After tweaking a bunch of stuff, I decided to do a quick break down of how I went about doing this image.
After doing the Alien and Zombie Boy I received a few emails asking me about different techniques I used in making it, so I figured to answer any and all questions I would go in and break it down from beginning to end.
So first I started with the base mesh of a kid project that I did, and modified to to how I needed it to be I immediately saw this staggering zombie lurching forward in my head.
And so began detailing the thing. I wont lie, I don't like using a lot of brushes. I do love the clay buildup brush. It allows me to work fast and frenzied. I set this to a low intensity and really grow the form. I tend to go in periodically with the DMS standard brush, and chisel in details that I know will be needed later one. once everything is really set, on the lower levels I go in with the soft form brush and build up what I missed. I don't like using the inflate tool too much, only because it tends to get tricky to use on higher levels.
Now its very important to note at this point and all points in the process that I'm constantly looking at and adjusting the silhouette. This is probably the most important part of the sculpting process, as it will determine how your figure reads when compared to any background.
This image below shows perspective turned off, my mistake I admit, so its not a real example, but I do want to put something here to illustrate the point. It really is important.
As for pore detail, those that know me know I can be a bit of an impatient person when it comes to stuff like that (something I'm working on as an artist.) I do relish in use of the surface noise plugin in zbrush. By masking off and applying different variations of noise, I can quite quickly lay down a dynamic looking set of pores.
I then set the clay polish tool to -1 and surface to +1 and it gives me a natural blurring of the pores into the skin.
Texturing & UVs
Texturing is something that I truly love in zbrush. Mudbox fanboys will piss and moan about per poly painting, but the speed at which I can paint naturalistic textures is something I love. To make it simple, my texturing process for all of my models is the same. I start with a dark color, and work lighter. Its an additive process that I feel really works well.
As for painted skin textures (as many asked about the alien piece I did) the trick is to not pain solid colors. Granted looking at it now I probably could have pushed the textures a bit more, but in any case the brushes used was a standard brush set to color spray, with a speckled alpha.
I set the spray to around .7 so that I get an even coat, without seeing the actually edge of the apha, or seeing it repeat.
I like to mask off, the cavities, and fill with a 3% dark tone, its not really visible but does get picked up in maya.
The teeth and tongue were done the same way.
At this point I'm ready to UV. Using the plugin UV Master, I do a quick and dirty rip of the mesh. It was good enough for me to edit. I know the head is oddly placed, but it worked for what I needed it to do.