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Hi everyone, Jonathan Nascone here, Lead Character Artist on Neverwinter. I would like to briefly talk about the creation of The Atropal boss I made for our upcoming module Lost City of Omu, and how I used some game developer creativity to bring him to life. Let’s begin with the high resolution sculpt based on a concept illustration!
When creating creatures for Neverwinter, sometimes we need to create a brand new custom skeleton in 3d (which we refer to as a "Rig") that fits a unique geometry. For example, in the past we created new skeletons for our Flail Snail and Stalwart Golden Lion because they have unique geometry that required specific rigs. Sometimes we are able to save time and reuse skeletons if the creatures shapes are similar like the axe beaks and strider.
In the case for The Atropal, since its base shape is so similar to a human we were able to reuse our that rig as its base skeleton. We can then use bone scaling to elongate, shorten, shrink and expand certain body parts to make it feel unique and monstrous.
Using the base human male geometry as a guide, I then sculpted a high-resolution mesh in Zbrush. I took special care to match location of face, arms, hands and torso so even though the silhouette is a bit different the man pieces will still line up with the base rig.
Once the high-resolution sculpt is complete, a low game resolution model is created based off the sculpt, followed by texture baking then skinning to the human skeleton rig.
Now the fun part begins! Currently we have a pretty cool looking creature, but he needs to be BIG, and mutated with one engorged arm, and a bulbous head. To achieve this look, I take the skinned geometry and I scale the human skeleton bones to get the look just right.
The last step is to make sure The Atropal feels good in the play space, so some back and forth happens between environment artist and design till we are satisfied.
Thanks for taking time to see a sneak peek on the making of The Atropal! Till next time, happy adventuring and I look forward to seeing you all in Lost City of Omu!
Lead Character Artist