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Making Of 'Starfleet Officer'

By Anto Juricic
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Date Added: 23rd October 2010
Software used:
MODO, ZBrush, Misc


Since the new mesh now had better topology it was ready for further sculpting. Fig.04 illustrates my sculpting progression through the levels.

Fig. 04

As I mentioned before, patience is one of the key ingredients when sculpting. For sculpting surfaces like skin pores and roughness of the skin, I used a Standard brush with the stroke set to Spray and alpha 25 or alpha 07 from the ZBrush alpha palette. You don't really need fancy alphas taken from photos to make a sculpt look close to real because the ZBrush alpha palette holds everything you need if you understand how the surface of skin should look. 

A close up of the face can be seen in Fig.05.

Fig. 05

Texturing & Rendering

Now it was time to transfer some of the fine details to renderable texture maps, as well to add some color to them. ZBrush can generate great looking normal maps, which can also be used as templates for layering a color map inside Photoshop and that's how I did the color map for this image.

I found some nice photographic references at and used them to cover the whole head with skin color inside Photoshop. I then went back to ZBrush to cover up some visible stitching with a little help from the Projection Master.

I wanted to keep my workflow as simple as possible, so color and normal maps were enough. I decided to use Modo 401 for rendering because it's lighting fast and real time progressive rendering was just what I needed to set up a fast and good looking skin shader (Fig.05).

The Scattering distance parameter is closely related to size of your model and that's why I've shown the size of my bust in Fig.05, so that you can see the height to scattering distance ratio.

For the lighting I used an HDR image, which comes with Modo 404, set to Environment and I did not use any additional lights. Note that an HDRI should not really be used alone, but I chose to break this rule because in this case it worked well. If you are going to follow this workflow then please note that Global Illumination is your main light generator, along with an HDRI Environment, so don't hesitate to experiment with different HDR images.

Fig. 06

At the end I decided to give him a Starfleet Officer's uniform because I felt like this would fit with his warrior-like scarred face and besides that I am great fan of Star Trek!

Here's the final image (Fig.07).

Fig. 07

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