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A 3D breakdown for 'A Warrior'

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Date Added: 23rd October 2015
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3D generalist Fady Kadry shows how he made his super detailed sculpt A Warrior using ZBrush

In this breakdown I will explain as best as I can the processes behind making this project. Starting with gathering references through to the final rendering and compositing. I hope you find it helpful.

Gathering references

The most important part of any project is to find something that will inspire you and keep you motivated throughout the creative process. You need plenty of references of what you are studying to. I took my inspiration from these reference images to create a complex and detailed layered armor.

Reference images of my subject

Armor modeling & sculpting and UV mapping

After gathering the reference images and source materials it was time to start modeling the whole thing. In Maya I started by making my base body place holder and I decided that I would make this character 7.5 heads tall instead of 8, as a bit of an experiment. After blocking the body I started layering up the armor starting with the torso which helped when placing the other parts, arms, legs, and waist. Before moving to ZBrush, I made sure to UV map the whole armor; unfortunately during the sculpting process I had multiple file corruptions and failures which led me to redo big portions of the armor and also drove me to split the ZBrush file into five different sections according to their placement. I used a variety of sculpting techniques and brushes to get the detailed textures on the armor, including the Standard brush and Ryan Kingslien's alphas.

Wireframe of the front armor showing objects and layering

Wireframe of the back armor showing objects and layering

Sculpting technique used on this character

Face sculpting

With the armor sculpted and textured I was ready to move on modeling the face, as usual starting from low resolution base mesh moving up the resolution as well as details. And as before I had to make sure that UVs are up to the resolution that I need. As shown I have used some of Rick Baker's alphas, some other alphas I made and some Standard ZBrush brushes.

Sculpting the face

Map extractions, MARI setup, Texturing

After the sculpting was done I started extracting the maps I needed to help with painting my textures in MARI. I created AO maps to guide me, and also created the chip offs, torn offs and color variations based on details. I used Vector displacements, 32bit float displacements and normal maps (to generate AO). Maps I painted: Diffuse, Spec and already have the Mid, High frequency details from the extracted maps.

Front texture maps

Back texture maps


For grooming I like to use Maya nHair and ZBrush FiberMesh converted to curves for the finer parts of the grooming such as the eyebrows and eyelashes. The image show a breakdown of my approach to adding hair to this character using multiple Maya hair systems.

Adding hair to the character

Shading and lookDev

I had to create a light rig that served my needs for Look Dev my character and show me the shader contribution under different light conditions.

Render passes

With everything modeled, textured and lit to my liking I moved on to Nuke to setup the render passes and layers for compositing.

Here is my Nuke network while compositing this character

Close up of the warrior's face

The final result

Related links

Check out more of Fady's work on his website
Have a look at our full anatomy figure collection
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