Dev Journal: Creation of a Giant


Hey everyone, my name is Hendrik Coppens and I’m one of the character artists here at Triumph Studios. I’ve been working on the Giants recently and I’m happy to tell you guys a bit more about the technical aspect of the models.

My 2D colleagues created the concepts for the giants and this is basically where I start. The concept phase is often very varied and has as main goal to set a mood that need to be transferred to 3D. Once the technical requirements and restrictions for the 3D versions are known, I sit together with the concept artists and together we make the necessary changes to make sure everything comes together nicely.

First step is to make a high poly version of the model. This phase is often done in a sculpting program like Zbrush and allows us to add a lot of detail to the model. In this step, we don’t really look at the polycount of the model, which makes it nice to look at, but completely useless for the game engine.

Giant full detail sculpture

Next step, we have to retopologize the model so that the polycount gets significantly lower and the model is fit for the deformations of the animations. All the giants share the same rig, which allows me to reuse a lot of the retopology. Once this is done, we have a basemesh that is fit for a game engine. Unfortunately we lost most of the detail we made in the first high poly model.

Giant base model

This is where the magic happens. Through the use of normal, color, specular, reflection and glow maps, we transfer all the details from the high poly model to the low poly model and add color and effects. These maps are put together in a material that allows us to tweak all kinds of parameters.
As a last step, we skin the basemesh to the rig, which basically means we attach the model to a skeleton that is used by the animators to make the animations. After that, it s just a matter of getting the model in the engine and attaching it to the right code.

Game Model

I had a blast making these characters and I hope you guys enjoyed this little crash course in character modeling and like this first screen of the Frost Giant!

Giant model rig

Well, that’s it for Giants for now. In coming dev journals we’ll discuss more unit types and also delve deeper into mechanics surrounding the Dwellings and Questing.

Thank you for reading and we looking forward to your comments!

The following two tabs change content below.


Latest posts by Hendrik (see all)

We’ve moved over to the paradox forums. Please come visit us there to discuss:
You can still read the collective wisdom - and lolz - of the community here, but posting is no longer possible.

Home Forums Dev Journal: Creation of a Giant

This topic contains 20 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  TheDio 9 years ago.

Viewing 21 posts - 1 through 21 (of 21 total)
  • Author
  • #7057


    Hey everyone, my name is Hendrik Coppens and I’m one of the character artists here at Triumph Studios. I’ve been working on the Giants recently and I’
    [See the full post at: Dev Journal: Creation of a Giant]


    This will be a fun link, though its not working atm i visited your website – seems familiar to me think i have been their before. Your past work looks great – nice to see some internship work get posted =) was wondering about it when i saw it on the triumph website.

    Cant wait to see the giants 😀



    The link is broken for me.
    Can i access it anywhere else? also the site seems very slow today.



    Same here. Please fix it guys





    I assume it works for you now? The forum topic opened a bit prematurely before we actually were ready to publish the article. 🙂


    Thanks Jimmy 🙂


    First thing to just get it out of the way …. that environment is amazing. Looks a lot better than anything Ive seen so far. Maybe its just the setting but the detail, the varied heights, the colors, it looks really good !

    The high poly model looks great, shame to see it go to waste – will we ever see some more in depth screen grabs of it on your website? would like to see it a little bit more.

    whats your process for going from high poly to low. Did you remake everything? Seems like a lot of unnecessary extra work to .. work backwards 🙁 i understand the use of having the high poly for reference, but isn’t that what the 2d art was for?

    Would be really nice to see those high poly giants take place in a trailer, perhaps something non-campaign related – a for fun thing or perhaps an expansion etc, they just look so good lol 🙂


    High poly provides the detailed look that is then transferred to the low poly model.

    Would be nice to have the high poly models in the game but system reqs. would be killer. 🙂



    Im not a 3d or modelling expert so i didnt understand everything i read 😀 But i know one thing: this giant is f*cking beautiful! Well done


    Red Key

    The giants look great! The only thing that has not looked great to me in the screenshots and gameplay video are the hero portraits. It seems like hero portraits are handled differently than other units and show a close up of their face. Maybe it is because of the loss of poly this journal talked about or that it was pre-alpha but the hero faces I have seen so far didn’t look that great. The elf theocrat in the pre-alpha video looked pretty generic to me, and it seemed like his face could have been used for a human or dwarf (or even orc, goblin, and perhaps draconian with some color and texture changes).

    I look forward to hearing more about the Dwelling and Questing mechanics.



    Thanks for the little insight. I enjoy reading these and get a little idea of what happens behind the scenes of each part of the development (sound, art, modeling, etc)



    Hey Everyone, thanks for the comments! It s really cool to hear what you guys think of the Giants :).

    @ihunterkiller: Don t worry, I didn’t do any double work :). The High Poly model is made in Zbrush; it’s this awesome program that basically allows you to sculpt something in 3D; like you would sculpt clay. The downside is that it uses an extreme amount of polygons. And while a game engine can’t handle this, doesn’t mean it s useless: I use it as a base around which I make the low poly model and all the detail from this high poly model is transferred through the use of normal maps: these normal maps tell the engine how the light has to react on the low poly model and this gives the illusion that the low poly model is as detailled as the high poly model. I suppose it’s a bit abstract without having an example, so if you’re interested; you can always find more info on it here:

    I am planning on updating my website soon and hopefully I’ll be able to post some more in depth information.

    @ Red Key: Glad you like the giants. And don’t worry about the hero’s. They’re constantly being updated and improved ;).


    ah cool ive never gotten around to using zbrush – a guy in my class uses it and his work look amazing too

    your models were made in maya though right? think i saw the jobs on the triumph site having that as a requirement – did you use anything else other than zbrush and maya such as Max, Photoshop (well that is sort of a given lol)

    i think the giants are extra special as they are just so huge – unlike other large creatures these are humanoid and have clothing and everyday features that are required to work well and you did an amazing job on it >:)

    are you be working on anything else between now and release? ^^ any new units you can give us some sneek peeks at? 😀


    Red Key

    Thanks for the response Hendrik! The game looks amazing already. When the game is available for preorder you will be getting my money. 🙂 😀



    What is this link every1 is talking about?
    Also AMAZING work I love the giant, the enviroment, how the blend, how majestic and big he is…trully awesome



    I’m speechless. So much quality going into the making of this game!!!

    Some of the AoW: SM Mods had giants, specially the Brave New World mod. The difference in Unit size really adds to the atmosphere, so I’m REALLY happy Giants will look big and epic like that. Keep up the amazing work!!!!! 🙂



    Thanks for the kind words, really appreciate it :).

    @iHunter: we use maya indeed. I was used to working with 3DsMax, but you can switch to Maya pretty easily. For the characters, we use Zbrush, Maya, Xnormal and photoshop; that’s about it :).

    I worked on some other units as well and I did some work for the hero’s; but unfortunately, I can’t show any of that yet.



    I don’t like the hammer he’s carrying. I think the hammerhead looks over-sized, compared to the rest of the giant. Too much World of Warcraft.

    Other than that the Giant looks great. Especially the balance of a small head vs huge arms and hands.



    The character models, texture maps, environments, and whom ever did the lighting and render/baking, all fantastic. I would defiantly be behind a developers book if it got released as a hard copy.Even if it had the same notes in the forum!



    Gaints in AOW 3 now this will be amazing. I hope you put in a gaint killing sword so we can defend ourselves against them.



    Picture is missing again!!! 🙁

Viewing 21 posts - 1 through 21 (of 21 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.