Monday, 23 July 2012

Cyber Punk Character

As promised here is the Cyber Punk character to go with my last entry the LP33 laser rifle. Like the laser rifle this model is available on TurboSquid. Another low/mid poly games character fully rigged and poseable with IK switching. Intended to be used for FPS. The Cyber Punk would work as a grunt character for sci-fi games but would do equally well as an anti hero. On the darker side perhaps a goon for some evil master mind. I don't see the Cyber Punk as the brains of an operation but he might be quite good at throwing grenades.

As I mentioned in my previous post I built this character as a sample for a sprite based game. Above is the version I started out with created to be used as a sprite, you can see that I altered the geometry on the laser rifle a fair bit. You can get away with very basic models for sprites, also because your dealing in images not polygons you can go mental with your poly count (although I haven't in this case.... you can). You can also go as mad as you like with your lighting using whatever fancy memory hungry set up you like, sprites are fairly liberating in a number of ways.....ok that's enough about sprites I'm going off on a tangent.

Here is the lil' fella as a sprite.
When I started making this character I was thinking of the old arcade game Crude Busters, but I think you can also see a bit of the cool bike punk from Akira in there. I also realised later that the mutant gang in Frank Millers graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns have sneaked into my sub conscious, probably pretty obvious to anyone who's read it. My brief was to make a character that looked like he was from 2000 ad, a UK comic which I was into from about the age of 8.


Obligatory wire frame picture below. you can see that the base model is pretty simple, created from mostly quads there are some triangles in there too. Quads are what you want to allow easy editing of your mesh, also if you want to do a mesh smooth to up your poly count, a triangulated model can give some ugly results. Most games engines want triangulated models especially if they are animated so once you're done modelling you need to triangulate your model, some engines do it automatically.

As you might be able to tell I have finally shifted over to Z Brush. It was the reason I forked out for a new tablet recently and I've finally bitten the bullet. Z Brush is used to give models a higher level of detail and provides tools to manipulate thousands of polygons in a more intuitive organic way. It's sort of like painting with clay. It does take a bit of getting used to, below are the warm up models I did to teach myself how to use the program, from my first attempt on the right (chocolate Davros has melted in the sun) to the last on the left (Yul Brynner meets Ken Watanabe). I'm not sure I should be posting up dogs dinners like chocolate Davros. It doesn't make me look very competent but, for anyone who picked up a copy of Z Brush and made a horrible mess the first few times, you know that you are not the only one.

Below you can see the Cyber Punk in Z Brush. The Z Brush version has millions of polygons in it and is no use for a games engine. In fact it has so many polygons, it will barely run in Maya. So what use is it? well what I want Z Brush for is to create normal maps. Normal maps are a type of bump map that you can generate from a high poly model and transfer onto a low polygon model as an image or texture file.

Below you can see the normal map goes in the bump map slot for you material and gives your low poly model the ability to masquerade as a very high poly model indeed. The models profile, the silhouette still gives away your model for the low life low poly impostor he is but it's a great technique for making poly counts look much higher than they actually are.

The normal map is the bottom node.
Low poly masquerades as high.

I am planning to add some more animations to this character when I have a chance, standard games anims like a jump death and strafe.  I may use this model as a template to create more characters in the future, I am liking Z Brush and am keen to get back to modelling some more characters. I'm thinking maybe a cyborg next, any requests? Are there any character model you would like to see in this style? Bare in mind I can't go building Darth Vader or Batman, it needs to be a new character or I will get in trouble for copyright infringement.

The Cyber Punk will be back.


  1. I love this character :) If I ever play games on the PS3 I like them to have these type of characters, rather than someone who just looks like a man, like crash bandicoot, or ratchet and clank, I'm showing my age now.

  2. Thanks Kiki, yeah I much prefer caricature to realism, I think it makes sense for games where you can create whatever world you want.

  3. Great stuff Ezra! Good to see you playing around with zBrush

    Might be worth having a look at exporting displacement maps from zBrush if you want to still have useable models in Maya but render out high poly animated meshes. I can give you some tips on how to do this in Mental Ray if you want :)

  4. Hi Dave thanks, yes I finally got round to ZBrush. I haven't spent much time yet with displacement maps. It would also be good to have a bit of a catch up, I will send you a mail.

  5. Making anything 3D seems so complicated to me. You're good really at it, this is so cool :)

  6. Thanks Jayme, ZBrush makes it more like painting so it's more intuitive than it used to be.

  7. Those are awesome character designs!

  8. I have amassed quite a collection of action and superhero figures over the years; would love to have one of this guy! I'm an artist, but have never experimented with computer graphics...I find navigating through the software so frustrating! Your images are very cool; looks like so much fun!

    1. "I find navigating through the software so frustrating!"
      you and me both, if I had a swear jar in my office it would need frequent emptying.

      "would love to have one of this guy!"
      If I ever get a 3d printer I will let you know ;)

  9. Very cool!!!!

    Looking at the pictures are amazing! Makes me want to get back into 3D modeling again but I know I will literally rip out my hair and cry lol

    I envy your skill! And how it hasn't turned you mad yet I do not know XD

    Keep up this awesomeness!


    1. Thanks Furita, I still have some hair left, sadly I am quite utterly mad.


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