Thanks, yeah I'm hoping it's helpful to someone, maybe someone can learn something from seeing my work, or else someone can tell me how to improve that work. Seems like a win-win situation.
It's an interesting thing with art tests really... do you try to match the concept that you're given? Do you try to match the art style of that company's games? or do you try to make the piece in your own personal style? I never know exactly which to go for. I wonder how much it just comes down to whoever is actually looking at the test results and what sticks out to them? I dunno, I'd be really interested to hear other people's thoughts on the matter.
... and more research. I was trying to figure out how much to use old texture tricks where you duplicate one element around or just remap a small section of texture to multiple elements... and well, it looks like Guild Wars 2 is relatively aggressive with such things.
So if i'm reading this image correctly - the majority of the fur is the same texture, it might be two textures overall - one for the larger sections like the neck and waist and one for the thinner sections like the arm linings and the shoulder pad lining.
The circular celtic knot thing is duplicated all over the place.
The squashed pyramid thing is duplicated a lot, and my theory is that it is even remapped to things like those cube/box things attached to his arm, as well as mapped to the faces around his ankles and on the toes of his boots.
It also stands to reason that the majority of the other pieces are mirrored over - the anatomy, his pants, sleeves, boots, etc.
Taking all that into consideration...
That is my quickly sketched out plan of what is what with the arttest concept. I looked for elements that were repeated multiple times in different areas, then for elements that were mirrored across the body, and finally the last few totally unique elements were left.
I'm sure some things will change once I get into the actual modeling part. I'm also flying totally blind as to what's going on with his backside. It's times like these an art lead or art director would be nice in order to answer a few questions.
Which then leads me to the blocking out phase.
I took one of the middle subdivision levels of my anatomy sculpt as well as the very lowest level back into maya. The mid level is to give me a sense of the proportions surface of the anatomy in order to block out geometry around. The lowest level was for certain elements that I wanted to follow the anatomy surface but I needed to have different edge flow (the straps around his arm and leg) or at least have a separate mesh to sculpt on rather than the base anatomy (the leather sleeve over his left arm). Then I started throwing shapes down to get a sense of where things will fall and how they will fit together. There was a bit of tweaking since my model has different proportions from those of the concept and certain elements had to be resized or moved a bit.
Since I'm trying to evaluate my entire process and not just show my end results here's my actual blockout. The light grey fur bits are only there to get a sense of where the fur is and isn't actually for sculpting. I also have only done half of the character since nearly all of those elements will mirror over. I may duplicate and mirror some of them before going into mudbox - just to get the entire visual as I'm sculpting but I don't think that's entirely necessary. I'm also thinking now that the sections of his boot can more easily be duplicated three times and just scaled down as they go down the calf rather than make that all unique texture space.
I'm also planning on doing some things with sub-d modeling rather than sculpting them - like the unique shoulder piece, the clasps holding his skirt tassles, the bits around his belt buckle, and maybe that u-shaped thing across his chest. The celtic knot things I'm still deciding on what will be the easiest but still give me some nice normals.
Other than that the rectangle stuff at his feet - the smaller square'ish one will be the wolf's head, and the panel below that will be the sides of his skirt.
I'm still not entirely sure from the concept which parts of his torso are visible. There's this old screencap of the same armor but I'm fairly certain it's from a very old version of GW2 and the art direction has since moved on. Yet, in this screenshot he clearly has his abs and lower back visible. But it also lists his triangle count and texture sheets as much higher spec.
the screenshot in question - http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/0...pardshaman.jpg
So - let me know if this doesn't make sense - I'm going to make his abs and lower back very tight fitting leather. It will still show off the general forms of the underlying anatomy and the real bonus will come when it would be time to rig and animate the character. My thinking is that the ingame body mesh will probably be segmented - head, torso, arms, hands, legs, so that when there's an armor piece that covers the legs, for example, that the corresponding leg anatomy mesh would be entirely hidden. But if you have part of that anatomy visible you'll still have to load that mesh, plus the armor mesh on top of it, as well as worry about the topology matching up or how to keep the weights from pull those two meshes apart and showing gaps as the character moves. Which are all things you could avoid if the torso is entirely covered by the armor rather than showing the characters' midriff. So that's my reasoning for tight fitting leather for the vague sections of the concept rather than showing bare skin. Thoughts?
Next time - bringing stuff back into mudbox!