1. 3D & Motion Graphics
  2. ZBrush

Creating a Warrior Character: Part 1

This post is part of a series called Creating a Warrior Character with ZBrush and Maya.
Creating a Warrior Character: Part 2

In this tutorial you'll go through the entire character creation pipeline using Zbrush, Maya, UVLayout and Photoshop. We'll go through the whole process of creating the "Warrior" character including texturing and rendering with Metalray. This tutorial is divided into 8 parts and in the first part, we'll start blocking out the character in Zbrush using Zspheres.

Step 1

To start, open Zbrush and Right Click on the canvas, from the option box set the draw size to 0.

Step 1 Image

Step 2

Now select "Zsphere" from the "Tool" menu and draw a new Zsphere onto the canvas. Then click on the 'Edit' button. This zsphere is going to work as the pelvis for our character.

Step 3

Now press 'X' on the keyboard, so that whatever you sculpt/draw will automatically be projected on the X-axis. (This can also be done from "Transform" menu), click "Activate Symmetry" and make sure the X-axis is selected. From here you can also select any other axis you want to use symmetry on (X,Y.)

Step 4

Now draw another Zsphere as shown in the image below.

Step 5

Next draw a single Zsphere on the top of the original. Since it's exactly in the center, only a single Zsphere will be created.

Step 6

Add one more Zsphere on top of the one we just created (as shown.)

Step 7

Add another Zsphere to the top, and press ‘E’ on the keyboard (or select the Scale tool.) Now scale up the top Zsphere. This will become the chest part of the character. While working with Zspheres, you can preview the output mesh anytime by pressing 'A' on the keyboard.

Step 8

Add another Zsphere on top for the base of the neck.

Step 9

And add another as shown in the image below.

Step 10

Add one more Zsphere for the face and scale it up (as shown.)

Step 11

Add yet another Zsphere to the side of the chest, this will work as the base for the arm.

Step 12

And another pair of Zspheres added on to those.

Step 13

Add one more pair of Zspheres to the arm, and move it out to where wrist will be.

Step 14

Insert another Zsphere into the chain for the elbow, and adjust it using the Move and Scale tools (to shape the arm.)

Step 15

Add two more Zspheres, one before and one after the elbow zsphere, as shown in the image below.

Step 16

Add another zsphere on the wrist for palm.

Step 17

Add a chain of Zspheres for the finger as shown in the image.

Step 18

Using the same method, add the remaining fingers and the thumb.

Step 19

Now your ztool should look like this.

Step 20

Now start working on the legs, add Zspheres and adjust them as shown below.

Step 21

A few more zspheres to create the lower leg.

Step 22

Add two more Zspheres for the feet, one for the ball joint and another for the toe (as show below in the image.)

Step 23

Here is the complete Zsphere ztool for this character.

Step 24

You can preview the mesh by pressing ‘A’ on the keyboard. Or by pressing the "Preview" button in the "Adaptive Skin" options of the Tool menu. You can see we have a problem where the arms and legs connect to the torso.

Step 25

Now from "Adaptive Skin" options menu, set the "Mbr"
amount to 75.

Step 26

Preview the mesh again, as you can see the problem has been fixed. Click on the "Make Adaptive Skin" button.

Step 27

From the "Tools" menu, select the mesh we generated from the Zspheres.


Step 28

Press 'Shift+F' on the keyboard, the different colors on the mesh show the polygroups that has been created from the Zspheres.

Step 29

By pressing ‘Ctrl+Shift’ on the keyboard and clicking on any polygroup, we can hide all the other polygroup meshes except for the one we clicked on.

Step 30

Now select the "Move" brush.

Step 31

For selecting brushes hotkeys can be assigned. Press ‘Ctrl+Alt’ on the keyboard and click on the brush you want to assign a hotkey to (it will display the message shown in the image below.) Now press any key on the keyboard to assign a key. In my case, I’ve assigned ‘M’ for the Move brush, and ‘S’ for the Standard brush.

Step 32

Now using the Move brush, begin to shape the head (as shown.)

Step 33

From the "Geometry" options in the "Tool" menu, set the 'SDiv' amount to 2 and adjust the head further.

Step 34

Define the head a little more as shown below.

Step 35

Press ‘Ctrl+Shift’ on the keyboard and click anywhere on the canvas. The whole model will become visible, increase the subdivisions level of the mesh by pressing ‘Ctrl+G’ on the keyboard. Then further define the shape of head using the Standard and Move brushes.

Step 36

Do the same for rest of the body.

Step 37

While sculpting, always refine the shape at a lower subdivision level. And then move to a higher subdivision level for more detailed work. The shortcut keys for moving to a lower subdivision level is ‘Shift+D’ and "D" for moving up to a higher subdivision level. At anytime you can hide or unhide a particular area of the mesh to work on.

Step 38

Now unhide the whole body.

Step 39

Select the "Inflate" brush from the "3D Sculpting Brushes" menu, and inflate the mesh where required (as shown in the following images.)

Step 40


Step 41

I want the legs to be a little closer together, for this the "Transpose" tool can be used. Select the "Rotate" tool (or press "R" on the keyboard) and drag the mouse from the top of the leg to the bottom, while holding down "Ctrl" on the keyboard.

Step 42

Now as you can see the entire body turns black except for the legs. The black areas signify they are being Masked. The masked areas will remain intact while making changes to the other parts of the mesh. The "Transpose" tool displays a line with three circles, position the Transpose line using the outer circles (as shown below). And bring the legs closer together by rotating the small inner circles.

Step 43

Check the mesh from other angles, and refine the mesh if necessary.

Step 44

To hide a specific area, drag while pressing ‘Ctrl+Shift’, and then press ‘Alt’ before releasing the mouse. The area contained within the marquee will be hidden. Follow this same process to hide everything but the hands.

Step 45

Sculpt on the fingers using the "Move", "Standard" and "Inflate" brushes, to give them the proper shape. To inverse the effect of the selected brush while sculpting, press ‘Alt’ on the keyboard.

Step 46

Select the "Scale" tool (or press ‘E’ on the keyboard) and resize the head as it seems a little large in comparison to the body.

Step 47

Now make sure the arms length is proportionate to body. To do this, rotate the arms using "Rotate" and the "Transpose" tool. Here the arms seem a little too small.

Step 48

Now to fix this, undo the changes made and resize the arms using "Scale" (E).

Step 49

Now follow Step 47 again to make sure the arms length is proportionate to the body.

Step 50

This is what we now have at the end of the Day 1.


Step 51

To save the model, it needs to be saved as "ztl tool". That can be done using "Save As" in the 'Tool' menu. You can also save the ztool we created from the Zspheres after Step 23.

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