seanGH's sketchbook

I am learning ZBrush and, as a long time John Byrne fan, here is my first project based on his Man of Steel. Comments are welcome.


For someone just learning zbrush, this is not bad. There are some things that are not right to me tho, like his chest looks too big, his thighs look too small, and the biceps look kind of odd.

You’re off to a good start tho, good stuff

Thanks for the input sankar82. I think I see what you mean concerning the biceps. I will try to correct them. Concening the big chest, it is intentional, i.e., to stick as close as possible to John Byrne’s comic and to emphasize the “heroic” nature of Superman.

Here is a better view of the cape (and the back of the legs… but I am not too proud of them. Still a little bit fuzzy on how they should look).


Loving that cape

Thanks you Frameworld. I will post a couple of pics showing the mesh I used for the cape.

Here are some pictures showing the mesh used in the cape. Initially, I tried to use the standard brush to shape an isotropic mesh of more or less square quads. The results were terrible and I could not get the characteristic folds of Superman’s cape.

In desperation I tried something not usually advisable in ZBrush: using an anisotropic mesh of long and skinny quads. It works because the folds of the cape are inherently anisotropic. First I created a coarse mesh with just a few vertices along the length of the cape and much more vertices along its width. Using the move brush I was then able to give the illusion that the cape flows in the wind with enough folds along the width.

The mesh is then divided but without the subdivide smooth modifier. The smoothing has to be done manually using the move brush.

Repeat a couple of times. Then switch on the subdivide smooth modifier and subdive again a couple of times. Use the smooth brush as necessary. Here is the final result.

In retrospect, the clay brush coupled with the trim dynamic brush (I am reading Ryan Kingslien’s book) could perhaps be used to produce a similar or better effect on a more classical isotropic mesh but my skills are not yet good enough to do this :slight_smile:

Hope this will help those with cape problems…004.jpg005.jpg006.jpg

It does have JB feel to it, however upper leg seems short compared to lower leg. Tricep bulge appears low, and the bicep is off as well. It is a great start and I love the cape, good job. If you are a big fan of comic art, like me I think you will find sculpting in Zbrush really helps understand your line work better.

The cape is pretty damn cool. love how it flows. also, you mentioned that you are reading ryan kingslien’s book., how is it, and do you recommend it?

Cloudrid3r: Thanks. I rechecked my refence material (JB comics): you and sankar82 are right, i.e., the upper leg is too short and not bulky enough. Furthermore, the bicep and tricep are also off: they started a little off in my T-pose but then I must have completely mangled them when I rotated the arms and hands… I am also a big comic art fan. My goal is to be able to sculpt Bowen Design like statues in the style of my favorite pencilers (John Byrne, Gil Kane, Gene Colan etc…).

sankar82: Thanks. Ryan Kingslien’s book is very good. I am using it to sculpt my first female character. Just the “Introduction to Sculpting” workshop included in the DVD is reason enough to get the book. I would also strongly recommend the books of Scott spencer and Eric Keller.

Here is the hopefully improved version…


Here is the latest version of the Man of Steel… Still have to make it more 3D printer friendly.



And here is a close-up…


Your Man of Steel does remind me of John Byrne’s version.

Thanks Webhead. That was my goal.


Sorry, but one thing was bugging me a little. Something about Supe’s face didn’t seem quite right to me, so I decided to look at some of John Byrnes Superman art to refresh my memory. I think Superman’s face still needs a tweak here and there to look closer to Byrne’s Man of Steel.

Thank you for your interest Webhead. Capturing a likeness is very very hard. Considering my level of expertise, I am already glad that my sculpt just reminds you of John Byrne’s style :slight_smile:

Can you specify what exactly bugs you in his face? Perhaps it is its expression?

My opinion: I think the face/head might look a little too thin and boney compared to Byrne’s Superman. The head and jaw should be a little more square. The jaw line under the ear looks too sharp. The eyes look different for some reason. Too open maybe. Not sure what it is exactly. The hair could use more detail. Very close, though.

Man O Steel_001.jpg

Thank you for the advice Webhead. I will give it a try…

After a couple of push and pull sessions with the move brush using multiple views of JB’s Superman as reference, here is the result. The following picture compares the old version of the head (to the left) with the new version (to the right).


I think it’s an improvement overall.