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Meet The Black Paw
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Meet The Black Paw

Welcome to the realm of the Crystal Khanate, many species inhabit these lands and among them are wolves ! Meet the Black Paw !

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Update - 18 Jan 2024

Greetings from the darkness !

I'm Alexander D'Antuono, I go by the name AleDAN and i'm an Italian 3D Artist currently enrolled in BigRock, surrounded by many skillfull individuals and this is my take on the MeetMat 3 contest !

I present to you...

The Black Paw !

He's a wolf assassin member of the Wolfkin Brotherhooda shady group of slick wolves roaming the lands in the fictional world of the Crystal Khanate known for bringing terror and murder, they spread fear in every town of the realm.

Follow along to uncover each technique behind the composition of this piece !

The Conception

Back in November, when I discovered that The Rookies would be hosting another MeetMat contest, I was already experimenting  and was trying different approaches with Displacement maps as an exercise to improve my texturing skills, and an excuse to slam open the door and come out of my insecurities as I am heavily afflicted by imposter syndrome.

Nedless to say, I was more than thrilled to join the challenge and showcase my skills to an international audience and prove myself !

My main source of inspiration comes from medieval dark times and anthro animals, this moved me in the right direction and ultimately sparked the creative flame in me, THIS was the way to go !

In the initial stages, I sketched the attires of an alchemist, however, as I progressed with the concept, this idea quickly faded. Instead, I chose a much more straightforward approach for his design and made him a wolf assassin.

I remained faithful to the design for the most part but many aspects have been changed and other details were added.

Almost every part of the texturing was done entirely within Substance, except for the face that was achieved with a simple sculpt that was later mapped as an alpha.

Take a look at the collection of the used alphas for this lil' fella !

This is how I setup my level hyearchy, divided by an empty folder.

I found this method easily controllable and allowed me to instantly recognize what I was touching.

The Textures

An handy slider to visualize the project main texture maps

The Closeup Shots

I also rendered shots to show in all it's detailing the Black Paw, from head to... paws !

Thanks for your attention !

AND Many thanks to every mentor that gave me tips and tricks to bring this project to life, also to the people that helped me even with a smile to cheer me up and keep me going on !

I had a blast working on this piece, countless hours and cold nights brought this wolfie to life and I couldn't be any more grateful of this contest.

Good luck to every other contestant, and shine on !



Comments (3)

Update - 12 Jan 2024



Hey ! Greetings from this little wolfie.

A quick update on my status, decided to impair the vision of his left eye and added much more color variation on his fur.

I can say I'm really close to finishing this piece but I'll render this out when i'll be back at home on my main workstation.

I still haven't tried other colors other than the right eye, but I'm confident that  it'll be resolved this Sunday !

Comments (9)

Update - 5 Jan 2024



The competition deadline has just been extended, so I took some days off to unwind as I was starting to burn out and not work as intended.. I decided to start polish elements of the body and reworking some of the materials as I believe something more can be done with them !

A quick update to show that I'm now revamping the face of this wolfie.

Comments (2)

Update - 2 Jan 2024



I completed each roughness detail and displacement corrections as needed and went on to the final steps right before posting a final render.

From now on I will be finetuning where needed and start preparing the render settings and bonus materials.

The focus was shifted towards microdetailing and telling the story of his journey on every inch of his body; after all, he's a scarred assassin that makes a living out of executions.

There's still something else I wish to accomplish with the texturing, but I will address it by multitasking until the deliverables are completed.


Comments (1)

Update - 29 Dec 2023



I bring in with this update much needed rework for the materials on The Black Paw body.

Extensively worked on leather, fabrics and the metal; it was a pain to accomplish the reflection of steel in a way that I particularly liked but I managed to do it and in the end it came out really good.



I still have to give some love to the hood and face, but that will be easier now that I created my repository of materials and should not take too much time.

Cheers !

Comments (2)

Update - 29 Dec 2023



Here's a really big update on this little assassin.

Just finished the base and moved on to add better definition to the materials on his body; almost done with the texturing.


Comments (2)

Update - 27 Dec 2023



Over the past weekend, I completed the displacement work on MeetMat and began the texturing process, using only flat colors to bring some vitality to the character. I'm stoked with the outcome, although there are still a few minor corrections that need attention, they aren't the main priority right now.

I'm preparing to wrap this little assassin in time, so tomorrow, will be the time for the platform and implementing some initial blockout shading and lighting on the leather, armor, and fabrics.

Comments (1)

Update - 24 Dec 2023



Almost finished with the displacement, I'll just need to tweak something else and add the detailing to the base and then i'll move on to texturing.

Aiming to finish the displacement today so I can start with the texturing as soon as possible.

Comments (2)

Update - 17 Dec 2023



I progressed with the displacement map and height detailing, I'm learning some valuable knowledge throughout the process and this pleases me a lot.

I'm still not using any alphas and only painting over the model, I'll probably need some of them when i'll deal with the fur.

I'm satisfied with the results so far and will progress faster now as we are nearing christmas season.

Comments (2)

Update - 8 Dec 2023



I began working on the initial displacement after a brief delay caused by personal matters, and after extensive tinkering and testing, I'm now quite comfortable working with it.

I actually set out to challenge myself by creating certain aspects of the height/displacement solely within Substance, this involved layering various painted grayscale brush strokes.

Currently, my primary focus lies on the metal armor and specific components of the outfit.

More updates will follow during next week. 

Update - 29 Nov 2023

Meet The Black Paw !

///RESEARCH - 01


Step into the shadows and enter the ranks of the Black Paw, a group of assassins that sprawls through vast cities and navigate the lands, in search of contracts to fill their pockets with shiny coins.

But hey, he's just Mat !

On the very first day I instantly proceeded to scout the web for references and additional material to aid the develop of this character because I wanted to pursue the idea of an alchemist.

Initially, I was inclined towards an alchemist, but I swiftly changed course to create an assassin who relies on poisons and chemicals for their job.

This is my entry for this year's MeetMat challenge, I've chosen an assassin wolf as my subject drawing inspiration from medieval and leather padded armors for his attire.

I'm planning to work a lot on the various materials found on his outfit to further enrich my texturing skills and i'm stepping into the challenge to iron out my insecurities.

///CONCEPT - 02


I experimented with various approaches for his armor, but ultimately, I settled on the following design: a leather vest layered with a gambeson and adorned with metal plates.

The painting will eventually make great use of the displacement maps and curve tools to achieve what I have in mind.



I've created three distinct base color palettes for the assassin Mat. This will be especially useful towards the project's completion, allowing me to quickly create and iterate new palettes within the Photoshop file's setup designed for rapid color adjustments.

This marks my entry into the challenge, and I'm excited as it's the first contest I'm participating in.

Currently, I'm experimenting with Substance and exploring the limitations of the vector displacement while talking with my mentor to overcome any difficulties from the get go.

Good luck to everyone !