As a passionate Lord of the Rings fan, I have always wanted to create my own homage to the films. Gimli’s walking axe has always stood out to me as a beautiful and underrated weapon. The process for this can be separated into three phases: modeling, texturing, and post processing.
Modeling revolved around creating an accurate replica using numerous source images. The primary areas of challenge were the blade, which needed to have even subdivision for topology, and the head. The head needed to have indents in order to make the gold inlays stand out. There is a mix of sculpted dents and textured scratches to create a warn feel. Modeling the straps involved using the shrink-wrap modifier on a coil in order to wrap it around the handle. This was done three times to fully wrap the area. The field of grass was created using a hair particle system and several variations of grass clumps. The amount of clumps in a certain area was based on a clouds texture.
All materials are procedurally generated and physically accurate. Each was made using different combinations of procedural textures such as noise, musgrave, waves, and voronoi. Together these created leather, steel, gold, and wood. The grass materials core components include a random function sent through a hue/saturation which had a base green color. This was channeled into a hair shader which was mixed with a translucent shader.
The final render was a joint effort between Blender’s compositor and Photoshop. In blender, I added a shallow depth of field focused on the axe blade. Glare and chromatic aberration were added as well to achieve higher photorealism. Lastly, the color management was altered with the look of a Kodak DSC5. This created a much darker image. In Photoshop this image was given hue, saturation, and brightness edits. I also added dust particles and film grain in order to ensure greater realism. Lastly I did one more color lookup in order to lighten the color palette.