WIP Casual Axe

After my shameful Skyrim binge, I needed to ease back into 3D and my eagerness to do so by working on any of my many unfinished projects was close to zero. So, I hopped on the bandwagon started by a couple of my friends from Ringling: Casual Axing, in which a cool fantasy axe is found and modeled, textured, etc. as quickly as possible.

I started with a concept I found on deviantart.com, made by Randy Cushman:

Then I started modeling for about 4 hours yesterday before being rudely reminded that 3D programs tend to crash and that working without saving is a bad idea. After a brief jaunt to join my cousins for a deer-hunting weekend, I decided to start again, and this time not be defeated by failure to save.

Hi-res process, about 1.5 hours into modeling. I’ve gotta fix up some stuff, like I think the leather straps should actually be connected, not just a collection of toruses, and I’d like to do that pattern on the head in Maya and save sculpting just for fine detail like the wood, metal, and leather textures. And I just noticed that it probably would’ve made more sense to do the part where the head attaches to the haft as a cube rather than a cylinder, so I may redo that when I do my “touch up the model” pass.

Hardened out the edges on the leather. Redid the base of the head and the decorative portions. Just discovered that I no longer have Zbrush access, so I guess I’m going to attack learning Sculptris after I get back from work.

Some slight model tweaks before going into Sculptris. Changed the shape a bit on the handle, repositioned the top bolts a bit, tightened up the straps and added some rotation along their Y and Z axes instead of just X.

Began putzing around in Sculptris. I’ve gotta say, although the fact that it’s triangle-based (I assume this is the cause) leads to some unusual subdividing, and it’s not quite as robust* as Zbrush or Mudbox, Sculptris is starting to really put some serious dents in my dislike of sculpting. I may yet finish this project as a person who no longer hates and fears digital sculpting.

Got some feedback about my wood looking more meaty than woody. Just wanted to try out a bit of a quick fix trying to better define the cracks and get a little bit more textural noise. I’m probably going to need to mess around a bit more. Brush textures aren’t behaving quite the way I’d like, but I’m trying to figure out the most efficient fix, and my approach to sculpting the cracks was not the best (in the future, it seems like building up is a bit easier than carving down, especially around the corners at the top and bottom). Hopefully I can salvage the work I’ve already done.

Well, the stamp problem seems figured out. Note to self: Before freaking out, try the exact opposite. Unlike Zbrush, who likes black borders on its alphas, Sculptris likes a white border on its brushes to prevent you from having a square brush. This doesn’t seem to be very well-documented, so I’m saying it here.

Working on sharpening up the edges and better defining the cracks. I’m having trouble finding good reference for what I want the ends of the handle to look like. I think I’m going to have to find a branch in the woods by my house and make that reference now that I’ve got a day off…

Further work on sharpening up the edges and defining the cracks better.

I’ve gotten to a point where Sculptris seems more interested in crashing than in further subdividing to allow me to sculpt in more detailed knotholes or any other really fine detail, and I’m at about the point where I’m ready to move onto one of the other parts that need sculpting, so I’m going to be calling the handle done at this point.

* In fact, that simplicity may actually be a bit of a boon for your newbie sculptor like myself. Zbrush has a whole lot of interface, and a brush for everything, but for the newbie, that can be a bit daunting, and without really knowing the basic sculpting workflow, it’s easy to see a brush that says it does one thing, seems to do another, and then get frustrated and say “To Hell with it, I’ll do that in Maya,” or, at least, that was my experience in my previous sculpting attempts.

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