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A downloadable demo of ZBrush is available from Pixologic


Pixologic`s Website
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Many thanks to the team at Pixologic for help and advice.

All images glen southern2001 or Pixologic (screenshots)


Some decisions need to be taken at modelling time. You need to detail the model as much as possible in EDIT mode before moving onto texturing. If you look at the lips on the head below (1.1)
you can see that they are plain and relatively featureless. This is fine for the lips as detail can be added using alpha brushes and adding specularity to a cloned material. The eye sockets and under-eye area need more work at modelling stage to ensure the level of detail is adequate to achieve the desired result.

Before beginning a big Zbrush project usually have an idea of the type of materials that I am going to use. For skin/flesh/scales I usually use one simple material but then make several copies of it that I change just a little e.g. add more specularity. If materials have the same basic properties with only minor changes, it prevents the sharp lines from appearing where two dissimilar materials meet.

For the skin on this model I wanted to use a basic material that used colour bump to add detail where ever I used a lighter colour. The settings I used can be seen in IMAGE 3 (3.1). This was the base material and from this I made 3 more copies, One with more specularity (2.3), one with more colour bump (2.1) and one with less noise radius and a positive colour bump (2.4)



When you are happy with the model you can launch Texturemaster. I find it easier to flood fill the model with a dark colour first then add lighter features as I go (1.2). This ensures that the deep recesses (ears, eyes, nostrils, lip creases etc.) are completely covered with the base colour. Have you tried colouring the inside of a nostril with Texturemaster yet? If you don't have the right undercoat you have to rotate your model 5 or 6 times to get it covered from every angle.

IMAGE 3. Click for large version

NOTE: These TM tips are my own findings. I strongly urge you to work through the show-me tutorials built into TM over and over again until you are happy that you know all that it is capable of.

I use the same sort of sequence for texturing a head time and time again. I usually start by `dropping` (TM DROP or Keyboard G) the head face on then add some details with a similar colour to the base colour but a lighter shade. I usually use a `dotty` alpha brush or make a custom one to give a skin like effect. I then `pick` it up (TM PICK or Keyboard G again) and roll it back 45 degrees and repeat the above but use a dark tone of the same colour for under the lips and eyebrows. Pick again and roll it forward and use a lighter tone for the top of the nose, eyebrows and lips.

You can see the texture map you have created at this stage by looking in your TEXTURE panel. A texture map is being created all the time you are using Texturemaster. Image 4 shows how this image map progressed as I worked. (See 4.1,4.3)


When I have done the front I turn the head side on. I use PREFERENCES>DOTS at this stage to make sure the head is aligned symmetrically and then turn on the B+F button (Back and front pickup) which allows me to effectively paint both sides of the head at the same time. I don't use this button when texturing the front as we don't want to be two-faced about things do we, although eyes in the back of the head would be nice.

TIP:Change the alpha brush and colour frequently. This helps build up layers of colour and texture. Use a variety of brushes from the palette and get into the habit of grabbing your own from the canvas. Make a new layer just for creating alphas if you need to and delete or hide it as required.

This process needs to be repeated over and over until you are happy with the result. Occasionally I `drop` the model at an odd angle to pick up on a bit of detail but more often than not I stick to the back, front, up down alignment.

If the material you are using has similar settings to the ones listed here (IMAGE 3.1), wherever you have added lighter tones you will see raised or bumped areas. This is a classic way of creating scaly skin or blemishes. As Texturemaster is updating your model every time you do a `pick up` you can adjust your texture as you go. If you start to add very fine line or creases with a dark colour you may find that the indentation is too severe (especially if the dark lines are drawn onto a lighter patch of skin). To improve this go over the area with the blur brush or even the smudge brush. The blur brush works much like the blur feature in a more traditional package and evens out the pixels by colour and help sooth the harshness.


When you have done enough work on the head-texture move onto setting the head into an image. Using the Gyro, position and size a copy then snapshot a copy into a new document window that you have preset to the size you require (I used 2000x2000 for this project).
I made several different versions of the `Smokin Orc` Texture and for the final image I settled on a more Greenish colour for the creature. I chose to put the head on some padded shoulders with a creased scarf. I used four layers as follows:

Layer 1. The Head
Layer 2. The Padded shoulders
Layer 3. The eyes and the Cigar
Layer 4. The background and the Scarf.

It is always a trade off. Keeping the layers to a minimum keeps the speed of the job high but not enough and it is sometimes hard to go back and edit individual areas.


Although a lot of work goes into the Texturemaster portion of a project like this there is always a lot of scope to change the image after setting the scene. Once the head was in place I set to work with a number of alpha brushes and the materials that I had created at the start of the project. I added more veins and pimples, blemishes, boils, creases, wrinkles etc.

I created the cigar from a tube and textured it after I had snapshot it in place.
To complete the image I added a red SUN light coming form the right of the scene and rendered it with shadows on. I then exported the 2kx2k image as a PSD. I opened a new document set to the correct dimensions and re-imported the image back in. To complete the project I used a number of the 3D brushes including glow, blur, smudge, shading enhancer. I drew the smoke using a couple of alpha brush and a near transparent white.


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