For class, I chose a spotted deer as reference for my herbivore sculpt. We were given two weeks — plus one day of in-class time — for this project. I began my sculpt with zSpheres and built on from there, posing and refining the model as I progressed. By the end, the final product was less-so realistic and more-so stylized.
The first hurdle for this piece was defining an approach. This was the first creature I've ever modeled in ZBrush, and I wasn't sure how to begin. I chose to use ZSpheres after trying them out in class and found the tool intuitive enough to use. After the base was finished, I immediately set to sculpting and getting the legs proportionate and true to the reference.
The second problem I faced was with fiber mesh. I had hoped to add fur to the model, but discovered how difficult it would be to accomplish so late in the game. Instead, I settled on making a more stylized deer with the fur sculpted on. I managed to complete the deer close to the due date and finished up by polypainting the mesh.
If I had the time or the opportunity, I'd like to come back to this sculpt and try my hand at fiber meshing again. For now, although it's different that I envisioned it to be, I'm pleased with how it turned out.
Project One -- for the third week of class -- involved sculpting a rock using a reference photo. The rock could be a mineral, fossil, or other formation. We would then paint the object within zBrush and render it out for two screenshots.
For my project, I chose to model a block of fluorite covered with white calcite crystals. The biggest hurdle I faced was with the modeling and figuring out some more advanced zBrush tools. After a lot of trial and error, I made a brush for the individual crystals and painted them onto the larger fluorite cube. This made it possible to build the piece and edit the tool without an issue. After all that, I messed around with BPR transparency, created a plane subtool for the backdrop, and rendered it out for submission.
As for my goals with zBrush, I admire texture and painstaking detail. _A few super-talented artists I follow accomplish amazing things with the program. If you find their models at all interesting, I highly recommend viewing their additional work. A few examples barely do them justice.
For example, Bluoxyde comes from a background of customizing ball-jointed dolls. They have a strong sculpting and painting background which translates into zBrush very well. Recently, they built a doll based on their zBrush sculpt. The limbs are fully-functional.
Rodrigue Pralier is seriously larger than life. The level of detail that goes into his professional work is incredible. Even his fan art is wonderful. He's worked on models for Mass Effect, Army of Two, and, more recently, Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Witchingbones, a Finnish artist, works at EA. What I personally admire about her art is her style. In contrast to Rodrigue's realistic renders, hers is more stylized and less-packed with intricate bits. I really enjoy her character designs.
As of September 2014, my experience with zBrush is pretty limited. I touched the application once before while working with Team Ataxia last semester.
The tree asset was unique because of its really smooth, really curvy silhouette. While I was able to build the leaf "domes" in Maya, I assumed zBrush would be better equipped for molding and smoothing a trunk. So, I picked up the program to accomplish this.
Luckily, the program was intuitive enough for me to slowly maneuver the menus -- thanks to a little tutorial digging -- and I finished up with only some minor difficulty. I made one object which I edited with Maya, stretching and smoothing the trunk to get those varied twists.
Since my focus is with character design, I took zBrush for another spin during the first week of class to re-familiarize myself with the program. I wanted an opportunity to explore the program myself and get my own feel of things, so I tried not to rely on tutorials outside of very basic tool functions.
I already succeeded with building a very simple tree trunk, so I wanted to challenge myself by learning how to build, unwrap and paint a head. The biggest challenge was working with so many faces on an object -- especially with unwrapping -- which I solved by giving the model less subdivisions and smoothing later after importing the head to Maya.
My goal for this class is to become less intimidated by zBrush. Now that I've fiddled with the program a little more out of class, I think I can approach the program with much more confidence.