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Making Of 'Zenoth, Alien From Jupiter'

By Federico Scarbini
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Date Added: 17th January 2011
Software used:
3ds Max, Photoshop, ZBrush


Once the modelling was done, I baked the high frequency details to the mesh at its lower subdivision, with ZMapper inside ZBrushgenerating a 4k normal map (Fig.07). The mesh was previously unwrapped with RoadKill, a stand-alone programme by Francis O'Brien.

15_tid_image_07_colour_uv_map.jpg
Fig. 07

Posing the model was very simple: I used the Transposetool in ZBrush to get the "power-pose" I was looking for. Once the model had been posed, I re-sculpted some parts of the mesh to reflect the gesture in the body structure.

Texturing

The texturing process was a very crucial part in the design; since the subject was so popular I wanted to find something that would make people understand, at first sight, that that alien design was mine. At the beginning, I didn't have a clear idea for the textures, and at first I tried a"pop" colour scheme. I soon realised, though, that it wouldn't work for me. SoI started looking for inspiration by studying all the reference of exotic animals I was able to find, until I found some kind of poisonous frog thatreally caught my attention - bluish with black spotted limbs. Another aspect ofthis exotic skin really pushed me in that direction: the poisonous animals havea very distinct pattern on their skin which makes other animals aware that theyare in danger; this would fit perfectly my vision of Zenoth and his behaviour.

In Photoshop I laid down a first solid colour for the whole body; on another layer I applied the second colour for the one on the limbs. Changing the hue/saturation on each layer (turning the Colorizeoption on) I could play with different colour palettes. This way I had the ability to try many different colour schemes and preview them in Max before choosing the best one (Fig.08).

15_tid_image_08_colours_maps_selection.jpg
Fig. 08


Once I'd chosen the two main colours, I used random brushs trokes in order to add variation to the textures. To keep consistency colour-wise, I simply picked colours with derivative hues from the main one. Topush the randomisation further, I also used some handmade brushes. I made a few layers this way but I missed a bit of sharpness in the details. The second step was to utilise some textures from the 3DTotal Textures DVDs (www.shop.3dtotal.com) to get somesharp details and organic patterns going on in the skin and also to get morevariation. This is really the key when it comes to texturing organic stuff. I searched for both organic textures and concrete ones and used them together,sometimes using one as a layer and one as a layer mask. You can have a large numberof combinations - each one is going to give you a different result!

I experimented a bit at this stage, also looking herefor a rhythm in those patterns. Finally, after playing with the blending modes of each layer (Fig.09), I chose the layer that worked best for my purpose. In particular, parts like the chest and the cheeks were where I needed different kind of skin, and so I handpainted a fleshy-/bloody-looking texture,mainly using colours picked from references of meat, and darkening or brightening with the Burn/Dodge tool to mimic the flesh look I wanted.

[imgf:09]

I also used a cavity map and the displacement map baked from ZBrush to enhance the already modelled details (Fig.10). Creating the specular map and the bump map was very simple since I used lots of layers.Basically, I just had to understand each layer's intensity in a greyscale value,playing with Levels and Curves to get to the desired result (Fig.11).

15_tid_image_10_character_uv_skin_texture.jpg
Fig. 10
15_tid_image_11_character_skin_bump_specular.jpg
Fig. 11



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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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(ID: 72075, pid: 0) McKenzie MacDonald on Mon, 19 December 2011 10:16pm
This is absolutely amazing. Federico Scarbini you are my inspiration. Everything you make is so perfect in my eyes.
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