Develop your ZBrush sculpting skills

Learn how character artist Niyazi Selimoglu develops his professional 3D skills with ZBrush sketching, recreating great characters in 3D and designing his own...

Learn how character artist Niyazi Selimoglu develops his professional 3D skills with ZBrush sketching, recreating great characters in 3D and designing his own...

In my free time I make sketches in ZBrush to practice and improve my skills. Usually Ill just spend 2 or 3 hours on my sketches and leave it. But if I like it, I will continue sketching and make a clay render. This takes much more time, of course.

I also make sketches to try multiple poses, figures and new techniques like hard surfacing. The main purpose of sketching is to keep your hand working all the time. As I have a full-time job, I dont have as much time as Id like to dedicate to 3D and thats why sketching is so useful for me.

Lee Joyners Imp with Attitude. Original Design and Sculpt
© Lee Joyner

The base mesh sculpt of Lee Joyners Imp with Attitude. It took about six hours.
Original Design and Sculpt
© Lee Joyner

Inspiration and ideas

I usually get my inspiration from sculptors or concept artists as I am not able to spend much time on designing. My target is just to improve my sculpting. Thats why I follow lots of sculptors and concept artists I try to create the same effects that they do, within 2D and traditional sculpture.

I would like to mention some of them: Liu Xue, Don Lanning, Simon Lee, Matt Dixon, Doug Jones, Lonnie Jones, Neal Kennemore, Lee Joyner, Andy Bergholtz, Jeremy Pelletier and Spundman, among others. I am, of course, interested in other artists too as following a variety of artists and their work inspires my own creativity and helps me to build my skills.

I do also create my own designs and try to focus on my concepts. Whenever I have some free time, I will spend it developing new original sketches.

My attempt at a stylized female head study
© Niyazi Selimoglu

My first attempt at working with DynaMesh
© Niyazi Selimoglu


To start modeling I use a base mesh with DynaMesh or ZSphere. However, its a matter of choice. It depends totally on your model and sometimes on your mood. First plan the model in your head then choose the process. Personally, I usually start with DynaMesh.

Matt Dixons original Rock Zombie
© Matt Dixon

I tried to capture the facial expression of Matt Dixons original Rock Zombie. It took a long time!
Original concept
© Matt Dixon

Sketching workflow

When I create digital sculptures, I usually follow the same process as traditional sculptures. First I catch the general shape,and then add details. I use Outline Thin Material to see all the proportions easily. If you make true proportions at the beginning, you will be more relaxed during the whole process of modeling.

First, with the Move brush I pull the mesh to create a shape. When the base starts becoming more complete, I add rough details with the ClayBuildup brushes. When the mesh looks good, I refine the detail. In this process I use the following brushes: HPolish, MPolish or Flatten, DamStandard, Orb, Crack, Standard, InFlat, Form and Trim Dynamic among others.

If I like the sketches I add different models to the scene. I will often begin by making a base mesh with ZSphere. The target is to create a base model with simple arms and a head. After that, I pose the mesh and start adding details, step by step. I will analyze the upper part of a figure a lot while sculpting, because this area is important for creating poses.

In my view, its wrong to think that a sketch is the last version of the model. When the process is going well, I will continue modeling until the end. If you would like to see my speed sculpting processes in action, I have uploaded a recording to vimeo here.

This is based on a character created by The Shiflett Brothers and sculpted by Jeremy Pelletier. I love the Tank Girl series. This started as a speed sculpt but I liked it and I continued sculpting.
Original concept © Shiflett Brothers | Fan art concept © Jeremy Pelletier

Related links

Check out Niyazi Selimoglu's ArtStation
Buy issue 102 of 3dcreative magazine

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