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Sculpt photoreal amphibians

By Jeremy Celeste
Web: Open Site
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Date Added: 18th September 2014
Software used:
mental ray, ZBrush

Refining the texture

The second part of the shading work was to add sub-surface scattering (SSS) with a front and back scatter layer to make the skin soft and add some depth variation.

Once I was happy with the shader, I made some render tests both close to the frog and further away to see the overall quality of my model and shader.

The trick to get wet-effect eyes was to build a liquid shape around the eyes and assign a water-like shader to it. This added the tiny but very important specular which made the head and eye fit together realistically.

Refining the textures and shaders to create a realistic effect

The background

The next step was to manually place a few planes on the ground, which, using a cutout map, became leaves.

The trick to creating realistic leaves is to use a double-sided material, and make the front opaque and the back translucent. Using translucency on the back-face gives the look of a real leaf and is very cheap and easy to setup.

Leaf textures from

Adding the detail

After the overall scene was done, I added hundreds of mud/rock-like shapes on top of the ground and leaves. By using this technique, we give the impression that this frog is in a real place. You'll find that more detail in a scene makes the atmosphere more believable.

I also added some flies around the frog. These are motion-blurred at the end to give an impression of movement, which is very important for dynamic.

This image shows the finished layout, with all the geometry

Finishing touches

Finally, I added more effects on the scene, such as grain and other cool stuff, to finish this image. I also focused on the grading – in other words, adding color variation/mood to the scene from the raw image.

I only used the beauty render for the compositing. DOF and motion blur were rendered directly in order to be as accurate as possible.

The final render

Related links

See more of Jeremy's work on his site
Download ZBrush and Maya
Try our ZBrush and Maya eBooks

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