Archive for Project 1: Redeemer

UV mapping…

Ok, for those who may be reading this and unaware of the term, UV Mapping is the process of unwrapping your 3D model into a 2D map that can be colored and used to texture your object.

It’s a pain!

Ok … actually, for most of the parts of Redeemer, it’s not so bad. The handle is a cylinder, the guard a box, and the sword is planar. Most UV tools have those types of projections (as they’re called) built-in.

But those quillons….. Why oh why did I decide to twist them like that?

But, I got a good tip from my friends at Aery Soul. Since UV mapping maps the texture relative to the object, not to absolute coordinates, it would actually be possible to map a straight square column of the same dimensions as the quillons, and then align that map to the twisted one.

So, that’s my goal for the weekend. Even though the Colts are playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday, I’d like to finish the weekend with the UV mapping done on Redeemer. I’ll let you know how things go next week!


Redeemer – the Guard

The last piece that I reworked in the sword is the guard. Once again, my buddy As Shanim provided the insight on how to improve it.

The first tip he shared was that mine had way too many polys in the low-poly version. Having more polygons to start with makes it a little harder to control how the smoothing affects the final mesh.

His other feedback was about the ridge in the middle. He showed me how using a flat planar surface instead of just raising an edge down the middle works much better. It allows for a cleaner profile, and it also allows me to make the ridge wider or thinner depending on exactly what effect I’m trying to achieve.

To talk through the modelling process a little…

I started with a plane with a single face. I decided not to work with the cube because tesselating a cube is harder than just getting the faces right on a plane.

I added the vertical edges first. I kept one edge near the back of the guard, since I knew I wanted to keep that part pretty flat. The others I spaced out as equal as I could going by eye. I could have used absolute coordinates and done the math to divide it all exactly, but I felt like that wasn’t necessary.

Next up were the horizontal edge. Here I had a challenge. I didn’t want a central edge, I wanted two parrallel edges close to the middle. But, splitting it down the middle is easier. Finally, I figured that I could go ahead and split the faces exactly in half, then extract two edges exactly parrallel to the center line. Then I decimated the centerline so that it kept the faces.

The other horizontal edges were added by tesselating the upper and lower rows of faces exactly in half, then in half again.

Now I moved the vertices of the corners of the edge faces in either X or Y to conform to the outline of the guard on the reference photo. I ended up with one quad in the corners which didn’t work; so I welded a couple vertices together and made a triangle instead.

I did the same thing to the inner faces that outlined the depressions I wanted in the top and bottom halves of the guard. Once the outline was what I needed, I did an axial extrusion of the depressed faces straight back on the Z axis.

I tested the look a couple of times by smoothing the plane. Once I was happy with what I had, I replicated the face for the other side of the guard, bridged them together, and added the necessary edges to keep the back square.

That last part was a bit of pain because you end up creating n-gons by accident. Thankfully my modelling tool will automatically highlight n-gons; so I could see where I needed to fix my edges pretty easily.

This is probably the last update on the modeling process. I did change the blade slightly, but just by adding another row of edges along the edge of the blade to keep the smoothing process from making it too dull.

Next up: UV-mapping the objects so that I can apply textures to them.

Redeemer – Quillons

The next section that I re-worked was the quillons. While the version 28 quillons had some interesting detail (some of which were unintentional), they weren’t really like the original. And since my goal was to make a derivative of the Redeemer sword, I decided to re-work them from scratch.

This time I made a cube that was 1 cm square by 2 cm tall. I cut off the top and bottom faces and split the other 4 faces vertically. Then I added an extra pair of edges around each corner and moved the center edge on each face inward just slightly.

Then I copied the straight segment and twisted the top of the clone 40 degrees. This gave me the twisted look I wanted. I made 2 more copies of the twisted piece, stacking them right on top of each other and rotating them until the vertices lined up. And I finished with another copy of the straight piece.

After welding the pieces together and welding the vertices so that the faces were continuous, I capped the top of the twisted column and raised the central vertex slightly to dome the end of the quillon.

Finally, I used the bender tool to bend the whole quillon 16 degrees forward and 8 degrees left to right. I cloned that for the other side and rotated the lower quillon around and placed it in the right spot on the guard. This also has the effect that if you look down the sword from the tip, the quillons form a slight ‘S’ shape.

Not only is the new version much closer to the original, I think it also looks much nicer and refined than what I had done in v28.

Redeemer – The Hilt

I got some good tips from my favorite modeler (thanks, As Shanim!) on how to add some detail onto the hilt to make improve it. The main thing was to work on the low-poly model, but with an eye toward what it does to the final model once two levels of smoothing are applied.

Doing that pointed out that just by pulling the center vertex on the pommel out a bit, it domes the end of the hilt instead of giving it that funky edge that it had.

The main area he focused on was the grip. As he pointed out, there wasn’t a lot of definition between the grip and the rest of the hilt. By adding a couple lines of edges at those boundaries, and then overlapping them on purpose, it provides a much better seperation and definition of the grip and the hilt

Screenshots of the new hilt are attached below. Both the low-poly and smoothed versions. As before, click on one of the images to see it in more detail and see specific comments about that screenshot.

Redeemer – First draft

Ok, so calling my 28th revision of the file a “first draft” probably isn’t exactly right. 😉 But you get the idea.

I’m going to post some of the screenshots of the model as it exists so far. This is just the mesh without any smoothing applied; so some roughness is expected. Once I’m happy with the shape, I’ll go through and smooth the pieces then tweak anything that smoothing adds to the model.

If you click on one of the images above, you’ll be taken to a gallery where you can browse through each one and see my comments on each piece as it stands today.

Project 1 – Getting started

I spent a lot of time at a great website called My Armoury browsing their large collection of details photos of swords. In the end, I chose a pretty simple longsword as my first project.

ATrim/Christian Fletcher Redeemer Sword

I started working last night on the blade. My workflow went something like this:

I loaded the reference image onto the Z plane in Hexagon. Then I covered the blade with a single polygon plane.

I knew I’d need some polys for the fuller and ridge details on the blade; so I gave myself 4 rows of polys.

I needed a couple more columns of polys at the tip because the taper gets so extreme right at the end.

To fit the grid to the blade, I would select a column of vertices and scale the column up and down to get them right on the edges. By using scaling instead of translating, I was keeping the centerline down the middle of the blade, and just changing the spacing between vertices on the plane.

I worked from tip to hilt. If it seemed like I couldn’t match the taper of the blade with the polys that I had, I would slice again on the y-axis to add another column of vertices where I needed them.

I think I have the overall outline of the blade pretty good, but I was starting to fall asleep at the end and decided to just save and come back to it tonight.

Next up I want to make sure I have some polys to taper the edge of the blade, then I’ll add thickness to the plane. By turning on symmetry, I can then make the fuller and ridge on both sides of the blade the same. And finish by welding vertices along the edges to make the blade sharp.

Then it’s on to the hlit and crossguard.