In the upcoming tutorials I will explain the design and creation process of a Space Rabbit character showcasing the features of ZBrush in my workflow. I am going to explore various ZBrush tools and show how helpful they are to visualize ideas and achieve desired effect. The tutorials will explain how to design and create the character from scratch. I am going to use ZBrush, because it gives me freedom that enables me to quickly experiment and visualize my ideas and it is also an industry standard.
The design of a convincing character is fundamental to its success. It doesn’t matter how meticulously detailed it is or how well textured, if it lacks personality, then it will not be believable. I always spend lots of time experimenting with form and shape to make my characters more appealing. I don’t do initial 2d sketches, my imagination works better in a 3 dimensional environment so I always start straight in 3d and use DynaMesh – a mesh creation tool that gives a real 3d-sketching experience. [others may find hand drawn sketches useful in their own creative process]
Let’s begin with creating the character’s body in a neutral pose. Using ZSpheres I create armature for my character first. When I am happy with the result, I change the rig to Adaptive Skin and then press the Make Polymesh3D button.
The base mesh created in the previous step is my staring point for further development. I decided to adjust the pose to a more relaxed one. I use Transpose tool to do this. Now it is time to use DynaMesh. I activate the function by pressing DynaMesh button. A new uniform topology is created with density controlled by the Resolution slider. I start with lower res and then adjust it gradually during the process. I generally don’t use many brushes. I work mainly with Clay, Move Topological, TrimDynamic, Smooth, Inflat and Dam_Standard brushes. I add volume and block the shape of the character. At this stage I focus mainly on proportions. Each time when polygons become stretched after adjustments to the mesh I recalculate DynaMesh by pressing the Ctrl/Cmd key and dragging the cursor onto an empty canvas.
Now it is time to add rabbit ears and big alien eyes. I use CurveMultiTube brush for the ears. The diameter of created tubes is affected by the brush size. I also adjust the shape before recalculating DynaMesh. For the eyes I use Insert Sphere brush.
Now I add details to the character. I develop facial features and the space suit. I primarily use Clay brush to add volume and Dam_Standard brush to create intervals in the armor. I recalculate the DynaMesh often.
At the end I add some details to the gloves. I use Standrad brush with active Alpha 12 to create a recess and then add a sphere with Insert Sphere brush.
Now the design is ready. It is rough and without fine details. I am going to fine-tune it later. First I need to resurface the model and I will show how to do it in the next part of my tutorial. [Continued: Part 2]
Andrzej Kuziola is a self-taught digital artist who works as a freelance illustrator and 3D artist. Andrzej is proficient in ZBrush, Cinema 4D and Photoshop. He has been published in 3D Artist Magazine, CG+ Magazinem CGArena.com, 3D Attack magazine, and others. Please visit www.kuziola.com for more information on his portfolio, publications, and awards.