Creating a sci-fi suit
3D concept designer, Mohammad Hossein Attaran, shares his ZBrush workflow for creating imaginary scenes...
Hello everybody! In this brief project overview I will show you how I usually create an imaginary scene with ZBrush and Photoshop. For a while I've been interested in skydiving photographs, and I just felt like I should make one in my own way. It all started with a simple illustration which I didn't even save! It was a fish-eye shot of a skydiver falling. Then I started sculpting from a ZSphere structure base, without any pre-drawn concept. I just knew it was going to be a sci-fi suit.
Step 1: Modeling
This took me almost three weeks of modeling in ZBrush during my spare time. You can see in the back view that I just stopped detailing the areas which wouldn't show up in the final render! But the real challenge was just about to start. I was not satisfied with the early composition concept - I needed it to carry some meaning, like a back-story. So I made up my mind to reach an ideal composition (though I believe I never did it!). I tried tons of concepts with various poses, camera angles and subsidiary elements. It took about 50 days for me to come to an agreement on one. I was thinking of it all day and night and testing various concepts. I went almost crazy and desperate in the last days. A composition that I was satisfied with one day was just a failure the other day.
Step 2: Composition
I wanted the image to induce a sense of suspension and dizziness, and still have a back-story within itself. I took advantage of various focal lengths. I spent so much time just navigating around the model and changing focal lengths! This gave me some ideas both for modeling and composition. Finally I decided on this pose, and started to finalize my character and render it out.
Step 3: Rendering
I always do this stage by exporting many passes (by applying various materials and different lighting conditions), and then composing them all together in Photoshop. I also add the textures, colors and effects there.
Step 4: Revisions
My obsession with finding an ideal composition was not fulfilled yet. I manipulated the image again and again, trying vertical and horizontal framings, and even flipped it a couple of times.
Step 5: Dragon
I found out that placing a little dragon in reach of his hand could look amazing. So I started sculpting it and gave it a try. I liked the result, but I believed there was something wrong about that dragon. I redesigned it as an embryo, and added its angry mother dimly in the background later.
Step 6: Backgrounds
I thought, "Now this can get somewhere!" I made my decision about the framing and chose horizontal standard 16*9 AR. While applying these changes I was also playing with different backgrounds. Ancient giant impact craters, jungles, great canyons, cloud fields and rice farms where among my choices. I finally chose the last one and drew a sinuous river across it. I always kept consulting these changes and choices with some of my best friends since their ideas always inspired me.
Step 7: The final piece
In the end I came up with this; I received so much wonderful and creative feedback from audiences and artists about the story. Some of them were pretty far away from what I had in my mind, but still so amazing and inspiring that it made me think of creating a short animation out of the idea. Although I'm not fully satisfied with the composition yet, I think I've reached to my goal. I have made an imaginary scene which has not only one back-story, but as many stories as there are people in the audience. And I guess this is what makes an artwork valuable and lasting.