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How to create a 3D werewolf in Unreal Engine

The concept, model, texture and material setup for this ferocious image of a werewolf – which was created for Kunoichi, a stealth-oriented game set in a fantasy world – was completed entirely in Unreal Engine 4. “It took me around 12 working days from concept to final model,” says 3D artist Hooman Raad.

He employed industry-standard methods to create the piece, but feels the Unreal Engine 4 material gave it an outstanding quality. “I always make sure to put in hours of hard work to ensure it comes out nicely, because presentation is crucial to selling the model and making all those hours worthwhile,” he explains.

Raad has worked in so many disciplines within the world of 3D art, including rigging and animation. Around five years ago he decided to focus purely on character creation for animation and video games.

“Seeing the work of other artists always encourages me to continue improving my work,” says Raad. “Everywhere I look in nature becomes a source of inspiration.” And now he's ready to inspire you with this real time werewolf workflow.

01. Find the forms of the hair

Werewolf hair detail

Think of hair as clumps, not stands

For hair always try to understand the flow as well as clumps; try to do a quick paint-over in Photoshop CC and then break it down. Then move onto a hair system software (such as XGen). As many artists have said, reference is your best friend.

02. Place the hair

3D werewolf model with hair being attached

Hair is carefully laid by hand

For a creature like this, I prefer to place the hair by hand. Recently I found a useful script for Maya called Hair Grabber, which helps you select the hair card easily and will save you a lot of time. For example, sometimes it’s difficult to select the root or tip of the hair card meshes, but with this script you can do it quickly and easily.

03. Sort the hair types

Detail of werewolf hair on 3D model

Different hair textures tell their own story

There are a lot of tutorials available on the internet for different types of hair UVs. Some textures are used to fill the surface, some are used for main and upper hair, while others are for strands that are less groomed.

04. Cast the silhouette

Finished 3D model of werewolf

Rotate the model to see how the silhouette looks

The silhouette is very important because it will really show the personality of the character. During the process of the werewolf’s hair cards, it is very important to check the silhouette after I place some hair. I turn the model around and check the silhouette over and over again to achieve a satisfactory result.

This article originally appeared in issue 243 of 3D World, the world's best-selling magazine for 3D artists. Buy issue 243 or subscribe here.

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Brad Thorne is the staff writer for 3D World and 3D Artist magazines. Covering everything from animation to VFX and VR. He’s a journalist, infrequent podcaster and film obsessive.