Discover Cinema 4D’s hair system
Re-create a portrait inspired by Games of Thrones’ Tyrion Lannister with a focus on realism and detail using Zbrush, Cinema 4D and more
Re-create a character using Zbrush, Cinema 4D and more
For this fan art piece of tyrion Lannister, we will break down how the image was created. We will cover the importance of edge flow when polygonal modelling and how each step plays a role in the final composition. We will also look at how certain tools can be used to speed up your progress within cinema 4D.
We will talk about the importance of clean Uv maps, and the exciting process of setting up the final scene with its materials, lighting and composition. We will also explore which order to progress though the material setup to achieve balanced results, and how best to use the fantastic hair system within cinema 4D.
Finally, we will look at how we can get that final polished look when working with multi-pass layers in Photoshop. a project such as this primarily requires skills in polygonal modelling and sculpting – however, you will also need to develop skills and knowledge in basic anatomy, composition, texturing and lighting.
Gather references When doing portrait work, the first step should always be to gather plenty of good-quality references. this is absolutely essential as it is from these references that your decisions will be directed. if, like in this project, you wish to model from a background reference image, you’ll need ones that have a good front and left-side profile. i used Photoshop to composite both pictures together, aligning features such as the ears, eyes, nose and mouth.
Model the head i always make sure that the references are aligned to allow modelling in the centre of the world space. i start by placing down the first polygon for the eyelid using the Polygon Pen tool. this method is used for ultimate control by extruding the edges and making adjustments as i utilise a temporary reference sphere as a guide for the eyelid curvature. i give priority to edge loops around the eyes, mouth, jawline and ears. the polygon count is kept as low as possible keeping in mind that i will subdivide this model later on. the Grab tool is essential to attain form fast while modelling.
Volume and detail after placing the essential edge loops down, start to fill in the gaps with quad-only polygons. Use the Grab brush to further tweak the volume of the head. i use the iron tool to relax selected polygons before subdividing the mesh once. having some anatomical knowledge of the skull will certainly help a great deal when you are considering how certain landmarks align to other areas of the skull, such as how the bottom of the nose aligns with the cheekbone. this informs you as to where the volume should be in 3D space.
Create the eyes i make the eyes with two parts forming the outer shell from a hexahedron. the standard sphere has poles, which is fine for the inner eye forms, but the outer shell is best with no poles in the cornea area for clean reflections. the cornea bulge is achieved by using the move tool with soft selection while the iris is made from pushing in the centre polygons and extruding the pupil inwards. i add some edge loops to retain volume and i also like to make the inner shell slightly smaller before placing it inside the outer shell object. i then rotate the eye three degrees outwards.
Refine the details now we start getting the eyelids to fit perfectly to the eyes and then model the tear ducts separately. i usually spend a bit more time moving vertices around the tear duct area with the soft selection enabled, also using the Grab brush. select a row of polygons from the lower inner eyelid to split from the geometry and then extrude from the water line between the eyelid and eye – this is essential for creating realistic eyes. the eyes get looked at a lot so you need to spend time and make sure to give a lot of attention to these details.
Model the clothing For the clothes, i start off with a cube with two segments on the x, y, z. i make it editable then delete half of it. it’s then added to a symmetry tag, where i start to move the vertices using the modelling Brush tool in smear mode. When i model anything, i always make sure to shape the area i’m about to extrude from as best i can because this will result in less shaping work later on. Finally, i subdivide the mesh once and add extra loops at the front before selecting and deleting one loop for the opening of the jacket.
Get the perspective Before you start to sculpt, you must set up the Zbrush Documents perspective to match cinema 4D’s, which is set to the reference image. a portrait camera preset in cinema 4D is 80 millimetres and this is a good start. i get a front-on perspective screenshot from cinema 4D and bring this into Zbrush as a backdrop. i then use this to aid in setting up the Zbrush perspective by looking at how much of the ears i can see, or how long the face looks. you don’t want to have a perspective mismatch between cinema 4D and Zbrush.
i add some edge loops to retain volume and i also like to make the inner shell slightly smaller before placing it inside the outer shell object. i then rotate the eye
Achieve the likeness the features of the face that protrude furthest into space can be seen from the side profile so start by getting this tweaked first using the move brush. then it’s time to begin working from the front by taking measurements from photo references. it’s important to use the rule of thirds, which allows you to get the differences from the ideal and then apply them to the sculpt. i work with layers at all times and especially when adding asymmetry. remember: it’s paramount to rename the new sculpt, otherwise GOZ will overwrite the current model within cinema 4D. it’s this new model that will get used as a Pose morph.
UV maps For Uv mapping, i personally use Unfold3d. i like to unwrap with symmetry to speed the process up but on this occasion, our head model is asymmetrical. as the asymmetrical sculpting is in a layer within Zbrush, it can be turned off for this step. once i have done the Uv mapping and have got it as distortion free as possible, i update the model in Zbrush with the new Uvs. then, after turning the asymmetry layer back on, i run the model though Unfold3d again to update the asymmetrical changes. the new Uvs are copied to cinema 4D.
Sculpt secondary details sculpting detail is what everyone wants to do in Zbrush and this is where some of the most fun happens. i add another layer and subdivide only to what i need to because right now i don’t need millions of polygons. these are the secondary details where i sculpt in the bigger forms such as deeper creases, scars and imperfections. this will become the displacement map later on. i usually keep the displacement and highfrequency detail maps separate until i set up the v-ray materials in cinema 4D.
Texture the clothing i use substance Painter to texture the clothes. Using one of the leather smart materials, adjust accordingly to achieve the look that you’re after. i also use substance Painter for the buckles and scarf in this project. there is a nice preset to export all substance textures for v-ray use and it’s very easy to set up a v-ray material. each Uv island needs to be 1:1 scale to other islands in order to get equal quality and this applies even more so for Udim workflows.
sculpting detail is what everyone wants to do in Zbrush and this is where some of the most fun happens
Texture the head For skin detail, i used XYZ textures and patched down segments in layers over a wire Uv template within Photoshop. For the colour diffuse, use Zbrush by first projecting from a photo to give the tones. then colour-pick tones around the face and hand-paint it all over until the original projection is gone. Bring in the skin detail map, applying it as displacement to a layer, then apply a cavity-inverted mask. i then filled the face with a darker tone to help colour-match the skin pores.
Cinema 4D hair system the hair system in cinema 4D studio has many options that are well worth learning in detail. i make multiple hair objects to get the best control. the hair brush tool has multiple modes such as move and smooth, which are the two i use most often. to curl the hair, i chose the curl tool rather than adding curl in the material to give me better control over the results. you will need enough segments to use this tool. i use the colour option in the basic tab for each layer to separate them visually in the viewport.
Scene and lighting i use three area lights – a key, a rim and a highlight. the key is almost front-on while the rim is used to highlight the edge of the hair and shoulders against the dark background. the highlight is a very small light placed to enhance specular spots like the eyes and face. i turn on one light at a time to adjust the balance. For the best results, be sure to use real-world-scale objects. Lighting and many other presets are set up on this basis. i use the scale Project command in the edit menu to scale the final model.
Shade and render i use v-ray as my renderer and al surface as my skin shader. i apply displacement first with no sss. the displacement and detail maps are combined within Photoshop, kept in their own layers for mixing balance. the reflection is then set up, which reveals how well the skin detail is showing. you need more detail than usual as sss can remove some of it. i use maps to control the reflection strength, and then mix in the sss and diffuse to produce the final skin effect. multi-pass rendering offers more control within Photoshop.
Post-production work the multi-pass setup has each light as a separate pass and the diffuse is contained within the sss layer. i use seven passes – sss, reflection, Lighting, Key, rim, highlight and hair. the main tools i employ in Photoshop are Burn to add darker areas, Dodge for highlights, colour filters to add colour, contrast, Levels, slight chromatic aberration and smart sharpen. i liken the post-production process to mixing and mastering music – mixing should be where most of the work is done while mastering adds the polish.