Over the last year I've had the chance to create several creatures and hard surface models, but all my human characters were left partially done. I felt that I needed to revisit my human sculpts and try to work on an organized human character, which was when I started my image Guitarist. I also wanted to improve my sculpting skill and continue to study anatomy. My artistic goal for this project was to create a resemblance of Jimi Hendrix and capture his expressions.
I prefer to keep the topology simple with clean edge loops and nice edge flow as it means that the model will look smooth and natural at the lowest subdivision level. It also means that it will be good for rigging. (Fig.01).
I searched Google for Jimi Hendrix photos, and picked several images I thought would be helpful. I think it's important not to use too many reference images when trying to create a likeness of someone as each photo will show a slightly different look and too many references may cause some confusion. I chose one main reference image that best suited my plan. Several other images were used as reference images for the rest of the model (Fig.02).
For the sculpting I used a base body created in Maya, which I put into ZBrush. I usually sculpt the head first and once satisfied move onto the body. I exaggerated the muscle shape on the body and put sharp edges between muscles to clarify the body structure. I mainly used the hPolish, Clay Tubes and Move brushes for sculpting and refining the deformation of the body. The hPolish brush is good for reducing the volume while the Clay Tubes brush is good for building up the shape. In the refining process the sharp edges were removed or smoothed out. When sculpting an organic model I prefer to use the hPolish brush instead of the Smooth brush, which removes the details with brush movement.
For the fine detail, the geometry was subdivided to 10 million polygons. As this made the model very heavy, it took quite a lot of time to undo. I stored the model as a Morph Target once I had the shape I wanted and added the detail to it. When I wanted to undo something I used the Morph brush, which is a lot faster than actually undoing. Fig.03 shows the brushes, strokes and alphas I used. I mixed them and used them like a clay scraper. It's not exactly the same, but it creates a similar outcome. This meant I could create rich details from multiple strokes.
During the sculpting process I tried to use brushes like traditional clay tools. My favorite brushes are Clay Tubes and hPolish as they are most like traditional modeling tools. Sometimes I adjust the brush settings, but I mostly use these brushes at the default settings.
I modeled the guitar in Maya (Fig.04).