giant laser gun most of my characters come equipped with.
The Flame Spear is a pretty simple model, I enjoyed making it and it made a nice change from having to worry about skinning and all the hassle I had with making the functioning plate armor for the troll. I was really happy with the way the design turned out and having to work through all the surfacing on the armor suit and the designs of the seals and sigils on the armor definitely helped me with the spear.
I loved sculpting the details in Z-Brush, the flowing fret work I did in the centre of the spear was done with masks and using the symmetry feature where work on the left half is repeated on the right. Very quick to do so I think I did a few versions but very fun, the kind of thing where it's so easy you feel like you're cheating.
After having an easy time of it with the sculpting I hit a brick wall with the normal mapping and couldn't understand why. I was getting very strange warping on the blade edges of the spear which made no sense to me as the high poly sculpt and low poly base were extremely similar. I turned to the internet and searched for the solution but it seemed an uncommon problem. I found many tutorials on how to make edged fantasy weapons, none of which had the same problems I was having. I finally found something about triangulation needing to be the same in Xnormal as in the source program (maya), my low poly model was mostly quads so I triangulated it and that solved the problem. It never occurred to me that Xnormal would divide quads differently.
I've used a little bit of self illumination, (or incandescence as it is in Maya) on the spear jewel. It's a separate map like the colour map but it holds only the colour that should glow, in this case a subtle rosy red on the jewel itself and also on the metal around the stone. It gives the impression that the luster from the stone is reflecting in the metal.
Below is the colour map and normal map. The incandescence map is not much to look at being mostly black. I put the normal map in as I talk so much about them but I guess if your not used to 3d you would not have seen one before. The normal map works with the three colour channels red, blue and green. Each colour behaves as a projected light hitting the detail of the surface of the model from a different direction. This information then gives the impression of surface detail when rendered in a 3d program. It's similar to the old grey scale bump maps I used to use except that they are just dealing with height, black being in white being out to give the impression of bumps hence bump map.
Below is the Z-Brush sculpt of the spear, there was some fret work on the base of the spear that was so fine it was really not worth the bother, as to see it requires getting so close to the model that the low poly nature of the base model ruins the effect. One day I will learn not to go over board with details....maybe.
showreel with this set up as in my recent audition work I am often asked to animate scenes which I don't currently have on my reel. I think there are way too many walk cycles in my reel and it needs some Flame Troll to liven things up.