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The making of 'Lecter'

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Date Added: 16th October 2014
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Professional artist, Hossein Afzali, reveals how he created this 3D likeness of Dr Hannibal Lecter using 3ds Max, ZBrush, Unfold3D, Photoshop and V-Ray...

This is just a brief making of I have prepared about my first experience in creating a realistic head character and capturing a celebrity likeness. The portrait is of the great actor Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins (Dr. Hannibal Lecter) around age 66, according to my reference images.

Base mesh modeling

I started by creating a base mesh in 3ds Max, using 1,392 polygons. I used several reference images to get to a general form. I tried to follow zbro?s base mesh edge loop for topology as I found it so clean.


Using references to get a general form of the head

Upping the subdivisions

I imported the OBJ file into ZBrush and increased the polycount to 5,652 (SDiv2) in order to capture more detail. I considered the main facial proportions in this level too, with the Symmetry off.

Moving into ZBrush and increasing the subdivisions to create more detail

More detail

I kept on sculpting and capturing all the details (except the skin pores). When working on a celebrity head model, we usually face a common problem which is the difference in FOV of our reference images. As we use Google to source images, almost all of those photos were taken with different lenses, like Normal, Tele or with different levels of zoom and with different distances from the subject. So it's always recommended to collect those reference images that have been taken under similar circumstances.

I had this problem a lot during the project and I would have to change the Angle of View in ZBrush to 25, 15 and sometimes 5.

In this image I combined the head model with the main reference image in order to check proportions and compare its feel and look. This way I could find out where I was going and which areas still needed to be modified.

Checking the proportion of the face


This image below shows the alpha maps that I used to create the skin pores. Except the one that looks like leathery skin
(this is Leathery Skin88), I designed the rest of them in ZBrush and Photoshop.

Some of the alpha maps used to create the pore detail


I used FiberMesh, GroomHairShort and the Move brush to create and comb the hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. I also used layers to control the intensity of the brushes.

Adding hair to the model


For clothes I referred to a scene of the Hannibal movie where Doctor Lecter is talking to Clarice in a mall. I modeled a base mesh in 3ds Max and sculpted the details in ZBrush. I didn't work on pockets as I wanted to get a close render at the end.

For the T-shirt neckline, I got a duplicate of it in ZBrush and created a regular and clean topology in a mid-level using a Topology brush, then exported that to 3ds Max, extruded those tiny polygons, exported back to ZBrush and projected the new changes on the main mesh.

I used both Unfold3D and 3ds Max to create and edit the UV co-ordinates.

Adding the clothes inspired by the Hannibal movie

continued on next page >

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Daniel Bolivar on Fri, 10 April 2015 3:16pm
Very nice tutorial! Thank you for sharing!
Matthew on Fri, 24 October 2014 7:32am
This is just amazing man!!! Great likeness and details! Thanks for sharing...
Hossein Afzali on Thu, 23 October 2014 9:03am
Thanks Wambugu Kamotho, Thank Cifre, Zbro, this is not your base mesh, I just have followed your Edge loop.
Zbro on Fri, 17 October 2014 5:59pm
salam nice tutorial! Thanks for sharing. I think your base mesh is my basemesh's edit version. (I know, nose/ neck/ ear part little bit different. ;)) Please read this link. & respect the CC license. motshakeram :D
Cifre on Fri, 17 October 2014 3:47pm
Wambugu Kamotho on Fri, 17 October 2014 3:25pm
Nice work Hossein, I grew up watching Hannibal and I believe of all the renditions out there Sir Anthony Hopkins always leaves you in utter dismay. You have talent and you should consider maybe moving to Kenya and setting up shop here. Africa is raising and creatives are just starting to be valued.
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