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Making Of 'Talos'

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(Score 4.41 out of 5 after 27 Votes)
| Comments 9
Date Added: 20th June 2011
Software used:


In this article, I will be writing about the high poly character creation of my demon centaur, from the conceptual phase to the final render. He was made for a 3D character competition about warriors.

I chose to make a demon centaur and challenge myself with trying to make a half-horse, half-demon work well together. Although I actually sculpted the character using Mudbox, I will talk you through it in ZBbrush as I have more experience with this program and it will probably make for a more informational tutorial!


Since I entered the competition a month late, I had some serious catching up to do so I chose not to sketch a concept and rely more on my references and freestyle modeling. Either way I can't stress how essential it is to have some sort of concept to guide you through as it will save you time in the long run (Fig.01).

Fig. 01

Obviously I had to study horse anatomy to get the muscles and bone structure right. Even if you're not going for a realistic animal, you still need to have the foundation so that your creature seems believable. At first I wanted to make the lower body resemble a bull, but I thought he would look too short and stalky once the armor was on. Always be mindful of the next step; this is why a basic concept makes it easier as it reduces the guess work. I tried a couple of variations of horns and armor, which I would quickly paint over in Photoshop (after modeling the base of the body) and settled on a design. I wanted to make him kind of wrinkly, but not old-looking, and feel pretty heavy.


When I start sculpting, I generally start with just a box and an extrusion for the neck. I don't bother with the edge loops at first because I will just retopologize it in 3ds Max when I'm done roughing the form. You can achieve a much more natural look this way and it is also a much more intuitive and artistic way to work.When sculpting in a package like Mudbox, ZBrush or 3D-Coat it is important to sculpt the form in each of the subdivision levels until that specific level can't take any more detail. If we don't do that we will start getting lumps and they will be harder to get rid of. Also the shapes will be harder to manage. Rule of thumb: make big edits in lower levels and put details on higher levels (Fig.02).

Fig. 02

For  this image I started by using the Move tools to search for form and from time to time I put a black flat material on the model to see how the silhouette read as it is very important to get a dynamic feel to translate into your model. After roughing my proportions out, I started to add muscles using something like a Clay brush. The hard edges make it easy to define the muscles. Also you can pinch and smooth to get the desired effects.To make the wrinkles I used the Dam Standard brush and Inflate brush around it. A wrinkle is not only a cut; it is also the fleshy-fatty bit around it that causes a shadow (Fig.03).

Fig. 03

Last, but not least, I used alphas or stencils (Mudbox) to add details. You can make your own by desaturating an image, playing with the contrast and making a black radial falloff around it (Fig.04 - 05).

Fig. 04

Fig. 05

continued on next page >

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
DreadKing on Thu, 12 June 2014 1:11pm
looks good
Stephane Morpheus on Tue, 12 March 2013 3:46pm
fr: trop nice Elmoooo... continue ton superbe travail. j'espere que tout va bien pour toi aussi. en: Eloooo nice too ... keep up the great work. I hope everything goes well for you too.
Elmo on Sat, 29 September 2012 12:42pm
@araxy You can make the uv's any time you want before making the uvs you just throw the low poly version of each subtool in 3dsmax and unwrap it there and re import it in zbrush and it will take the uv;s you can then take your ao,cavity etc out and multiply them on top of your diffuse map in photoshop Dont remember ,but i think i didnt use xornaml for ao, i think i used zbrush ,,but whatever if u wanted to u could bake the ao in xnormal all you had to do is to put ur model after u uwnrap it in xnormal hope it helps man and glad u found it usefull my friend
Araxy on Thu, 30 August 2012 6:50pm
wow!! this is very usefull! actually, this days i have been thinking of making a character just like this way, but i get confused about the workflow, so in a few words: If i have a model made in zbrush, i have to move it into 3d max and make the retopo for all the subtools? Then make the uvs, the AO pass to create the texture and normals, right? If you have the high ress model from zbrush with no uvs, how did u get the AO and Normal maps from xnormal for your model in 3d max?
Elmo on Wed, 13 July 2011 9:49am
@justb make yourself a scratch brush or download it from the net and set it to white and overlay and chip away when u put it in the bump u have to flip the color to black to get it to make indention
Justb on Mon, 11 July 2011 4:43am
Could you tell me how you did the scratches on the armor? Was that in photoshop? Did you use a specific brush? W
Justb on Mon, 11 July 2011 4:31am
One of my favorite pics on Game Artisan. I'm really glad you made tutorial. Thanks. W
Nufftalon on Tue, 21 June 2011 11:35pm
Elmo is very talented and produces some amazing work he has a drive that only gets stronger. It is truly a pleasure to be able to see Elmo's workflow and I can't wait for more future tutorials from him.
Torch on Tue, 21 June 2011 2:59pm
I've been following Emanuel's work for a while, this is a great tutorial! 5 stars!
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