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Making Of 'Orc Maori'

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Date Added: 20th October 2010
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Hello everyone, my name is Nicolas Collings and in this article I'm going show my latest artwork, Orc Maori, and the techniques I used to quickly get an illustrative look from my 3D sculpt.

Inspiration for this piece came after watching one of the Gnomon Workshop DVDs by Aaron Sims, Creature Design with Aaron Sims.

During the process I only used ZBrush, and then Photoshop was used for the final compositing. No external render engine was used - just ZBrush. So let's get started!


I started by doing a couple of sketches. Preliminary sketches help me to develop the initial look of the character; to define the different features the model might have, what kind of pose or expression I want, and how I'm going to equip him, etc. I like to know more or less where I'm going before starting any 3D work, even if at the end I often come up with a slightly different result (Fig.01).

Fig. 01


I'm not going to extend myself too much on this aspect of the article because I've already written a making of (Wolverine Tribute) for 3DCreative which went into more depth in the modelling section, and there are also "Making Of" articles available on my website, too.

So basically, modelling is one of the most enjoyable steps for me. Depending on the model, I start either from a base cage created in 3ds Max or from a ZSphere directly in ZBrush. Once your base cage is done you can start sculpting your character inside ZBrush or Mudbox - that's where all the fun and magic happens!

A few rules to keep in mind are to first of all start by blocking in the basic masses and forms of the model, and secondly, if you want to avoid any "blobby" effects, I recommend you always set your brush to a low intensity. Be sure to choose an appropriate brush size according to the scale of the details you want to add, and most importantly, be sure to go as far as possible in the current level before subdividing the geometry even further. Please also do not be afraid to smooth out details and then refine the area.  

Once my sculpting was done, I started trying out a few poses with the powerful tool called Transpose (find more information about the tool on ZBrush: After I'd decided on the pose I was going for, I kept sculpting a bit more, working with the pose, the muscle tension and tendons, cloth folds and so on - whatever required further work (Fig.02).

Fig. 02

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