The purpose of tking of is to outline the tools and techniques I used in the creation of my image, Hornedman. The image started as a sketch inside ZBrush and grew from there into the final image almost by accident.
Sketching characters in ZBrush is a great way to concept ideas, mess around with forms and come up with cool new things. After the sketch I retopologised the head section of the model and from there used the polypaint tools in ZBrush to create the textures. Rendering was handled with Mental Ray in 3ds Max. I find Mental Ray to be the most accessible of the available rendering systems for Max, and the fact that Max already comes with it makes it great. Also, having used XSI for many years, the creation of shaders in Mental Ray has become second nature to me.
The starting point of many of my images, characters and dailies are done in ZBrush in the form of a sketch. As my drawing skills aren’t really worth writing home about, I find ZBrush to be a real lifesaver in terms of creating concepts. And the great thing is that you can visualise your concepts in 3D and even use the concept as a template to model over later on in the pipeline.
For this character I started with a basic human form mesh that I created in XSI some years ago and have been using in many projects since (Fig.01).
Using this mesh at the lowest sub-division I pushed and pulled it around with the Move tool and Standard brush in ZBrush to find a base form and silhouette I liked. From there I worked my way up the subdivision levels adding progressively more detail using the Clay Tubes and Clay brushes only. An overview of the different sub-division levels can be seen in Fig.02 – 03.
For this model I decided to just retopologise the head as the loops on the body were adequate for my needs. The retopologising process was simple; I exported a mid-res .obj from ZBrush into 3ds Max and then used Polyboost’s surface snapping tools to create a clean mesh over the old one. For the body I just exported the lowest subdivision out of ZBrush and joined that onto my new head. I then exported this new low-res .obj back into ZBrush, assigned it as a SubTool of the original sketch, subdivided it up to 4 million polys, and chose Project All to project my sculpted sketch onto my clean topology (Fig.04).
As this was still indented to be a full character I also modelled some base gear and straps for him in 3ds Max
For the texturing stage I decided to use the polypaint feature in ZBrush. As the model still didn’t have a set of UVs this was perfect for me to sketch on a try out some ideas for the skin. I used a technique outlined by Scott Spencer with his Stinger Head model to paint the texture. Firstly I chose a base colour for his skin, and then painted on sprays of red, blue and green in key places. Then I “noodled” the skin with white veins and finally sprayed over it all with my base colour at a low opacity. This is a very fast and effective technique for concepting skin tones and painting textures. As I still wasn’t sure what to do with him at this stage, I left the texture rough (Fig.05 – 06).
I wanted to push myself on how far I could go, so I decided to build a piece capable to make an art statement; I didn’t want to feel that it was just another 3D model.
Being an automobile nut, I, like some of you, have had the idea of building a car from the first to the last bolt. I find out that for this task a good set of blueprints is never enough. I spent around a week collecting photographs before the beginning of the modeling process, and I was still collecting references at the end of the texturing and rendering steps.
My first advice to you will be, if you are trying to make a model above average, start with planes, boats or cars that had been restored. You will easily find part catalogues, illustrations, schemes and diagrams of objects with historic meaning. I made a quick selection of some of the GT-40 pictures I found during my research (Fig. 01).
I usually try as much as possible to start from spline cages. It comes very handy to have a tridimensional blueprint of your model; it will guide you making decisions about size, position, and where your components should be organized, even before you model the shell.
Later on, you can use the spline curves to loft panels that will be the base mesh of your car body.
Once I had my cage done, I started modeling the chassis using photo references (Fig. 02).
The next step was modeling all the components that have direct relationship with the chassis.
I always started creating primitives to establish rotation and proportions, and then I went in detail using pictures. Here once more I used techniques like nurbs revolves, lofts and extrusions than later on turned into polygons.
Finally, I used lattice and nonlinear deformers to achieve the desired shapes (Fig. 03, Fig. 04, Fig. 05).
This will be a brief explanation about making of the quad bike, I like quads but you won’t exactly see me riding one (too scary for me ) anyway it was needed for a small project for a presentation of a quad and motorcycles racing track, it needed to be animated as well.
As usually if you needed any decent realistic existing model you need reference, unfortunately I couldn’t find blueprints for the quad but I did manage to find a decent front side pictures, a tip is to not only look in the official sites and try google image search or anything similar, amateur images is sometimes more clear than good ones because they don’t do any effort to make it perfect they show it for how its really is
As you see its far from perfect reference, so when modeling you always have to be careful and look at reference images taken from a normal viewing angle and checking to see if it’s the same or not (simply use your eye), you can pretty much say that modeling without decent blueprints isn’t certainly your first choice, I can hear some one out there saying duh anyway.
A little trick also is to put the reference image as a background then use a camera to try to replicate the original one, and see if there are major proportional differences (camera match)
I’ve had no problems with modeling, the only hard thing was the lack of good reference which makes modeling more time consuming, I made the all the basic objects using editable poly as following:
then I started adding details also using primitives, splines etc.. and adding simple modifiers to primitives taper, FFD etc
I did also make 4 or 5 types of screws and small objects so I can quickly start copying them and instancing them, that added good amount of details very quickly