Character artist Naghi Hamidi explains his ZBrush workflow for creating Pete Docter

by CGAfrica in Tutorials,

on April 28th, 2017

This post is part of series called Workflow and Making of

Short tutorials by artists explaining their workflow and processes

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"When I saw his cute, lovely face and smile some years ago I decided would make a 3D portrait of him someday. I sent the image to him as a surprise and he liked it."

In this tutorial, I would explain the process of sculpting the Pete Docter`s bust. This is a non-detailed bust to show likeness of the character. I used zbrush, keyshot and Photoshop for the project.

I have broken the processes into five basic steps.

Step 1: Gathering References

At first before doing anything you should find good images and videos that represent the character; best images are those that show different views of the character. Choose the best pose that represent what the character is known for or one that shows the personality of the cgaracter. I used his images and presentation videos which helped me a lot.

Step 2: Starting to Sculpt

You can use one of your own base meshes for the head but I like to create with clay since it’s going to be a sculpture. I started with a sphere, Dynameshed it, pushed and pulled the clay to make it look like the head. At this stage I mostly use the move, ClayBuildup and smooth brushes. I do it in the symmetry mode till blocking out the likeness.

Making the props for the cloths parts I used Topology brush, CurveStrapSnap, CurveSnapSurface and Zmodeler. The statue base is made of a cylinder and Zmodeler. I started the eye glasses with a cube and shaped it with Zmodeler. The teeth are made of sphere in Dynamesh mode.

Step 3: Working on Liknenss

When I started this project, my goal was not to make a hyper real/ detailed portrait. I just wanted to make a sculptural bust so I didn`t focus on skin pores and wrinkles as much. In Zbrush under the Texture menu, Image Plane Subpallete there is an option that you can use to load images and the views. It docs the image to the background so can keep an eye on it as you sculpt. Make sure that you are using images from different angles. At this stage brushes like Dam_standard, Standard, Move, Smooth just works well. Here I Zremeshed the model so I could divide and get a clean and better result.

it`s better you make your own UI for quick access

Step 4: Creating the Hair

For the hair, I masked the area and extracted it. Foreside hair style is made of using Snakehook and Move brush. For the hair pattern, I used my own alpha. I sculpted the style in a plane and grabbed the alpha value with MRGBZ Grabber and made a brush out of it. After finishing the hair pattern, I refined each of them with Dam Standard and Smooth Brush.

For the eyebrow at first I stored the morph target so I could erase anything I wanted with the morph brush. I then sculpted the tiny hairs with Dam_standard Brush in a new layer for more control.

Step 5: Rendering and Compositing

For the render, I used Keyshot and the Keyshot bridge. I decimated the model in Keyshot. I assigned various materials and HDRI lightings. I placed 3 small planes around the bust as a 3point lighting system and that helped me to get better lights. The occlusion material was useful. I usually rotate the camera 90 degrees to fit the model to canvas and get more of the resolution.

For the composite, I used Photoshop. I colour corrected and masked the areas as necessary to achieve the desired look.

Thanks for spending timereading this. I hope its useful.

Naghi Hamidi

I'm a 2D & 3D character designer and a cartoonist. I'm currently working as a 3D character artist and environment artist in an animation studio.

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