Making Of 'Eyes Wide Open'

I'm an artist working in the video game industry, and have been a 3DTotal visitor for almost 10 years now. Here is my first tutorial; I hope you like it.

I have always had a passion for traditional art, and always try to approach it with 3D tools. I did this work with ZBrush, Maya and Photoshop (Fig.01).

Fig.01

Fig.01

First, a little bit about the inspiration behind this piece. I was totally moved by an Israeli movie called Eyes Wide Open and decided I wanted to use what I'd seen in my latest work. For me good artwork needs emotional support.

Then I started building a basic concept and mood board, mostly consisting of screenshots from the movie. I decided to start with the man with the beard. I used a base mesh from a previous work, and then moved into ZBrush, which I mostly used for this work (Fig.02).

Fig.02

Fig.02

I didn't really want a super-likeness for him, but decided to focus more on his expression. I paid quite a lot of attention to his eyes and you can see the model of these in Fig.03.

Fig.03

Fig.03

Then I moved on to the face, where almost all the detail was sculpted. I then exported quite a high res model, around 500K. I could have used the Displacement map for details, but I find it's always a headache getting it to look exactly like the original high res model. As I've got quite a good PC, I decided to just use the high res model instead. For the tiniest details I used a Cavity map from ZBrush as the bump; it was enough for me (Fig.04).

Fig.04

Fig.04

The next challenge was the hair and facial hair. I thought they were quite important features when it came to showing his identity, so I had to focus on attention to detail (Fig.05).

Fig.05

Fig.05

Before I started, I researched hair a little more, but it turned out pretty hopeless. So, I thought, why don't I try Maya's default hair? I want to say I am not the best with the Hair tool, but it was really what I wanted for this work.

First I created one curve following the head, and then duplicated it one by one. It sounds boring, but I was able to achieve what I wanted this way, which was really good for me. I created the first hair system by growing some hair on a cube, and continued by deleting all the hair from the cube. Then I applied it to my hair curves, before tweaking it until I was happy with the result (Fig.06).

Fig.06

Fig.06

Next was the cloth. I started modeling a T-pose cloth base mesh, and after some sculpting, I tried to pose it because cloth changes a lot when it's in a different pose. Then I went on to sculpt the finer details (Fig.07).

Fig.07

Fig.07

For the skin I used mental ray's fast skin. Scattering Depth was the most important thing; it changes the most for the SSS result. It does depend on your model's size, so you need to test it before tweaking it. I know I should have done more accurately layered textures, but this already looked pretty good to me (Fig.08).

Fig.08

Fig.08

For posing, I used ZBrush Transpose Master; I find it really handy when you have many subtools. It's quick to pose your character.

The very last bit to cover is the rendering. It's something huge that can really affect the final atmosphere of your work. For this work, it was quite a big challenge for me, because there were two characters that were interacting with each other. I didn't want them to just be lit; I wanted people to be able to focus on the emotions in their faces and body language.

I had two key lights, as well as two rim lights for each other, and one strong area lit from the back. Over all I chose a cold color, but used a little bit of warm lighting on the bearded man's face, with the colder lighting on the young guy, to show hopelessness and desperation (Fig.09).

Fig.09

Fig.09

I didn't do all the render passes; I just rendered out the depth channel for the depth of field in photography. I then added a background from some mixed photos. The important thing was that the light needed to fit my rendering.

I finally added some little dusty bits in the depth of field (Fig.10).

Fig.10

Fig.10

Thanks for reading this and I hope to see you soon.

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