Overall, I’m very happy with my master’s project result – there are areas that I’d like to tweak and adjust before publishing a final version to my public socials, but those changes aren’t necessary to call these finished pieces. Looking back at my original checklist at the beginning of the semester, I’ve managed to complete all but two: adding additional elements to the skeleton (rotting flesh and sinew) and creating the necromancer’s hair with hair cards as opposed to a cached XGen groom. The latter is, I believe, a currently acceptable method for creating hair for games, but it remains less efficient than the traditional haircards and it’s a skill I keep putting off mastering.
As expected, I wasn’t able to add many of my wishlist items. In particular, the environment is quite lacking from my original vision of a lush, tree-lined glade; this was a limitation of my knowledge of UE5 and something I’d like to revisit given more time. The cottage is also quite simple and needs a high-poly detail work pass to remove some of that perfectly-sharp-edged low-poly look. I also have tons of ideas for trinkets and baubles to add to the necromancer’s costume, and both characters need detail work (stitching, wrinkles, wear) on their fabric pieces.
All that said, as it stands, the characters are remarkably low-poly (132k total between them) and game-ready with five 4k texture sets each. I could make my texture spaces more efficient with trim sheets, but otherwise they’re generally well organized and laid out. I’m very satisfied with the texturing work (although I wasn’t able to dive into Substance Designer to create my own textiles from scratch), and think the overall level of detail is about right for the style of games I’ve been aiming for.
I did surprisingly well on time management throughout this project. Of course I ended up putting more hours in and producing more quickly in the last few weeks, but my timeline remained consistent throughout the semester. Even without the last few details I’d like to add, I’ve produced two full characters and a major environment asset in 3.5 months, which is something I couldn’t have imagined at the beginning of the year! I definitely have a new appreciation for the work that goes into designing characters (there are far too many choices to be made). I’ve also touched upon nearly every stage of the character art pipeline and feel comfortable tackling any part of it in future.