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The making of Water Fight Strike Force!

By Sampo Rask
Web: Open Site
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Date Added: 23rd April 2014
Software used:
Blender, ZBrush

Blocking out the proportions

Since my workflow for all the three characters was pretty similar, I'm going to use the Engineer as an example.

I imported my base mesh into ZBrush and started roughing out the basic proportions for my character with the Move, Move Topological, Inflate and Smooth brushes. I stayed on the lowest subdivision level to keep things easy and to stop me from going into too much detail too early.

When I was happy with the overall figure I subdivided the mesh once and started establishing anatomical key points such as hips, clavicles, knees, and the biggest muscles using Clay Buildup, DamStandard and Smooth brushes.

Don't settle for the Standard brush - try different brushes for different things and explore brush options and different alphas.

Early stages in the sculpting process

Sculpting more detail

It's important to start low res and don't move up until you feel you can't do anything on that level anymore. If you see some fundamental mistakes, such as proportions being incorrect, go back to the lower levels to fix them.

Once I was happy with the basic shape I subdivided the mesh once again and started to sculpt more detail. The brush I generally use the most is Clay Buildup, in co-operation with the Smooth brush. I love how strong and efficient ClayBuildup is. What I usually do is make a few good, strong strokes with ClayBuildup and then go over the strokes lightly with smooth brush, using tablet pressure sensitivity to control the strength. Another thing I often do is make a long zigzag stroke to flesh out a form and then use the Smooth brush (see image).

The Clay Buildup sculpt technique used to flesh out the form

Using reference

I chose to do the Engineer first because his concept was the clearest of all three and because my own body type is closest to his. Because of that I could use myself as a reference. I'd recommend using yourself as a reference for anatomy and poses.

Also, gather a lot of reference material for your project and collect the best and most generic ones as a general reference library. In addition to the model library, I've got an ever-expanding library of anatomy references. On top of that I also gathered a lot of project-specific references.

Using reference is really, really important - even if you're making stylized or cartoony characters. Characters can and should be anatomically correct even though they are not realistic. Anatomical correctness isn't the same thing as realism. It means that your character could have, for example, a working skeletal and muscular system under its skin. I believe that being (moderately) anatomically correct gives characters a lot of believability. That's why I'm constantly trying to learn more about it.

Working on the anatomy of the Engineer

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