By Caroline Ng
Discover how Caroline Ng created her cute character concept Yummy! using ZBrush, Maya, Substance Painter, Nuke, and Photoshop…
Hello there! I’m very grateful to have this opportunity to share the making of of one of my 3D pieces. This 3D render is based on the wonderful illustration by Gop Gap called Yummy!
Step 1: Modeling & Sculpting
I poly model and UV the easier props, such as the branch, leaves, bag, feather and sandwich before going to ZBrush. For the character however, I jump straight into ZBrush, as I find it that I am able to easily change shape as I go. I start with basic shapes such as spheres, cylinders and so on.When I block out the character I then start dynameshing, sculpting and up res-ing.
Step 2: UVing
I then bring back the character back to Maya and use Quad draw to retopologize. In Maya, I can also check to see if the model’s pose is matching the concept by having the concept projected onto an image plane. I adjust some areas using soft selection.
Step 3: Sculpting finer details in ZBrush
For skin, I apply a little bit of noise to create some slight break up using Surface > Noise. For the clothes, I gather some photo references of fabrics and use Photoshop to make the images black and white, and apply a high pass. To do so, it is Filter > Other > High Pass. I usually put the high pass setting to 10. I then apply these maps on ZBrush by using the Surface > Noise and plugging in the height map on the alpha and start adjusting the scale.
Step 4: Texturing
For texturing, I used Substance Painter. I use a combination of photographed textures and hand painted textures, to give the piece a realistic yet painterly look. I like using Substance Painter as I can somewhat see how the texture map will appear when I plug it into the shader. There are times when adjustments will need to be made to the maps, but I usually do so using ramps in Maya.
Step 5: Look deving
When I have all my texture maps ready, I go back to Maya and plug in the maps. I render using V-Ray. Most of the shader work is done using the VrayMtl and the new AL Shader for V-Ray. For the boy I used VrayFastSSS. I also used V-Ray fur to create fuzz on the clothing of the character.
Step 6: Lighting
I mainly used spotlights to light the scene. I had a main spotlight coming in from the left, a strong rim light behind the character to the left and a fill light from the right-hand side. I also used a dome light so there would be reflections on the golden bell.
Step 7: Final touches
Lastly after I rendered the image. I started comping the passes I rendered out on Nuke. I then started adding in little effects such as glow and God-rays to further match the concept.
Image to illustrate step