The Rusted Repository (compiled personal designs and discussion)

Rusted Blade

[14] Master
This one is not the most ornate or technically complex design ever, but I think its very charming and clean-looking all the same. It still needs something--I'm not sure what--but until I figure that out, here she is. :)



Tira: No Picnic

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Rusted Blade

[14] Master
This is a non-SC reference design that I have been trying to nail (with limited success, alas) since the very first (SCIII) editor. It improves in terms of fidelity with the target character design with each iteration, but it's still a considerable ways off from actually replicating the character to which it is an homage. Actually, I'd be genuinely interested in knowing if anyone recognizes the target design/reference character I am going for. But all those caveats about reaching the replication goal made, I actually think the design really looks slick and works well. Or, in the case of SCVI, designs--because I actually did something a little different with this one and created both a custom character and one of my cosplay/hybrid designs, with Talim as the base. The two versions do not use identical equipment assets (or surface work where the assets are identical, for that matter), since there were multiple approaches to get me as close as possible to the reference point, and I was actually able to use the two largest wardrobe items from Talim's usual base equipment for her version, which was a nice little bit of synergy. Anyhow, this is one of my go-to designs to actually play with: both really look especially nice in motion, which is why I've included a gif at the bottom here (Edit: or I will do, once I have figured out the sweet spot between acceptable file size and quality).


Zeal

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Talim: Zealous

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Rusted Blade

[14] Master
And last for this group of uploads, a version of Inferno beginning to morph into Night Terror. It wasn't until I began to upload here that I realized that I didn't really get any particularly great images of the colorized version, so I will have to remedy that later. This one was a bit tricky: the somewhat arbitrarily restricted equipment selections meant I had to sculpt some of the body with objects, while texturing and color idiosyncrasies meant matching the body to create a sense of a homogeneous and consistent carapace (a la Night Terror's original design) was a bit of a chore and couldn't really be perfected with the current tools. Which is why I kinda-sorta prefer the shadowy version for now, despite the lack of fidelity with the target design. Still, on the whole, pretty happy with this: for obvious reasons, it works very well, conceptually speaking. But I'm going to explore further tweaks and improvements eventually, and perhaps make a second variant on the conceit that is based on the SCIII concept art (as opposed to the in-game Night Terror model, as this one takes it's ques from).



Inferno: Foreshadowed in Flame

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Glitch-mode22

[11] Champion
And last for this group of uploads, a version of Inferno beginning to morph into Night Terror. It wasn't until I began to upload here that I realized that I didn't really get any particularly great images of the colorized version, so I will have to remedy that later. This one was a bit tricky: the somewhat arbitrarily restricted equipment selections meant I had to sculpt some of the body with objects, while texturing and color idiosyncrasies meant matching the body to create a sense of a homogeneous and consistent carapace (a la Night Terror's original design) was a bit of a chore and couldn't really be perfected with the current tools. Which is why I kinda-sorta prefer the shadowy version for now, despite the lack of fidelity with the target design. Still, on the whole, pretty happy with this: for obvious reasons, it works very well, conceptually speaking. But I'm going to explore further tweaks and improvements eventually, and perhaps make a second variant on the conceit that is based on the SCIII concept art (as opposed to the in-game Night Terror model, as this one takes it's ques from).



Inferno: Foreshadowed in Flame

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Nice!! this reminds me of night terror. this might be the best inferno custom design that i've seen😁👍 also, i really like Zeal. i wish i could bring back OCs from SCIII / SCIV 😆
 

Rusted Blade

[14] Master
Nice!! this reminds me of night terror. this might be the best inferno custom design that i've seen😁👍 😆
Thanks so much, Glitch--that's high praise indeed! Inferno is such a singular base to build from, in terms of both unique features and limitations, but I always worry about more monotone-leaning builds, especially with the level of resolution of the photos. So I'm glad the concept seems to be showing through regardless. :)
also, i really like Zeal.
Thanks again--I'm pretty happy with that one myself, just as a very functional, clean, playable design: both versions just look very fluid and beautiful in motion:

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Though, of course part of that is down to how the base Talim outfit was designed to emphasize her movement style.

i wish i could bring back OCs from SCIII / SCIV 😆
Well, it's actually a very small subset of designs that I bothered to iterate across multiple versions of the editor--and those that I have redone 3-4 times across seventeen years, I know well enough to re-replicate them from scratch, without going back to the reference photos. But I'm glad I preserved my PS2 and memory card all the same: it's extremely rare, but I go back and replay literally every mainline Soulcalibur game once in a blue moon, usually when I see old friends. Plus it's let me share the evolution of some designs here, even if the earliest versions typically are quite simple.
Kid from Chrono Cross
on the nose hints GIF by Efteling

Like I said, I've never gotten it where it needs to be a satisfactory reference design in any version. That said, some iterations work very well in their own right, just as good well rounded designs.
 
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Rusted Blade

[14] Master
Since the last couple of designs in this recent theme of dark metamorphsis have come off fairly well, here's an Abyss-inspired Zasalamel. This one too came together faster and better than I might have hoped, though I've already thought of a few little details that I might add, if I find the time. For that matter, I am experimenting with some more involved equipment/ExEq/surfacing combinations to try to create a more ambitious version that truly captures that skeletal-demon look of Abyss (which, when reviewing for this little project, i was reminded is actually genuinely a little unsettling looking, in comparison against the other monstrous creatures of Soulcalibur canon). That's a tall order with the current tools but we'll see if a workable variant comes out of it. In the meantime, this (relatively) more human version is perfectly ready and definitely has a vibe in its own right.

I did attempt versions of this with the little glowing death void what-have-you energy orb thingy in the middle of the torso, but unsurprisingly, it did not look right, so I instead opted for a completely fascia and exoskeleton type vibe throughout. Honestly, I think it's a pretty quality design, if I do say so myself, but we'll see how well it is received relative to the last two in this theme.




Zasalamel: Abyssal Vision

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Rusted Blade

[14] Master
Nothing too conceptually highbrow here: just a take on Siegfried as a member of the Japanese (rather than Germanic) soldier gentry. Or maybe it has a more ronin feel to it, in certain instances? There's occasional clipping here and there with certain poses on this one, but I like how the color design and overall aesthetic came out: gaijin face or no, I feel the look sits rather comfortably on Siegfried.



Siegfried: Daimyo's Will

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Rusted Blade

[14] Master
Incredible! i don't think i've seen anyone make an abyss / zasalamel design before. i love it😁
I know, and it seems so obvious in retrospect, right? Or maybe it just seems like that because I've been iterating on the theme of characters transforming into the traditional bosses of the franchise already. Anyway, here's a slightly updated version: I've actually done a few variations on the head now, but this is my favorite version so far--I think it sells the vibe of disintegration and transformation pretty well, but do ignore the obvious color misapplication for the sternum in the first image:
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And since I think I've gotten the attire as good as it's going to get for 'Zealous' Talim, I decided to add one last feature. In retrospect, it might have made more sense to do this with the standalone 'Zeal' build, as it might suit that design a little better and would increasing the posing options by a factor of 28. But then again, the Talim cosplay build has the better scale relative to said feature.

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NitricZenith

[07] Duelist
Since the last couple of designs in this recent theme of dark metamorphsis have come off fairly well, here's an Abyss-inspired Zasalamel. This one too came together faster and better than I might have hoped, though I've already thought of a few little details that I might add, if I find the time. For that matter, I am experimenting with some more involved equipment/ExEq/surfacing combinations to try to create a more ambitious version that truly captures that skeletal-demon look of Abyss (which, when reviewing for this little project, i was reminded is actually genuinely a little unsettling looking, in comparison against the other monstrous creatures of Soulcalibur canon). That's a tall order with the current tools but we'll see if a workable variant comes out of it. In the meantime, this (relatively) more human version is perfectly ready and definitely has a vibe in its own right.

I did attempt versions of this with the little glowing death void what-have-you energy orb thingy in the middle of the torso, but unsurprisingly, it did not look right, so I instead opted for a completely fascia and exoskeleton type vibe throughout. Honestly, I think it's a pretty quality design, if I do say so myself, but we'll see how well it is received relative to the last two in this theme.



I mean, this is just so cool! This is what I can an alt-costume! Thematically powerful and full of little "huh, I wouldn't have thought of that" moments, like using an object to break up the wretch suit to simulate demon ribcage. Honestly huge kudos for making the wretch suit look like anything other than the wretch suit, personally I typically avoid using it for the most part because of how niche it's applications seem.

The use of texture and alignment of the 3 horns are all incredibly well done, too, brilliant stuff!
 

Rusted Blade

[14] Master
I mean, this is just so cool! This is what I can an alt-costume! Thematically powerful and full of little "huh, I wouldn't have thought of that" moments, like using an object to break up the wretch suit to simulate demon ribcage. Honestly huge kudos for making the wretch suit look like anything other than the wretch suit, personally I typically avoid using it for the most part because of how niche it's applications seem.

The use of texture and alignment of the 3 horns are all incredibly well done, too, brilliant stuff!
Thank you so much, Nitric--I really appreciate the feedback! Far be it for me to act as my own booster club, but I do feel like I've been really on my game with most of my recent contributions since returning: sometimes a long break really makes all the difference. But of course there's no substitute for hearing that your work connected with someone else. :)

I agree that the wretch suit is very niche, but I knew instantly what I needed to do when I was looking at Abyss' in-game model and concept art. I've occasionally used the item underneath very heavily armed designs, but here it was the perfect surface level item. I actually tried the design with the purple orb first, but without expecting it could every look good. But experimenting with creating the ribcage structures with that negative space is what demonstrated to me that it could still work if I just used an object to simulate the fascia of the sternum and abdomen. Because I had the excuse that this was supposed to be something in-between Zasalamel's base design and that of Abyss, I had the perfect excuse to accept a flexible target design somewhere between actual anatomy (something I know a thing or two about) and the way Abyss' flesh and carapace are represented, which gave me a wide degree of options, so I didn't have to compromise between conformity with the target design and the rule of cool, while also working within the usual editor constraints. Still, it came together much better than I was expecting. Sometimes you can't get anywhere near what you had in your mind's eye at the outset, and other times it's an absolute shock how well it all comes off, and this is definitely a case of something that leans very much towards the latter, I am happy to say. :)
 

Rusted Blade

[14] Master
This next group of designs started out as a mere proof of concept, but it all came together so well that I got subsets of related variants than are just excellent, even if I do say so myself! I never did quite get the color balance on the attire of the first one totally sorted out to my satisfaction, but the custom head is of extremely high quality: I honestly don't think it could have come out better. Meanwhile, the outfit on the second is fairly tight, but there is still room for improvement on the coloring of the custom head. Both heads required very nuanced work which required much back and forth tweaking that utilized the base model, max objects, max stickers, max patterns, skin tone, a custom facial pattern, and even more elements aside, each one layered on top of the other to get the ultimate effect. But I think all of this custom object work really paid off for both of them.

I can't say exactly why, but the steppe/Turkic/silk road look of the attire for 'Bandit Stalker' really just sits well on him, which is why I decided to name him as I did. Meanwhile 'Heart of Courage' is, I think a thematic mash-up of an inversion on the Cowardly Lion and Richard the Lion Heart, with a twist of Ron Perlman's Vincent, all blended by my questionable brain chemistry. :D Though you might be forgiven for saying the colouring and morphology of some iterations on this version makes him look as much like a Carcajou as anything else. So, room for improvement still, but overall I am extremely pleased with the outcome. And one thing I really enjoyed about the unique advantage of my approach here is that the change expressions feature really affects the appearance of the visage of these builds, and then I was able to customize the component elements for further build upon those effects to create two of the most widely expressive faces I've ever had for creations, despite the fact that the face itself is almost completely created by custom work. Ok, I'm going to leave the self-assessment at that, aside from adding that I'm very pleased to be able to share these.



Felocious (Bandit Stalker)

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Felocious (Heart of Courage)

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Rusted Blade

[14] Master
I know I should say more about the design, but quite honestly the cat addled part of my brain is just screaming "d'aaaw, he thinks he's people!" instead. xD
Bwahahaha-- too funny, Nitric! I wish I'd thought of that: could have used it for the spoiler box label! :)
 

Rusted Blade

[14] Master
Haven't done very many straight reference designs lately. Decently happy with this one: not perfect, but captures the general essence, I feel. Two slightly different versions here: the custom breastplate of the first came off pretty well, but the standard curaiss actually works more or less just as well and gives a better color balance.



Heroic Stand-In


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Rusted Blade

[14] Master
I find it entertaining how much this guy bounces back and forth between (Soulcalibur-esque analogs for) a viking reaver, a steppe warrior, or pirate marauder, just from different hair. One thing is for sure though: this guy made his peace with chaffing a long time ago.




Haohmaru: Raider


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Rusted Blade

[14] Master
This was a proof-of-concept/trial run for the 'Felocious' designs above, and is not quite as refined as either of those. Nevertheless, the concept really amuses me and it's actually a somewhat tight little design, so I might as well add him in to the menagerie. :) If you find yourself thinking that this design looks a little more menacing than it should, that's just because your average squirrel is seven to eight times more intimidating than Groh typically is.




Grøh: Squirrely

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KittenpasteCo

[12] Conqueror
Since the last couple of designs in this recent theme of dark metamorphsis have come off fairly well, here's an Abyss-inspired Zasalamel. This one too came together faster and better than I might have hoped, though I've already thought of a few little details that I might add, if I find the time. For that matter, I am experimenting with some more involved equipment/ExEq/surfacing combinations to try to create a more ambitious version that truly captures that skeletal-demon look of Abyss (which, when reviewing for this little project, i was reminded is actually genuinely a little unsettling looking, in comparison against the other monstrous creatures of Soulcalibur canon). That's a tall order with the current tools but we'll see if a workable variant comes out of it. In the meantime, this (relatively) more human version is perfectly ready and definitely has a vibe in its own right.

I did attempt versions of this with the little glowing death void what-have-you energy orb thingy in the middle of the torso, but unsurprisingly, it did not look right, so I instead opted for a completely fascia and exoskeleton type vibe throughout. Honestly, I think it's a pretty quality design, if I do say so myself, but we'll see how well it is received relative to the last two in this theme.



This looks so natural!
 

Rusted Blade

[14] Master
This looks so natural!
Thank you so much, Kittenpaste! He seems to be very popular, and I admit, he came out pretty well to my own eye too. Getting started on it, I wasn't sure whether the concept was just a tad too ambitious for the CaS medium: chasing such an idea does happen from time to time, afterall--especially if one is used to working with other, less restrictive tools. And man, this is also one of those cases where I'd really kill for just a couple more objects: I could make him even so much more "Abyss-y" with just a small number of additional elements. That said, even without the extra flourishes I'd love to add, I think he works remarkably well as a true middleground hybrid between Abyss and Zasalamel, which is really what I set out to do: probably one of my better cast edits, actually.

But funnily enough, although I was satisfied with the results personally, this isn't a design that I was necessarily expecting others to connect with: I honestly seem to have a very bad sense for which of my pieces are going to strike a chord with others!