Tutorial :: Rapid 3D conceptualization (Zbrush)

  Warrap 
 
So here I'll show you what it takes (or at elast my workflow) to create quick 1-2 hour high res "doodles", or 3D concepts, in zbrush. Usually in the gaming business, concepts are obviously done in photoshop with traditional painting styles. However, with powerful tools like zbrush, you can now make concepts straight in 3D, high res as well, which is incredibly useful, since if the concept is approved lets say, you can just take your concept to the next level and polish it to make the final high res version of whatever you are making.  
 
So in this instance, I'm doodling a fucking weird creature, I have no refs (stupid, always have refs on the side), and I'm kinda going by feel as to what my creature is going to look like. I like this method of working, it's pretty natural and nothing is pre-planned, you never know what you are going to end up with, and if you are lucky you might end up on something great. In the industry, this is called Happy Accidents... and it happens a lot.  
As you will see, the creature I decided to go for is a retarded mix of dinosaur, spider, crab-thing, no I don't smoke.   
  

    
(if the video streaming quality is shit, which i'm guessing it will be, you can download the mov version from the vimeo site)
 
So to start, since this is a pretty organic thing with limbs n shit, I start directly in zbrush with zspheres; this allows me to create the armature and basic shape of the creature... where the limbs are, body, size. This is the opposite method of what I did in my other tutorial way back then, since that was a knife I preferred to make a basic but "controlled" shape in 3dsmax that I brought into zbrush to sculpt over.  
 
Anyway whatever, once I'm done screwing with the zspheres (as you can see, I went from Inverted Penis -> Scorpion Shape -> Spider Dinosaur) - Everything in zbrush starts with a penis shape btw - I turn the zsphere structure into a mesh, with pretty low resolution.  
You want to start low-res to easily modify the general shape of whatever you are doing. It's a bad idea to just start subdividing right after making the mesh, its hard to modify if you want to make big changes. Anyway that's the way I do it, you can it whichever way you want. 
 
Once I have modified the low res to a better shape (using Move Brush, Inflate Brush, Standard Brush, etc), I then start subdividing to achieve a high polycount (high res). Usually I subdivide-modify shape ;  subdivide-modify shape, iteratively to get the best shape in the end, but in this case I had a pretty good shape in low res, I just subdivided a few times till I got to around 4 million polygons (decent high res) and started the detail work.  
  
So after subdividing, I'm ready to actually do cool stuff on it. Again, 3D artists work in different and mysterious ways, my way is to use a rough brush on my first pass(Clay Tubes Brush). I use this to define general muscle mass and in the same time add texture (loooots of texture) to my model. This process starts at 1:58 in the vid. This is the same way I started the detail work on the knife in the other tutorial.  
You can see me switch materials (shading of the model) during work to get different perspectives on the model, sometimes you don't want strong shadows, to be able to see some areas, other materials highlight crevices and creases (for detail work), etc.  
You can also see sometimes I return back to the first subdivision state (low res) to perform bigger modifications to the overall shape; because it's easier for the program to handle and you don't mess any detail work, all your high res work stays intact while you modify or repose the low res model. 
 
Once I'm done using the Clay Tubes Brush to define muscle mass and general shape, I start using different brushes for detail (4:50). The one I use the most isdam_standard which creases and bumps in the same time. It's my favorite brush for fine detail, in this case defining the muscles and adding skin detail, features, etc.  
Other brushes I use a lot are Flattening brushes, Slash brushes, Inflate, Standard, Smooth
 
As you can probably tell, I didn't care much for the legs, I was lazy (usually thin objects in zbrush are hard to sculpt without carefully paying attention to what you are doing, couldn't be fucked with that). Anyway again, this is the workflow for a doodle/concept, not a fully fledged high res finished model, it's kinda like speed painting, do wtvr the fuck you want. 
 
Like I said before, always go back to the low res to modify or fix large portions of the model, in this case, I modified the head a few times in low res to make it smaller and less cartoony as a result (in the very end), among other stuff. 
 
Anyway, hope you enjoyed this look into rapid 3d doodling / speed sculpting 
 
--
 
As a bonus, here's a doodle of a mass effect-inspired character portrait I made a while back (mix of turian/krogan/cobra snake). Couldn't record a timelapse vid of this because I kinda went on and off on this particular doodle and forgot to record some parts (mainly the part where a bucket of white paint exploded on the dude's face :D). I used the same workflow however, as well as coloring (polypaint) which I explain in the previous tutorial and is shown in the timelapse vid.       
 
http://warxsnake.deviantart.com/art/Creatures-01-140065384 
  
13 Comments
14 Comments
Edited by warxsnake

  Warrap 
 
So here I'll show you what it takes (or at elast my workflow) to create quick 1-2 hour high res "doodles", or 3D concepts, in zbrush. Usually in the gaming business, concepts are obviously done in photoshop with traditional painting styles. However, with powerful tools like zbrush, you can now make concepts straight in 3D, high res as well, which is incredibly useful, since if the concept is approved lets say, you can just take your concept to the next level and polish it to make the final high res version of whatever you are making.  
 
So in this instance, I'm doodling a fucking weird creature, I have no refs (stupid, always have refs on the side), and I'm kinda going by feel as to what my creature is going to look like. I like this method of working, it's pretty natural and nothing is pre-planned, you never know what you are going to end up with, and if you are lucky you might end up on something great. In the industry, this is called Happy Accidents... and it happens a lot.  
As you will see, the creature I decided to go for is a retarded mix of dinosaur, spider, crab-thing, no I don't smoke.   
  

    
(if the video streaming quality is shit, which i'm guessing it will be, you can download the mov version from the vimeo site)
 
So to start, since this is a pretty organic thing with limbs n shit, I start directly in zbrush with zspheres; this allows me to create the armature and basic shape of the creature... where the limbs are, body, size. This is the opposite method of what I did in my other tutorial way back then, since that was a knife I preferred to make a basic but "controlled" shape in 3dsmax that I brought into zbrush to sculpt over.  
 
Anyway whatever, once I'm done screwing with the zspheres (as you can see, I went from Inverted Penis -> Scorpion Shape -> Spider Dinosaur) - Everything in zbrush starts with a penis shape btw - I turn the zsphere structure into a mesh, with pretty low resolution.  
You want to start low-res to easily modify the general shape of whatever you are doing. It's a bad idea to just start subdividing right after making the mesh, its hard to modify if you want to make big changes. Anyway that's the way I do it, you can it whichever way you want. 
 
Once I have modified the low res to a better shape (using Move Brush, Inflate Brush, Standard Brush, etc), I then start subdividing to achieve a high polycount (high res). Usually I subdivide-modify shape ;  subdivide-modify shape, iteratively to get the best shape in the end, but in this case I had a pretty good shape in low res, I just subdivided a few times till I got to around 4 million polygons (decent high res) and started the detail work.  
  
So after subdividing, I'm ready to actually do cool stuff on it. Again, 3D artists work in different and mysterious ways, my way is to use a rough brush on my first pass(Clay Tubes Brush). I use this to define general muscle mass and in the same time add texture (loooots of texture) to my model. This process starts at 1:58 in the vid. This is the same way I started the detail work on the knife in the other tutorial.  
You can see me switch materials (shading of the model) during work to get different perspectives on the model, sometimes you don't want strong shadows, to be able to see some areas, other materials highlight crevices and creases (for detail work), etc.  
You can also see sometimes I return back to the first subdivision state (low res) to perform bigger modifications to the overall shape; because it's easier for the program to handle and you don't mess any detail work, all your high res work stays intact while you modify or repose the low res model. 
 
Once I'm done using the Clay Tubes Brush to define muscle mass and general shape, I start using different brushes for detail (4:50). The one I use the most isdam_standard which creases and bumps in the same time. It's my favorite brush for fine detail, in this case defining the muscles and adding skin detail, features, etc.  
Other brushes I use a lot are Flattening brushes, Slash brushes, Inflate, Standard, Smooth
 
As you can probably tell, I didn't care much for the legs, I was lazy (usually thin objects in zbrush are hard to sculpt without carefully paying attention to what you are doing, couldn't be fucked with that). Anyway again, this is the workflow for a doodle/concept, not a fully fledged high res finished model, it's kinda like speed painting, do wtvr the fuck you want. 
 
Like I said before, always go back to the low res to modify or fix large portions of the model, in this case, I modified the head a few times in low res to make it smaller and less cartoony as a result (in the very end), among other stuff. 
 
Anyway, hope you enjoyed this look into rapid 3d doodling / speed sculpting 
 
--
 
As a bonus, here's a doodle of a mass effect-inspired character portrait I made a while back (mix of turian/krogan/cobra snake). Couldn't record a timelapse vid of this because I kinda went on and off on this particular doodle and forgot to record some parts (mainly the part where a bucket of white paint exploded on the dude's face :D). I used the same workflow however, as well as coloring (polypaint) which I explain in the previous tutorial and is shown in the timelapse vid.       
 
http://warxsnake.deviantart.com/art/Creatures-01-140065384 
  
Posted by Dr_Feelgood38

Holy crap, dude. Weird inverted penis aliens and a Turian Krogan love child? Fucking awesome! I especially like the way that you model the musculature of each of them (at the bottom middle, that Turian dude looks like a fucking tank). You've got crazy talent, keep up the awesome work.

Posted by warxsnake
@Dr_Feelgood38 said:
" Holy crap, dude. Weird inverted penis aliens and a Turian Krogan love child? Fucking awesome! I especially like the way that you model the musculature of each of them (at the bottom middle, that Turian dude looks like a fucking tank). You've got crazy talent, keep up the awesome work. "
Thanks! More to come hopefully. That turian with the white explosion on its face i modeled before me2 came out, and since having playing ME2 three times, well I feel like doing some more!
Posted by OverLord00

Wow, I want to give Zbrush a try now.  Finally a reason to bust out my old Wacom instead of drawing doodles in photoshop lol.

Edited by RandomInternetUser

How much is Zbrush, and where can I obtain it?
 
Edit:  Also, amazing work!  How long did it take to actually complete?
 
Edit 2:  Read the whole post.  You've seriously sparked an interest in me.  I think I want to try pursuing 3D modeling.  Any tips on where to start?  (I'm just getting my general ed in college about halfway done, and I'm 16, about to turn 17, so I have some time to get in practice and stuff.)

Posted by Geno

Interesting. 

Posted by torus
@xobballox said:
" How much is Zbrush, and where can I obtain it?  (I only watched the video and read the first paragraph)  Edit:  Also, amazing work!  How long did it take to actually complete? "
Costs 600 bucks. Pixelogic makes it.
Posted by Matfei90

Brilliant stuff man, this is exactly the kind of stuff that gets me excited about modelling. 
 
I love your Turian-mix design.  

Posted by Xeiphyer
@warxsnake: Woah wait, you made that second picture of the turian snake thingy with the same editor?
Edited by Meteora

Shittttttttt!
 
Mad props on the Turian-looking guy! Totally subscribing you now on DeviantArt. Keep up the good work! xD
 
Edit: Shit, I just realised I already subscribed to you a long time ago, probably before I even went on GiantBomb or something. Damn coincidential!

Posted by TwoLines

Awesome.
Will check this out.

Online
Posted by Soap

Nice one, I'm a fan of Zbrush myself although I've only started using it recently and it can be a little overwhelming to use lol, I usually use it to edit models I've already made in 3Ds max though.
 
Nice work :)

Edited by warxsnake
@Xeiphyer said:

" @warxsnake: Woah wait, you made that second picture of the turian snake thingy with the same editor? "

Yeah, it's the same editor, also the same workflow (just longer time spent on it), and added the colors as well.  
 
@Meteora said:
" Shittttttttt!
 
Mad props on the Turian-looking guy! Totally subscribing you now on DeviantArt. Keep up the good work! xD
 
Edit: Shit, I just realised I already subscribed to you a long time ago, probably before I even went on GiantBomb or something. Damn coincidential! "
 
Haha small world!
Posted by Sweep

This is a pretty awesome tutorial! I'm a computer animation student and we only get taught Maya and a little Houdini. We have Zbrush on all the machines but we never get taught how to actually use it so it mostly goes untouched. I think a lot of people are pretty cynical of 3D artists making everything all wrinkly in Zbrush, but it's still something I have always wanted to learn. 

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