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Making Of 'Cross Of Iron'

By Eric Zhang
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Date Added: 7th May 2010
Software used:
Maya, ZBrush


I am a big fan of military topics. Since I had already done a soldier, this time I wanted to try a World War II German general.


Because this character was based on the real world look-and-feel, I didn't draw any concepts for it. Therefore, I needed a ton of references instead. I found an old man reference from which I decided to use for my character; the reason was simply that it was a perfect reference to practice my ZBrush sculpting skills with and would also fit my character pretty well (Fig.01).

Fig. 01


I created a plane in ZBrush with the reference image as the texture. Then, I started to model the head from a sphere. It's much easier to get the right proportion if you have an image plane (Fig.02).

Fig. 02

After I'd roughly done the sculpting, I exported a high-poly OBJ file to Maya and started to do re-topology. This is a very important step if you want your model to be used for real production. Modeling is only the first step of the production process; there is a lot of work after that, such as unwrapping, rigging, animation, etc. If you can keep your wireframe clean and appropriate, it will make everyone's life much easier. I used a Maya plugin called "Nex", which is a very nice tool to do re-topology with; using this plugin will keep your polygons in quads and evenly-spaced easily (Fig.03).

Fig. 03

After completing the re-topology process, I exported another OBJ file and went back to ZBrush. With clean edge-loops, this time I was finally able to work on the details. There's one thing I'd like to point out at this point: each area of the face has a particular skin texture. It's important not to use the same texture everywhere because it will look unrealistic (Fig .04).

Fig. 04

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