ZBrush Speed Sculpting Techniques - Chapter 1
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When doing a speed sculpt it's important to work on the big shapes and be loose and experimental. This allows you to make a whole bunch of character or creature concepts for a client (or yourself) in a short period of time, without getting stuck on details.
For this image, even though it wasn't important to add details like small wrinkles and pores, I found that I had the time to do so later on in my 3 hour limit. The majority of time (2hrs 45mins) was spent on modeling; the rest, and more, (1hr 10mins) was spent on the render.
I start the model by loading the DefaultSphere from LightBox (hotkey ","). I then pull this sphere a little with the Move brush, just to get basic shape to start off with (Fig.01). To avoid stretching, I convert the image to a dynamesh at a fairly low resolution (40), since I only want to work on the big forms at the beginning.
I start blocking out something that resembles a humanoid skull and chest. I find it useful to use the Trim Dynamic and Clip brushes at this early stage to get some coarse features in the model.
I now start scribbling out some features on the face with the Dam Standard brush (Fig.02).
These are used as a kind of sketch just to get my ideas flowing. I don't intend for these sketch carvings to stay there forever, so I can smooth them out later with the Smooth brush.
I also find it helpful to suggest the eye sockets and the cheekbones early on. When I started I didn't really have any idea of what kind of character I wanted, but now there is an idea in my head that he should be an ogre-like brute.
I continue working on the profile of the character with the Move brush. In order to make his lower jaw stand out, I mask it off with the Mask Lasso brush while looking at the model from the side. I then pull out the jaw with the Move brush.
Don't forget that you can move the faces in the brush's direction by pressing the Alt button while moving. I do this quite often as you don't have to rotate the model around when using this feature. It's also good to work with the Standard brush at a low Z intensity (Fig.03).
Refining the Features
At this time, I feel that I have the general form of the character pretty much complete, so I want to progress a bit in the subdivisions.
First, I re-dynamesh the model (Ctrl + drag on the document) and subdivide it into three sections. When working with DynaMesh, I usually set Blur to 0 in order to keep the texture of the model fairly rough.
In Fig.04 I have marked in red the T overlap in the upper part of the eye socket. This is something easily over-looked as the fat and tissue in this area hides the bone structure; but I find it useful to exaggerate this at the start of a model to get the correct proportions. I also add a small ear and more fat hanging from the jaw.
In order to sculpt the area around the eye, I always bring in a sphere to help me get the correct shape. I add the Sphere 3D (Tool > Subtool > Append) into the model, scale it down and place it on the figure correctly (Fig.05). It's helpful to activate Transparency when doing this. The Transparency button can be found in the lower right side of the document.
When the eyeball is in place, it is easier to sculpt the eyelids. Fig.06 shows the highest and lowest point of the upper and lower eyelids (marked with arrows). I then use the SubTool Master (ZPlugin > SubTool Master > Mirror) to mirror the eye to the other side of the face.
I continue to refine some of the details. Fig.07 shows a few of the bone structure adjustments:
1. The flat part of the frontal bone.
2. A simplified diagram of the nose.
3. Fat pockets above the upper eyelid that I sculpt with the Clay Buildup brush.
4. Wrinkles radiating from the mouth can be found above and below the mouth on an old human being, but here I've only sculpted them above the mouth.
5. Wrinkles going around the mouth are mostly seen on the lower jaw but can also be found less pronounced above the mouth.
6. Fat that builds up on the neck tends to create folds that encircle the neck. These are created when a person tilts their head.
The character's face feels a little bit empty at this point, so I decide to give him a bit more character by adding some teeth with the Curve Tube brush. As you only can work with the insert brushes on a subtool with a single subdivision, I switch to the eye subtool when I add the teeth.
After the base geometry is in place I start pushing the teeth around with the Move brush to get a better shape. You can also mask off one tooth at a time and use the Scale Transpose line (hotkey "S") to flatten them. To get a sharper look I add some finish with the Trim Dynamic brush (Fig.08).
As I'm feeling indecisive about how I should tackle the big features in the face, I decide to add some more wrinkles with the Dam Standard brush (Fig.09).
I always do this on a separate layer so I can turn the layer off and protect the wrinkles when I want to work on the basic shape. It's also good practice to add a new layer, sculpt and then merge with your old layer if the sculpting turns out well. This is a good way to give yourself more scope to experiment and correct your work.
After adding all of the wrinkles, I start to add volume to the area between the wrinkles to give them a much fleshier feel. This is easily done with the Standard brush on a low Z intensity (Fig.10).
I want to create a quick pose for my character in order to break up the symmetry. To do this, I use the Transpose Master and activate Layer so that the new pose will be put on a separate layer for each subtool. I go to ZPlugin > Transpose Master and press TPoseMesh to create a new tool for posing.
When posing any kind of head I usually just use the Mask Lasso tool to mask off the head and rotate it with the Rotate Transpose line (hotkey R). I drag out a transpose line from the middle of the head and then move the transpose line by dragging the line (not the white or red rings) to the position where the head meets the neck. Now I can rotate the head by dragging the white ring on the transpose line that is in front of the head.
When I am done with posing, I select TPose > SubTool (ZPlugin > Transpose Master) to transfer the pose to the model. After the pose is done I add some asymmetry in the face with the Move brush (Fig.11).
Adding the Detail
Since I have some time left on my 3 hour limit, I decide to do some skin detail. I create two separate passes on two different layers that I will later combine.
The left-hand figure in Fig.12 shows the skin wrinkles on the character. I do a new version of the Standard brush (Brush > Clone) and use alpha 58 for the alpha slot. I then set the stroke to Spray with a low value on Stroke > Flow and set the Brush > Orientation > Spin Rate to 10. I use this brush to sculpt the small skin wrinkles. It's a pretty fast way of adding skin structure, but make sure you apply this effect evenly.
The right-hand figure in Fig.12 shows some skin bumps. To make these, I created a new version of the Standard brush (Brush > Clone) with alpha 47 in the alpha slot. I set the stroke to Spray with a low value on Stroke > Flow and a high or top value for the Stroke > Placement.
Now that the sculpting is done, I want to do a quick polypainting on the character. I change my brush to Standard, turn off Zadd and turn on RGB. These buttons can be found in the middle upper part of the UI. I create a new layer and paint it with a gray color. After that I switch to black and start to add some value to different parts of the face (Fig.13).
To add some grime in the skin I import a concrete texture (Texture > Import) and bring it into a spotlight (Texture > Add to Spotlight). Before I start painting, I increase the spotlight radius to make it easier to see my model when painting. After that, I increase the contrast in the image by dragging the Contrast icon on the spotlight wheel (Fig.14).
To go into Paint mode in spotlight, I press the hotkey Z on the keyboard and paint the concrete on a new layer (Fig.15).
After doing the concrete painting, I turn off spotlight (Shift + Z) and return to my base layer.
Now I change Brush > Alpha and Texture > Polypaint mode to 2 (Colorize) and paint the base paint layer with color (Fig.16).
As ZBrush only has Normal blending mode on Polypaint layers, I need to create a mask based on my concrete layer and paint the darker color on a new layer. To do this, I turn on the eye icon on the concrete layer, click Tool > Masking > Mask by Intensity and create a new layer (Fig.17). The masking will be on the new layer.
After this is done I turn off the concrete layer, activate Rec on the new layer with the intensity mask and paint it in a dark color. I fine-tune this tone by dialing down the layer opacity until I find a level I like (Fig.18).
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To see more by Daniel Bystedt, check out ZBrush Characters & Creatures