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Making Of 'Abyssal Princess'

By David Ferreira
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Date Added: 21st March 2011
Software used:
3ds Max, ZBrush

Posing

The pose is very important. A good sculpt may become completely void if it lacks expression, character, personality... and I think a good pose is the most effective way of bringing your characters to life.

The pose of this character is subtle and extremely simple. It was done with the Transpose Master (Fig.14).

I tried to give her a more feminine look, lowering her chin, straightening her neck and slightly turning her head over her shoulder. I think this gives her a mysterious look suggesting a fragile and suspicious character.

886_tid_image_14.jpg
Fig. 14

Unwrapping

I know this really isn't the best way to go. I should have done the unwrap and the painting before the posing, since ZBrush uses spatial symmetry and not topological symmetry. This could have saved me some time. But I wasn't really worried about anything, and just went with the flow. The upside is that there is no unnatural perfect symmetry. So, after a few minor tweaks to the characters proportions I did a quick unwrap in ZBrush with UVMaster so that I could start with the painting (Fig.15).

886_tid_image_15.jpg
Fig. 15


Texturing

I really like to paint my textures. Using library images for projection is great and very effective. You can quickly get an amazing amount of natural detail that way, but still I think we can get there by hand and with ZBrush tools it doesn't take long.

First, I applied a general color to the whole model. Then, using Color Spray with the some of the default alphas, I started creating some random variation in another tone. In this case, the first layer was a subdermal intense red. I usually lower the Mouse Average of the Color Spray and work with small opacity values (alpha07); then I place some blue variations (alpha22) with higher opacity levels (Fig.16).

886_tid_image_16.jpg
Fig. 16

While painting I made sure to follow the anatomical structure of the character, meaning, for instance, that the areas where the bones are closer to the surface shouldn't be as red as the more fleshy ones (Fig.17).

886_tid_image_17.jpg
Fig. 17

I export this subdermal layer so that I could use it in the SSS material development and in post-production. Then I start to build the dermal layer on top of this one, following the same process of using Color Spray with the previously mentioned alphas.

In situations where I need even less density of speckles or anything I change to one of the simple circular alphas and reduce my brush size. It's really amazing how quickly you can get such a natural amount of detail and with so much control.

For the veins I downloaded some of the alphas that Pixologic provides online and used Drag and Drop with RGB and ZAdd.
During this painting stage I increased the ZAdd values to simultaneously add more detail to the sculpt. This works great because there is an immediate correspondence between color and relief without having to do a second pass with cavity masking (Fig.18).

886_tid_image_18.jpg
Fig. 18

To make sure I had even more control in post-production exploring the SSS effect, I also painted a simple black and white layer that I could use as a mask to pull out more of the subdermal layer if needed (Fig.19).

All the textures were exported at 4k and with the help of MultiMap Export. Besides the painted texture I also exported the cavity and displacement maps.

886_tid_image_19.jpg
Fig. 19



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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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(ID: 38476, pid: 0) Nelson Painco on Wed, 23 March 2011 9:50am
you will fly high my friend, believe it, you will fly high. With such skills and will to learn you will reach high places. Great, great job, as always. Keep doing it man. 5 stars ;)
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(ID: 38411, pid: 0) David on Tue, 22 March 2011 11:59pm
Thanks Bastien, I really appreciate the kind words. :)
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(ID: 38330, pid: 0) Bastien on Mon, 21 March 2011 5:47pm
Dude you are the evidence that zbrush is not only a tool to sculpt scary monsters. Congrat', it's beautiful!
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