Hi, my name is Fabricio Torres and I'm a freelance 3D modeller. In this ‘Making Of' I'm going to walk you through some of the steps of creation of my Hulk model.
This project started as a personal challenge. The new Hulk film was to be released and (again) I didn't like the way he was portrayed. I do understand the idea behind the concepts, with Hulk being a "realistic" character, but I wanted to see more of a comic book beast, with everything over-exaggerated. And as everyone else was creating Hulks at the same time, it added another task: not only to develop my own design, but to create something different – something new! And as I was trying to enter the toy market at the time, I decided to make it like a diorama/collectible statue, and I set my mind on the fact that he wasn't going to look just like a super bodybuilder – he had to be the buffest guy ever! I also thought that it would be cool to have his arms really long, with short legs and a tiny head, kind of like a giant gorilla in human form. Some research on Google provided sufficient references for the body and expression, as well as the debris that I wanted to place on the model's base.
OK, so most people have asked me why I chose to start with such a simple base mesh (Fig.01). Well, the answer is that I think it's faster and more enjoyable to block-out forms in ZBrush. You see, at this point, I didn't have a concept in mind, just a general idea of the overall look. It would have been a huge waste of time and effort to define the proportions and volumes on a low poly mesh if I wasn't sure where I was going! With that said, I also think it's a lot easier to retopologise things nowadays, rather than start modelling from scratch. Believe me, from someone that came from the pre-ZBrush era, to build things from nothing using a cube or placing polygons on an empty viewport is not fun (although some still think it is, of course).
After importing the base mesh into ZBrush, I started messing with the "move", "clay" and "standard" brushes to add volume. I didn't go too high on subdivisions and tended to work a lot on the existing polygons before subdividing the mesh again. The main focus at this point wasn't detailing; it was on the shape of the silhouette and volume – the fewer polygons, the better! As you can see (Fig.02), I made his mouth open from the very beginning because I wanted a screaming Hulk. There was no need to model his mouth closed and then pose it later if I already knew the final expression I wanted! I also I avoided the 'T' pose because his deltoid muscles were so immense that they would look awful!
With the overall shape and proportions already set, it was time to retopologise the model and continue sculpting with a better distributed base mesh. For this I used Topogun (a powerful software – still beta, but very stable and full of nice tools). I imported pieces of the ZBrush model and quickly established an improved mesh with correct edge loops for animations and a more balanced poly distribution (Fig.03).
When I was satisfied with the result, I re-imported it into ZBrush and re-projected all of the details from the old mesh onto the new one (Fig.04). To do this, append the new base mesh as a Subtool and subdivide it once, then hit the "project all" button, and so on. What this does is to shrink wrap one mesh into another. Take care with stars (five-edged vertices) though, as they usually react really badly when doing this! To help keep things in order, remember to store a morph target before projecting the details; if something looks bad, paint it with the "morph brush" and save your work!
With all the details sculpted on the ugly base mesh on my brand new one, and with everything looking right, I continued subdividing and adding details (Fig.05).