CREATE PROMETHEUS IN ZBRUSH
For me, 3D is the ultimate expression of art, and I love using it to create characters. In this tutorial I will demonstrate how to create a great character like Prometheus in Zbrush and integrate it into a background for a striking look. To do this we will use various programs and different modelling techniques. When it comes to working in 3D, it’s important to take it easy, be patient, and above all enjoy the process. Let’s get started!
How to employ a range of different modelling techniques to create a striking character
01 INITIAL BLOCKOUT
The first thing we have to do is create a blockout of our character, that is, we have to look for the general volumes. There is no point in detailing the ear or the eyes if we have not yet achieved a general structure. To do this we can use the Move brush together with the Dynamesh function – this function will reorganise the mesh so that we can deform it as much as we want. Don't forget to hit it from time to time while you're modelling!
02 BUILD UP THE FORM
Next we must progressively detail our character to achieve an overall finish. Creating complex models requires a lot of practice, but don't give up. Get trained and don't stop practising – experiment with all the brushes the program has to offer and above all have fun, otherwise it's not worth it. For this type of project, it’s essential that we study anatomy and always work with references.
03 START DETAILING
Once you have the blockout ready we can start detailing. But before this, we have to reorganise the mesh once more; this time we will use the Zremesher function. A polygonal load of 10 or 20 will be fine. Bear in mind that this will erase the details of our character, so we only have to work on the volumes in the first stage.
Now, you only have to use the division function to start detailing your character. Here too you have to work progressively, trying to detail with as few subdivisions as possible.
04 FACIAL FEATURES AND CLOTHING
For the eyes and hair I use two other items, known in Zbrush as subtools. For the eyes I apply a material with a shine. For the hair we should use the same modelling approach that we have done for the body. But remember, you are free to experiment!
Before we start posing our character, we can dress him in Marvelous Designer. I simply dressed him in a blanket, creating a rectangular piece of fabric with a hole in the middle.
05 POSE THE CHARACTER
When it comes to posing, we must first mask the areas that we don't want to move – that is, if in my case I just want to turn his head, I must mask everything from the neck down. To do this we will press the Ctrl key. Once we have masked what we do not want to move, we activate the gizmo of movement and place it in the neck joint. Remember that to move the gizmo without it affecting our model we must deactivate the lock. With the gizmo well placed we will deactivate the lock, and now we will have the ability to move what is not selected.
06 HARD-SURFACE MODELLING
For creating the glasses, we use the Zmodeler brush, which allows us to work with the mesh in a similar way to other programs like 3ds Max or Maya. This is a complex tool, with a large number of elements, so take some time to analyse and understand how to use it, but making a pair of glasses like the ones you see above doesn't take too much work. In fact, if you analyse the shapes you’ll see that it’s just a flattened cube with fine cubes on top.
07 RENDER IN KEYSHOT
Now it's time to render our character. This step is very fun, because thanks to Keyshot we can compose our image and add materials and lights with very little effort. In Keyshot we can apply any material to our model just by dragging it over. For the lights, we can take pre-determined environments that we use by dragging them from the library, or you can create your own light schemes. It also allows you to modify the focal distance, focus and render quality. Infinite possibilities.
We can make a good render with what Keyshot offers us, but to get a better result we will choose to make several. What we are going to do is make different renders of the same image with a range of different materials. We can also change the lights, but the important thing
is not to move the angle of the camera, if the renders do not work for us. We are also going to make a clown render, so that we can change the background later.
Once we have the renders we open them all in Photoshop. Now what we have to do is play with the layers to achieve certain effects. I recommend using the fusion modes with the different layers, but you are also free to experiment. Now that we have the character with the clown render, we will select the background to erase it, through Selection>gamma colour selection. This way we can quickly separate our character from the background.
Now everything depends on your skill and creativity – in Photoshop there are limitless ways to complete your image and add some extra creativity. For example, I have added the light coming out of the glasses as well as the dust particles, and tweaked the colour of the background. •