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Making of 'Female Zombie'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:
These were then unwrapped to be prepared for texturing.  Like the rest of my base texturing done for the body and nightdress, I projected a photo reference of hair onto the already unwrapped meshes and then baked the results out.  For this character I actually used blonde hair that ended up being changed into black.

On top of these base clumps of hair I slowly started adding extra strands for added depth and volume.  These were also unwrapped and textured as I went along.  At the end of the day I ended up with a head of hair that weighed in at 1127 triangles!

Fig. 06

I then hand painted all of the alpha for the hair, which can take some time.  Here I like to draw over the top of the diffuse hair texture as a guide.  I don't stick to the underlying reference 100% though.

Fig. 07


For the body, nightdress and hair I worked on separate models (as I was using ZBrush 2 there where no Subtools!).  The steps for each the body, nightdress and hair were pretty much the same, so for this step I'll use just the body as an example.

First off I imported the quadded mesh I created in Max into ZBrush, and then applied the base nude texture (without all the "zombified" additions).  The reason I applied the texture was so that I had a bit of a guide to work with when sculpting.  Next up I captured the morph target then subdivided the body once, stepped back down to the lowest subdivision and then applied the captured morph target.  The reason I do this is so that the mesh doesn't become too smoothed out and lose too much of the original shape that was created in Max.

Once I start sculpting I'll only start on the second or third subdivisions.  I do this to flesh out the base detail and volumes of the figure.  As I start increasing the subdivisions I start refining the mesh and adding in all the finer details.  I'll never head straight into the highest subdivision and start sculpting as this will always result in a mess!  I also start working purely symmetrically which helps block out the bulk of the definition.  Later on I'll add in all the asymmetrical detail.

Fig. 08

I used Zmapper, which is a plug-in for ZBrush used to create the normal maps, which will later be imported into Photoshop to be fixed up.

For the hair I used the same technique as above, but I never went as far as to actually sculpt in any fine hair detail, like the strands.  All I did here was create clumps of hair for volume and bulk which added to the shape for the normal maps.

Morph Targets and Rigging

I also created 7 morph targets that were going to be used for a small bit of animation that I never finalised.  I did however use them for the final facial expression.

For the rig and skinning I simply used a standard Biped and the Skin Modifier.  I then posed her and collapsed the mesh, and then cleaned up one or two small areas for the final render.  I still kept a copy of her rigged and skinned just in case I want to go back and animate her.

Fig. 09


For the base I created 5 different rough concepts in ZBrush.

Fig. 10

From these I could then choose the one I thought the most appropriate.  The final one turned out a bit different to the actual concept.

Fig. 11


The lighting I used was quite simple.  For this I started out with a very simple three point light setup made up of standard Max Target Directional Lights: two in the front (one strong light on the right and one softer light on the left), and one strong back light (also known as rim light) at the back to give a bit of depth. This also helped push the character out and defined the silhouette.

I then added in three extra omni fill lights. Two of them were placed close to the figure (set to affect only the specular of the figure), and the final to add some atmospheric light to the base.

All shadows were set to standard Shadow Map type.

Fig. 12


Again the rending was nothing fancy: a simple one pass Scan line render.  For Antialiasing I selected Catmull-Rom from the drop-down list, which produces a slight pronounced edge effect when rendering so that the image doesn't look blurred.  The materials I used were also standard Max shaders.  I considered using DirectX real-time shaders, but at the time I couldn't find any that suited what I needed.

Fig. 13

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Ivica Poetricevic on Mon, 27 February 2012 9:41pm
Divni ste! Pozdrav Ivica Petricevic en: Excellent you! Greetings Ivica Petricevic
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