Digital Creature Creation in ZBrush, Photoshop, and Maya
Illustration by John Hersey

Finishing touches in ZBrush


From:

Digital Creature Creation in ZBrush, Photoshop, and Maya

with Ryan Kittleson

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Video: Finishing touches in ZBrush

Anytime you create complex 3D models, there is always going to be finishing touches. That's certainly true in this case. We've got several loose ends to tie up. We have got to fix some fine-tuning to the pose and we have to integrate the pose with the Maya scene. First, let's fix up some posing issues. The Transpose tools have been great for positioning all the limbs in the right place. However, it often needs a little extra work to get everything looking right. For example, I want to zoom in on one of the hind legs, and take a closer look.
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  1. 2m 34s
    1. Introduction
      59s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      34s
    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?
      52s

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Watch the Online Video Course Digital Creature Creation in ZBrush, Photoshop, and Maya
5h 11m Intermediate Dec 15, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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
Subject:
3D + Animation
Software:
Maya Photoshop ZBrush
Author:
Ryan Kittleson

Finishing touches in ZBrush

Anytime you create complex 3D models, there is always going to be finishing touches. That's certainly true in this case. We've got several loose ends to tie up. We have got to fix some fine-tuning to the pose and we have to integrate the pose with the Maya scene. First, let's fix up some posing issues. The Transpose tools have been great for positioning all the limbs in the right place. However, it often needs a little extra work to get everything looking right. For example, I want to zoom in on one of the hind legs, and take a closer look.

You can see that the way we bent this limb, is part of the calf is intersecting with the thigh. In this case, the calf and hamstring muscles should press up against each other rather than just sticking through each other. So the Move Topological Brush actually works really well here. I am going to hit B+M+T and you just want to get yourself back in a sculpting mindset, and just kind of push things until they fit correctly. Something else that's useful here is the masking portion of the Transpose tools.

So I can hold down Ctrl and click-and- drag while in any of the Transpose tools. That way, I can mask off just one side of this joint. I can go back into Draw, and I can adjust the position of the calf muscle without interrupting the position of the hamstring. I can just invert the selection. If I go to the Masking palette, click Inverse, now I can adjust just the hamstring.

Okay, let's look at another issue. I am just going to clear the mask by hitting Ctrl+Shift+A. I want to zoom in on the front left foot. It's pretty good, but you can see that the toes feel a little soft, and round, and also some of the angles got a little crooked when posing. Let me just subdivide the model a few times by hitting D. So you can use the Move Topological Brush here as well to just kind of move things back into place.

Also, looking at these drawings from the side, they look a little soft, and mutantly. So I want to adjust them to make them look a little bit more firm, kind of like there is a rigid joint inside of each one rather than looking kind of soft and rubbery. I just want to change my brush size here to get a little more fine-tuned application of this brush; maybe a little bit bigger here. So you want to get back in a kind of sculpting mindset now, just making things look good in pose, maybe define some of the knuckles here a little bit more clearly.

Okay. So now that I've pushed things around, the joints are starting to look a lot more solid. I would definitely want to spend longer than just a few minutes on this in order to make the model look its best, but let's move on to the next step. I want my pose presentation renders to have just a little extra kick of detail. For that, we can send the second SubDivision Level of the body back to Maya instead of the lowest SubDivision Level. So let me just hit Shift+D to go down to the lowest SubDivision Level and let's zoom out.

So the model looks pretty decent at this SubDivision Level, but if I hit D one time and go up a SubDivision Level, you see that we just get an extra amount of detail out of the model. So we're going to send this back to Maya instead of the lowest. So let's go to the Geometry palette and click Del Lower. This is going to make the current SubDivision Level the new lowest level. So this is the level that gets sent back to Maya when we use GoZ. Okay, let's open up the Exercise File for Maya now, going to File > Open and we need to go back to the Desktop > Exercise Files > Ch_10 > folder 10_05 finishing.ma.

Here, we have everything just as we left it in the texturing chapter. Now, we are going to go ahead and delete the dewhopper objects because they are going to be replaced with what we send back from ZBrush. Let's go ahead and delete the tailspikes, the eyeball, the teeth, the body. Now, let's go back to ZBrush and use GoZ, slide up in your Tool palette and let's click All to send all of the subtools. All right! It looks like it worked. The final tweaking of the pose actually takes a long time.

I usually spend at least a few hours fine-tuning the joints and working out any last-minute details. It's this final polish that can really help a model look its best.

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