite a lot I must say, I learned a lot about the workflow when working with 3D, how to optimize and how to make textures, specular and normal maps. I also learned how Uwv maps work and how to use them correctly. I actually made a 3D model a long time ago where I made a Uwv, but after this project, I realized how wrong I did everything on that model.

And that’s pretty much what I can tell you about the thrashcan project. Until next time! Cheers.

Working with face topology.

We got the opportunity to scan our faces by taking photos from different angles and putting them into a program called 123D catch, which glues everything together to create a mesh of your face! I was impressed to see how the program worked and applied all those photos, took the information it needed and created a face on its own, although not perfect. It was super fun to see and to experience. We did this preparing for a class assignment where we tried making face topology on a premade or our own faces.

Starting with the topology was hard to grasp and to apply to the already premade faces, as well as your own. I could not use my own face because it looked like I had run into a truck at high speeds. we started out by simply placing faces manually around the eyes and making sure that there was an equal amount of faces on each side of the eye. The reason they should be equal in faces is so that you can animate them properly, and it helps to make the topology optimal.

Who's that handsome-OH GOD!
Who’s that handsome-OH GOD!

It was a lot of picky work, but in the end, it looked pretty good to me. we also made the mouth in the same patterns. One was also supposed to merge from the mouth to eyes in some way, I did not have the time however, since I struggled with my own face in the beginning.


This is how far I got, you sure learn a lot by doing this kind of thing.
This is how far I got, you sure learn a lot by doing this kind of thing.

We did go through some pictures during the lecture, showing how the topology is very similar on almost anything you can encounter in the 3D world. Any creatures face has a similar topology, if I got everything right.

Having the lecture was super useful to have, since we could use it for the upcoming character modeling assignments and I must say. If we didn’t have this lecture at all, the making of the face of my character would have taken ages and ages to complete, and heck if even would get it right to begin with!

On the picture above you can see what I made with the time we spent on making the face topology. I only got so far sadly, since I struggled quite a lot getting my own face appear on screen… and you can see how that went. Starting with the minor topology on the very inner parts of the eye was hard to get right the first time. I even had to remake the whole eye once because I managed to fluke the symmetry up. The mouth was not as tedious as the eye, and went quite quick to finish up. what was annoying with the mouth was the fact that I had too count all the time! so many faces to count over and over again to make sure you actually had an even amount.

And that’s what I have to say about that lecture, it sure was great! Until next time. Cheers!

3D Assignment 3 : Gor´dak the troll. Week 6-10

For assignment 3, we got to start working with low poly character modeling, something I have found out is a very fun, but also very hard process.

After we had switched concept with one another, I started on working on the character’s silhouette in class. The teacher pretty much taught us how to build the body with the help from turnarounds, mine looked like this:

My concept that I got, I doodled some topology to make it easier for me to model.
My concept that I got, I doodled some topology to make it easier for me to model.

Earlier, we had gone through how topology works and how to apply it in order to make everything easier for you when modeling. This sure helped a lot when we started out. The character started taking shape quickly enough, but not without bumps on the way. Because I was new to the whole organic modeling thing, I really had trouble actually applying the topology thinking we had learned earlier. Elbows, feet and knees were the hardest parts to model in my opinion, with their weird shapes and additional topology that need to be functional. We also had to think about not making our characters too detailed either, since we had a poly budget of 3000 to keep track of.

I had the most problems with the hands, at least in the early stage. These hands took me all too long to complete thanks to the devil’s own creation: the thumb. The thumb was really hard for me to grasp and actually figuring out where and how to place it, I even had to get some help from one of my classmates in order to get it right. A lot of tweaking and trying to get the silhouette right later, I had to start working on the second creation of the devil, namely the head. And in comparison to making the body, the head took way longer to complete due to the complicated topology and eyes…EYES!

All my hate aside, here is a picture of my troll’s early stages:

A face only a mother could love...right..
A face only a mother could love…right..

Making the face was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever worked on in 3D, and I would love to do it again because that stuff is challenging! When I started, I had no idea how to build the base or even HOW to start making the topology. Luckily I found a super useful video tutorial for Maya…yes, Maya on how to start and working with the face topology. For those interested, here is the video I watched.

The video being great aside, it was really tough making out what went where and how to make a proper mouth. For me the biggest problem was the fact that the trolls lower jaw is way bigger than a standard human. This led to me guessing how it would work and what the topology looks like. the placement of ears was a similar problem to what I had with the jaw, since his ears are placed almost on top of his head. I worked around this by making separate ears and then welding it to the head and doing some repair work with the topology. The eyes were also a problem, but not a problem as in difficult to create or to figure out what the topology should look like. We had a lesson where we went through that, and the troll’s eyes are similar to a humans, if not smaller for his size. The problem with the eyes are just making them look right. Because no matter how long you work with making the eyes look perfect, they will always be a little off. That’s what I think at least. And after the eyes. The head was pretty much done! All that was left was to sew it onto the body, which wasn’t the greatest of challenges.

This was the result after I had applied the head:

Now he's no longer a lego gorilla look alike!
Now he’s no longer a lego gorilla look alike!

After some cleanup and optimizing the troll’s mesh, it was time to start working with one of my weaknesses: Uwv mapping.

Making the Uwv this time was not as hard as the other two assignment Uwv’s were. Because this time, I could follow the natural seams across his body, these being his legs and arms up to his shoulders. Having to plan what seam to place where was a bit of a hassle though, because my character’s lack of clothing except for his little loincloth. If he had clothes, I could just make the seams that real clothes have, and since skin does not really have seams, this took a bit longer than I thought it would. I tried to be effective with the Uwv from the start this time, making the hands and legs into single uwv’s instead of just cutting my troll in half. This helped to save some space as well as to conceal some of the seams.

This is what my Uwv looked like:

Placing uwv's effectively is probably one of my greatest weaknesses, but I think I did pretty well this time around!
Placing uwv’s effectively is probably one of my greatest weaknesses, but I think I did pretty well this time around!

Cutting the head and belly was not the easiest thing I have ever done when working with uwv’s since you actually have to make the whole surface flat. That requires some really weird cutting, and as you can see on the uwv, The troll’s ears went bonkers when they flattened.

After the mapping was complete I started with the texturing, the thing I underestimated the most! It proved to be difficult and time consuming, very much so. I started with photoshop, thinking that the process would be easier and less tedious than doing 3D painting. After a while, I gave up with the photoshop texturing, everything was way to low resolution for me to actually be able to add details to the texture. (Someone did tell me later that one could just increase the resolution when painting, and then scaling it down again. But by the time I heard that, it was too late) I moved my mesh to Mudbox, a 3D sculpting program, very similar to Zbrush, to colour and add details to my texture. This is probably what took the most of my time making this. I had so many problems actually getting the colours, shading and highlights like I wanted them to. And seeing as the character is from a very cartoony and stylized world. I was a bit limited on fancy details.

We had meetings in class with our respective co-workers, to get feedback and instructions on what to change and add to the model. My colleague was happy with how it looked so far, and I just continued on the same path as before. but wanted to add some more detail on his back…

What I had in mind was a rough skin texture on his back, much like a rhino’s tough and thick skin. I applied it, added some normal maps to it. And decided that it was not worth it at all! the details were too mismatched with the cartoony style of the character, and decided to remove it and just work on extra, minor details. Like a buttcrack! Every troll needs one!

This is the result of the troll with textures, normal and specular map:

3DsMax really does not like rendering my character, it decided to start showing all the seams when rendering, problem not yet solved as of yet!
3DsMax really does not like rendering my character, it decided to start showing all the seams when rendering, problem not yet solved as of yet! So here’s a non rendered screenshot.

I started to look at games like The legend of Zelda: Windwaker since it has such a wonderful and cartoony look without losing out on details. I looked at references and noticed that there aren’t a lot of details at all. They just use lines very effectively to mark our certain forms and shapes. I tried to apply this and I must say, I’m no master at this at all, and isn’t as simple as I initially thought it would be. But it was better than Roughback Mctroll!

When all the texturing was done, I shoved it into UDK to render it and take some pretty screenshots… and it renders it really weirdly. I was angered at this, since Mudbox had rendered it wonderfully without problems. UDK, when rendering, made all the seams on my troll super visible. I have not yet solved this, I tried different things for hours with no avail. So I just let it go. I can’t fix what I can’t fix right?

here’s what it looked like rendered in UDK…:


Despite the problems I had with the rendering. I’m pretty content with the result of my troll. And even if I don’t get a pass on the assignment, I’ve learned a lot about modeling overall, and hey, if you fail, you just do it again and do it right!

That’s me for now. It’s been a really great course. And I really want to apologize to my teacher Nataska for not keeping up with the blogposts! When I came back from Japan, everything just crashed on top of me, which made me miss some blogposts, which in turn made me miss more because of stress. SORRY!

And that’s the Troll! see you all next time! Cheers!

Assignment 2 week 3-6

During assignment 2, we got the task to create an object from the local museum in 3D. The museum was shock full of impressive objects of old, and it was really tough to pick one to create, but ended up choosing to create a silver dagger from the 1570’s, whose previous owner was a fleet admiral. This is what the real piece looks like:IMG_2939

When I started with the dagger, I was unsure if I wanted to make it stylized or realistic, both of these would require me solve different problems. If stylized, the texture and form of the dagger could be more disproportionate and colourful, which would make it easier with texturing in my opinion, since I am not all too experienced with texturing 3D objects. And if I made the realistic one, I would instead have an easier time modeling the shape and form of the dagger, since I have a proper reference. The problem with this would be the texture, since I wanted to use photo-textures, And making a low resolution model with not all too high res photos, would create some trouble when texturing.

This is what the first version model looked like and what it looked like for the rest of the project:Dagger

I ended up with making a realistic version of the dagger. The modeling in itself shouldn’t be all too hard I thought, since I now had proper references I could look at. At first, I started modeling the dagger in different sections: the handle/pommel, guard and lastly the blade itself. This was made so that it could actually be taken apart in seperate pieces. when the first draft of the dagger was complete, I was told by my teacher that it was unnecessary if the daggers’ purpose was to be put into a game, and that it was unnecessary complexity. And when I thought through what she said, it made a lot of sense.

Making the dagger in 3D itself was not all too challenging, and was dealt with fairly quickly. The real problem I had with the making the dagger was the texturing and Uwv mapping. Both of these things I’d never done before except on the  much simpler crates we created before and was a difficult concept to grasp. I must say that Uwv mapping was pure hell the first time around I did it on the dagger, and I failed miserably and made a very noneffective uwv overall, with a lot of empty space surrounding it. Making the texturing was a challenge in itself, since I want to keep the originals indents and textures, while using the pictures I had, and since I couldn’t take pictures from every angle and distance. I was a bit restricted in this matter.


The picture above was my first Uwv map with applied texture, and as you can see, there is a lot of white space in between the objects. Another thing I did wrong was that I preserved the lighting that was on the reference pictures, leaving unwanted shadows and highlights on the handle and blade.

The first normal map, with very deep indents. making the dagger itself look very rough.
The specular map, where I did the mistake of leaving a lot of dark areas dark, when the whole dagger is very shiny polished metal. The whole thing should almost be all white.
The specular map, where I did the mistake of leaving a lot of dark areas dark, when the whole dagger is very shiny polished metal. The whole thing should almost be all white.

We also had to make Specular and Normal maps for our models, so that we could control how much the objects reflected light and make the indents and details pop out more. When I did this, I made my normal map too intense, so that every small detail popped out. This made the dagger look really really rough and corroded. The specular map did not make any sense, since the parts that should’ve been the most shiny, did barely get any attention.

This was the first dagger that I handed in which did not pass for the reasons i wrote above.

Texture, specular and normal were all wrong in this one, at least if I wanted to make it a ornamental dagger in good condition, as this one looks worn down and old.

After the hand ins were done, I got the assingment to improve on the Uwv, diffuse, specular and normal. I took into consideration the things my teacher had told me. Making the Uwv more compact. This was not much of a problem, and since I got some help from the teacher I got some new knowledge on how to make uwv’s more effectively.

Making the new texture, specular and normal was a tad bit more difficult. I first had to remake the texture so that the natural lighting from the picture got removed without actually removing the details of the photo. All I could do was to use a low opacity brush in photoshop to slightly remove the shadows and reflections. Some of these I was unable to remove because I needed to preserve them for the details. I also applied a new texture on the blade, so that it looks more scratched from a whetstone rather than the bumps the first version had.

This time around with the specular map, I had to do a bit of gambling. I am not completely sure how much the real dagger reflected light. But when I thought about it. It was a blade completely capable of cutting someone, so it must’ve been sharpened, yet it’s primary use was as an ornamental blade. So I imagine the whole thing being polished and very shiny, especially on the handle details. So I made the specular very very  bright, and mostly it looks like a white blob. But as long as the object reflects the light correctly, I don’t think it matters, right?

The normal map required quite a lot of tweaking. This time around, Instead of using the software Crazybump, I instead used Insanebump, which is free!

Insane bump was harder to use in my opinion, but I managed to get something out of it.

For the normal, I had to make several normals, cut and paste different parts in order to get the depth I wanted on my dagger. I think it turned out pretty nicely this time around.

This is the result of the new dagger, with it’s new normals, speculars and diffuse:

So much white, it almost hurts my eyes. The dagger sure looks polished and reflects lots of light!
So much white, it almost hurts my eyes. The dagger sure looks polished and reflects lots of light!
Much less extreme in comparison to the old one! This one needed quite a lot of tweaking though.

And that’s all I have to say about the workflow of my dagger making! It’s been quite the journey making it, full of problems and iterations.

That’s me for this time! Cheers!


Assignment 3: getting my character concept

For assignment 3 we have gotten the task of making a character from concepts recieved from our classmates, I got Gor’dak the fish loving troll:

troll turnaround
Original concept created by Boris Maras

Troll – Male
Lifespan 160, adult at 30
Name: Gor´dak
Age: 40
Physical: Fat, healthy
Movement: on Two legs, kind of sluggish movement
Appearance: Rough, ragged
Intelligence: Medium, he is not clever but he can talk well and understand what is happening around him. He has too big and clumsy hands to build anything but he’s good at finding a usage for the things he own.
Religion: Fishyism, believes in the fish god Fishy. He “prays” or more hopes his hunting of fish is fishful.
History: Lived alone since he was able to walk on his own two legs. Parents got killed so has no one he knows who is a troll.
Psychology: Easily scared, if he gets too scared he goes into a rage and kill what scared him. Otherwise calm. He don’t create detailed things, only strap on things he find to detail himself or his cave which he loves. He wants to detail his home with trophies or things he finds because he really likes how it looks and he thinks it make his home a better and happier place.

If anything would threaten his house or steal from it he would rage and get rid of it.

Likes: Fish, trophies, other trolls even though he never met anyone but his parents before, shiny things.

Hunts fish and other animals with his club if he wants to eat them.

His hobbies is to hunt, explore and find trophies. The trophies are usually from his hunting and exploring expeditions.

Lives in a cave in a forest with a small lake nearby. He has a fireplace surrounded by rocks in his cave and know how to cook somewhat, mostly grilling fish and making fish soup. He sits on logs from trees he has torn down. His cave contain trophies and other items he have found and are hanged on the walls to make it look nicer. If he can he attach it to himself too, like ear rings or a wristband if he find something that he could use.

He likes to explore but the only place he really loves is his cave and lake.
He might look like a brute but he loves his things and his cave and is really happy when he is there and look at his things and the memories they awaken.

He has started a club where only he is in. It’s called Fish club and he started it because he loves fish. It’s both about hunting fish and looking at how pretty and shiny they are. The first rule about Fish club is that you don’t talk about the fish club.

He could see him in an open world, sandbox PC game maybe like Skyrim, but in a more cartoony style, where everything have a background and if you just sit and watch you can see them doing their everyday life and notice details about their behaviors that you wouldn’t see if you just ran past or attacked them as fast as you saw them. He could be a special NPC that also has a side quest if you don’t go and just kill him. And if you just sit and watch him he would go hunting or exploring. So if you got there when he was out exploring the forest you will only find his empty glade. Or you might find him watching fish in the lake or swimming.

So to wrap the character up: a peaceful troll that likes fish and living in solidarity, happy if he just has his fish and cave.

The challenge making this character will be his round shape and textures, because of his very flat colours on the concept.. I have not made characters in 3D before and will be interesting to see how it goes. I was told by the one who gave me this concept to follow the artistic style that was on the concept. having the simple colours and all. It is going to be interesting what this will turn out to be! That’s all for this time. Cheers!