Constraints: I chose a prompt of working on a post-apocalyptic survival game and was tasked with creating a sword that was forged from scrap parts. The main protagonist was to have "built this sword by hand and it should have a gnarly look to it". So I started thinking of common workshop/garage elements.
This was the reference I gathered before sculpting and texturing my sword to help get the overall realistic art direction I was aiming for. I went with this art style because the different elements that make up the sword seemed more interesting to emulate in a realistic fashion to me. One of my concerns though was that the textures for the weapon would be complicated to get right as they needed to look realistic.
I decided to model the base mesh using SubD modeling techniques in Maya. Most of this was very straightforward manipulation of basic boxes and cylinders. Although, I did get to play with the spiral tool for the rebar. This was a solid base to then take into ZBrush and start sculpting in more detail.
The sculpting in ZBrush mostly consisted of adding scratches and wear to the edges of the blades. Initially I was going to add rope detail in ZBrush, but since I was running into problems, I saved that task for Maya instead.
In Maya I added Rope detail around the cutlass area to the high poly for baking.
Since my base mesh closely resembled the high poly, I halted retopologizing the model and decided to adjust my base mesh to match the outline of the high poly so that detail could be baked over it.
Single 2048 x 2048 Texture Set
World Space Normal
I brought the low poly model into Substance Painter, baked the high poly onto it, then textured it. Texturing the model was not as hard as I thought due to the variety of helpful materials in Substance.
Base Color Map
• PureRef: Compile Reference Images
• Maya: Base Mesh Modeling, additional High Poly Elements, and UV Unwrapping
• ZBrush: High Poly Sculpting
• Substance Painter: Texture Baking and Texturing
• Marmoset Toolbag: Lighting and Rendering