Making Of 'Rock and Roll'

My Name is Rodrigue Pralier, I currently work for Electronic Arts Montreal.

I'm going to show you all how I created my Rock n Roll image. For my latest personal project I wanted to model an old rock and roll character. Within this 'making of', I will show you all the different steps, from modeling the pieces within Zbrush, to the final retouching up in Photoshop.

I will presume that you all have some knowledge of polygonal modeling as I will not be showing how I did the different low-res pieces. I used the same process you're about to see for all the pieces.

Before starting anything you have to now exactly what your concept is. I used to do some 2d concepts but for this one, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, so I took only a few photographic references.

Once you know where you are going you can start to model the low-res version of the different pieces of your scene.

IMPORTANT: You need to unwrap the UVs of all your models (I used unfold3D to do it quickly). All your models have to be in quads, if not you will experience problems when you start to model in Zbrush.

Before importing your model into Zbrush you need to prepare your work space. I have a multiprocessor in my computer, so I activated the MULTIDRAW and THE MULTIRENDER.

To see if it's worth it on yours launch the TEST MULTITHREADING.

Then I go to STROKE and put 4 in MOUSE AVG (you will avoid some shaking effects of your pen)

Now I can import my model and start working. Personally I like to work with the INFLAT tool and smooth curve.

For the details I use the projection master with the directional brush and some brush I made form head pictures. Don't forget to remove MRGB and to activate ZADD or ZSUB.

Now I have all my pieces ready in Zbrush

Now I want to export my models to 3dsmax. First I go to lower division (1 or 2) in Zbrush and I activate the CAGE button (the low res mesh tries to match with the highest division)

Then to create my displacement map I use the MULTIDISPLACEMENT 2 pluggin with these options:

My displacement map is created, now I can export my model from Zbrush (div 1 or 2) as a OBJ.
I import all my objects in 3dsmax, I convert them to poly objects, I add a TURBOSMOOTH (with 1 or 2 iterations depending on the objects) and I apply a DISPLACE (sometimes I use the displacement map also in the material as BUMP). I turn the 2 modifier off in viewport (right click) to keep my scene light in 3dsmax.

There are tons of good texturing/shading tutorials so I will not cover this part. (For this one I used a lot of camera mapping/render to texture) It's a big piece so I will try to make another tutorial on that next time.

I have all my models in 3dsmax textured and with displacement modifier, I can start the lighting.

For this scene I used 4 lights. A sky light (intensity 0.3) for the ambient, a directional light that will affect just the diffuse, another one just for the specular, and what I will call "red light" for the back light. This way I can move my "spec" light to have exactly what I want.

When I have all my lights I do a grey render to check if it's what I had in mind.

I'm not really sure about the back light intensity and I don't want to spend too much time adjusting the light. So I turn it a RED colour, turn off the other lights and do a render.

I will use this render later on in Photoshop by selecting only the red channel, copying it on a new layer and turning it to white. I will be able to play with the light intensity directly in Photoshop instead of 3dsmax.

I do a render with the textures activated and the RED light off. At this point I don't care about the colours and the contrast because I plan to tweak everything later in Photoshop.

Before I head over to Photoshop I need an occlusion render. There are different ways to do it, but for this one I used only a sky light (intensity 1) and a white material on all my models.
I will use this render in multiply mode in Photoshop to accentuate my shadows.

Ok, now I have everything I need, I can close 3dsmax and go straight to Photoshop.

First I take my basic render and add the occlusion pass

To have more consistency between the colours I add a colour layer in the soft light mode

The red bandanna alone is a bit distracting so I have to find a background picture with some red color to do a recall.
I did a montage with 3 different pictures; I blurred them, added some noise and played with the colors to get what I wanted.

Now that I have the right colours and the background I can use the RED render for the backlight. This one I have used twice. One in normal mode and a blurred copy in screen mode.

I don't really like clean renders and prefer when you have a feeling it was handmade. To have this effect I add dirt, textures and various other things.

I have a play again with the levels, the curves etc. in order to have more colour contrast

And here is the final outcome

I hope this tutorial will help you.

Thanks for reading!

To see more by Rodrigue Pralier, check out Digital Art Masters: Volume 8

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