A New Spartan in Town. (Updating Progress)

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So Hiya!
Guess I’ll start with an Introduction my name Mysticporo people usally shorten it to Mystic or Poro whatever people decide is fine with me,
Anyhow I'm a Fan of Halo as many of you are, I usually run around Virtual Reality as a Spartan and well for some reason I don't feel like myself if i'm not one so i guess its become ingrained into my Online/VR Persona,

When it comes to Halo I jumped in with Halo: Reach as my first and it will always be my favorite because well I managed to meet a life long friend through Reach, frankly I'm fan of Master Chief and Spartans overall theres just something about them that makes them seem Sci-fi yet so realistic maybe its the Armour's design that fits into a Sci-fi scenario yet still seems fashioned for space exploration while keeping human requirements & fashion in mind.
Maybe it’s just the nostalgia I’ve got for the game as its one of the first games i ever picked up something about Halo and the Spartans just sparks my imagination even the world building there’s so much there it really is fascinating.
Also while I'm at it I'm a big fan of Red vs Blue as well loved the freelancer seasons but in general every season has their own strengths, if i had to choose a few favourite characters from the show it would definitely have to be Caboose, Washington, Carolina, Delta & Theta.

Thanks for Reading if you've come this far,
Okay to get round to my original point I'm recreating my Spartan reiterating it some might say, I've used a bunch of different armour from different Halo games although I haven't added the textures yet but I'll get round to it since its fairly easy it shouldn't take me long however for the time being here’s a progress photo, don’t mind the colour coding it’s just something to put in place while the textures aren't there to differentiate the pieces so i don’t get confused.
While I'm at it I'll post a Picture of the previous Model to show the differences even if they aren’t on a grand scale.

Orignal Model:
VRChat_1920x1080_2020-12-05_19-28-06.819 (2).png

In-Progress Model:
Just a small update, Since I’m primarily going to use this in a Virtual Reality environment I'm having to upscale the textures due to low detail, some are fairly small considering how old some of the textures are which means they aren’t going to be perfect when upscaled but I’ll make do.
While I’m at it I'm going to have to search for some "Normal Maps" for the textures so they don’t look flat, if anyone knows of any a point in the right direction would be appreciated,

Oh and I'm going to have to re-colour the textures to be able to customise them, probably in a program since i can't interact with them directly like in the menu systems the Halo games have. Also I'm going to have to create an armature/skeleton which won’t be to much trouble since i know roughly how to make one but it'll be a pain never the less.

Might as well drop a progress screenshot its not much but I'm adding the upscaled textures which is why the base colours have changed so far I’ve only added the helmet base & Helmet attachment, the visor is a bit more tricky I think I’ll have to use a shader for it that’s why it’s plain for the time being.

Overall I've got a long way to go but as the saying goes "slow and steady wins the race" !
- Mystic


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Oooh, are you making a spartan model as opposed to cosplay? I didn't pick up on that. Neat! Looks like you're using Blender so I'll happily follow along.
One cool little program to make normal maps is Crazy Bump. Open source, so you don't have to worry about costs or licenses. Basically just upload a photo into it and it'll make normal, bump, specular, occulusion, etc. maps and you can tweak settings. Super handy.
Another day brings some more progress, slow progress but progress never the less!

Currently I have a love hate relationship with Blender it's one of the best free Model/Animation creation programs available I’ve seen but damn if I don't manage to find issues. Anyway I've managed to apply nearly all the textures with "Normal Maps" excluding this pesky stomach armour plating, which means there’s a little more depth to the textures detail for a Virtual Environment so when people come up close it won’t look flat as a pancake!

The issue with the stomach armour plating is that it seems to be applying the "Normal Map" as the prime texture which isn’t ideal because i want the prime texture to be the base-colour/texture in this instance, while I’m listing an issue i need to find another under-suit although this one does the job and seems to fit quite nicely it's strange to not see it stop where the armour does. if anyone knows of any better under-suit assets any info is welcome I’ve had a search around the armoury but I can only find the Halo 5 under-suit asset.

Since I’ve got the textures upscaled and picked out I'm gonna see about painting them soon, the armature/skeleton again is something i need to get round to it shouldn’t take long, as for the visor i haven’t tested it out quite yet I'll get round to it at some point though.


As for the question previously asked by PlanetAlexander here’s your answer!
for the time being while I go through the process of creating this fella he’s primarily going to be a Spartan model for Virtual Reality but I hope to make him into a full body cosplay at some point!

Thank you as well PlanetAlexander that nifty little program saved a lot of time scavenging for the original “Normal Maps” which means I can spend more time on texture painting, making an armature/skeleton etc.

On a side note, Cosplay I’ve been thinking about finding a Workshop in my area since I don’t have any space or specialized equipment/machinery/tools yet, at the same time I’ve been thinking about finding a prop making course but I can’t seem to find any for what I’m looking for so it seems online courses are going to have to be my first step!
If any of you know of any good tutorials for cosplay or even just Halo related ones send’em my way, I’ve been enthralled with all the cosplay build forum posts recently it really excites me.

I don’t think I’ve really talked about my Spartan either apart from general messing about with blender or textures. Since I’m new to 405th I’m not sure if there’s any Spartan regulation about what a Spartan has to be but I’ll give you a few details about mine if you wana read’em.
His Codename is F.i.n I’ll let you guess what the acronym stands for hopefully no one gets it until I release that piece of info haha.
His personality well let’s say he’s more prone to emotion even though he’s quite logical in thought if a teammate is hurt that’ll be his top priority, no man left behind as they say. For now, I think that’s enough there’s a lot more to F.i.n but mystery is a thing to wonder at I believe.

- Mystic
If ya ever need help with Blender, just ask me here or over on the Discord. I'm no pro but I've been using it on and off for about 6 years, but I've used it A LOT this year. Can you send through a picture of the materials node for the material that has the normal map issue? I might be able to troubleshoot it.

In terms of helpful tutorials, our very own special one-of-a-kind wundebar RandomRanger has his own YouTube channel! He's been showing some of the basics of foamsmithing as well as working his way through a new Reach spartan. On top of that my favourites when I got started were KamuiCosplay, SKSProps, Punished Props Academy and Evil Ted.

And finally, we don't really have costume regulations - as long as it's appropriate and not designed for airsoft or other dangerous activities, it's pretty chill. We do have the deployment system for Halo costumes that grade them based on accuracy. It's not required though.
Welcome Mysticporo ! I believe I've seen you around on the discord. We're a very inclusive bunch, and there's no regulations on costumes in terms of simply being a member. Heck, you don't even need a costume to be a member. I'm sure you'll fit in great, and there's plenty of people here, myself included, who'd be happy to help you out :)

PlanetAlexander wunderbar, hahaha that's one I've never heard before! Thanks, you're too kind :), I'm just here to help and occasionally entertain.
Progress Update V4

Another day brings me one more step forward to a finished project!
So today was quite productive, first thoughts are I dislike weight painting since it's such a pain to do, got the armature down and it should work once I’ve completed weight painting, I still need to get round to painting the textures which is gonna be a pain in the neck too.

The Armature - So today I added a base armature and then continued to arrange it to fit the model, once it fit the model I then went on to test it by uploading it from unity to my desired program while it worked to a degree of course an issue a-rose which didn’t surprise me.
Since I’ve experience this before I already was aware of what the problem was... since the model was created from collected assets it didn’t have any pre-set weight painting therefore I’m in the process of weight painting it piece gruelling piece, I can’t express how much I dislike weight painting but never the less it’s a process that’s required for a model to be useable in Virtual Reality.

I feel like i need to document this part, so I ran into an issue whilst creating the armature a really basic one but never the less it was a hurdle. i had managed to pose the armature in the correct position however I hadn’t parented any of the bones within the armature to any of the armoured assets, something typically simple to fix but never the less left me puzzled as to why I couldn’t weight paint the model at the time.
Once I figured out the problem I added the parent modifier then selected all of the assets and parented them to the armature selecting "With Empty Group" under the "parenting armature".
With that hurdle jumped over I've got a rope to climb when it comes to weight painting I know how to do it it’s just a bastard to do, then after the rope has been climbed I have a wall to break through with texture painting.

Model Resizing - as it says I found out today when I added an avatar descriptor in unity that the model, I’ve been working on is scaled to human dimensions which means two things 1. it should be considerably good when transferring it to a cosplay!
Primarily 2. for my use its going to look like a titan compared to other models, since the model is being transferred into a game it requires different scaling, considerably less in size so it needed to be scaled down which turned out to be fairly easy in retrospect.

This image shows where the descriptor is compared to models size, take a look at the red circle, if I uploaded that as it was it was gonna be the size of a Jaeger from Pacific Rim, Bring on the Kaiju!

I've managed to complete some of the weight painting today since armour is fairly simplistic due to how armour physically works, although later on when it comes to weight painting due to the considerable number of individual bones concerning human anatomy it’s gonna be a gruelling task to weight paint or at very least time consuming.

The first image is the armour I have yet to finish weight painting & the second is the armour I’ve weight painted so far.

going forward since weight painting might take more time than expected texture painting is going to be on hold for a little while.
weight painting is a bitch! sigh.

Over to the comments!
Both PlanetAlexander & RandomRanger thank you for the information!
I’ve only spent a day or two in the Discord but everyone has been so welcoming even the staff have been super active, glad to hear there’s a fair amount of freedom regarding being a member!
As for all the people you’ve recommended PlanetAlexander I appreciate it a lot, it’s great to know I can further my development of Cosplay with the media resources you’ve suggested.
It means I can continue in my quest in bringing to life my own Spartan!

Until next time,

- Mystic
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Progress Update V4.5

Alright so this is just gonna be a little update for anyone who comes across or is watching this little thread of mine, I’ve decided to make a little change in how I’m labelling the updates by including a half way point between update versions in case I feel like the amount of work isn’t as sufficient/productive as I hoped but still seems enough to post progress,
I’ve found it helpful keeping track of what work I’m doing in a day as well, it’s just the little things you know, Not to mention it helps in the long run.

So I’ve managed to complete weight painting all the armour aside from the Tech/Undersuit which means next up is weight painting said Tech/Undersuit not sure how long that part is gonna take though.
Apart from the Tech/Undersuit the key pieces of armour around the Chest & Stomach area might need to be looked over once said Tech/Undersuit has been weight painted since those specific pieces are the most likely to cause major clipping, on the other hand it’s gonna be much easier to make into Cosplay since those pieces wont clip though my body… imagine if that happened IRL though clothes or armour clipping through human anatomy it would not be ideal to say the least.

Underneath - The armour set with completed weight paint, doesn’t look much different really…

Of course, here’s the Tech/Undersuit waiting to be weight painted.

Thats it for today!
- Mystic
Progress Update V5

Alright, back again!
Fortunately asking around I managed to gain a tip about weight painting although not quite perfect I managed to fully weight paint the Tech/Undersuit by first selecting the Mesh then the Armature right clicking and selecting Parent-Armature deform then under that “With automatic weights”,
After applying this setting I tested it out and it worked… but it still needs refinement I’ve done a small amount of refining around the shoulders but not much so I need to work on it more.

Unfortunately there’s some issues with the armature while it works I need to iron out the kinks, some of the kinks being the legs bend inwards, when crouching they also lean in a different awkward position and so on.
There’s also a small issue with scaling which should be easy enough to fix but since the height is just off to be noticeable it gives me an awkward feeling since I’m used to seeing a precise height.
Oh almost forgot another issue I’ve run into is that the model when placed in a 3D Environment likes to place the base of the feet ever so slightly in the ground (Clipping) to wear its noticeable enough to bother me.

If it was just creating still photographs it wouldn’t really matter too much since I could move the foot hight to correct it but hey I’m a perfectionist what can I say… I can’t seem to help myself previously (years ago) been told when I was taking an art & design course that “I shouldn’t try so hard to make it perfect just get it finished” which is honestly good advice however it would just grind my gears if I wanted to get specific details to only go and finish it without getting it right.

Now the fun part! So, although I haven’t finished fixing up this guy yet, I want to get his colour scheme down I haven’t played around with colour schemes to much but this is the one I’m leaning to it’s been my most recent colour scheme as of late, had the purple for a few years but I thought the addition of the yellow accents and the black arm buckler & Head attachment make for a nice change for an iteration.

I’m making the decision to start cosplay research… this might take a while but it’s something I’ve always been interested in from a far and wanted to dip my toes into. I’ve said something along these lines above but I really am thinking hard about it,
Earlier on the 405th Discord I mentioned I was going to try my hand at making the head attachment from cardboard and a mix of paper-mache but with a quick search and thought on the matter I don’t think the durability is going to last a single con, even if it does it might break apart or become unusable during or after, I still want the first thing I make to be something small and manageable so I’m going to go with either the head attachment, Fore-arm buckler or knee/shoulder guards.

PlanetAlexander thanks again for a point in the right direction you continue to help me progress, hope your projects are going well too.

That’s a wrap for today I think, see you next time!
- Mystic
Welcome aboard Mysticporo ! I always appreciate seeing such level of detail orientation members go through for the planning phase of their first suit! I also love that you used a GMOD render model for the original first look! Im excited to see some physical pieces by you rolling out here soon!
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