Carin Backlund
by carinbacklund on 1 Jun 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

This is a passion project consisting of a realtime and game ready character rendered in UE4. Organic sculpture and hard surface modeling in Zbrush and Maya. Textured procedurally in Substance Painter with my real life self captured and calibrated materials. Rigged and animated with dynamic hair and cloth.

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For this project my goal was to create an Uruk-Hai to explore the realm of Gondor. He needed to feel like a part of the world and affected by the environment and the harsh life of a brutal warrior of Middle-Earth. I wanted to capture the material contrast of the blackened armor, heavy leather, rough skin and long flowing hair. I wanted the light leather and hair to move dynamically when running over the grassy hills.

All pictures are realtime and rendered in Unreal engine. Some of them in my Gondor level and some in an Unreal engine studio level that I set up to better show the materials. To make him fit into my calibrated level I decided to ground him in reality by capturing real life blackened rusty armor and leather for the materials.

The materials are captured using photogrammetry, calibrated using color checker and setup using PBR standards. It was amazing to have the armor pieces at hand as real life reference for how the material behaves and how they are applied on the surfaces.

I have a big interest in game hair and making hair is something i really enjoy doing. The hair texture atlas is made using XGen and the hair clumps are hand placed with twist and bend deformers looking at Johan Lithvall's workflow. For hair shader and maps I looked at Unreal Engine 4 Documentation.

To use and make my own custom scanned and calibrated tiling materials made out of real life armor in combination with generators within substance painter was a key takeaway from this project and i will definitely do more of that in upcoming works. The skin is painted in Substance Painter closely looking at references from Weta Workshop and Behind the Scenes pictures from The Lord of the Rings triology.

Meshes are made with Maya and Zbrush and I made sure to have them ready for our tech art class so that I could rig him during that time. It was also really fun to animate him and see him come to life afterwards. To get more movement in the loincloth and the hair i added cloth physics in Unreal. Next up are a couple of videos where you can can see him in action.

I'm happy to share this project with you and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did creating him. Thank you for your time.

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