Project Overview: The Girl with the Plastic Flower
*WARNING: CONTAINS NUDITY*
Hi my name is Martin Nikolov and this is a project overview for my image: The Girl with the Plastic Flower.
It is a personal work, made one day in my free time for fun. I started started with no specific idea; I just wanted to model a girl, with a kind of vintage look. I did some research and gathered references for the face and her haircut, then for the gloves, helmet and accessories later on. It started just for practice, then I added more details and decided to made a render of it, and give it a more finalized look.
I started with sculpting the face in ZBrush from PolySpheres, using DynaMesh. I think it's the fastest way to start with modeling, because you have a lot of freedom in the beginning, and you can quickly experiment with the shape and form with no topology boundaries. The brushes I use the most in this process are the Move and Clay brushes, with lots of smoothing. For the hair, I used DynaMesh too as at this stage I didn't know I was going to give her a helmet (Fig.01).
When I was happy with the overall proportions, I made a quick retopo in ZBrush and added the torso from an existing base mesh I have. After that I began adding accessories and clothes. For the gloves I used an old base mesh too, and for the dress, jewelry and flower, I just used simple box modeling in modo. For posing the model I used Transpose tools in ZBrush, and quickly tweaked the proportions, before the sculpting part (Fig.02).
I've received some questions about the collar, so I'll show you the way I modeled it in modo. First I started with the Sketch Curve tool to draw part of the collar profile. I tweaked it a little bit to get some variation, then cloned it about 18 times to get nice long row.
The next step was to bend it 360 degrees and weld the vertices. When I got that closed curve, I made an extrusion along that curve, gave it some thickness and added some extra edges. Then I made another slight bend, and it was ready to send to ZBrush to add some small variations and details (Fig.03 - 04).
The sculpting part was a good exercise in anatomy and cloth. The finer details were made with custom alphas I downloaded from ZBrush Central. Then I added more details like eyelashes and teeth.
When I finished with the sculpting part, I started texturing the model. Everything was PolyPainted in ZBrush. First were the eyes, then the face, trying to give it an even more scared look and adding that black, blurred make-up. I didn't spend much time painting the textures because my idea was for a more washed-out, noisy image (Fig.05).
Since she was still naked, I decided to add a Mickey Mouse-style helmet, inspired by Brian M. Viveros's (http://brianmviveros.com) illustrations. Maybe to hide the hair, maybe not - I think it turned out better with that helmet (Fig.06)!
To prepare the model for rendering, I unwrapped the body, eyes and the helmet using ZBrush's UV Master plugin. Then I painted the Diffuse, Specular and SSS amount maps for the body and eyes, and baked the Normal map (Fig.07).
For the helmet, I just used a Diffuse and for everything else I used procedural textures in modo. I exported two or three sub-divisions lower than the highest, and just the hair was decimated (Fig.08).
The render setup was really simple, just a background plane with a gradient. For the lighting I used an HDRI image from the Studio Environment Set 1, from 9B Studios, and no other lights. I played around with it to choose the right one (Fig.09).
For the body I used the default modo skin shader with a few tweaks. The other shaders were made from the default material.
I rendered a few passes, to use later on, for the final compositing and color corrections in Photoshop. These were: Final Color, Ambient Occlusion, Material ID and Depth passes (Fig.10).
In Photoshop I played a lot with the Curves and washed out the colors for an even more vintage look. I made a ton of different variations for the colors and contrast, and choosing the right one was the hardest part of making the image. Hopefully I made the right choice (Fig.11).
It was really fun making this image. I hope you like it and thanks for reading. If you have any questions, or just want to say hi, feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org