Free Tutorial - Diablo 3 Witch Doctor Crest | by Monica Bauer


A free tutorial of Witch Doctor Crest from Diablo 3 | by prop artist Monica Bauer.

free tutorial witch doctor crest 3d zbrush maya diablo


A witch doctor is a magician, who is thought to have magic powers which can be used to heal people but also to harm people. In certain traditional societies, the main job of a witch doctor was to provide physical and spiritual healing for the other members of the tribe. Depending on the culture, these healers were given different names. Today, we use the word shaman or medicine man.

In Diablo III, witch doctors are spiritual warriors/spellcasters who summon dead souls and crawling creatures to do their bidding. They have the ability to infect, slow and terrify their enemies.

In this tutorial, Prop Artist Monica Bauer will walkthrough you through the process of making a 3d model of the witch doctor, named Crest, from the game Diablo 3.
Don't forget to check her profile on ArtStation, on this link!



Before going through this tutorial I would surelly recommend reading this books for maya prop game modeling because its a little advanced.

- Maya Studio Projects: Game Environments and Props - Click to see it on Amazon

- Maya for Games: Modeling and Texturing Techniques with Maya and Mudbox - Click to see it on Amazon



Tutorial of Witch Doctor Crest - Diablo III

Hello everyone! I would like to show the breakdown on my Witch Doctor Crest - a walkthrough of how I achieved it.

First, here are the final renders:

Diablo 3 witch doctor Crest render


Witch Doctor Crest Diablo 3


Side-by-side with the 2D art.

Diablo 3 2d art - Witch Doctor Crest


My downside is being very type A, so I felt it necessary to put out a timeline on how I will proceed with the prop. I make sure to analyze the way I will use to make it, and the obstacles I may encounter.
Note the very very important Week 2.5 event.

witch doctor Crest from diablo 3 tutorial timeline

First thing's first: I need to test out how I will make the feathers and fur. I decided to do a feasiblity test, using tutorials made by the very talented Dantert and Pablo Munoz Gomez. So far so good but I wound up throwing out the fibermesh idea because, as you'll see later, it clashes badly with the bright chunky style that is signature of Blizzard. 

Here is a single card with a feather texture and alpha applied. It has 2 lights sources, front and back, to test translucency of the material.

diablo 3 tutorial feather and fur


Now that that's out of the way, I block out all the hard surfaces in Maya, taking very good care to retain accuracy in size.  I do not add any support edges here. That will be done in Zbrush.

witch doctor tutorial maya


The prop is brought into Zbrush and prepped for texturing and further sculpting. I have added directly to my interface three important buttons.: Group by Normals, Crease PG and Uncrease PG.   

- Group by Normals,
- Crease PG and
- UnCrease PG.

By grouping the imported pieces in Zbrush I will be able to then use the Crease PG feature. This, plus a little tweaking using the Zmodeler brush, gives me nice crisp edges that won't be lost as I subdivide.

witch doctor crest diablo 3 zbrush

You can see in the picture below how I can retain the hard sharp shapes and still be able to add detail, like wood rings and chipped bone.

diablo 3 character tutorial


For the flag, I imported the rod into marvelous designer and made a simple hanging sheet.
I wanted to make the rips and tears on an alpha card. That required to go and utilize the Transfer Attributes option in Maya.

witch doctor tutorial maya

A quick break down on how that was done:
Marvelous Designer exports their .obj's tessimated. I wanted a nice smooth quad-based topology so I exported two things from MD: The final rendered sheet and the pattern from which the sheet was made from.  

To do that:
1. Right click on your rendered cloth -> Reset 2-D Arrangement
2. Export .obj selected with the following settings checked: Single Object, Unwelded, and Thin

In Maya:
1. Import both your flat pattern and your rendered cloth
This is the best part! When you import your flat pattern and open the UV editor, you can see that your UV’s are practically made!
For this step, you have two choices: either go into ZBrush and Zremesh or just bust out the quad draw and trace over your flat pattern to get your topology right.

This creates the base low poly object. In my case, I used the Add Divisions option in Maya to give me a better resolution.

3. Select your imported pattern mesh and then select your low poly object as well.  

Mesh -> Transfer attributes

diablo 3 character marvelous designer

Now your information from your MD pattern is right on your low poly mesh.

Now, we need to transfer the vertex position of our floppy sheet onto or low poly sheet. To do that, change the settings of the Transfer Attributes window again.

4. Select your floppy sheet, and then select your low poly sheet and click Apply.

witch doctor crest tutorial marvelous designer


marvelous designer attributes


Now I can make a sweet and glorious tattered alpha pattern and slap that baby onto my flag! 

Here are a couple tutorial videos on the process: 



So I mentioned that I tossed out using fibermesh in this piece. This is why. I did not like how the way the material classed with the rest of the piece. Oh well. I tossed it out and sculpted the fur instead.


diablo 3 character tutorial material


Yeah no.

witch doctor diablo 3 tutorial


This is the first pass at sculpted feathers. Again based out in Maya and then brought into Zbrush. They looked like leaves at this point and the material wasn't reading right.


witch doctor crest tutorial


And that's it! I did a side-by-side comparison and made some small tweaks in shape and silohuette. I'm not 100% satisfied with how the materials are reading but I'm really hoping that this will do better once it comes out of the texturing process.


witch doctor crest diablo III tutorial


Thank you for reading and learning with me and giving me an excuse to not retopo by making this walkthrough instead.



Retopo work is 90% done. Still have the flags to do but I'm being very, very lazy right now.

witch doctor crest 3d tutorial 

diablo 3 doctor character 3d tutorial

Normal + AO bakes

witch doctor crest 3d tutorial

I was very fortunate to have one of the prop artists at Blizzard spend some time doing a paint over on my mask. He instated the idea of "chonk" and exaggerate forms to emphasize silhouette. Here's a before and after I took his comments into consideration.

witch doctor diablo 3d free tutorial

Texturing in progress - it's the bane of my existence. I was never good at color theory but I'm giving it my 110% I am pushing for a stylized look so I'm minimizing use of roughness and maximizing AO, curvature and diffusion.

diablo 3 character free tutorial 3d maya zbrush

witch doctor diablo free tutorial zbrush

Starting to build up the feathers. slow slow slow but im okay with this.

diablo III witch doctor character free tutorial zbrush maya

diablo 3 witch doctor crest character free tutorial zbrush maya 3d

I added some extra geometry, starting to push in the hand painted stuff - been really struggling with trying to nail "stylistic" way of making things look and I've been doing and redoing and redoing textures. I still don't feel i'm there yet. In the mean time, Iadded additional geometry to balance out the headdress by adding feathers under the tusks.

diablo 3 3d character

diablo III character 3d model

Still chipping away at it, now with more voodoo involved!

witch doctor 3d model tutorial

Some renders out of Marmoset - thank you for going on this journey with me!

witch doctor crest 3d render

witch doctor diablo 3 3d render

And some (much) better renders...

diablo game character 3d model

diablo character 3d model


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