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Making of 'Shazam!'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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As I'm sure a lot of other people here are I am a big fan of comics! I wanted to make a tribute to one of my favourite heroes. I like the style of the contemporary comics, but I tried to do something more classic, nostalgic - with an old school look! To do this, for reference I used some illustrations by the great artist Alex Ross, but I introduced my own style. I started with some quick sketches in pencil on paper, to define the pose and to study and understand the forms of the character.

During the entire process of creation, I used ZBrush, XSI & Photoshop.


I started the body modelling from a default base mesh in ZBrush, and the base for accessories were modelled in XSI, with the exception of the thunder symbol which was created with the Extract tool directly in ZBrush. In ZBrush I added the accessories to be used as Subtools.

With the Move tool, I adjusted the silhouette and proportions of the character. I started to block the initial forms in with the Clay Tubes, Clay and Move brushes. With the overall shape and proportions already set, the symmetry became less necessary and I began to pose the model. For this, I used a plug-in for ZBrush called "Transpose Master"; with it we pose a low-poly version of the model, and its sub-tools follow its deformation and new position (Fig.01).

Fig. 01

With the model already positioned, I started the stage of the finer detailed modelling. I used the Clay Tubes brush a lot - it's great for defining muscles and the anatomical details, and in some moments the Poseable Symmetry also proved to be useful (Fig.02).

Fig. 02

For the hair and the eyebrows, I started with the Standard brush to define the basic flow of the haircut, making some touches with the Flatten brush, and finally I used the Standard brush again - with the Lazy Mouse active - to add the details (Fig.03).

Fig. 03

With the volumes already set, I started finishing the model. I used some photos of people at high resolution that I edited in Photoshop to apply as an alpha in the skin of Cap Marvel. For the clothing, the procedure was similar

Fig. 04

Texturing & Shading

With the exception of the skin and the hair, the textures were simple. I started the painting of the textures in ZBrush with Polypaint (Fig.05). After blocking the basic colours I started painting the skin and the hair. For this I used some pieces of high resolution pictures and painted with the DragRect stroke (Fig.06). In Photoshop I made the final adjustments to the textures.

Fig. 05

Fig. 06

continued on next page >

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