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Cartoon characters in ZBrush

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Date Added: 2nd February 2015
Software used:

Gabriel Fernandez explains the creation of his Dream High character using 3ds Max, ZBrush, TopoGun, UVLayout, VRay and Photoshop


This project was created in a workshop with Danilo Athayde, and the goal was make something artistic with a standing character scene.

Concept and references

For this project, I was looking for a very simple and artistic concept. A simple drawing made by Mike Azevedo fitted very well with what I was looking for - I just loved her expression.

One of the most amazing things about this project was able to have personally known Mike Azevedo and have picked up some interesting tips.

Then I began to think about each step and how I could do it without having any surprises during the process. I believe that the best way to learn and improve is to use references for every single detail even if you've already done it thousands of times.


I started modeling in ZBrush with a base mesh, first trying to adjust the proportions and silhouettes.

The hardest part was the face shape and eyes; I wanted to make it as similar as possible to the concept, however a little more realistic. One thing that really helped to view the face was modeling the hair shape.

After I finished the whole body and did the retopology in TopoGun, I went back to ZBrush and using Extract, I modeled her blouse and skirt. For the skin details, I used some brushes that Danilo showed me.

Modeling the hair helped shape the face


I exported all the pieces, open the UV in UVLayout, went back to ZBrush to make textures and position the model. And finally extracts all the maps to start working on 3ds Max.

Exporting the pieces and creating the UV maps

3ds Max

With all the parts imported in 3ds Max, I began the hardest part of the model - the hair. I decided to make several plans, and using a basis modeled in ZBrush, I distributed the many plans and tried to get close to the concept. I then imported all the maps in the model to start rendering.

Working on the hair in 3ds Max


From the start, my focus was on the eyes and the hair because I believe these are the most remarkable things in a woman, so that was where I decided to dedicate myself more.

I positioned two lights on the left, where one of them was stronger and yellow, then one to the far right and a rim light.

Positioning the lights

For all parts used the VRayMtl and the skin VrayFastSSS2. I also almost got everything in the Default preset Skin (pink) mode, which worked as I wanted.

Materials Editor


For the passes, I set Reflection, Specular, SSS, Occlusion and Wirecolor order to select separate parts if needed.

The passes used in this image

A turntable of the final model

And for the background, thanks to some tips from Mike Azevedo, I played with the Natural Brushes in Photoshop. Finally, the image was ready.

The final image

Related links:

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Shayan on Mon, 01 June 2015 6:25am
Please explain about the texturing of hair cards
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