Alis Landale

Character Information and gallery

I present you Alis Landale. In febuary 2010, I've begun a Workshop :"Modern Game Character Creation" with Jonathan Rush. The goal of that course was to make a next gen character for videogames from A to Z.

So we had to choose a old videogame character from the 8 or 16-bit era, and make it a next generation facelift while modifying it to make it our own.

I choose Alis Landale from the Phantasy Star 1 game on sega master system. I choose her because the interesting thing about her was the chance to make a futurist medieval kind of character, two era which I really like.

I'll show you some of the final shots, the wireframes and also the textures i've use to make her look like she do on the right.

Let's begin with the original character from PS and my concept art of her.

Next, are all the textures i've use with the corresponding image of the character with the texture applied to her. Let's note that i've left the specular map with the gloss map on the model, else we couldn't see the gloss map, and also note that the gloss map only make subtles change.

There is also two other maps : the opacity map, the first map on the right which make the transparency of the sheild the visor and the hair, and the emmissive map which add lights to some part of the model ( it make it so those parts of the model that get color with it don't get darker when there is no light lighting it).

Steps of creation and postmortem

First of all, i've begun my work by doing the character design (see last section ), and getting some reference pics. I've then made a stub mesh, think of it as a base rough figure made of clay ready to be sculpt. Those stub mesh are normally made from even quads and have a rough form of the character you want to scupt, I made mine in 3ds. As you can see it wasn't perfect, the hand were a tiny bit too small as my teacher told me.

Another thing I've realize is that I should have made a bit more subdivision in the face because the face and the hands were the two place I needed to put more details since the rest of the body would be covered in clothes. And well that was bad because I couldn't subdivide more the model because I risk of making zbrush crash because of an overdose of polygon ( it's seems 24 millions poly on the same mesh is really bad ;) )

So i've taken my stub mesh into zbrush and started scupting, but the thing is I when to far too fast into subdividing my mesh and ended up with something pretty ugly like you can see on the left. Instead I should have blocked out the big shape into the the base mesh and going up each subdivision only when there was no more work to be done at that level.

For those who have no idea what I am talking about, i'll try to explain it. The stub mesh is my starting point, then I split every quads(4 sided polygon) into 4 quads. So if my mesh have 1000 quads, after one subdivision it would get 4000 quads. On the image on the left I was at subdivision 7 which mean I was having around 4 millions quads. So since I went too fast up, I was working directly on 4 millions quads and was making a bumpy surface, which is pretty ugly.

So I restarted from scratch and redid it the right way ;) and was much more happier from that result. You can look at three progress shot just below, the first image was at 25 thousand poly, the second at half a millions and the last one 6.5 millions ( body included even if we don't see it ).

Next, I've exported a level 4 subdivision mesh to 3ds max to begin to work on all the clothes, armor and props of the character. I've learn to split object into different parts, since making all the torso armor in just one mesh was pretty hard, and also upped the polycount of that mesh really fast.

Most of the surface were done with edge extrusion and vertex extrusion with the graphite tools, they lets you model over an object so you are sure they will fit on that object and it's more easier than to push vertex around.

Looking at it now and with the comment of my teacher, i've seen that I had a couple of design problems that might hinder realism. Like I didn't put any hindge on her bracers, so she can't put them on or off even if she have attach for them.

The armor on the knees and the feet have a weird way of fixing themself directly on the boot, I though it might be cool at first but after thinking about it, they would probably twist the boot with their weight and make them pretty unconfortable.

I then exported everything back into zbrush to do a final detailing pass on all the things i've made in max.

Again, looking back at it now, i've realised that there is some details i've might added, like the gun holder strap on the boot is not looking tight on the boot, a bit like it's floating.

I added the the texture on the legs and arm through a mask and painting some form on it, which gave a bit of random results and some seams, but next time i'll try to get some UV on those pieces and do a similar technique Kyron in my class used. Which should result in a more uniform pattern and also easier to do. (If it work well, I might post a tutorial here)

So when all of that was done, i've used decimation master to get this 25 millions polygon multi part model down to something like 2.5 millions, and exported it in max to make the Low Poly model.

I've used the same technique with the graphite tools as I did before when making the armor, only this time around I didn't have to worry too much about making it all quads since that model wasn't going to be subdivided.

I didn't encounter too much problems while doing that part exept some weird vertex appearing at the seams when i've used the symmetry modifier. The only thing that I think I forgot, was to put one or two more vertical loops of edge where the the shoulder joint is. That caused me problems later when I moved the arms down to make her in the pose at the top of the page. The shoulders were at a 45 angle, which looked pretty arkward.


The next step was unwrap the UV, which is the process of putting all the polygon on a flat surface, as my teacher said, think of the little easter bunny wrapped in aluminum with a picture on it. Take that wrap and put it flat on the table, that's unwrapping.

Once i'm done unwrapping the UV, i'll split my mesh into diffrent part and prepare the model to project the normal map onto the low resolution model like the image below.

The normal map is used to make the low resolution model look like it's a highter resolution model. Also at the same time I would bake and ambiant Occlusion map which I would use to help me make the Diffuse map and add some depth to the texture.

Once the textures were baked, I've paint the texture in photoshop, to give the final result you can see at the top of the page. If you have any question, feel free to send me a message and i'll try to anwser you as soon as possible.