The last son of Krypton

I’ve been a fan of Superman since the late 1950’s. I haven’t been following the books in recent years. Lately, however, I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels carried by my local library. I grabbed a recent Superman graphic novel and discovered the blue underwear uniform has been changed.

I decided it would be fun to sculpt Kal-el in his new duds and try out some of the recent goodies added to ZBrush.

This sculpt started out using a DynaMesh sphere. Dynamesh really makes it easy to get gross mass blocked in. I’ve discovered staying under 500K polys is great for most of the structure without taxing my 2008 iMac. Initially this was the maximum size of the entire figure for all the DynaMesh work until I divided the figure into individual subtools for the head, hands, hair, costume, superman insignia, boots and belt.

I tried fibermesh for the hair but didn’t like the look of it. Sculpting a mesh extract was worse than result for fibermesh hair. I ended up using Zspheres because Zspheres allowed me to easily sculpt the hair mass and keep the poly count reasonably low - 200K or so.

The head is the highest poly count around 2 million polys. the entire figure is just a little above 3 million. I figured that hig a poly count wouldn’t put to much of a strain on my mac when I merged the subtools for posing. My iMac doesn’t like polycounts above 8 million for a single subtool.

The sculpt is still a WIP. I have more detail I want to add to the overall figure. I sketched up a dozen thumbnails of poses I plan to get to before I call this project done.

Overall Dynamesh has been a great and easy addition to use for getting mass worked up quickly. I love the way it reconfigures topology so that stretched areas are easy to sculpt. The additional resolution settings added in 4R4 make adding additional resolution, when needed a snap.

I love Lightcap. The recent changes to BPR rendering are great fun!

Happy ZBrushing





Inspired by the Oliver Thill’s great work on Hercule, I’ve been playing around with various comic style renders.

These are test images. My recent WIP Superman sculpt is the my test article.

I’m doing a reboot of my partially completed graphic novel “Ray Gun Girl”. I stopped work on it in 2005 due to health issues. At the time, the 3D tools I had Poser, Vue, Carrara and Silo limited my ability to produce the kind of images I wanted for the story.
Also the Mac G4 I had then has long since been upgraded to an iMac. The existing chapters on my website are really previs for what I plan to do now.

With ZBrush I’m sure I’ll be able to generate whatever I need to complete the project and take it off my bucket list

Black and white render uses a single very over exposed Lightcap light. Light has very low falloff and aperture is set 111. Basic material has been tweaked by turning diffuse off and cranking specularity 100%.
Second render is a composite of a flat color render, a grayscale render [lower exposure], the B&W render and a color render where material has the specular now about 20% and diffuse is about 80%.

Happy Zbrushing!

The 4R5 upgrade came in my email today. The posterization feature isthe first thing I played with. It’s even easier to get comic style renders.

Thanks for the upgrade!

I’ll be using the new render features for my graphic novel.

Merry Christmas!

Having WAY to much fun playing with Posterizing. Quest for comic style rendering continues***8230;
Happy Zbrushing~
Merry Christmas to all!


Playing with edges and posterizing. Amazing features for comic style renders:

Thanks, Pixologic; the new Posterizing features blow me away. Lots of different looks possible.

Here’s another take of Kalel:

And spaceship concepts for my Graphic novel reboot Ray Gun Girl in comic style!

The new 4r5 render changes keep opening up new ideas for looks/

Did some fine tuning of Kalel sculpt. New hair and texture on the suit. Red piping for wrists and collar.





Change Supermans hand’s to fists and posed using transpose.

Different posterized lightcap looks.


More render tests with bpr filters and gaussian blur post in photoshop.

More poses and renders will follow***8230;


why don’t you just post a clay version of the model so that we can comment on the actual model itself

Thanks for the question Matthew.

Here’s just the sculpt clay no Poly paint, per your inquiry.

My Superman sculpt is a still VERY much a WIP.

This thread is ongoing. I’ll continue to update as I it unfolds.

I’m most interested in exploring ZBrush’s rendering capabilities and adapting what I discover for use in creating my Graphic novel Ray Gun Girl.

Happy ZBrushing everyone!:smiley:

As I’m ramping up production on my graphic novel RayGun Girl, I’m continuing to experiment with comic style renders using ZBrush. Another step further using my MOS model.

Really love the posterize functions in both the render and materials pallet. There are so many possible settings for great comic style renders playing with both of these rollouts.

Zbrush render and Photoshop postprocessing. I rendered the image and then duplicated it using threshold to get a b&w layer blended with the original render and added a saturation layer to amp up the color.

Happy ZBrushing


When I uploaded this thread, I tested Zbrush’s render tools. At the time some features added in the various 4.0-.7 allowed for comic style renders.

I thought some of these looks were cool enough to use as reference for a traditional painting in acrylic. Here’s both the reference image and a photo of the final painting. The painting Man of Steel: On Patrol is currently on display at Easttown Library, Berwyn PA. It will be there until my Heroes art show ends September 30,2016.

Here’s a link to the work on display and on site photos:

Several of the paintings are derived from 3D renders for reference. Ben Grimm the Thing is another painting from a ZBrush model I created and used the render for reference.