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The making of 'Stalk Eyed Fly'

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Date Added: 17th November 2016


Maipai Suppaudom shares how he made his awesome insect alien using ZBrush...


This project began with an interest in the shapes of insects; I think nature is amazing and fascinating. I am in the process of making a collection of insect-like alien creatures; the stalk eyed fly (I just love those long eyes!) is the first of this collection. In this making of I will share my sculpting and rendering.

Step 01: References and idea

The first thing I did was to gather references, as I knew that I wanted to create an insect-like alien character I started looking for suitable references on the internet and in books. I like the Bugs in Close-up Book by Colin Hutton, it has some fantastic photos and shows insects of all shapes and sizes, as well as their habitats.


Step 02: Primary shapes

I used ZBrush's Mannequin as a starting block to build the alien's body and pose it. I used DynaMesh to refine the form; I try to work at the lowest resolution, with the brush Z Intensity turned down. At this point I don't need to worry too much about the details. For refining the primary shapes I like to use the Clay Buildup, Dam_Standard, Move, and Smooth brushes. However, I could also separate parts of the model and work on them b in sections. I like to cut off the hand and remodel them at a later stage.

Sculpting and refining the primary shapes

Step 03: Adding details

With the basic shapes done, I moved on to adding details and I increased the resolution of the DynaMesh. I used various brushes to sculpt in the secondary forms.

Adding details

Step 04: Extract the armor

I used the Mask Pen to drag into position and extract the plated armor; I set the thickness to 0.02. I then increased the mass of the model using Divide (Ctrl+D). When I was happy with the shape and thickness of the armor I added scratches and mixed brush strokes to give it some texture.

Adding armor

Step 05: Making the wings

To make the wings, I first created and Alpha in Illustrator with the Draft Line tool, then inverted the color and saved it out as a jpeg. I imported this Alpha into ZBrush and used Made 3D to make a 3D version of the wings. I then used DynaMesh with high resolution and the Smooth brush to create a nice clean mesh.

Making the wings

Step 06: Final Detail

Before I added the final details and I wanted to sharpen and clean up the model, so I used ZRemesher. I increased the polygons using add Divide and Project All on the final details of the model. When I was happy with the final model and shape I used NoiseMaker to add details from an Alpha. Before using NoiseMaker I used Unwrap to get the UVs.

Final details

Step 7: Setting Material, Camera, Environment

I used ZBrush Bridge to move the model over to KeyShot although it does not have the option to auto merge if there are too many parts. For the materials I used Gloss paint and edited the Roughness for Blur Highlight. I adjusted the environment color from all black and added a pin light to light the scene. In Photoshop I made some adjustments to the Color Balance and used an Unsharp Mask. With that I was done. I hope this making of has been of use to you.






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