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The making of 'Viking'

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Date Added: 16th November 2015
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Freelance 3D artist Gustavo Profeta gives us a quick breakdown of how he made Viking in ZBrush

This artwork is based on a concept by the talented Marco Furtado. I wanted to have a play testing materials such as leather, iron, and skin and what better character to use as a model than a Viking! This was also my first time working with hair and fur and was a bit of a challenge.


Using a copy of the original concept I started sculpting with ZBrush, once I had the basic shape of the character I moved on to doing some retopology. I like to use Topogun to retopolgize each part of the model. Topogun is a great tool for getting meshes ready for production, to add more details and if you want to animate your character. Head here to see a short video of my modeling process.

Original concept by Marco Furtado

Detailing and UVs

After opening the UVs on UVLayout, I exported the low obj file to ZBrush and start detailing each part to create normal, ambient occlusion, and cavity maps. You can see a video of my detailing process here.

ZBrush high poly

Brushes and alphas

Axe UV maps

Parts with shaders and materials

Hair and Fur

I tried several times to use V-Ray hair material but I wasn't able to get the results I wanted. I have found a new way (for me) to approach making hair, I use splines for long hair, selected and extracted meshes for short strands such as sideburns, beard, and chest hair. As the splines and meshes needs different color setups, I split the materials into two parts. I used 3ds Max's hair & fur material (not V-RayMtlHair) which gave me good results.

Hair & Fur


Lighting and Compositing

I did some tests to render the Viking in the same position as the concept, but it wasn't impressive as the concept, so I changed the story slightly by going back in time to before the Viking caught the Unicorn. In my image he is waiting for his prey in the forest. Watch this video to see my lighting process.

3ds Max lighting setup

Final Image

Here is the final image. I hope you have enjoyed learning how I make my creations. Thank you for reading!

The final image

Related links

To see more of Gustavo's work head over to his website
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