Personal 3D Modelling project: Aqua’s Armour (Kingdom Hearts BBS)

Over the past few months, I have spent a lot of time making various parts for my most recent cosplay, Aqua from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, and I was having trouble figuring out how to make her armour, so I decided to take some time to make some 3D models of her armour as a way of figuring out a good way to construct it in real life.

I took a few days to make some 3D models for the parts I was struggling to make, which includes her Keyblade Armour (from the top of her sleeves), and her small silver badge (from the intersection of the purple straps).

Making these 3D models didn’t involve any new techniques, but they still feel worth blogging about because I made them not only for cosplay purposes, but also to practice making things with Maya so that I don’t forget how to. Nothing really went wrong while I was making these 3D models, so there isn’t really anything groundbreaking or technical to talk about regarding them. But overall, I’m very proud of these 3D models, because making them with Maya gave me some good insight on how to make them in real life, and how to make templates so that I could replicate them with Worbla.

In the future, I plan to make Aqua’s keyblades for this cosplay, and I think that before I go to construct them in real life, I will likely construct them in Maya first (because this time around it worked out really well to give insight on how to construct these things), so in the future I might make some posts about keyblades or other miscellaneous cosplay parts.

High Poly Sledgehammer Asset: Low and high poly models

Over the past 3 weeks, I have been working on making my sledgehammer model in Maya. I never got around to making separate posts each week, so for convenience I will just make one big post about my progress on this

I initially started off by making a low poly model. To do this, I got my scaled concept sketches of the hammer, and used image planes to make a set up that would make it easier to design the hammer. I then created a cylinder, changed the subdivisions to 8, and extruded faces to make the main part of the hammer. I then used edgeloops to make a smaller section in the ‘middle’ of that main part of the hammer, and extruded out the handle part. After that, I extruded the small part out of the top and merged the vertices to make a small diamond for detail.

Low poly sledgehammer creation.PNG

I then UV unwrapped the model in preparation for normal mapping. outUV.png

I then duplicated the model, and began working on a high poly version. Initially, my plan was to sculpt some scratches, dents, or engravings into the model itself, but I couldn’t work this out properly and didn’t want to risk damaging my model for now. I decided to just bevel some edges on the model so that it would look neater.

I then tried to bake the high poly model onto the low poly model, and this was difficult. I followed the steps, and actually managed to make a normal map. I played around with the hypershade settings, and I think I managed to apply it to a lambert. I then decided to make some renders of the untextured model, because so far any renders are better than none.


Looking at these renders, I think something is wrong with my normal map, but this shouldn’t cause any problems. These renders have the normal map on, and the edges are very prominent, so it looks kinda weird but it’s worth showing.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


So far, I am quite happy with the progress that I have made on my model. I’m really surprised that I actually managed to make a normal map, this is the most advanced modelling technique that I have used that has actually worked out right. I like the way my model looks, I am slightly disappointed that I couldn’t work out sculpting, but some good textures can make up for that. My next step is to make some textures for this sledgehammer.

Break the cycle: Walk cycle submission post

This is my submission post for my walk cycle.



To make this walk cycle, I made the pose to pose keyframes, then made it straight ahead between each pose. Links are below for all of my step by step posts on how I made this.

Overall I am moderately happy with this walk cycle. I feel like it need vast improvements but I’m not really sure how or where.

Break the cycle: Splining my walk cycle

I spent today splining my walk cycle. Admittedly, this is a task that I have literally been working on for weeks, but only making little progress. However, today I got a huge portion of splining done, so I felt it finally warranted a post about it.

Last time I posted, I had my main keyframes done, and today I spent time making each frame inbetween these pose to pose frames. This was a long and arduous task, however I am now satisfied with these poses between. (I forgot to loop that cycle, so for now it is just two steps, however for my final product I will work out how to loop the animation so that you can really see it.)

My next step was to go into the graph editor and smooth out this animation. I set everything to spline and looked at it, and it didn’t feel right. I asked for some opinions from my friends, and the general consensus was that the wrists looked weird, so I went back and changed some of my key frames. Previously, I decided to use broken joints to make it look more cartoon-like, however when this was splined it looked really weird and didn’t look like it was properly splined. So, I put everything back to clamped and stepped, and I took out the broken joints and instead made it look more natural. I also removed the last frame, and frame 0, because it made the leg look like it was snapping down into place, so hopefully this will look better for the final product.

Overall, I am very happy with the progress I have made on this animation. I was stuck in a rut with it for a very long time, so my progress today feels overwhelming. Everything is batch rendered and ready to put into Premier Pro tomorrow, so I am pleased to be at this point. I like how this walk cycle looks now, before I felt like I was losing hope because it didn’t look like much, however now it looks much better because it has been fully fleshed out and splined.


Break the cycle: Making my first walk cycle

For the last week, I have been trying to create a walk cycle. I hadn’t made much progress until today, so today feels like a good day to blog about it. I used the Jack rig to make this walk cycle, and spent today blocking and making the passing poses for this walk cycle.

Most of my time this week was spent on researching techniques and planning what I want to do for my animations. I planned a lot of the technical things for this animation, including the tempo for the walk, which I decided to keep realistic at walking on 12’s (even though this means annoyingly splining every frame), and I decided to make a happy upbeat walk, because it’s more fun to animate something that is full of life.

For my animation blocking, I made each 3 frames that were the frames where the model’s legs were most outstretched, because these are the most definitive poses in a walk cycle.


Then, I started to block out the passing poses in the animation. On frames 7, and 19, I made the model start to bounce up a little, and on frames 4, and 16, I made the model squish down a bit for authenticity and add a bit of vitality to it.

So far, I am confident about my animation and how it looks. I don’t think there is anything I don’t like about it currently, but I know that a lot still needs to be fixed with the graph editor, so that might be my next step, and I also might add in some more frames just to smooth out the arcs of the movements.

High Poly Environment Asset: Sledgehammer concepts and initial designs

Today we were divided into groups and given the task of making one small but high quality asset for a collaborative environment. We first had some group agreements on what the theme would be. We decided that we would first chose the magical fantasy theme, and then decided that the environment that we wanted to make would be a blacksmith’s forge.

We then made some group documents that everyone can access and change, and worked out an assets list, and then we collected some images to create moodboards and draw inspiration from (I have only included the ones that are relevant to my work here).

Assets list

I then started designing some sledgehammers of my own, taking some inspiration from my research. I made 3 initial concepts, and I liked them all very much, so I made a group vote on which is best. The general consensus was my third design, with my first and second only getting one vote each, and my third getting 4 votes.


Sledgehammers concept-1.png

I then made some drawings that are scaled the same, and are from different perspectives of the hammer. I did scale them correctly, and made sure they all had the same measurements in the right places, but the only thing that is wrong with them is that they aren’t all in exactly the same position on the page. However, I’m sure that this can be fixed digitally if needs be.

Sledgehammers all perspectives crop



Overall, I’m incredibly happy with how this sledgehammer turned out in concept. I feel blessed that the group chose one that in theory, looks good to make. It doesn’t look too hard, but it isn’t easy, and it looks appealing too.

3D sculpting with Mudbox and Maya topology

This week I tried to sculpt with Mudbox. I tried to make some shoulder plates in Mudbox by pulling a mass out of the model’s shoulder, then using the knife tool to show the seam at the bottom of the plate, then used the flatten tool to make it look like it was hammered and pummeled manually into place.

I then sent this to Maya, but it wouldn’t load, so I opened up the same model without my edits into Maya, and I tried using Live surface, and using the ‘quad draw’ tool to sketch some polys into a shoulder plate shape. This was as far as I got with this, because overall I didn’t really understand what I was doing.

Maya topology