Unreal Engine Batman Arkham #23: New Face Models, Arkham Style Skins and more

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Hi folks,

It’s been a while since the last update on my UE4 project, but I figured it’s about time for another devblog because things have been adding up again as of late, although the focus is more on artwork stuff again since I haven’t had the time for larger gameplay related additions in the last months. The most notable additions are without doubt the Proto-Asylum skins, which you may already know from the accompanying Arkham Knight Mod I released, the new face models I’ve made for most of my skins, then there are the overhauled Asylum and City skins and last but not least a bit of a special addition in the shape of the Sonar Suit made by JoeMama.

New Face Models

I’ve been wanting to make some new face models for my skins for a while now, and I finally got around to making a new base mesh for faces a few weeks ago. That allowed me to finally get started on making completely new highpoly face sculpts, although I have decided to stick to the broader face proportions of Arkham Knight Bruce, as that makes my life easier since I don’t have to mess with making a new face rig with different proportions (something that’d especially be a headache to deal with in UE4 when you already have tons of existing animations).

As it turns out faces are very intuitive for me to work on, since I usually manage to finish a face sculpt in less than two days. In addition to that I also came up with a layered and very convenient texturing setup in blender, which allows me to basically just paint individual skin properties with a bunch of mask textures such as stubble, colour variation, small scale details and irregularities and so on. That made faces the perfect small thing to work on in between, as I really didn’t have much time and motivation for larger pieces of work as of late, so having something small and relatively intuitive that I can finish in less than a weekend was pretty much ideal.

As far as texturing faces goes, I would highly recommend going with a workflow that separates the skin surface material into different aspects like I just described, since this really turned out to be very efficient since you can just individually tweak every aspect with ease.

So far the faces I’ve made are ones for the Keaton and Bale suits, both of which obviously bear resemblance to the actor’s likenesses and I’ve also made an aged Keaton version for the 2023 suit. Aside from those I’ve also made a face for my Asylum/Proto-Asylum suits, which blends elements of the original Arkham Asylum face into Arkham Knights Bruce and last but not least a face for my City suit, which more or less does the same thing, but with the Arkham City face while also preserving some visual continuity with my Asylum-style face.

The Proto-Asylum Skins

As you may already know I’ve made two original suit designs in the Arkham-Style a while ago. These suits are set between Arkham Origins and Asylum in terms of design and overall looks, with the Emergency Deployment one being more like one step before the Asylum suit. I’ve done an extensive breakdown of the designs in the release post of the respective Arkham Knight skin mod, so you might want to read though that if you’re interested: Link

Naturally the materials in my project are a bit more sophisticated than what Arkham Knight allows me to do through mods, so you’re pretty much seeing the suits in their full glory here. One of the things I am especially proud on is the somewhat layered carbon-fiber, hex-pattern look on the plating which just gives it a very pleasing and tactile look in my opinion. I am also especially proud on how the belt turned out, especially when it comes to the metallic parts of it (such as the buckle at the center) as those have a very distinctive feel to them.

The Reworked Asylum and City Skins

Ever since I made the Proto-Asylum Skins I started to feel like my old Asylum and City models really aren’t up to par anymore, as those were still mostly based on the Return to Arkham models and textures, albeit with a lot of changes. Now that I had a little more time in the last days I decided to finally cross this off my todo list, especially since I could just work off the base meshes I made for Proto-Asylum.

One of my main design inspirations for these was the Arkham City cinematic trailer model, along with the more layered approach I came up with for the Proto-Asylum skins. I’ve also gone for a leaner physique which looks a bit less exaggerated and fits my art-style a bit better. In addition to that I’ve also streamlined some parts of the Arkham City suit design, as especially the gauntlets and boots were rather overdesigned in some aspects.

While this ended up being more of a redesign of the suits I also still tried to somewhat preserve of the overall look of my previous versions, which worked out well I think. Overall I’d say that this is a pretty nice upgrade and is now in line with the level of quality of my other suits, although I might end up redoing the capes whenever I have the time for that, since I also made a new cape base mesh for my Proto-Asylum suits and that one just gives much nicer results with smoother bends around the shoulders.

Naturally I will eventually release an update of my Asylum and City suits for Arkham Knight with these later on.

The Sonar Suit

This is a skin I didn’t make for a change, as JoeMama modelled this suit while I helped him with some material stuff. Make sure to check some of his mods as well: Link

As for the materials, I’ve been going for a nice and somewhat shiny, yet tactile feel which is mostly being done through anisotropy and a tinted fresnel ramp and I think it really compliments the suit model. I figured it’d be nice to finally also showcase it in my project now and it’s a neat addition to my roster of movie suits.

That’s pretty much all for this time, I hope you liked this little devblog and happy pride month folks :)

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