The first step in creating the scarecrow is creating a 3D base mesh in Maya. In this ZBrush sculpting training lesson, your instructor, MIchael Ingrassia, provides the base mesh for this project. He then walks you through each element of the mesh modeling, as well as explains his approach to creating base meshes so you understand how they were created and why they were created the way they were.
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- [Instructor] I'd like to take a moment to discuss a little bit about base meshes and modeling them, and also what are the more effective ways of modeling for ZBrush. So I'm currently within Maya, and you can see I have my character modeled out. Let me just get rid of the transparency for a moment so we can see a bit clearer. Now it's important to show you how much work really goes into the geometry.
Which is very little. It's also one of the reasons why I personally like to do my base meshes within a 3D program such as Maya, and honestly these techniques you can use in any 3D software. They're very basic techniques. Typically what I'll do is start with a cylinder or a sphere as a primitive, and then I'll just slightly deform them and get them into shape. Now for the characters hat, you can see on our concept art, the hat is a very basic shape.
Up on top I'm going to have a recess, essentially a hole where the straw is poking through. Of course the bottom has a recess with the hole where his head goes in, and the rest of it is just a taper. So all I've done is I've created a very basic hat shape. I've included a small brim. Of course I've gone into the center and then I've just added a small crisscross to the geometry to make sure that everything I'm providing into ZBrush is in a quad.
You can bring triangles into ZBrush, but you cannot bring engons without causing holes to break through. Now on the top where I plan on recessing downward into a hole, you'll notice I didn't do that, but I did bring in my edges and left them that way. That's going to give me a little bit more geometry to work with when I smooth out my mesh. So it's not essentially necessary for me to actually extrude down into the hat.
I can do that within ZBrush. The other thing that's critical is to try to keep a lot of the divisions fairly even throughout. You'll notice at least the three within the top part of the hat are balanced. The part in the brim is a little bit bigger and that may cause some issues with smoothing, but because it's a very simple shape, it's not really going to be too much of a problem. So I'll leave it as it, and if I need to change it later I'll go ahead and make that correction.
I'll just demonstrate what I mean if I was going to fix that. I'll simply just add in an additional edge loop, and then that just balances out. You can see how all the squares are pretty much balanced. Now it's also important, at least when you're building out your base meshes that you keep everything in a straight pattern. Even though the hat is bent, there's no need for me to model it that way.
It'll actually become much more difficult for me to sculpt because I can't use X symmetry as easily once I deform any of the mesh. So it's important to keep all of your meshes straight as much as possible. The other thing to point out is also keep the geometry as low poly as possible. It's not necessary for you to add any large number of modeling edge loops at this stage.
We're simply looking for the absolute lowest common denominator that we can get by with within ZBrush, because later on what we can do is move the ZBrush up to the second level and make that our first level essentially within our working space. So what we'll do is we'll discard this level and we'll go up to the next level within ZBrush and then put all of our necessary sculpt detail onto that level when we are working within the game engine.
A lot of that will make much more sense later on as I'm working, and I'll show you what I mean by that. So let's take a quick look at the head and you can see what I've done here. Same thing on top. I have a quad and on the bottom, rather than have a quad or have edges that are split within, because it won't be shown. I simply just removed that face, and that won't be an issue because we'll never see underneath the head anyway, and finally let's just take a look at the arm.
You can see how I capped off each end the same way for the sleeve. In fact, the only model that is a little bit detailed in here is the hand because there's not much you can do on the hand keeping it at a low level that is going to rear its ugly head later on, and so what I want to do is make sure that I have at least as much of the detail within the fingers that I can so that I have the ability to deform those fingers later on without having to first go back in and resplit.
So this happens to be an existing glove that I've used on a number of characters in the past, and I'm just using it once again for this project, and finally on the base, again because we're not seeing underneath the base, I just removed the bottom faces that weren't necessary, but because I do want the base to remain a fairly simple object like this cylinder but also have sharper edges, I went ahead and I just added some additional splits.
Some additional edge looping around the corners. What that will do is help me later on when I smooth out my mesh. You can see how it holds and retains the sharpness of the edge, and so that's just a little trick that you can do so that within ZBrush you don't have to worry too much about creasing. So that's a brief little overview about doing your base mesh in an outside program such as Maya, and now I'll show you how we go about importing in all of those OBJs into ZBrush and begin our sculpting.
- Creating base meshes
- Using DynaMesh and ZRemesher
- Creating a rope by drawing a curve with a custom brush
- Sculpting buttons, a hat, and gloves
- Texturing the scarecrow
- Creating wood grain
- Exporting subtools to Maya for adjustments
- Rigging in Maya
- Polypainting in ZBrush
- Creating a final render in Photoshop