Making Of 'African Bust'


Hi everybody, my name is Anto Juricic Toni and I am going to walk you through creation of my latest work, African Bust. I drew my inspiration from the Kenyan Masai tribe, and although I did not achieve all that I was aiming to I am going to demonstrate some techniques that I hope you will find useful for your own work.

In the process of creating this peace I used modo 401, ZBrush, Photoshop, and the first step was to gather a lot of reference photos. I found that the Dreamstime stock photography website was the right place.


I re-used one of the previously modeled generic heads for this project, although I do like the process of the creating an individual base mesh for every project. I've described a few ways to create such base meshes in some of my earlier Making Ofs and you can find these on the 3DTotal site.

Once I had the base mesh with all the topology placed the way I like, I used one of the simplest, but most irreplaceable, brushes: the Move brush. This brush gives you the ability to quickly change proportions of your base model and I've found that the Move brush works best at lower subdivision levels (Fig.01).

Fig. 01

Fig. 01

After blocking out the proportions I stepped up one level and did the same process all over again, but this time I combined the Move brush with the Subtle, Smooth and Standard brushes. The most important thing is to use every polygon or vertex to describe the form of your model and not to rush for higher subdivision levels.

At the point where I couldn't grab individual vertices with the Move brush, I switched to the Claytube and Standard Clay brush for sculpting. Fig.02 demonstrates the progression through the levels, up to 4 million polygons at level 6.

After completing this bust I decided to make new topology and for that task I used 3DCoat's retopology tools, which I strongly recommend. After that I had to project details onto this new topology and I did that in ZBrush by using the Project All function.

Fig. 02

Fig. 02


After completing the sculpture I had to make clean UVs and the UV Master plugin for ZBrush was the right tool for that.

Before submitting my model to ZBrush's automatic unwrapping, I made seams in modo 401 and re-imported my model back to ZBrush at level one. Then I chose Unwrap All with the Use Existing Seams option selected.

After that I decided that I wanted to add some more details to the skin such as micro pores and wrinkles, but that required the next subdivision level, which in my case was level 7 at 12,000,000 polys. A mesh that dense really slows down my PC, so I found a way around this by sculpting the details direct onto the texture.

To do this first you have to generate a Displacement map and load it in ZBrush's alpha palette. After that, press Crop And Fill to drop your texture onto the canvas. Now you can use ZBrush 2.5D's brushes to sculpt wrinkles and other details directly onto the unwrapped and flattened texture.  After that press Grab Doc and you are ready for ultra-detailed displacement rendering (Fig.03).

Fig. 03

Fig. 03

As a starting point for a Diffuse map, I used a skin sample taken from the back of a male reference image I found on Then I placed the Displacement map over the skin sample and set it to Overlay blending mode. I did the rest of the details by poly painting inside ZBrush, except for the lips which I took from an actual photo (Fig.04).

Fig. 04

Fig. 04


For the rendering I chose modo 401 because of its incredible speed and quality. For the lighting I used one of the environment images from modo's assets and set it to illuminate the model with Global Illumination. No additional lights were used in this scene. As for the material setup, you can check out my Making Of - Starfleet Officer here on 3DTotal.  

Once I'd rendered the bust with golden rings and a piece of cloth, I switched to 3ds Max to make some hairs for the head and cloth. All of that could have been easily done in modo, but I wanted to try this great Hairfarm plugin. So I exported my model as an FBX, did the hair and combined all the passes from the hair and my main model in Photoshop (Fig.05).

Fig: 05

And with that the image was finished! I hope you've enjoyed this Making Of.

Related links

To see more by Anto Juricic, check out Prime - The Definitive Digital Art Collection

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