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Moebius Tribute: a making of

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Date Added: 28th December 2016
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Freelance 3D artist, Gregory Stoffel, shares how he made his tribute to the awesome Moebius in ZBrush...


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Jean "Moebius" Giraud is one of my favorite artists and has had a huge influence on my work, so I wanted to create a tribute to this amazing artist. I based my work on a concept by Brett Bean. All the sculpting and texturing was done in ZBrush, rendering in KeyShot and the compositing of the final image in Photoshop. You can also find three time-lapse videos of the creation process here:

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Concept by Brett Bean

Step 01: Creature basemesh

I started making the creature in ZBrush using ZSpheres to get the main proportions right; then, after converting it with the Adaptive Skin, I started sculpting the main shape mostly using the Move, Clay Buildup, and Standard brushes. I sculpted the creature in its final pose from the start as I knew it was going to be a still image and I planned to only sculpt the visible parts. I also added the water to see what was going to be visible.

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Sculpting the main shapes and environment

Step 02: Teeth and spikes

I constantly change my model's material to see how it looks because every material reacts differently to lighting. I placed spheres for the eyes and started adding more details on the face and body. I created the teeth from a simple sphere, DynaMeshed it and then modified it with the Move Brush. I copied and placed all the teeth using the Transpose Tool. For the spikes on the creature's arm and the broken ribs, I simply copied, moved, and modified a tooth.

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Creating teeth from a sphere and modifying it to create the spikes and broken ribs

Step 03: Making the hunter

I created the hunter character in the same way as the creature, by using ZSphere to get the main proportion then sculpted the main shapes with simple brushes (Move, Standard, and Clay Buildup). The only difference was that I didn't model the character in his final pose, as it is easier to create him with the symmetry on and pose him later. To create the cloth, I masked and extracted the different pieces from the body so that all these pieces were a different SubTool.

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Creating the hunter character

Step 04: The face

After sculpting the man and checking his proportions, I sculpted his face. Although, I didn't bother making his ears or detailing the back of his head because it will be covered by the helmet.

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Sculpting the visible parts of the face

Step 05: Adding the gloves

To save some time I made the gloves from an existing mesh (from one of the MultiMesh inserts brushes). The rest of the process is similar to what I have done with the other parts ? DynaMeshing and sculpting the main shapes using the Move, Clay Buildup, and Standard brushes.

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Creating the gloves from an existing mesh

Step 06: Creating the helmet

I created the helmet by masking the basic shape from the head and extracted it to make another SubTool. I DynaMeshed the new SubTool and shaped the main part of the helmet. For the visor I used a sphere by slicing it in half and changed its shape using the Move and hPolish brushes. This completed the hunter's basemesh and I moved on to posing him.

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Creating the helmet

Step 07: Posing the character

Before adding more details to the hunter, I posed him using the Transpose Master plug-in. It is a pretty easy and straightforward process ? you keep the part of the mesh you want to move unmasked and use the Transpose tool to move, rotate, and scale it. All the parts have different polygroup to make it easier to mask them independently.

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Posing the hunter on the creature

Step 08: Making the gun

To sculpt the gun I created a simple cylinder and extruded it with the ZModeler to make the main shape. Then I DynaMeshed and sculpted it to give it its final form. When I was happy with its shape, I used the Transpose tool to move it next to the character. I also added the strap with the CurveStrapSnap.

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Modeling the gun

Step 09: Making the creature's tongue

To create the creature's tongue, I started with a sphere and shaped it with DynaMesh and the move brush. I, then, detailed it a little bit using the Standard and DamStandard brushes.

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Making the tongue with a sphere and DynaMesh

Step 10: Adding details

I added the final details to the hunter and creature. The creature's scales were been made using a brush with an alpha. Other brushes used during this step were the Clay Buildup, DamStandard, and Standard with various alphas and strokes.

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Adding details to the hunter and creature

Step 11: Finishing the environment

After I finished sculpting the hunter and creature, I quickly sculpted the background rocks from a sphere, DynaMeshed and sculpted the rocks using the move and hPolish brushes.

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Making the background

Step 12: PolyPainting

To start painting in the textures, I changed the material to SkinShade4 for all the SubTools and then applied the base colors to each SubTool. The painting step is similar to the sculpting step because as you start with the simple base colors and progressively add more and more details. As this is a still image I only painted the visible parts of the scene.

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Applying a white shader and PolyPainting the final models

Step 13: Rendering in KeyShot

After decimating the SubTools with Decimation Master, made the UV with UV master and exporting the textures, I imported everything in Keyshot. I applied different shaders to each SubTool to see how they reacted to the lighting, then, imported their diffuse textures created in ZBrush. The passes I rendered out of KeyShot were the complete render, the Depth pass, the Clown pass, and the Ambient Occlusion. I also rendered different red skin passes for the creature which I used later in Photoshop to give a more pronounced Sub-surface effect and some reflection maps for the water, skins and cloths.

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Rendering in KeyShot

Step 14: Making the final image in Photoshop

I imported all the renders in to Photoshop to put together the final image. Some details, such as the different colors on the helmet and the clothes of the character, colors variations on the water and the rocks, as well as on the creature's teeth, eyes, and skin were painted on a separate layer. I also added a Burn and Dodge layer to intensify some of the shadows and highlights.

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Bringing all the elements together

Step 15: Finishing the illustration

I painted the sky following the original illustration. I created the smoke coming out of the gun and the cigarette using a photo of smoke from textures.com. I modified the shape of each smoke layer with Puppet Wrap and the Liquify filter. After the smoke layers were correctly shaped, I changed their blending mode to Screen. To finish, I added a Hue/Saturation and Level layer for some color correction and cropped the image to have the same composition as the original concept.

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Adding the finishing touches

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Final

Related links

To see more of Gregory's work check out his website
Looking to learn something new then check out our huge range of eBooks
Grab a copy of Sketching from the Imagination: Fantasy today!

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