Developer Blog - Character Art
Hello, fellow Tale-tellers! My name is Chris, and I am the Senior Character Artist here at Unplay. I’ve decided to fire up a dev blog so you can stop by and check out the progress we’ve been making on the character art for LiveTale.
I’m a firm believer that games should be more than just entertainment - they should be an experience that transports players to another world. That's why we are so excited to be developing LiveTale, a platform that helps you, the player, tell captivating stories through immersive gameplay. As character artists, we take pride in our responsibility for creating unique and diverse characters that players can relate to and feel connected with. We understand the importance of crafting characters that not only look visually stunning, but also have a personality and backstory that players can really engage with. It's our goal to create a character creation system that allows you to realize your visions so you can create Tales that stick with friends, foes and strangers long after they've returned to their IRL realms.
We are currently in the early stages of production, and our team has been hard at work building out our character pipeline in Unity. Our goal is to create customization systems that are user-friendly, flexible, and most importantly - downright beautiful. We intend to give players the freedom to create their own characters and break the bounds of traditional games, with options for customization that will allow them to express themselves however they choose.
I'm excited to share our progress with you, and will be regularly posting development updates with new art (and breakdowns) to go along with it. We hope that you’ll follow along with us on this journey as we bring LiveTale to life. The LiveTale team is dedicated to creating a game that you will love, and we can't wait to see the characters we end up making together. Thank you for your support, and stay tuned for more updates!
Hey there, and welcome back to the LiveTale Character Art blog series! Today, we're going to dive into the creation of one of our first costume assets!
Creating clothing and other fabric-based assets for 3D characters can be a tricky process. Luckily, zBrush is a great tool for artists and offers a variety of sculpting brushes that can help us create the appearance of different fabrics that we’re shooting for - like leather, denim, and silk. We can use zBrush to produce a range of secondary wrinkles and folds in the clothing, adding realism and texture to our fabrics.
Once we've got our fabric looking the way we want it, we do a quick retopology and UV mapping, and then it's time to move onto texturing in Substance Painter. Substance Painter is a powerful software that allows us to create complex, layered textures for our in-engine game models. We can use Substance’s layer-based workflow to create Smart Materials and textures that fit our specific needs.
One of the benefits of using Substance Painter is its ability to efficiently bake texture maps. These maps, such as ambient occlusion, curvature, thickness and normal maps, can be used when generating Smart Material for our model to enhance its appearance and make it look alot more realistic. It's amazing how much of a difference these maps can make.
Another important step in creating any asset for a game mesh is to set up the textures with Material ID maps. This might sound like a technical term, but it's actually a fairly simple concept. Material ID maps allow us to mask out specific areas of the material to assign different textures across parts of our 3D model. If you want a shiny hex pattern across your sleeves and a matte camouflage on your lapel, Material IDs are how you separate the two.
Once we've created our base textures in Substance Painter using Smart Materials, we can polish the maps up by hand with a little hand-painted magic. Then, it's time to export our asset for use in a game engine. This typically involves exporting the textures and maps as separate files, as well as exporting the 3D model itself in a format that can be read by the game engine.
We hope you've enjoyed this glimpse into the creation of stock costume assets using zBrush and Substance Painter. By using these powerful tools together, we can create intricate and detailed textures that bring our characters to life. But we're just scratching the surface of what's possible with these programs! Stay tuned for more exciting insights and techniques in our upcoming LiveTale Character Art blog posts. We can't wait to share more with you in the future, so make sure to keep an eye out!