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Making Of 'Zenoth, Alien From Jupiter'

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Date Added: 17th January 2011

Once the modelling was done, I baked the high frequency details to the mesh at its lower subdivision, with ZMapper inside ZBrushgenerating a 4k normal map (Fig.07). The mesh was previously unwrapped with RoadKill, a stand-alone programme by Francis O'Brien.

Fig. 07

Posing the model was very simple: I used the Transposetool in ZBrush to get the "power-pose" I was looking for. Once the model had been posed, I re-sculpted some parts of the mesh to reflect the gesture in the body structure.


The texturing process was a very crucial part in the design; since the subject was so popular I wanted to find something that would make people understand, at first sight, that that alien design was mine. At the beginning, I didn't have a clear idea for the textures, and at first I tried a"pop" colour scheme. I soon realised, though, that it wouldn't work for me. SoI started looking for inspiration by studying all the reference of exotic animals I was able to find, until I found some kind of poisonous frog thatreally caught my attention - bluish with black spotted limbs. Another aspect ofthis exotic skin really pushed me in that direction: the poisonous animals havea very distinct pattern on their skin which makes other animals aware that theyare in danger; this would fit perfectly my vision of Zenoth and his behaviour.

In Photoshop I laid down a first solid colour for the whole body; on another layer I applied the second colour for the one on the limbs. Changing the hue/saturation on each layer (turning the Colorizeoption on) I could play with different colour palettes. This way I had the ability to try many different colour schemes and preview them in Max before choosing the best one (Fig.08).

Fig. 08

Once I'd chosen the two main colours, I used random brushs trokes in order to add variation to the textures. To keep consistency colour-wise, I simply picked colours with derivative hues from the main one. Topush the randomisation further, I also used some handmade brushes. I made a few layers this way but I missed a bit of sharpness in the details. The second step was to utilise some textures from the 3DTotal Textures DVDs ( to get somesharp details and organic patterns going on in the skin and also to get morevariation. This is really the key when it comes to texturing organic stuff. I searched for both organic textures and concrete ones and used them together,sometimes using one as a layer and one as a layer mask. You can have a large numberof combinations - each one is going to give you a different result!

I experimented a bit at this stage, also looking herefor a rhythm in those patterns. Finally, after playing with the blending modes of each layer (Fig.09), I chose the layer that worked best for my purpose. In particular, parts like the chest and the cheeks were where I needed different kind of skin, and so I handpainted a fleshy-/bloody-looking texture,mainly using colours picked from references of meat, and darkening or brightening with the Burn/Dodge tool to mimic the flesh look I wanted.


I also used a cavity map and the displacement map baked from ZBrush to enhance the already modelled details (Fig.10). Creating the specular map and the bump map was very simple since I used lots of layers.Basically, I just had to understand each layer's intensity in a greyscale value,playing with Levels and Curves to get to the desired result (Fig.11).

Fig. 10
Fig. 11

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