Sci-Fi Cos­tume De­sign in ZBrush

AN EYE FOR DE­TAIL Never mind the ti­tle, feel the qual­ity as Luca Ne­mo­lato de­liv­ers a com­plete mas­ter­class in char­ac­ter sculpt­ing and ren­der­ing

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Reviews -

Never mind the ti­tle, feel the qual­ity as Luca Ne­mo­lato de­liv­ers a com­plete mas­ter­class in char­ac­ter sculpt­ing and ren­der­ing in this video.

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to this video from Luca Ne­mo­lato. The bad news first: de­spite the ti­tle, there isn’t a great deal said here about cos­tume de­sign. If you start watch­ing hop­ing to learn about iter­at­ing de­signs from the ref­er­ence and in­spi­ra­tion you’ve gath­ered, you’ll be dis­ap­pointed.

How­ever, if you’re in the mar­ket for a video on work­ing up con­cepts of new char­ac­ters with a 3D soft­ware pipe­line, the good news is that this is about as de­fin­i­tive a treat­ment of the topic as you’re likely to find.

More than half of the video is an ex­haus­tive ZBrush ses­sion in which Luca takes a plain model of a fe­male fig­ure and turns it into the fu­ture war­rior of sci-fi fans’ dreams. A few sim­ple brush choices are all he needs as he de­fines the ba­sic forms be­fore go­ing to town with the de­tail.

With the sculpt more or less done, Luca poses the model us­ing ZBrush’s Trans­pose tool. He shows you how to fix any ar­eas the pro­ce­dure might break and runs through dec­i­ma­tion, which is ZBrush’s process for re­duc­ing the poly­gon count with­out los­ing the de­tail you’ve worked so hard on. It adds up to a text­book ex­am­ple of sound ZBrush prac­tice, so that your model is ready to use in other CG soft­ware.

Luca’s ren­derer of choice is the well­re­garded KeyShot. Here he quickly puts to­gether a se­ries of ren­ders from dif­fer­ent an­gles – in ef­fect, th­ese are the ini­tial con­cepts you’d show to your art di­rec­tor or client. The cho­sen shot is out­put as a set of ren­der passes and al­phas, making the fi­nal stages in Pho­to­shop much eas­ier.

In the Pho­to­shop ses­sion, Luca piles on the de­tail, in­te­grat­ing sur­face tex­ture, grime, graph­ics, glows and a pho­tographed back­drop. The man­ner in which Luca keeps fo­cused on his task, de­liv­er­ing de­tailed nar­ra­tion with use­ful tips for nearly five hours, is in­cred­i­bly im­pres­sive.

Luca Ne­mo­lato

creates a CG sci-fi char­ac­ter us­ing in­dus­try­s­tan­dard soft­ware. The lay­ers of de­tail Luca adds to his de­sign in­clude im­ported poly­gon mod­els, which he calls “en­ergy discs”. Main­tain­ing a li­brary of graph­ics and tex­tures means Luca can eas­ily add in­ter­est­ing de­tails that make the model feel more real.

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