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How to Stylize and Model 'Toon Humans - Chapter 1: Concept and Modeling

By Jose Alves da Silva
Web: Open Site
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| Comments 2
Date Added: 18th January 2013
Software used:
3ds Max, ZBrush


Welcome to the second part of the stylized character series, this time dedicated to the creation of a human character. As in the previous tutorial (The Boxing Kangaroo), we will develop the character concept during the modeling process.

There are many ways to skin a cat. The same is true about character creation. In the previous tutorial we used the method of sketching an idea in 2D, creating a low polygon topological base in 3ds Max, and then exporting it to ZBrush to establish proportions and detail. In this tutorial we will follow a different path, exploring the power of ZSpheres to reach a 3D concept quickly.

During this chapter you will notice that the character will be changing. With this approach, we can easily modify the character as we explore its proportions and incorporate new ideas along the way. The character starts skinny and becomes buffed up and more angular.

In the first tutorial we followed a very detailed step-by-step approach. This time we will assume that you have acquired those skills and only new techniques will be detailed. Also, during the writing of the article ZBrush 4 has been released, so we will use this software in order to benefit from some of its new features.

ZSpheres 1

Let's start by building the structure of our character. ZSpheres allow you to block in a concept very quickly because they give you a very clear idea of the volume and you can manipulate the spheres like a skeleton by rotating around the joints (Fig.01). We could have started by creating the ZSpheres' skeleton in a pose, but we want to take advantage of editing the character symmetrically to work faster.


- Open ZBrush.
- Choose ZSphere from the Tool menu.
- Click and drag to create the ZSphere in the center of the screen. Press shift while dragging to make it perfectly horizontal.
- Press the Edit button at the top bar (or press T)
- Press S and reduce the Draw Size to 0.

This is a good procedure when working with ZSpheres, because the Draw Size will determine the area affected by your strokes and we will need to move nodes most of the time.

- Press X to activate Symmetry.

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
(ID: 183965, pid: 0) Johnny on Wed, 27 February 2013 8:44pm
Hi, I love this tutorial and i'm learning so much, however, im worried, when i click "unified skin" parts of my mesh (knees, wrists, neck etc..) all vanish, the smooth, resolution and polish settings are all the same as in the screen shot. Please help :-( and a big thankyou to Mr de silva for the tutorial.
(ID: 177050, pid: 0) Thijs on Fri, 18 January 2013 12:06pm
Wow! This is really interesting, can't wait to get to work with ZBrush again, and understand more about what I'm actually doing/trying to do. :)
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