Figure Sculpting Tutorial Zbrush

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FACTFILEFOR ZBrush 3 DIFFICULTY Advanced TIME TAKEN 4 hours ON THE CD Scene les Full-size screenshots Time-lapse videos ON THE WEB Bonus scene les can be found at http:// ALSO REQUIRED N/A

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Body electricZBRUSHFollow our masterclass in sculpting the female form to recreate this issues BY SCOTT EATON cover star. Full supporting videos can be found on the CD







his issues themed tutorials commence with a guide to sculpting the female form in ZBrush. Over the next ten pages, we will explore the anatomical principles

The printed walkthrough assumes that you have some previous experience of ZBrush, providing a high-level overview of the process. However, screen-capture videos covering the entire sculpt can be found on the CD, while ZTL les showing the model at successive stages of renement can be downloaded from the 3D World website at http:// Refer to these for more details. A nal word to the aspiring artist. Even an extended tutorial like this cannot cover all of the issues that arise when creating a sculpture, digital or otherwise. Even if it were possible to present all of this information, there needs to be an understanding of form on the artists part. This understanding is only achieved through diligent practice and experience. Commit yourself to learning something new with every sculpture, and you will progress quickly. Scott Eaton is an artist, technical director, and anatomy consultant. His clients include Pixar, Sony, Microsoft, The Mill and many other major studios

that inform an efcient modelling workow, starting with an overview of the base mesh, then gradually rening it to recreate our statuesque cover star. The female gure is generally smoother than the male, requiring attention to detail. The form is less about denition and more about planes, concavities and convexities. Correct volume and proportions are even more important, since there are few muscles to distract the viewer from inaccuracies. As ever when sculpting, start with good reference material. The best reference would be a live model, but this is rarely practical for a digital sculpt. The next best option is a set of images captured from multiple angles. Working from good reference helps prevent over-generalisation of form and gives believability by introducing small imperfections that would be hard to reproduce from memory alone. In this tutorial, I will set out two key ZBrush techniques. The rst is a clay-like approach in which you work at high resolution, building up shapes much as you would using real clay. This is useful for sketching in anatomical landmarks and establishing volume. The second involves working at multiple levels of subdivision, and is used for rening the model to a smooth, high-quality nish.

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Modelling the female form | TUTORIALS

Recreate our cover star with the help of our ZBrush masterclass, which sets out a robust workow for sculpting the female form, with an emphasis on anatomical principles

WATCH THE VIDEOSScreen-capture videos showing key stages of this tutorial in more detail can be found on the CD. Requires QuickTime 7

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STAGE ONE | The base meshpolygons with irregular edge ows will sculpt like lumpy clay: it will be hard to control and difcult to rene, regardless of how many subdivisions are in the mesh. If you are working on production meshes, establishing sound topology from the start is essential, not only for the reasons mentioned above, but also for the benet of riggers and animators, for whom sound topology is vital to ensure that the model deforms correctly when animated. Keep in mind that there is no one perfect topology for a gure. A general topology, like the one used here, works for most characters, but the ideal topology depends on how the faces from the shoulder down to the wrist. But be just an extruded cube with equally square example: ideally, its low-res topology would features like ngers. Take an arm as an to properly represent critical topological inevitably have to compromise occasionally as youre able to get it. However, you will digital sculpting should be as low-resolution mesh? I generally think that a base mesh for So what should be represented in the base arms raised over their head. some unknown afiction, always has their ideal topology than a gure that, through has multiple sides, not four. The important thing to bear in mind when setting up your base mesh is to make sure that all the features are represented, then adjust your poly size and distribution. Here are a few things to consider when constructing your own base mesh for posing and sculpting in ZBrush. We will cover key points such as the need to achieve even, square quads; efcient arrangement of edge loops; and the correct level of detail to use in describing different parts of the body. Overleaf, we will begin to rene this completed base mesh. around with his arms at his side has a different gure articulates. A character that walks when you add ngers to the hand, the edge loops are propagated. The result is an arm that

he base mesh is the starting

TUTORIALS | Modelling the female form

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point for models in ZBrush.


Establishing sound topology

at this stage makes posing and

sculpting much easier. Like clay, ZBrush is

a forgiving medium that enables artists

to easily modify the shape of the mesh.

The topology, however, remains xed from

the beginning. (There are tools for reworking

topology and transferring detail, but these

are beyond the scope of this tutorial.)

Like real clay, the consistency of digital clay

can be smooth or lumpy, and the base topology

is the critical factor in determining this. A mesh

that is composed of odd-sized, triangulated

Strive to always use quads in your base mesh. They subdivide evenly and have uniform tension. If you must have triangles, hide them away in an armpit or on the bottom of a foot. Base meshes that originate from ZSpheres are nicely quadrangulated, and can be used as a good starting point for modelling. Certain topologies such as ngers and toes are difcult to achieve using ZSpheres, so you might need an external modeller to nish your mesh.


Make your base mesh as low-poly as possible and still capture all the essential features. A very low-resolution mesh is great for easily making changes to a sculpture by pushing, pulling, or moving single vertices at a time. For production work, I often use a very low-res mesh to start my sculpt, but export at Subdivision Level 1 or 2 for rigging and animation.


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03 04

As much as possible, create square quads rather than long rectangles. Working with rectangles is awkward because they retain their original aspect ratios, even after a large number of subdivisions: the short side may be subdivided to sub-pixel resolution, but the long side will still be four or ve times as long. For long appendages like the arms, put in a couple of extra edge loops to square off the quads.

Get into the habit of putting decent edge loops in your model: they help with the sculpting process. A nicely edge-looped model requires fewer polygons to represent form, and you will never feel like you are ghting against misaligned edges. The edge loops should broadly ow along muscle groups and in the direction of deformation. I also use specic edge loops to represent critical skeletal landmarks in the gure.

Modelling the female form | TUTORIALS

Avoid overdescribing details in the base mesh. Small features, like ngernails and toenails, should not be described in the base mesh, as they will subdivide into millions of polygons. The features should be left out and sculpted in later. That said, if you know you are going to have an area with a disproportionate amount of detail, you want the base mesh in this area to be proportionally denser (or you can use ZBrushs Geometry HD feature).


Strive for correct proportions in the base mesh, but dont be overly concerned with the shape. The main thing is to have the large features represented and the major proportions correct. If you dont have good measurements of the proportions of the model in your reference, match a classical canon of proportions in which the height of the body is 7 to 7.5 times that of the head.


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TUTORIALS | Modelling the female form

STAGE TWO | Establishing a poseEXPERT TIPTranspose benetsMaster the Transpose tool early. Once you have control of it, it will help you with posing, but also with correcting a great many proportional problems. Topological masking is a powerful tool that goes hand in hand with the Transpose bones, but requires some practice to employ efciently. The smoothness of your transformation depends on the sharpness of your mask. You can get sharper masks in two ways: use topological masking at a higher Subdivision Level, or go to Preferences > Transpose and turn down the Mask Blur Strength setting.


Load the 01_baseMesh.ztl Tool. Create a new layer via Tool > Layers > New, and call it transpose. This layer is going to store all the posing edits so that you can turn the transformations on and off as necessary to revert back to the original bind pos