Athena: creating a CG Greek goddess - Part 2: detailing and texturing


After going through my modeling and UV process for this project, in this second chapter I will go through sculpting detail into the UV’d meshes. I will talk about how I created the details for the face, and so on. I will also show my texturing process for both the female, and the armature. For this chapter I used ZBrush, Substance Painter, and Mari. I also used resources from and

athena goddess 3d model
A final render for a close up on “Athena” - Based on a photograph by Amanda Diaz.

Detailing the face

In order to get accurate details in the face I had sculpted as much as I could from references, and then relied on TexturingXYZ’s maps for the micro details. Since TexturingXZY’s maps only come with information for the face, I projected the displacement map into Mari, and then brought it into ZBrush to add more detail, and match the detail from the face to the rest of the body by hand. One thing I wish I would have done differently is detailing the eyes before the displacement process. Just a note for future projects.

eye detailing 3d render meniscus
3. I also added the Meniscus to the eye. I did not sculpt it into the geometry, I created a new shape for it.

Detailing the objects

Detailing the objects was a more straightforward process. After creating them in Maya and having them UV’d, I brought them into ZBrush to sculpt more details and surface imperfections. This process was very back and forth between Maya and ZBrush because I wanted to check how the displacement maps would work on my meshes. I also added some other details like the holes in the leaves of the armature where the chain connected. I think these details add more interest to the piece.

Texturing the face in Mari

Texturing the face in Mari was very similar to my displacement process. I used the diffuse map from TexturingXYZ as a base. One problem I had were the lips of the diffuse map, they were way smaller than my meshes’ lips. To fix this I used the Warp Tool inside of Mari. Be careful not to cause stretching in your map. I ended up adding make up on a separate layer for more control. Also, for the eyes I learned the importance of details. Don’t overlook spending your time perfecting not only the iris but also the sclera.

details texturing 3d elements
3. The difference a single detail can make. This render is without texturing of the sclera. More on that in the next chapter.

Texturing the body in Mari

Since I only had face information from TexturingXYZ I had to do more research for the body. For that I got high res-images from ArtStation. Adam Winters has a lot of images from people from many different angles, all I had to do was project and color correct to match the face. Adding as much detail to the body as you do to the face is very important for the final result. After finishing the whole body I also extracted specular maps from it.

iffuse map transformed into the specular map
3. The result of the diffuse map transformed into the specular map.

Texturing the objects in Substance

For this project I wanted to build my skills in Substance Painter which is why I decided to only use Substance for the armature and the crown. My process in Substance dealt with using a lot of different tileable textures for the diffuse and using masks to create color differentiation. I believe having a lot of color differentiation in your objects brings them to a new level. I also used a lot of Zak Boxall’s imperfection maps. to break apart the surface in both the diffuse, and the specularity maps.

model imperfections rendering athena
3. Objects are not perfect, and having imperfections such as scratches help out in the final outcome.

Top tip 1 - Take your time

I might be biased, but texturing is one of my favorite parts of creating CG. Even if you don’t aspire to be a texture artist, take your time when you do texture something. It could be very beneficial to train your eye to see a lot of detail.

Top tip 2 - Look for resources

Like I found Zak’s maps, there are also a lot of very other useful resources out there that can help you out with your projects. There are very talented artists out there offering their knowledge and work to the rest of us!

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