Making Of 'Dali'
When I decided to reproduce Salvador Dali, I did so with the specific intent of copying one of his most famous photographs (by Philippe Halsman), and in particular I wanted to capture his unique look. I wanted to do the work as much as possible in ZBrush, including shading and rendering, and to finalize the composition in Photoshop.
After collecting a fair amount of reference photographs on Google, I started with a very low standard basic mesh in ZBrush. I turned it into a DynaMesh and I used it as the base for my sculpt (Fig.01).
Always refering back to my references, I started to sculpt the main physical features using mainly the Move and Clay Buildup brushes. At this point I retopologized and reprojected details on my new mesh, obtaining a good base with a clean topology (Fig.02).
By using ZSpheres I made a reference geometry for the moustache (Fig.03) and with Transpose Master I rotated the head to achieve a pose closer to the original one in Halsman's portrait (Fig.04).
I also made a reference geometry for the hairs. To do this I masked the upper head and with Mesh Extract I got a temporary volume that helped me to better balance the pose (Fig.05).
Still refining proportions and features, I added the volume of the eyebrows and I modeled clothes with Maya. I appended them as subtools and I adjusted the overall position of the upper body. I also painted the irises with polypaint to correct the line of sight (Fig.06).
At this point I started to test the Fibermesh tools to do moustaches and eyebrows. For moustaches I found the brush GroomSpike very useful, and I was able to obtain the characteristic twisted shape with it (Fig.07).
I combed the eyebrows using the Groom Hair Short brush, and I also used the Groom Lengthen brush at some points to achieve a more uneven look. Once satisfied with the overall look I started to sculpt skin pores and imperfections using the Standard brush and some alphas textures (in particular I used Antropus alphas, which always I find very useful for my needs)(Fig.08).
The hairs took some time to be made. I tried to figure out a good workflow before I started. I set a medium length and, starting from the nape, I stratified many rows from the bottom upwards, combing them with the Groom Hair Long brush (Fig.09). Here's the look I obtained (Fig.10).
I quickly refined the clothes and fabric patterns. To do this, I simply mapped a tileable pattern on my clothes UVs, and after masking by intensity, I used the Inflat tool, with a small positive value to sculpt it (the Inflat tool is located in the Deformation panel). On the jacket I made a pinstripe effect using the Alpha 60 from ZBrush plugged into a Standard brush with Lazy Mouse on.
Once I finished the model I painted it with polypaint. I didn't used photos to texture the face, only a Standard brush with the Spray feature.
I assigned some different materials, in the following order (Fig.11):
• A basic material 2 with a high specular for the hairs, moustache and eyebrows
• A basic material with a low specular for the clothes
• The matcap metal 01 for the tie to give it a satin effect
• A quadshader (composed of a basic material, a Fresnel Overlay to simulate the scatter effect and a basic material 2 to control the specular separately) for his skin.
Then I set the camera with a very low distortion (angle of view around 15) and made a light set with three lights: a couple of lights from the top with very soft shadows to create the main shadow and a rim light from the left.
I rendered everything and applied two post-render filters: Saturation to desaturate and Orton to contrast and soften my render (Fig.12).
I also made some extra passes: ID pass, occlusion, specular A, specular B and alpha mask (Fig.13).
I finally switched to Photoshop where I refined the image. I added the occlusion pass over my beauty, and on a new layer I painted with a soft black and white brush to enhance lights and shadows where needed.
Using the specular and ID passes I enhanced the speculars here and there. Then I painted some hair clumps that I hadn't with Fibermesh. I also added grain and some noise, before turning the overall colors to sepia tones (Fig.14).
My goal and challenge was to create a Dali who seems to be watching the observer using only ZBrush, and focusing on giving life to my model. I'm very happy of the result and I hope you like it too!
Thank you for reading!