So, for specialization, I decided to focus on 3D sculpting in Z-brush because from what I heard, there were a lot of companies such as “Riot Games”, responsible for the creation of the popular MOBA League of Legends, who were using Z-brush for character modeling.
It was relevant to my interests because due to the fact I focused on character creation last trimester, I realized that sculpting was almost essential if I wanted to have a future in the game industry as a character modeler.
With my current knowledge from the model I made last trimester, I noticed a few things I wanted to improve on that Z-brush could potentially help me fix.
Pictured above, is my character model from last trimester.
Working with planes and building a face by adding square after square in my honest opinion, felt a bit frustrating and often resulted in poor topology and protruding areas where I was unable to smooth out. On top of this, adding too much detail into things like the lips and nose for me added too much difficulty which required more time that I did not have.
So with with the discovery of Z-Brush, I realized with the way the pipeline worked, I could create a high poly mesh and then retopologize it afterwards.
Pipeline of Character Sculpting
-Blockout Anatomy/ Adding primitives
This is a pipeline I took from a live demonstration of Riot Games’ art team where they focused on sculpting.
First Sculpt and Polypaint
I wanted to start with something easy at first. So I thought to myself, what would be a simplistic yet fun thing to make from reference. I initially went to studio ghibli for their spirit designs but then I thought of the character “Madara” from the Japanese Animated TV series and Comic, “Natsume Yuujinchou”.
Made primarily of round shapes, I took this as an opportunity to learn how to build using primitive objects and melding them together with Dynamesh and then learning how to use Polypaint after finishing the sculpt.
I found a tutorial for building sculpts using primitive shapes and using dynamesh to bring them together.
So with this sculpt, I built the base of Madara using three spheres, one for the head, one for the body and one for the tail and one cylinder for the neckpiece.
So from this, I learned the importance of Dynamesh and its uses. Basically, it creates a very highly subdivided version of the mesh so that the mesh can act essentially like clay in the way it forms. It also melds shapes together if they are on the same layer but built with different primitives.
Using the “move” tool, I extruded parts for the arms as well as pushed back the head sphere to give it the same shape as the reference.
Since the style is anime and unshaded, rather than creating a physical sculpt for the face, I took the opportunity to learn how to use poly paint.
This tutorial helped me learn the very basics of Polypaint. The very basics of this taught me the value of having a subdivided mesh for painting. Having a mesh be too low poly resulted in a lot of pixelation. Also, Symmetry is by far my favourite thing about Z-brush. The fact that everything is perfectly calculated is so handy.
So this for me was a success and for the fact I have never done a sculpt before, I enjoyed the entire process.
From the very start, I knew that hair was a complex thing so I wanted to make sure that I got started very early.
For my initial research I researched how to create hair strands using the curve strap hair. My first attempt was… interesting to say the least.
I didn’t necessarily enjoy the process because I found it way too hard to make. with individual strands.
I studied the way this sculpt was made by slowing down the video and what I noticed was that the individual strands were meant to be there as more of an accessory to a kind of base shape.
My second attempt was a lot better but I realized that if I wanted to make a good shape was to understand the way hair flowed a lot more.
I studied this video and saw that the very start covered how to understand hair in different parts like fringe, side bangs, back hair etc. So when attempting my third hair piece, I took shape into consideration as well as hair volume.
I was searching the internet for a hair I could attempt to recreate since I originally didn’t have much of a basis of what to create, I felt like it worked so much better. I used Queenie from Fantastic Beasts as my reference for hair shape since it had a lot of volume and structure.
I then used Dynamesh to bring things together and though I wasn’t quite satisfied with the result, I had made a decent enough amount of progress and mistakes to say I can make something somewhat passable looking.
I used this as a way to experiment with creating a consistent level of hardness for the dam standard brush.
After talking to my classmate who had experience in sculpting, I learned about the “dam Standard Brush” and “Clay Buildup” and “Inflate Tool” from her. So then I sought out some information about the tools and to my surprise, I found an exact video covering all three of the tools to create a mouth.
So after studying this, tutorial I managed to get a better understanding of the tools and in only a short time i was able to produce something that I was all around impressed with.
The creation of the nose mostly came from looking at my own face in the mirror but I used this video to learn a few tips, specifically the more about the blocked shapes and the area between the nose a lips that cause the indentation.
This was the result of experimenting with all the tools I learned and I’m going ahead to using what I’ve learned to create my final sculpt.
Art Demonstration by League of Legends Artists. (2016, March 11). Retrieved from https://youtu.be/osnTFCm1hlc
Bogatyrev, A. (2013, November 24). Nose realtime sculpt. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaHZdqj1iMo
Building With Primitives. (2015, May 21). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ze8353Z76g
How to Paint in Zbrush (Beginners). (2015, May 06). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVacxfFp7KU
How to Sculpt Hair in ZBrush Tutorial HD. (2014, September 25).Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWF4SKhWKfI
Purple Girl Speed Sculpting – Milo: Concept by Mioree. (2017, January 31). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIuq5NBFKi4
Quick Tips: Sculpting the mouth. (2012, November 08). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsHdcprF-gY
Zbrush dam standard brush for detailing wrinkles. (2013, May 20). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7R04umK6bU
Zbrush Quick Tip- Curve Strap Snap Hair. (2013, December 12). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLoL19_0nDQ