1. #16

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    So I was asked by the fellas at Zbrush to sort of explain how Zbrush is used in the creation of one of my characters here at Blur. I figured Cyborg would be a good candidate to demonstrate this process. I don't really think there is anything special or unique to my creation process but I'm more than happy to share it with the community at Zbrush Central. For ease, I have decided to discuss the stages in which this guy was developed in reference to the attached progression image.

    First off, our very talented Sean McNally developed this concept of our futuristic cybernetic hero, here he is in all his devastating greatness!

    BLUR_DCUO_Cyborg_Concept_v2.jpg

    Stage1: After receiving concept, I usually like to get a good feel of what I'm about to get into here. I try to get a good game plan on how I'm going to approach the character, what are the best plans of attack, what do I want to choose as my weapons of choice. Going into a character with a good game plan is always a plus and can really save your ass schedule wise. I knew since the concept was rather loose, I was going to have some creative room to figure out how this guys was going to work. I figured what a better time then now to give Zbrushe's new hard surface brushes a whirl. Poly modeling is great and I love it, but to try in figure out the pieces of armor for this guy with polymodeling vs sculpting, sculpting is going to win. I knew Zbrush would allow me the freedom to lay down form quick and easy and take it away just the same. What a great way to figure this guy out!

    The start of each character at Blur truly can very, some times we start from nearly scratch, others we may have a game model we might use for reference, or we may decide to utilize one of our older previous meshes as a strarting point. In this case, DC was a pretty large scale piece for characters, I believe in total there were 22 characers in all. In order to ease the pain on the pipeline there were 3 generic base meshes created, light, medium, and heavy. This of course made rigging "somewhat" standardized and easier to deal with asset's. You can see from the picture its a pretty basic clean mesh with nice topology to sculpt with, nice and easy and ready to go.

    Brushes used:
    brushes2.jpg


    Stage 2: Blocking it out! Got to love the clay and clay tubes brushes, just love them for building up form quick and effortlessly. Now I realize the image in the picture inst the best example for this step but unfortunately I don't have access to my WIP files like I thought I did. Anyhow, ya, this this is the stage where I try to block out proportions and form and get an idea of how his armor is going to work and function accordance with concept. This stage is fast and ugly as long as the shape, silhouette, and lines are starting to form I'm in good shape ( no pun intended =) ). Fast and loose is the name of the game.

    Stage 3: Now truthfully stage 2 and 3 are a bunch of back and forth to be honest. Ill lay down some form and then ill smooth it out with the polish brushes. This process is a little back and forth of build up, then smooth, and back at it again constantly refining the form. Mostly still using the clay brushes to build up the armor and the Dam Standard brush to define lines. I will also start to utilize the move brushes to reshape form, mostly silhouette. I want to mention that I'm in no way going to try to get the surfaces super clean and fancy because my end goal is going to be a retopologized animatable mesh. All I need is a good simple guideline that I can retopologize. Once I reach the point in which I'm confident I have enough information to retopologize, Ill export this fella out to either Max or XSI to finish the job. I know he doesn't look completely sculpted in this picture but Ive got enough for what I need to do, ill fill in the blanks with polymodeling in XSI.

    Stage 4: Everyones least favorite...... the retoplogize! I cant say I'm a fan but at least I can put on some good tunes and unplug during the process. Being that I have to create an animatable mesh I am going to have to build a nice clean topology, so it can take some time, a good time to relax. Typically I use Max to retopologize but there are times I'm in XSI as well. I prefer XSI to poly model but I feel Max's new retopologizing tools are faster and more efficient. Basically Im going to use whatever software I can that gets the job done the fastest, my general rule of thumb.

    Stage5: Once retopologized and hes looking sharp, least hopefully he is right? More often then not, I'm gonna probably adjust the silhouette and do subtle tweaks here and there, for this a combination of Zbrush and XSI is used. At this point I'm pretty much done modeling, but I may just want to make the boots a lil bigger and the arms a little wider, stuff like that. Sometimes these small tweaks to the silhouette can make all the difference in the world. I cant stress enough how important a characters form and silhouette are to selling the piece. Its the first thing you will identify with when you see your character and its important to get the correct balance. At this stage Ill crank out a turntable for in-house approval and if I get the thumbs up we will send it off to the client. In the meantime while we wait, Ill move onto unwrapping the character in XSI and Zbrush. Usually client notes at this stage are minor so there is no serious harm done with moving ahead. Its not uncommon that we have already moved ahead with texturing the model when the clients get back to us, usually if there are any changes they aren't to hard to deal with. Anywho, once we get some nice UV's, its back to Zbrush to crank out any maps we are going to use. Mostly, ill use displacement for the major stuff and anything else that may not be points of specific interest in the shots, ill use normal maps. Depending, I may also crank out some AO and cavity maps as well, they are always useful for base texturing. For this specific character I didnt use Zbrush for any texturing but thats not always the case. I'm finding myself doing more and more loose conceptual polypainting for base textures and then elaborate on them in Photoshop.


    Thats my basic Zbrush workflow in a nutshell. I have been using Zbrush more and more in the conceptual stage of character creation more than I ever have. In the past I would tend to do mostly all the big stuff with polymodeling and then import to Zbrush to detail. Now I'm finding myself in Zbrush in the early stages, blocking out and then retopologizing down the road.

    Hope this shed some light on my general workflow, Ill be happy to answer any questions.

    Jason
    Last edited by believerdeceiver; 01-25-11 at 07:12 PM.

  2. #17

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    I think its easier to read if I post the Progression of the character in this post.

    Cyborg_ZbrushCentralComp.jpg

  3. #18
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    nice job man... the batman arkham city is fantastic, keep it up, gratz

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    Thumbs up

    thank you so much for sharing these stuff, its amazing to see how experts do it !
    keep rocking!
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    Thanks for going through this. Looking forward to seeing the rest of it.

  6. #21

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    Awesome !
    My way is kind stupid. For hard surface stuff. I do the topology as possible in maya. and jump to zbursh for details. good thing is don't need to retop after details.

    BUT...It's hard to tweak if concept has any change.

    Your way is more efficiently and can be change model flexible.

    Nice work, Jason
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    congrats on top row...is there a possibility of a wallpaper sized version of Lord Vader's profile shot (the thumb on top row)?

    Great work

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    great stuff Jason, keep rocking
    Lead character artist - Blur Studio
    http://nicolascollings.com/

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    Awesome stuff !!
    thanks for the work flow overview as well

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    Default wow!

    JUST exploded!AWESOME WORKS DUDE!

    Helgi told me about your works before! (from dubai)

    Everything is awesome on these arts!
    Last edited by siamak_cgm; 01-25-11 at 08:45 PM.

  11. #26
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    Excelend work!! Love the details and texturing process. Top row well deserved!!
    Cheers.

    Justi.

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    Anazing work, thanks for sharig.
    How long does it take to make such model from base mesh to final mesh?
    Regards,
    Tony

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    Any chance of showing us textures ? Thank you for sharing your workflow.

  14. #29
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    Hi Jason,

    thanks for sharing your workflow. Its very generous of you.

    I was curious about your Retopology workflow. I always expected you would use Topogun, or 3dCoat, or even Zbrush for Retopology. I'm a Max user but I never really thought of 3d Studio Max as a retopology tool the mega pros would use.

    If you ever find the time and if its not to much trouble, could you quickly describe your retopology workflow in Max?

    Thanks again!

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    Wow, thanks that's great!!!
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