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Brainstorming provides you with in-depth training on 3D + Animation. Taught by Ryan Kittleson as par… Show More

Digital Creature Creation in ZBrush, Photoshop, and Maya

with Ryan Kittleson

Video: Brainstorming

Brainstorming provides you with in-depth training on 3D + Animation. Taught by Ryan Kittleson as part of the Digital Creature Creation in ZBrush, Photoshop, and Maya
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  1. 2m 34s
    1. Introduction
    2. What you should know before watching this course
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 1s
  2. 10m 45s
    1. Installing custom brushes
      3m 54s
    2. Preparing GoZ
      5m 6s
    3. Optimizing tablet settings
      1m 45s
  3. 8m 36s
    1. Brainstorming
      2m 47s
    2. Refining a concept
      3m 22s
    3. Gathering reference images
      2m 27s
  4. 42m 13s
    1. Starting with ZSpheres
      6m 45s
    2. Posing the ZSpheres
      3m 39s
    3. Sculpting the basic forms
      5m 34s
    4. Using DynaMesh
      3m 8s
    5. Sculpting muscles and mid-size shapes
      6m 20s
    6. Defining joints
      3m 42s
    7. Sculpting bony plates
      5m 1s
    8. Sculpting leathery skin
      8m 4s
  5. 22m 9s
    1. Using GoZ between ZBrush and Maya
      2m 16s
    2. Making an eyeball
      3m 45s
    3. Creating tail spikes
      2m 44s
    4. Modeling a tooth
      4m 27s
    5. Duplicating the teeth
      4m 8s
    6. Finishing the teeth
      4m 49s
  6. 51m 28s
    1. Drawing guidelines for retopology
      4m 56s
    2. Fleshing out the retopology guides
      4m 29s
    3. Creating new topology
      5m 32s
    4. Generating the new mesh
      4m 58s
    5. Cleaning up the mesh in Maya
      5m 5s
    6. Modeling the tail in Maya
      4m 5s
    7. Modeling the claws
      6m 5s
    8. Preparing to project detail
      6m 5s
    9. Projecting detail to new topology
      4m 46s
    10. Cleaning up projection problems
      5m 27s
  7. 21m 0s
    1. Cutting UV seams
      5m 55s
    2. Prepping UV shells for UV Master
      4m 38s
    3. Using UV Master to unfold UVs
      4m 17s
    4. Arranging UVs in Maya
      6m 10s
  8. 13m 25s
    1. Creating a pedestal with Spotlight
      4m 53s
    2. Decimating the geometry
      4m 53s
    3. Finishing the pedestal
      3m 39s
  9. 38m 21s
    1. Setting up the scene for rendering
      5m 14s
    2. Making a key light
      6m 7s
    3. Making a soft sky light
      3m 0s
    4. Making a rim light
      4m 53s
    5. Setting up a simple SSS skin shader
      5m 21s
    6. Adjusting the skin shader
      7m 2s
    7. Adding ambient occlusion to the shaders
      6m 44s
  10. 55m 38s
    1. Polypainting colors in ZBrush
      8m 2s
    2. Extracting texture maps
      6m 54s
    3. Organizing the maps into Photoshop layers
      8m 9s
    4. Compositing the color maps in Photoshop
      4m 33s
    5. Compositing the specular maps in Photoshop
      7m 20s
    6. Importing the maps into Maya
      5m 7s
    7. Connecting the maps to the shaders
      5m 13s
    8. Setting up remap value nodes
      5m 51s
    9. Editing remap value nodes
      4m 29s
  11. 26m 34s
    1. Designing the pose
      4m 36s
    2. Linking subtools to the main body
      4m 13s
    3. Posing with transpose tools
      6m 4s
    4. Polishing the pose
      2m 4s
    5. Finishing touches in ZBrush
      4m 50s
    6. Finishing touches in Maya
      4m 47s
  12. 18m 7s
    1. Fine-tuning lights and render settings
      7m 0s
    2. Batch rendering a turnable animation
      5m 48s
    3. Polishing the renders in Photoshop
      5m 19s
  13. 52s
    1. What's next?

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Video Duration: 2m 47s 5h 11m Intermediate


Brainstorming provides you with in-depth training on 3D + Animation. Taught by Ryan Kittleson as part of the Digital Creature Creation in ZBrush, Photoshop, and Maya

View Course Description

Watch as author Ryan Kittleson introduces the skills digital artists need to create photorealistic 3D creatures for film, video, and game production. This course covers basic design, sculpting, texturing, posing, and lighting and demonstrates real-world workflow, starting with the basic sculpture in ZBrush and moving it into Maya for finishing, while editing textures in Photoshop.

Topics include:
  • Brainstorming and refining a character concept
  • Installing custom brushes
  • Optimizing tablet settings
  • Posing the ZSpheres in ZBrush
  • Sculpting muscles and midsize shapes
  • Working with DynaMesh
  • Using GoZ between ZBrush and Maya
  • Creating topology for animation
  • Sculpting fine detail
  • Cleaning up a mesh in Maya
  • Creating the UV layout
  • Lighting and shading
  • Painting texture maps
  • Posing with Transpose tools in ZBrush
  • Batch rendering a turntable animation
3D + Animation
Maya Photoshop ZBrush


Let's leave the digital studio for the next couple of movies and take a minute to focus directly on the concept of the creature. Using traditional drawing materials can help ideas flow without fancy software and buttons to get in the way. One thing that trips up a lot of beginner concept artists is that they compare their drawing skills to the slick finished work of professional artists. Finished concept art is usually very highly detailed, beautifully rendered and painstakingly crafted. Beginner designers often feel like every drawing they do has to live up to those standards or they're just not cut out to be a concept artist.

I'm going to let you in on one of the biggest secrets in concept art. Those slick paintings that look so good are just the end result of a whole process of sketching. Before sitting down to create finished art, a concept artist will go through page after page of loose doodles that they probably be embarrassed to show their mothers. Some of the doodles I make are so abstract that they don't even seem to be relevant to the project. It's just one way of loosening up your mind and your hand so that when ideas come you'll be ready to capture them.

The biggest mistake you can make is to try to sit down and just do that one finished painting or drawing. When you never see the stacks of sketches that built up to a finished drawing you can get a distorted idea of how the artist created it. You may get discouraged that your attempts at finished art either look awkward or unrefined, and think that you just don't have it in you. The problem is not necessarily that you're a bad artist but rather that you didn't realize that a ton of rough drawings must precede the finished work.

These rough drawings help you explore different ideas and designs. They help you read out clich degrees or bad ideas. Loose or accidental scribbles can inspire new ideas you never would've come up with otherwise. I try to avoid laboring over a single drawing and making it anatomically perfect and beautifully rendered. In your sketches try to loosen up and do pages full of quick, gestural shapes, then once you've got lots to look at, take a step back and examine what you've come up with.

Nobody else needs to see the work at this point. You understand that the squiggly line represents a backbone. Keep the drawings so fast and loose that only you understand them. Don't worry about any details of the creature at this point. Just deal with the overall shapes. Never fall in love with your first idea or design. Always work out variations and different ways of looking at it. Very rarely your first idea will be a winner but if you don't do a whole bunch of alternatives, you'll never know what else you could have done.

You will never have the confidence of saying this idea is the best compared to all the rest.

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