Since I was a little kid I have loved fantasy characters like orcs, trolls, goblins, elves, dwarfes and so on. That's why I really wanted to integrate them into my demo.
I stumbled over this concept from James Child on Artstation a year ago. At this point I didn’t even think about that I could use it for my Demo Reel. So when I started planning it some months later I remembered this one…

The animation I made for him.


Since I’ve never done any real time hair before I had to find out how to do it in the first place. I think the hair cards were also by far the most struggling part of this project for me.
At first I even thought about modeling the hair as meshes, but I really didn’t like how that turned out. So I took the time to learn how to make hair cards.
I ended up creating with xgen in Maya. With an orthographic camera I rendered out the albedo, normal, AO and alpha map. I have to admit that I’m still not happy how the hair cards look in the final result... definitely a thing I want to improve next time and spend more time on learning.
Another thing that took a lot of time was the texturing. When I started this project I didn’t know much about real time and UE so I didn’t really cared about how much UV space and UDIMS the character had. So I ended up with way too much texture resolution and UDIMS to work with in Unreal properly.
So I started unwrapping and texturing all over again and ended up with 3 UV Patches, one for the accessories and two for the body.



Additional to the Marmoset Toolbag renders of the character I wanted to create a suitable environment for him, since I wanted to get more involved with Unreal Engine, real time rendering and environment art. I may have overstretched myself a little, as I only had about 7 or 8 weeks to do it and had to learn a lot of new techniques and Unreal Engine on top of that. But somehow I managed to get it done in time!

So below you can watch the sequence I rendered in Unreal Engine:

The Environment I created for the Troll in UE.

Here are some screenshots:
The Assets for the environment are all made in Maya, ZBrush and Substance Painter like the character. The foliage though I created in Substance Designer with a plane and the highpoly mesh.
The only thing I didn’t made by myself were the watertextures for the river and waterfall, because I ran out of time. (I bought them in the Unreal Engine Marketplace from James Stone)

The assets that I made for UE

Assets Wireframe

I especially searched for reference material and inspiration for the environment this time to get a more accurate idea of it. But of course I also gathered references for modeling, texturing and the overall style.
Overall I learned so much during this project. First and foremost about real time rendering in general and Unreal Engine. I created my first real time hair and my first big environment. In conclusion this was the project from which I learned the most so far I think.

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