Sculpting a Dragon with ZBrush
READY FOR TAKE-OFF Digital sculptor Maarten Verhoeven shares the skills he uses when working on effects for blockbuster movies
Digital sculptor Maarten Verhoeven shares the skills he uses when working on effects for films.
The appeal of dragons to our imaginations has endured for centuries. They’re a topic that every fantasy artist takes a crack at during their career, so Maarten Verhoeven has picked a great subject for his exhaustive sculpting workshop. He uses ZBrush throughout most of this video’s four-hour span, with just a brief look at the rendering tool KeyShot at the end.
Maarten kicks off proceedings by using ZSpheres to construct his reptilian figure. It’s far from the only way you can get a sculpture started in ZBrush, but it’s one of the most accessible methods when the form has some complexity. This first chapter establishes the tone of the whole tutorial: in quiet tones, Maarten explains clearly what he’s doing, with plenty of tips and shortcuts. It’s also evident, though, that the audio recording is a little over-compressed, resulting in a slightly tinny ambience.
As Maarten progresses, you’ll see how you can tackle a full-figure subject without feeling overwhelmed by the scope of the challenge. And as the forms take shape and the surface details pile up, you’ll also learn a lot about posing your figures and a couple of different ways of applying the scales that do so much to define the dragon.
Yet as helpful and comprehensive as Maarten’s workshop is, you can’t help feeling that something’s missing, too. The best training videos do more than present the process and tools: they provide a window into the artist’s world, offering a context of how the expectations of the target audience or client informs their design and technical decisions. With little of this insight offered, this video perhaps fails to fully take off compared with some. However, you can still expect to pick plenty of new skills, especially if you’re new to ZBrush and feel a little daunted by the breadth of its toolset.
In Sculpting a Dragon with ZBrush, you’ll see how Maarten Verhoeven built this brilliant creature sculpture from scratch. ZSpheres provide one of the simplest ways to construct your core form, so you can focus on details sooner. Expect to spend a lot of your time adding scales to your dragon. Maarten’s got tips to make the job easy.