Making of 'The Guards'
Hello, my name is Kashpersky Alexey (aka RIDDICK). I'd like present in this article the process of creation of my latest work, "The Guards" (Fig.01).
I outlined a quick sketch using pencil on paper, and then realised that it was necessary to extend the hind legs - so I did (Fig.02).
As I was working on the sketch I remembered the work of another artist, and with that the concept of a jumping creature was born (Fig.03). I even did a sculptural sketch in ZBrush, but gave up on it (Fig.04). I wanted the monster to be of my own design and creation, right from the end of the tail to the tips of the tusks. Which is why, the next day, I started with the primary planning in ZBrush.
I started from ZSpheres, lining them up to create a basic form, and then modelled from there (Fig.05). I continued sculpting and establishing the basic masses. When you model anything in ZBrush, it's much more comfortable to work with two monitors. On one, have your sketch and reference images on the musculature, and so on, and on the other have your ZBrush work open. Most attention needs to be given to the anatomy of your model. Even if I'm modelling a fantastic creature, I always start off with the anatomy of animals that are most similar to my concept creation, for better understanding whilst I sculpt, making for a more believable model.
At this stage, before creating a model of the horseman, I tried the model of the BMP out with a basic male model to determine the correlation between the sizes of man and beast. Once I was happy, I could continue modelling further (Fig.06).
Here I started to work on the protective leather straps on the body by creating new Subtools. For this purpose it was necessary to mask the areas of the surface which I wanted to extrude (Fig.07 - 08).
By the way, I was asked a question: What is the growth protruding from his back? Well, it's a light, such as some fish have in the deep sea (Fig.09).
Here I made some time to incorporate a horseman and detail his clothing. Taking advantage of the Transpose tool, I gave the man a suitable pose and approximately set where the fabric of his garment would hang on him (Fig.10). Â
Whilst creating the fabric, I decided to stop detailing it; I had it exactly where I needed it, covering the man's torso, flowing in the wind. I make a few trial sketches of the fabric in ZBrush and realised that something was missing ... it didn't look vivid enough. To fix this, I exported the low poly model of the man into 3ds Max and used the SimCloth plugin, simply putting the fabric on a low poly "doll". The result was already much better, it was still not quite what I needed. I then made an attempt to make the fabric more dynamic, and I created a short animation of the doll, turning him clockwise and a slightly sideways. To reflect the flow of the wind on the fabric I created a few animated objects; I tried playing with the variants of their motion, but the final result didn't really satisfy my needs (Fig.11). The only option was to complete the desired effect in ZBrush.
I applied a Shell modifier to the designed piece of fabric which gave the material its thickness. I then took it back into ZBrush where I smoothed out any excessive unevenness, and continued with the detailing. Here's how it turned out for me in the end (Fig.12).
When the design was finished, the most labour intensive process came: retopologising, starting with the stone, making make sure that the textures would all fit properly and to avoid the texturing process becoming too complex (Fig.13). With the stone retopologised, I did the same for all the other objects in the scene (Fig.14).
I used the programme Unfold3d to generate the UV maps, and then loaded the unfolded objects back into ZBrush (Fig.15).
Fig.16 shows the stage with all objects combined.
The time then came to start incorporating the textures. First and foremost, I took everything apart in local colours, making it easier to do the work (Fig.17).
I created a luminescence map, which was pretty easy to do so I didn't waste any time with it (Fig.18).
I then created a basic colour map, and from there I went on to make the epidermis map (Fig.19 - 21). An epidermis map is approximately what you would see with a living creature if you were to tear off the outer layer of its skin.
When the texturing of the main character was finished, I had 6 different maps for him, each with a resolution of 4096x4096 pixels (Fig.22). I could then move onto the clothing of the beast.Â
To create the effect of drawings on the creature's skin, I created 2 new alpha brushes (Fig.23 - 25).
For the fabric I achieved the effect of brilliance by laying the alpha of a fabric image in the specular map channel (Fig.26).
I imported all of the stages into 3ds Max (Fig.27).
For the lighting setup, please see Fig.28.
And here is the Mental Ray SSS for the body of the BMP (Fig.29).
During the creation of the work, I decided to replace the rock with a new one to make more of an artistic impression, more like a small floating island. Once I'd arranged the renders of the final image and saved it as a .tiff file, I was then able to work from the alphas (Fig.30).
And so, the work was continued in Photoshop until I achieved the final image (Fig.31 - 33).