The making of 'RED'
Freelance 3D artist Rakan Khamash shares how he made the amazing Red
In this tutorial I will explain the process that I used to create RED and offer a few tips. I decided to go with a creature concept created by Creature Box because it has a very unique shape and a cute feel. This particular creature is good for practicing both organic (the body) and hardsurface (the back shell) modeling/sculpting.
I like to start in ZBrush with a sphere and sculpt my way up, I do use a mouse (don't hate me!). In the first hour of sculpting I try to get most of the shape but not worrying much about the quality. Then I begin refining each part, I do like to keep some anatomy even if the concept doesn't have any or it isn't showing. I stick to ZBrush for modeling most of the objects unless it is hardsurface and there is no need to sculpt it or worry about retopology. I use MODO as my primary application for modeling, rendering, shading, and texturing. I usually have ZBrush on screen and the reference on the other. These are the steps I follow for sculpting objects:
Step 1: DynaMesh sphere
Step 2: Sculpt/Move/Edit
Step 3: DynaMesh
Muscle and parts refinement
Using the Move, ClayBuildup, and DamStandard brushes I do more work on the body and start to build in some muscle form and body structure. At this stage I don't worry too much about tiny details, I concentrate on the big forms because it will get cleaned up later on. I only use DynaMesh, and if I needed more geometry I divide the mesh 1–3 times maximum.
Once I'm sure the shape of the body is exactly what I want it is time to use ZRemesher and get a nice clean mesh. I want to be able to project the details back and finalize the mesh, and at this stage I get my PolyGroups set, so I can just hide the parts I'm not working on.
Then it is time to start detailing the skin and adding some randomness to the parts; I also want to show more of the muscles and bone structure. I try to stay at the current level as much as I can, only dividing the mesh to a higher level if I'm sure I can't get the details at the current level. For this one you can see I used only 4 levels! I do exactly the same steps to create the shell and the extra bits such as the eyeball and nails.
Using Transpose Master I gave the model a simple pose, this gives the character a lot of life and it looks quite a bit more interesting than a standard T pose with 100% symmetry. I also added the little cute fly and something for him to stand on.
Bake and MODO
Baked (AO, Normal, Displacement) maps using ZBrush and Normal; then took the clean mesh to MODO and applied shading to each part, assigned the maps, and edited the materials.
Now that I've rendered my final image and done some passes it is time to edit the image in Photoshop. This is to enhance it because I think that sometimes it might need a bit of a paint over to add details or fix some problems. I always know what I'll be doing in 3D, and what I'll be adding later on in 2D. Not every detail should be done in 3D, especially if it is a still image and not an animation. Just have fun with it!
After Effects Magic
Most people stop here, but not me. I always like to take my final image to After Effects and play with color adjustments and tuning the final contrast. But be careful at this stage you don't want to BURN your image with a lot of effects. For me this stage is my signature stage, where I get to set my tones and contrast levels etc... Thank you and I hope you have enjoyed reading about my process.