Alamo Saints

November 13, 2016

Facade with new statues

The facade of the church of the Alamo has four empty niches.  In 1836, it is believed that they contained statues of four saints: Anthony, Ferdinand, Francis and Dominic.  The statue of Anthony had been damaged during some of the work on the compound the year before.  This statue was found years later in a weedy lot near the Alamo and is on display in the Long Barrack museum.

My latest work has been to replace the low resolution statues in my model with improved high res digital sculptures.

The new statues were crafted by using the following workflow:

  1. A base mesh was created in MakeHuman and imported to Blender
  2. The model was posed along with some of the accessories that the figures carry.
  3. The posed models were imported into ZBrush where the clothing, hair and other details were sculpted in high detail.
  4. ZBrush was used to derive a lower polycount mesh from the high detail model.
  5. The low polycount model was imported into Substance Painter and the high detail model used to bake normal maps (giving the appearance of detail in the render).
  6. A limestone material was applied along with a layer of dirt.
  7. The resulting textures and low polycount model were imported into Blender and placed into the scene.

Here are renders of the individual statues taken from Substance Painter.

And here are their SketchFab renders:




A soldado

June 6, 2014

I think some of the objects in my model could be improved by using digital sculpting techniques–in particular, rocks and walls of the structures.  Blender has sculpting capability and in the hands of an expert, it can produce amazing results.  However, it has some rough spots that can make it difficult for a beginner, like myself, to differentiate problems caused by the artist or by the tool.  So I decided to take the tool out of the equation and buy a professional-level program–ZBrush– for sculpting.

To learn the tool, I set about creating a Mexican army character (a soldado) that might be used in a future scene with my Alamo model.  For references, I found many photos of uniforms on the internet, the 2004 Alamo movie and some excellent photos in the book, 13-The Alamo Book of Days by Effler, Lemon and Foreman.   Most of the model was created directly in ZBrush.  I created and imported basic meshes for the shako, cartridge box and bayonet scabbard from Blender

Some details that should be added are hair and some tweaking of the materials.  Then the model needs to be re-meshed to reduce the poly count (now about 2.5 M) and capturing fine details in displacement maps.  After that, it needs to be rigged so that it can be posed and animated.  But, all of that is for a later day.  I want to get back to the Alamo/Bexar model for now.

Soldado - my first ZBrush creation.

Soldado – my first ZBrush creation.