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Model, Sculpt and Texture a Monster in 3ds Max and ZBrush - Part 1

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Read Time: 7 min
This post is part of a series called Model, Sculpt and Texture a Monster in 3ds Max and ZBrush.
Model, Sculpt and Texture a Monster in 3ds Max and ZBrush - Part 2

This is a multi-part tutorial on creating a Demon-like 'Lok Warrior' with realistic muscle anatomy. In the first day of this tutorial we will create a base mesh for our character using poly modeling. In day two we will take this mesh into ZBrush and sculpt intricate muscle anatomy. On day three we will texture the creature and add the finishing touches to the artwork.

Let's begin day 1 of this tutorial.

Step 1

I used two images from to model the base mesh more accurately. I drew 2 planes, one from the frontal view-point and one from the left view-point. With the exact same length and width as the original photos, I applied the photos as their textures, and then used the Move tool to view our image plane as seen below.

Step 2

Start with a cylinder with 5 height segments.

Step 3

From the front viewport delete the half side of your model so that you can add a symmetry modifier. Click on 'Editable Poly Vertex Level' and now we are ready to use some very handy tools: move-scale-rotate, and make the shape of the cylinder fit the image body. Press Ctrl+E and then you need to delete the four polygons. Your final result will be similar to image below.

Step 4

Now select and extrude that front edge using Shift + Move; as you can see on below image, in blue color, try to work in both the front and left viewport. When you are near to back part edge, use 'Bridge' to connect the edges when both are selected.

Step 5

Now for the leg. Extrude the selected edges by holding the Shift key down on your keyboard and use the move tool as show in the image below. To help them stand out, I colored them in blue. When you are done, try to form the leg from front and left viewports using the vertex sub-object level and like before, move-scale-rotate them.

Step 6

For the arms, use the same method as the leg in the above instruction.

Step 7

For modeling the hand, I used a box with a poly count equal to the arm border. In addition, I also changed the topology by cutting the selected polygon below to have 3 quad Image in order to have all fingers without having more segments from the box. Please note: If you increase the box segment, you will have problems bridging that to the arm because of the different polycount.

Step 8

Select and extrude/rotate each polygon to model the fingers.

Step 9

Attach the body to the hand. As you can see, the symmetry modifer will mirror the hand for the other arm too. Using 'Target weld', weld the hand vertexes to the arm vertexes. We don't need the image planes any more so you may delete them.

Step 10

Now it's time to model the foot. For this we'll use a cylinder. Delete the top and bottom polygons and two more polygons, as shown below.

Step 11

Now select those edges and with Cntl + the Move tool extrude them to look something like image below.

Step 12

Create new quad polygons using the cut tool on that polygon.

Step 13

Continue extruding edges and cutting just like before

Step 14

Now for the bottom part of the foot, extrude each side edge. Using 'Target weld' again use 'cut' for creating new polygons.

Step 15

Now cap the border and create 4 polygons by using 'cut'.

Step 16

Bevel each polygon to create the toes.

Step 17

Attach and connect feet to body just the way we did before with the hands. Tweak the vertexes using the move-scale-rotate tools and cut ring edges using Ctrl+E. The result should be similar to image seen below.

Step 18

Now it's time to start the head. Because it is a low poly base mesh, we won't have many details on the face. Create a small plane and after converting to an editable poly, start extruding edges and moving the vertexes in both front and left view ports.

Step 19

Continue extruding edges and moving the vertexes.

Step 20

This is what we have so far:

Step 21

Continue with the head using the methods we previously used on the body.

Step 22

Select those polygons and extrude them. Create new polygons using 'Cut'. After that, delete those polygons to start the horn.

Step 23

Add a symmetry modifier to the head object and then select each horn's border. While holding the Shift key down, scale them in. Cap them and 'bevel' them out three times each. Now is the time to make the horn smaller; when you are done, you will need to tweak some vertexes to create something like below.

Step 24

Add two spheres for the eyes and connect the head to the body just as you did the hands and feet. Make sure to create new polygons so that you will have enough vertexes to weld them.

Step 25

Now we have created the monster head with a human body. Delete one finger and one toe, then cap and move polygons. For the foot fingernails, simply bevel them twice.

Step 26

Now it is time to use 'Unwrap UVW modifier'. Select the body and add UVW modifier from modifier stack, but do not delete Symmetry. Go to the materials panel, select a material and add 'Checker' to its diffuse slot. Set the tile for both U and V to something like 20 or 30.

Step 27

Now we are ready to start UV mapping for our character. Turn off the 'symmetry' modifier then click on the 'Face' sub-level of 'Unwrap UVW' and select all the leg faces but leave one inner row and foot faces.

Step 28

Now, click on edit (you are in Edit UVWs window). Now, click 'Quick Planer map' from Unwrap UVW modifier and use 'Relax' from the tools menu of the Edit UVWs window several times. Use the rotate tool to rotate the leg faces making sure that you selected all the faces first.

Step 29

Select the row of faces that you didn't select earlier in Step 27 and click 'Quick Planer map'. Relax, rotate and then move them.

Step 30

To have a better understanding about welding vertexes, click the 'Display' menu on the Edit UVWs window and check 'Show Vertex Connections'. Now if you select a vertex, you will see a number that helps you to find the right vertex to weld.

Step 31

Right-click anywhere in the Edit UVWs window and select 'Target Weld'. Start welding vertexes of the leg and that row, check the process in 'Max, and move vertexes around if you see any stretching.

Step 32

Complete the same process for the foot. Select the top part faces of foot and then click 'Quick Planer map' and then the bottom faces. Weld their vertexes too and use scale to make them smaller. When you look at the 'Max viewport, the checkers should be almost the same size. You can map the faces between the foot and fingers separately.

Step 33

Continue selecting faces and do mapping the same as before for upper body.

Step 34

Select the back body faces, then the arm and hand just the way we did before for leg and foot.

Step 35

Now move them very close to each other and start welding with 'Show Vertex Connection' on.

Step 36

Map the head with selecting faces and welding vertexes. In the image below you can see how this should look.

Step 37

Turn symmetry on - this will create a copy of what you did on mapping. Check 'Select element' in the the 'Edit UVWs' window. Now select each part and click on the 'mirror horizontal' tool. Weld the body and head vertexes. Use the scale tool and then pack your UVs in the work area.

Step 38

Click on the symmetry on top of our modifier stack and then right-click and collapse all. Before exporting the model, make sure the mesh has no holes by selecting/moving vertexes that were across the mirror of symmetry before.

Step 39

Export the model as an OBJ file and import it into ZBrush 3.1. Use the OBJ Exporter settings below:

Day 2 Preview

In Day 2 of this multi-part tutorial we will bring the low-poly base into ZBrush and begin sculpting powerful and realistic muscle anatomy for the Lok Warrior.

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