Modeling a Female Android in ZBrush
Illustration by John Hersey

Modeling a Female Android in ZBrush

with Ryan Kittleson

Video: Concepting the android with layers

Now let's get in to concepting what the android is going to look like. So let's go into the Layers palette.
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  1. 2m 38s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 11s
    3. What you should know before watching this course
  2. 31m 51s
    1. Optimizing the Wacom tablet settings
      1m 55s
    2. Gathering reference images
      1m 27s
    3. Understanding the difference between projects and tools
      3m 15s
    4. Opening and saving tools
      1m 54s
    5. Getting a base model to start with
      2m 49s
    6. Posing the base
      6m 28s
    7. Challenge: Pose the arms
    8. Solution: Pose the arms
      3m 18s
    9. Cleaning up the pose
      2m 57s
    10. Optimizing topology with ZRemesher
      7m 2s
  3. 35m 12s
    1. Refining the base anatomy
      4m 7s
    2. Concepting the android with layers
      5m 21s
    3. Sketching mechanical shapes
      4m 4s
    4. Stylizing based on real anatomy
      3m 42s
    5. Making the chest
      3m 17s
    6. Designing a waist
      3m 37s
    7. Using layers to mix and match the design
      3m 19s
    8. Erasing part of a layer with Morph Targets
      2m 12s
    9. Challenge: Finish the design
    10. Solution: Finish the design
      5m 4s
  4. 30m 56s
    1. Splitting the android into parts
      1m 57s
    2. Slicing the model into pieces
      2m 31s
    3. Using the SliceCurve tool
      4m 36s
    4. Splitting slices into subtools
      5m 42s
    5. Splitting overlapping panels
      5m 25s
    6. Fitting panels inside of each other
      3m 40s
    7. Challenge: Slice the rest of the model
      1m 5s
    8. Solution: Slice the rest of the model
      6m 0s
  5. 41m 51s
    1. Starting with primitives
      4m 58s
    2. Making knee joints
      4m 16s
    3. Connecting the knee joints with the android
      3m 24s
    4. Making parts with insert mesh brushes
      2m 59s
    5. Making wires and cables
      5m 17s
    6. Making hip joints with the Clip Brush
      5m 11s
    7. Forming the pelvis with the Curve Bridge
      4m 1s
    8. Creating the visor
      4m 57s
    9. Challenge: Make the rest of the inner mechanics
    10. Solution: Make the rest of the inner mechanics
      6m 11s
  6. 44m 13s
    1. Making some parts solid
      5m 14s
    2. Cutting back vents with SliceCurve
      4m 9s
    3. Making vent holes from polygroups
      4m 41s
    4. Restoring symmetry with Mirror
      1m 50s
    5. Making side vents with masking
      2m 44s
    6. Cutting ailerons with Trim and Clip
      4m 45s
    7. Using replacement parts
      3m 27s
    8. Cutting holes with replacement parts
      3m 0s
    9. Adding thickness to panels with Extract
      5m 15s
    10. Adding thickness with Panel Loops
      3m 38s
    11. Challenge: Finish panel detail
    12. Solution: Finish panel detail
      4m 48s
  7. 22m 3s
    1. Making a finger segment with ShadowBox
      4m 43s
    2. Duplicating and appending fingers
      4m 13s
    3. Arranging fingers to form a hand
      3m 49s
    4. Making a foot with DynaMesh
      3m 31s
    5. Cutting a toe piece with Boolean intersection
      3m 37s
    6. Cutting the foot piece with Boolean subtraction
      2m 10s
  8. 13m 26s
    1. Making a tire with radial symmetry
      4m 53s
    2. Modeling the wheel hub
      4m 38s
    3. Fitting the wheel to the foot
      3m 55s
  9. 27m 28s
    1. Adding fine seams
      4m 50s
    2. Reducing polygons with Decimation Master
      4m 7s
    3. Mirroring the limbs
      3m 1s
    4. Preparing for rigging and posing
      2m 19s
    5. Posing with Transpose Master
      5m 1s
    6. Applying materials
      4m 14s
    7. Creating a rendered turntable video
      3m 56s
  10. 58s
    1. Next steps

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Watch the Online Video Course Modeling a Female Android in ZBrush
4h 10m Intermediate Dec 17, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Androids started appearing in science fiction over a hundred years ago, and have since evolved from robotic machines into more fully humanoid shapes. With modern 3D modeling tools like ZBrush, it's easier than ever to create a realistic looking android that bridges the divide between man (or woman) and machine. In this course, Ryan Kittleson teaches you how to model a female android with ZBrush's powerful modeling and sculpting tools. He shows how to start with a basic model and refine and stylize the anatomy. Then you'll learn how to concept machine-inspired parts like vents and wheels; create clean, hard edges; refine delicate areas like hands, feet, and joints; and add finishing details like seams. In the end, you'll put the android into an action pose and create a rendered turntable video that shows off your model.

Topics include:
  • Gathering reference materials
  • Getting a base model
  • Stylizing the android's body
  • Exploring design concepts
  • Making pivoting joints
  • Creating precise mechanical shapes
  • Adding thickness to panels with Panel Loops
  • Making a foot with DynaMesh
  • Making a tire with radial symmetry
  • Reducing polygons with Decimation Master
  • Preparing for rigging and posing
  • Applying materials
3D + Animation
Ryan Kittleson

Concepting the android with layers

Now let's get in to concepting what the android is going to look like. If you're anything like me, the first thing that you do when sitting down to model something as complex as this is to freak out. There's a lot going on here and it's easy to get overwhelmed. But don't worry, there's an approach to doing it that takes a lot of the pressure off. We're going to break the work down into manageable chunks and use layers to play with design variations. Now, I'm not going to exactly recreate this android. But I do want to use it as a style guide.

I like how it's a mix of anatomical and mechanical shapes. Studying an image like this can give you some hints about how to break the forms down into smaller parts. They can also help you with ideas of what things should look like. But I'm not going to try to replicate anything here. I want my android to be unique. This is going to involve some experimentation and some iterative design work. So let's go into the Layers palette. It's a lot like Layers in Photoshop. You can put different sculpted details on different layers and then hide them, change their opacity and so on.

Layers are going to make the design work a lot easier. So let's make sure we're at the highest subdivision level. Go ahead and hit D a couple of times just to make sure that you're at the highest level. Now let's add a layer. Go ahead and click this plus sign here. Notice that the layer is in record mode. This means that any sculpting we do now is going to be stored in this layer. Let's go ahead and change this one, so that its name is something that makes more sense. I'm going to call this one overall design. So, in this layer I'm going to put any changes that sort of affect the overall shape of the model.

Now let's get the flatten brush out, going to hit B, F, A for the flatten brush. So, now let's zoom in a little bit here. And let's just try to identify different ways that we can sort of stylize the shape of this. So I'm actually going to sculpt in some different details and I'm not too worried about exactly how it looks, you know I'm not worried if it looks a little weird or anything, I'm just sort of playing around with different ways to make this shape look more mechanical. So one thing that looks kind of more mechanical on an android is they have really flat spots and really sharp angles.

So I kind of want to work those types of shapes into here. Something else I might want to do is get the DAM standard brush out. B, D, S, and then with this brush, I can identify where I want some more sharper creases to be. So, maybe I'll hold down Alt so that the crease comes outward. And I'll try to define where maybe a collarbone should be. Maybe, I'll smooth that out. One way that I can keep those dots from forming, is by going into stroke. And by going into lazy mouse. And decreasing the lazy steps.

Let's see how that looks. Okay much better. So with this I can try to work in a little bit of a mechanical design. I don't have to worry about being perfect. I'm just kind of testing out the design right now. Just trying to see what sort of shapes I like. I could really spend several hours playing with this, but let's move on to some other things. Let's come over to Layers, and let's turn off Record. Might have to click it twice to make it work. And now we've got two different buttons here. We could turn Record back on with the circle. Let's turn that off again. You might have to click it a few times to make it work.

Also you can turn off the layer, or at least turn off its visibility by clicking on the eye. So now you can go back to what it looks like before you did any of that sculpting. I really like working like this because if you don't like the sculpting that you've done into a layer you can just simply delete it by clicking on the X here, and then you can make a new layer and try again. It takes some of the pressure off because you don't have to worry about messing up your model in order to sculpt these things. Let's make a new layer now. I'm going to click on the plus. And let's call this one details.

And in this layer, I want to do some interesting things. I want to pull out kind of a fin or a crest off the back of the head. So what I'm going to do is go into the Move Tool, BMV, so I'm going to click and drag on the back of the head and pull up kind of a pin shape. And let's go to the flatten, BFA, and we're just going to flatten this down so it's kind of more of a streamline shape. Maybe go back into the move tool, BMV, and maybe just adjust the shape of this a little bit. Maybe get something that's a little bit more aerodynamic, or has a nice curve to it.

Let's look at the layers again, so I'm going to turn off record for this layer And now we can play around with mixing and matching these different layers, so we can see what each one looks like by itself or with both of them together. So this can really help us get some ideas of where this design is going and how different design elements are working together. By putting detail in layers, we're going to make it easier to design this android. In the rest of this chapter, we're going to use them to create machined looking parts all over the body.

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