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
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.
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.