Umi No Ha (Blade of the Sea)

This is the story of a clan of samurai who uncovered a hidden secret rumored to be the prize of an ancient god of the sea. As they seek to uncover the relic beneath the sands of the setting sun a figure emerges from the fog on the horizon. Who will emerge victorious?

After completing the final concept art in a previous project I set out to bring the story to life in a 3d illustration. This was a massive undertaking and along the way I tackled numerous challenges that taught me a lot about how to utilize my limited system resources to achieve larger than life results.

Some big project milestones were the custom terrain sculpting, retopo work, and 8k texture bakes utilizing the tools in Substance Painter. All of the terrain was painted in Substance utilizing a metallic / rough PBR workflow which was reintroduced back into Blender using the new Filmic branch. Other techniques utilized were Blender's experimental adaptive subdivison features, and volumetric shaders from Cycles.

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The final 4k version w/ refined details

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Rendered in Blender Filmic using The Cycles Engine (1080p version)

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The final concept painting

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The final katana model (clean) - top view

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The final katana model (clean) - side view

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Final topology for hi-res sub-d katana model

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The katana w/ saya removed (WIP)

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The full katana (WIP)

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Closeup Details on the kashira (ornament) and menuki (end cap) (WIP)

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Closeup Details on the Tsuba (WIP)

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UV Unwrapping the katana (WIP)

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Tsuka-maki Cycles Shader (WIP)

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Finished Katana concept w/ detail enlargements

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Tsuka-maki (Handle Wrap) diagram

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Me trying to figure out all the parts of a katana (it's complicated folks)

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Tsuba Designs

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Ideas / Reference Board (The Ugly Phase)