One step at the time

So today we’re going to start our in-depth look into Dota 2 item making. And as with everything, it’s better to start at the beginning, so we’ll start with the modelling part. While all the fance texturing is important, first of all you need solid mesh that will save you time and will help in avoiding wonky mapping or skinning. For this guide i have just the perfect model! This item heavily relies on the geometry and very simply mapped, so our main bet will be the geometry. There are LOTS of 3D tutorials and guides for every software package and if you’re just starting, then i recommend you get comfortable with your software of choice by practicing a bit and learning the essentials.

Clickity click to get on the workshop page

We have this neat concept by beetrootChan


If you have read previous guide, you’ll know that first thing you have to do, is to import the reference model. This will help you with the planning and sizing.

Not yet bacon

First of all we’ll create a primitive cylinder.

Still not bacon

We’ll position it just where our reference staff lies.


Now we need to create the handle and some connection to the lantern part of the staff. For that we’ll move our vertexes a bit.

First group of vertexes will turn into connection details, second group of vertexes will turn into handle and the third one will be mixing up the staff shape.

i smell bacon

Now switch into polygon editing mode and select all the polygons that will turn into handle.


Now extrude them! This will create a nice section.


Scale it down and position it in the middle. We have nice, depressed handle now.


Now let’s repeat that for the top, and scale down the last group.


Now we need to delete some unnecessary faces. Just select them and press “Delete”. They will never be seen ingame and we need every triangle we could get.


Now onto the top part!

We need to create a primitive box at the top of our cylinder.


Note the this is just the half of the “lantern”, we’ll mirror the rest.

By scaling the vertex we need to create kind of a curved surface.


Now we’ll use this box as a guideline to build a carcass of our lantern.

We’ll need to place a couple of boxes for the bottom and the side


We’ll leave the bottom untouched, but will shape the side to fit in our starting box.



Now we’re going to delete our big box and will start to clone everything!


Just hold shift and drag with move or rotate tool.


Now we need to clone everything again. Just attach the sides to the bottom and  shift+drag.


Now we need to weld top and bottom together. Just select the vertexes and press Weld.


Now we’ll need to connect the sides. Just select the polygons and extrude them.



Now we need to weld the seams. Just select the vertexes and press Weld again. Because we just clone everything symmetrically it’ll all just fit right in!


Now it looks like we won’t need the middle part of the middle part, so we’ll just move it and weld it.



Now we’ll shrink it down a bit


Now we’ll hide the top and the bottom so we could delete invisible polygons.


Just select them and press Delete


We’re doing this because we’ll never see them, but they add to the polycount.

Thinking back, we have to get back to our middle connecting part, select some faces…


and hide them…


You’ll see that our welding left some unwanted hidden results. Be wary of those when welding and extruding, this adds to polycount, but you can find stuff like this easily when mapping if you missed it.

Just select all this needless stuff and delete it


Unhide all and now we’re going to add some details on top.Select, extrude, scale, extrude and scale again.

staff33 staff34

Now you can weld the corners together.


Now we’ll create hooky parts. First we need the box.


Then we’ll move the vertexes around and shape it as we need.


Now we need to curve it from the side


Now we’re going to weld the end a bit

staff40 staff41

Now we’re going to clone it around


And once again, and we’re done!


Now, who will remember what we forgot? That’s right, we didn’t deleted hidden faces on the hook parts


While this is the one of the most basic meshing, with some tweaking and polishing it can look great!

lantern lantern2 lantern3

Check out the submission to see how it looks ingame!

Also, i did a little video with everything above.

  • Zikk

    Great guide! Can you make in-depth guide for making items in Zbrush? I wonder if i can create whole item in Zbrush (modeling, mapping, exporting).

    • Vladimir_the_implyer

      I’ll get to it.
      You actually can create while item in Zbrush, it will take some learning first.

      • Zikk

        Nice, thanks!

  • Hotshot

    Hope someday you will teach us newbies how to render those fancy preview pictures! Great guide!