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Luca Pro Leonhardt
by lucaproleonhardt on 27 Apr 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

First project done after finishing my character art studies at Animum 3D school. Character based on the awesome concept by 근일 이 which you can find at the end of the post and following this link I also want to thank Andre Pires, teacher at Animum 3D, for the feedback and help.

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Full body renders done in Marmoset 4.

This is the first project I have done after finishing my studies at Animum school here in Spain. For this project I wanted to really push myself beyond anything I had done before, without any time limitation and within a reasonable amount of both polygons and textures. For this project I used: 3dsMax, Maya, zBrush, Marvelous, Substance Painter, Photoshop and all renders were done in Marmoset 4. I will try to go more in depth after every step bellow.

Considering that the concept for this character is suposed to be a demigod, I wanted to convey this in every aspect of the desing. In many mythologies, gods and demigods are usually portrayed as very handsome, so I used male models as reference for the facial features, but still trying to keep the slim aspects of the concepts. My intention was not to go the classic Hercules/Kratos route, but a more "femenine" beauty. The scar was added to add history and experience, aswell as breaking the symmetry.

Another important aspect of the concept was the gold. As you can see, a big part of the character is covered in it, which was tricky because it can quickly become repetitive and boring. Pure gold, as would be used by a god, does not rust, so most of the variations come from the normal and roughness maps. Adding to that, gold is a very soft metal, not really suited for an armor, and that's why I covered almost every part of it with dents and imperfections. If he is inmortal, the armor must show that it has been around for quite a while. I mainly used old Aztec gold relics as reference. 

All the normal maps were baked in Marmoset Toolbag 4, which has a great control over the final result. 

Finally, the hair was done in Maya using xGen and the feathers were done using fibermesh in zBrush, posing them individually and then painted in Photoshop. 

Some close-ups of the armor and clothing. Some of the chains and specially the flower mallet  in the back are simply planes, projected normals and alphas (as you can see in the image above). This was a very easy way to save on polys, specially considering the final result looks very good.

The blockout was done using both zBrush and 3dsMax, and the rest was fully done in zBrush. I tried to have a first pass with all the armor and leather nice and shiny, just to then go in with a second pass and add all the wear and tear. The face details were done using zWrap for the base and then refining with skin alphas. 

I never wanted the polycount to be a big limitation for this project, however, I still wanted it to be within a reasonable limit. After all, I wanted it to be for a real time render. The body, without hair or feathers, are 80.271 triangles. The hair cards are 5278 and the feathers are 1664. The whole character are 87.213 triangles. 

As stated before, for this project I didn't really want to limit myself in terms of resolution, but I still didn't feel comfortable using too many. I settled for 3 main textures with an 8k resolution, one for the skin, clothing and gold (displayed in this order), and one final one for the cape which is 4k. I did the cape in one seperate texture set because I had no prior experience using Marvelous for the wind simulations, hence I wanted to be safe and kept it all apart (in hindsight I realized that it was not necessary). Everything was textured using Substance Painter. For the golden skin paint I created Alphas in Photoshop and then used them as stamps. Lastly I used 2 more textures, one 512px for the eyes and one 2k for the hair and the feathers.

Concept by 근일 이 

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