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There has never been a better time to create a next-gen creature. Tools like ZBrush, Mudbox, and 3ds Max are all weapons in our arsenal, allowing us to create believable, realistic, and detailed creatures that were previously too complex to even be considered.
We will begin this tutorial series by looking at creating a base mesh for our creature, designed by Richard Tilbury at 3DTotal (Fig.00). Using a combination of ZBrush and a variety of software packages, we will create a base mesh from ZSpheres, then retopologise and perfect our mesh in 3ds Max, Maya, LightWave and modo
Since coming onto the market, ZBrush has revolutionised the video games industry. Detail that was previously only possible through meticulous hand painting can now be done quickly and easily because of this programme. Organic characters are now able to look just as realistic and stunning as their high-poly counterparts. ZSpheres are a wonderful way to create a quick, simple base mesh that can be retopologised (the process of creating new topology on a mesh) and refined in a general 3D application.
1. To create a mesh using ZSpheres, we'll first drag one out onto the canvas, and then proceed to add more ZSpheres off of the original. This will build up the character in the same way we would with bones. It's important with ZSpheres to plan out the construction of your character before you start. The original ZSphere should act as the pelvis or waist, with additional ZSpheres coming off to form the limbs and midsection.
First we click on the ZSphere icon in the tool palette, then left-click and drag to place a ZSphere onto the canvas. Release the left-click, and then hit the Edit button [Q]. Now our ZSphere is placed and editable, and we can go on to add new ZSpheres off of this original (Fig.01).
2. To save time and make our job easier we can use symmetry to automatically create the opposite side of the model as we work on only one side. To enable this in ZBrush simply press [X] or go to Tool > Symmetry > Activate Symmetry, and make sure the X button is highlighted. If you now hover over the model, you will see another cursor on the opposite side that mirrors the actions of the original cursor that we're manipulating (Fig.02).
3. Click and drag on the right side of the ZSphere to create what will be the hip section (Fig.03).