Sculpting Characters from Concepts – a ZBrush Workshop

This is a workshop that anyone can follow and work at your own pace. In this new Sculpting Characters from Concepts workshop, I’ll show you how to follow an approved concept and bring it to glorious 3D life!

After 18+ years in this industry and well over 150 characters, I’ve learned that if you can create something from a 2D concept, you’ll have a good and stable career. If you can take it further and bring it to (virtual) life, then you’ll be considered a Pro.

“Concept” can be from your internal concept department at work or an external client who wants you to “make this”. The approach is pretty much the same and that’s what the heart of this workshop will be. (Our concept above is from the great Sean McNally! – Lucas Arts, Blur Studio, Blizzard, Whitemoon Dreams….and my sculpt on the right was to show a quick mockup). This isn’t about “tracing”, it’s about visual analysis, and using techniques to translate what you see and give them true form.

Here’s a short preview (timelapsed with no audio to give you a general look):

Objectives

  • Approaching sculpting from a 2D concept
  • Working iteratively (don’t just jump to the details!)
  • Pose and silhouette (It’s all about the initial read)
  • Length: 27 lesson segments (varies 30-60 min each)

Why should I buy this?

  • If you want to accurately interpret concept art into 3D form
  • If you already have basic knowledge of ZBrush but want to push yourself to sculpt accurately and creatively
  • If you have trouble thinking of your own concepts
  • What mistakes will I learn to avoid?

— Sculpting details too early in the process makes your work appear amateur

— Not using proper anatomy reference that can lead to unrealistic final product

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OUTLINE

01_Introduction and project overview

02_Studying the concept art – analyze the concept before sculpting

  • Identifying key design features
  • Studying silhouette and proportion
  • Analyzing style and lines

03_Beginning the sculpt in ZBrush – learn how to block in limbs and elements

  • Zspheres vs Dynamesh
  • Separating elements into subtools
  • Working in symmetry

04_Blocking in anatomy – learn how to block in major anatomical forms

  • Relating human anatomy to unique creature designs
  • Using the major muscles to clarify surfaces
  • Identifying areas of unique anatomical design

05_ Primary forms on the head – refine primary forms for the head

  • Block in major facial features
  • Add eyes
  • Opening the mouth
  • Add simple teeth and tongue

06_ Primary forms on the torso

  • anatomical flow
  • muscle groups

07_Primary forms on the arms

  • anatomical flow
  • muscle groups

08_Primary forms on the hands & feet

  • anatomical flow
  • sculpting in the nails

09_Primary forms on the lower body

  • muscle groups
  • creating the pants
  • solidify buckle elements

10_ Secondary forms on the head

  • Break down primary shapes into secondary

11_ Secondary forms in the mouth

  • Refining teeth/gums
  • Refining tongue

12_ Secondary forms on the torso

  • anatomical flow
  • muscle groups

13_ Secondary forms on the arms

  • anatomical flow
  • muscle groups

14_Secondary forms on the hands & feet

  • anatomical flow
  • skin, muscle, tendon, and bone
  • sculpting the nails

15_ Secondary forms on the little torso hands

  • anatomical flow
  • sculpting the nails
  • skin, muscle, tendon, and bone

16_ Secondary forms on the pants

  • refine cloth folds and wrinkles on pants
  • thinking about gravity, tension, and compression
  • techniques for cloth sculpting

17_ Refining hard surface elements

  • adding hard surface qualities
  • mech details

18_ Detailing on the head – add tertiary and fine details for the head

  • final details and refining
  • wrinkles
  • surface variation

19_ Detailing the torso – add tertiary and fine details for the torso

  • final details and refining
  • wrinkles
  • surface variation

20_ Detailing the arms – add tertiary and fine details for the arms

  • final details and refining
  • wrinkles
  • surface variation

21_ Detailing the hands – add tertiary and fine details for the hands

  • final details and refining
  • wrinkles
  • surface variation

22_ Detailing the feet – add tertiary and fine details for the feet

  • final details and refining
  • wrinkles
  • surface variation

23_ Detailing the mouth – add tertiary and fine details on the mouth items

  • final details and refining
  • surface variation

24_ Detailing pants – add tertiary and fine details on pants

  • final details and refining
  • using UV master and Surface Noise to create fabric patterns

25_ Posing with Transpose Master – pose the character

  • breaking symmetry to create dynamic pose
  • silhouette exploration
  • adding tension to hands and face
  • applying to final model
  • cleaning up distortions from pose
  • adding final touches/details

26_ Final Polish

  • cleaning up distortions from pose
  • adding final touches/details
  • adding final expression

27_ Making a base – giving the character some context

  • Quick methods for making a simple base to set the creature
  • Making quick renders with shadows, anti-aliasing, and saving cameras

FINALLY DONE!

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