Making of “Dawnbringer”

I am a freelance digital sculptor and 3D character modeler, working for various game studios, like Bluepoint games on Playstation, and for this work I was inspired by a Chengwei Pan concept.

Step 1: Think ahead

The first thing that you should do is break your work into manageable pieces, so you can bring your concept into Photoshop or ZBrush and begin thinking in advance about possible issues and problems that you may have. You can use ZBrush mannequins to pose with to see where your model should go.

Step 2: ZBrush workflow

Well I blocked all the basic shapes using only ZBrush as always, and I used the topology brush and ZModeler and ZSphere topology to make the armor. For the hair I used a software called de hair tubes which can be found at this link, and polypainted her in ZBrush as well as ZAppLink.

Step 3: Using ZBrush tools

For the organic armor on the hands I used ZRemesher a couple of times and I used slash 2, which is located in the lightbox, and dam standard to lay the deep lines. For the scales I used the topology brush and again I used ZBrush ZAappLink and Photoshop to paint her face and body. I also used ZBrush transparency for some of the scales, which directs light through and is good for rendering glass-type material.

Step 4: Rendering using ZBrush BPR

For the render, I used skin shade 4 for the skin, and ZBrush BPR render with blur shadows set to 10 and angle set to 20. I made a couple of BPR render passes and then I placed lights in a variety of directions to gain enough shadows and highlights in order to combine them later in Photoshop. I always turn off vibrant shadows and AO in the material tab because it adds unwanted saturation and color vibrancy.

Step 5: Photoshop

In Photoshop I combined everything together separately to have control, and I added all the rim lights, ZBrush HDRI passes, spec, shadows, and bounce lights. I used levels and curves to control the values of the passes. I used soft light, overlay, linear doge mode, and so on, to mix all of the passes together. For adding more depth to the hair lines I used the Photoshop filter oil paint. For the background render I painted a background and created some particles and simple clouds, which were combined with the final composition to create an atmosphere.

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