How to Make a Beautiful Elf Mage in 3ds Max Step by Step?

In this article, the best CPU & GPU cloud rendering service provider, Fox Renderfarm, will share with you how an excellent 3D artist converts a 2D elf mage concept into a 3D model using 3ds Max, and show you some of the details of how to make it. Let's read this elf mage 3D modeling tutorial together!

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How to Use 3ds Max to Make a Beautiful Elf Mage

Making an elf mage is certainly not easy, but if you put some time into it, then you will certainly be able to create a perfect elf mage just for you.

The specific steps are as follows:

1. Human Model

The author has used a previously stored human model. The scale and style of this model is very close to the 2D concept art. This human model is tall, with a slim waist, long legs and a concave shape, however, the disadvantage is that the muscles need to be adjusted.

2. Face Making

Try to adapt the appearance to a more 2D concept.

3. Equipment Building

The proportions of the equipment should be appropriately sized and layered, and the metal structure should be careful not to be too thin, otherwise it will not look heavy enough.

4. Folds

Pay attention to the neatness of the folds of the clothes, the folds should be painted in a natural way, but also to the variation of the shades of the texture, to have a layered look, not too messy and not too uniform.

Part 1. 2D Concept Art and References

Before making the elven mage, the author searched for a large number of other artists' works as a reference according to the concept art. After all, good references are not only much more efficient, but you can also learn good production methods from them.

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Part 2. Body Proportioning/Mid Poly

A proper human model is the basis for making a good model, which can greatly improve efficiency and save time in production. As shown in the picture below, the author has adjusted the proportions of the ear part and some of the body.

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From the concept art, the proportions of the character's body are exaggerated, with a small head, long legs and a tall body, so the author used masks to modify the proportions of her body.

  • Turn on the mask and click on the feathering mask so that the proportional adjustment is not too stiff.

  • You need to be careful not to destroy the structural wiring of the prime model, especially the face of the model. Be careful that the back mask brush is turned off at the mouth to avoid misalignment, this setting is very commonly used to avoid some areas being misaligned.

The sculpting of the face is very important and is adjusted throughout the production of the model, the beauty of the face sculpting determines the quality of the model. The sculpting of the face needs to be constantly adjusted to the original drawing. The structure of the female face is not obvious, but it still needs to be shown. It is only the degree of expression that makes the difference.

The modifications to the body structure and proportions were probably the most difficult part of the model for the author, as he wanted to keep the structure as close to the concept art as possible, and although the character was wearing clothes, he still had to sculpt the muscles of the torso to ensure that the clothing and equipment would fit and match the character's temperament when added.

  • Structures can be generated in the mask position using the Extract+ plugin

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Tips: Mask drawing shapes - using Extract + Plugin to generate structures

Part 3. High Poly/Hair/Pleats

After building the model of elven mage in 3ds Max, we can go directly into Zbrush to make edge adjustments. The advantages of this production method are the following:

  1. The softness of the sub-tool structure can be adjusted by adjusting the fold level.

  2. It is possible to fold the edges with one click, which increases efficiency and makes it easy to modify the edges even if they are not satisfactory.

  3. Once the mid poly has been built, it is time to fold the edges, add subdivisions and sculpt the high poly. To ensure the neatness of the character, we can turn on the stroke - LazyMouse - to adjust the delay step and delay radius.

The majority of the character's equipment is hard structured and although no obvious breakage or textured structure is visible in the original painting, we still need to sculpt some textures to show its materiality, to give the character more richness and texture, and the hard structure build needs to show a sense of layering.

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The engraving of the cloak is very time consuming and although it is made of fabric, it requires a very high degree of workmanship and the process of making it is as follows:

Alpha (import) - turn vertically - press Alpha Mask - distort - expand/balloon up

Once the general shape was created, it was textured and sculpted, and the author found the following image as his reference:

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The model initially felt stiff when it was created as shown above. The cloak was so prominent that it was too eye-catching, so the author weakened its effect so that it would not steal the attention of the character from the viewer.

The neatness of the hair and folds is very important. If the hair and folds are not sculpted naturally and neatly, the quality of the model will plummet. So once you have made the large shape of the hair and clothing, smooth out the surface in one go. Be sure to avoid intermittent and tinkering. You can turn on the Lazy mouse tool in Strokes to help you sculpt smooth, natural lines.

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The process needs to be carried out using both sculpting and patching to avoid a single structure for the model. It is also possible to import Alpha brushes to give more possibilities.

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Using the hair brush, drag it out and finally adjust it to look as it was rendered in the original painting.

  • The hair brush has a small feature, it is attached to the surface of the object, so before making the hair you can lay out a large outline of the hair where it needs to grow out in a relatively whole, and then pull the hair out one by one on this shape, which will save a lot of time in hair adjustment.

Part 4. Rendering

1. About the lighting

The author adjusted the lighting many times and finally chose to light the front with a main light source, followed by a surface light not far from the head to differentiate the top and bottom of the model to achieve the effect of light on top and dark on the bottom. A cold light source and a warm light source on either side of the model, and a secondary light behind to light the back. The top and bottom need to be differentiated, but not too dark. Even if it is dark, make sure it is not pure darkness. (As shown in the picture below)

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2. About camera adjustments

The author has chosen an orthogonal view, where the perspective is not as pronounced, so that no big perspective errors are likely to occur.

3. About the choice of model rendering engine

This time the author used KeyShot for the rendering, which gives a better rendering and more natural lighting, and the image below shows the final result.

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The above is all Fox Renderfarm's explanation on how to make an elf mage in 3ds Max. Fox Renderfarm is sure you can make a very nice elf mage too. If you want to render your 3D models, why not try a render farm, which can help you render offline without any extra work on your part.

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3ds Max Cloud Rendering Tutorials and Render Farm Recommendations
3ds Max Cloud Rendering Tutorials and Render Farm Recommendations
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How to Make High-precision Models For Motorcycle Tire Patterns And Wheels  in 3ds Max and Zbrush(1)
How to Make High-precision Models For Motorcycle Tire Patterns And Wheels in 3ds Max and Zbrush(1)
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How to Make High-precision Models For Motorcycle Tire Patterns And Wheels  in 3ds Max and Zbrush(2)
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