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• Creating striking designs daily • The sketchbook of James Suret • Modeling mechs in SketchUp • Create a forest scene in Vue • Model a stylized female character • and much more!

Art blogger Gleb Alexandrov discusses his passion for lighting, Blender, and social media

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Issue 122 | October 2015


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | ISSUE 122

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH 3DTOTAL!

Editor’s letter

Welcome to 3dcreative issue 122! Welcome to another issue of 3dcreative! This month we get to know two brilliant and unconventional artists – Mike Winkelmann, aka beeple, and Gleb Alexandrov of Creative Shrimp – and learn about their inspirations, careers, and impressive work ethics. We also take a look behind the scenes of some inspiring ZBrush work with James Suret, Marco Plouffe and Aram Hakze.

MARISA LEWIS Junior Editor

Our in-depth tutorials cover character sculpting, Vue environments, and even SketchUp modeling for the 3D designer on a shoestring. Along with an inspiring gallery of our favorite images, we hope this issue motivates you to make some fantastic 3D artwork of your own!

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com/3dtotalpublishing

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Contributors MIKE WINKELMANN Mike ‘Beeple’ Winkelmann is a freelance motion designer, graphic designer and 3D artist from Wisconsin, USA. In the latest issue, he shares his CINEMA 4D workflow and inspiring artwork.

GLEB ALEXANDROV Gleb Alexandrov is a digital artist, blogger, and founder of educational website Creative Shrimp. He believes every artist can make a living doing what they love, and manages Creative Shrimp to help artists manage that.

JESSICA TC LEE Jessica TC Lee is an experienced concept artist and award-winning illustrator working in a game studio as the leading concept artist, and is currently residing in San Francisco.

DREA HORVATH Drea Horvath is an environment artist, owner and co-founder of D&D Creations, a studio specializing in 3D Visualization and Audio Production. She creates matte painting, animation and games environments.

MARIO ANGER Mario Anger is an animator and learned his craft traditionally with clay, stone, and pencil on paper. He has worked in the film VFX business and currently works as a modeler at Double Negative, London.

ROUMEN FILIPOV Roumen Filipov is a 3D generalist born in Bulgaria, currently living in Brazil. His specialty is making 3D characters for film and the advertising agency. Here, he sculpts a fun sci-fi character.

ARAM HAKZE Aram Hakze is a visual effects artist from The Netherlands who specializes in creating high-end 3D assets for feature films, animations and games. He most recently worked on The Jungle Book and Terminator: Genisys.

MARCO PLOUFFE Marc-Olivier ‘Marco’ Plouffe is a Montreal-based character artist and co-founder of Keos Masons. He has worked previously for THQ, BioWare, Eidos and other companies in the entertainment industry.

JAMES SURET James Suret is currently a full-time web developer and freelance 3D artist, focused on creating detailed character and creature sculptures. He also enjoys creating illustrations and concept art from 3D renders.

SAMO KRAMBERGER Samo Kramberger is a multi-talented freelance artist from Slovenia, working as a designer, illustrator and sculptor. In the latest issue, he shares his dark, clay creations with us.


Junior Editor Marisa Lewis marisa@3dtotal.com Sub-editor Adam Smith Graphic Designers Matthew Lewis Aryan Pishneshin Advertising Manager George Lucas george@3dtotal.com Studio Manager Simon Morse simon@3dtotal.com Managing Director Tom Greenway Advertising Media pack and rates are available upon request. Contact George Lucas: george@3dtotal.com

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International Translation opportunities and international licenses are available. Contact Melanie Smith: melanie@3dtotal.com Subscriptions Subscriptions can be purchased via 3dcreativemag.com. 12-month subscription – £23.99 ($38.99 US approx.). To enquire about subscriptions, contact: support@3dtotal.com Distribution 3dcreative is an e-magazine distributed as a downloadable PDF and on digital newsstands. Disclaimer All artwork, unless otherwise stated, is copyright ©2013 3dtotal.com Ltd. Artwork that is not copyright 3dtotal.com Ltd is marked accordingly. Every effort has been made to locate the copyright holders of materials included in this issue of 3dcreative magazine in order to obtain permissions to publish them.

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Contents Issue 122 006_ Art Gallery

10 of the most inspiring 3D images from the world of CG, hand-picked just for you!

024_ Mastering artistic lighting

Art blogger Gleb Alexandrov discusses his passion for lighting, Blender, and social media

034_ Creating striking designs daily

Mike ‘Beeple’ Winkelmann shares his inspiring CINEMA 4D artwork

046_ The sketchbook of James Suret

Freelance artist James Suret shares a sample of his sinister ZBrush monsters and mechs

054_ Sculpting in polymer clay

Discover the dark clay creations of sculptor and illustrator, Samo Kramberger

060_ Model a stylized female character

Learn how to sculpt a fun sci-fi character in ZBrush with Roumen Filipov

070_ Create a forest scene in Vue

Improve your Vue landscape skills with Drea Horvath’s helpful tutorial

082_ How to portray facial expressions

Mario Anger walks us through the facial muscles and portraying emotion

092_ Modeling mechs in SketchUp

Jessica TC Lee shares her expertise in SketchUp and mech design

104_ Mysterious monster designs with ZBrush Discover how Aram Hakze created his haunting sci-fi image, Nautilus

110_ Sculpt a detailed ZBrush mech

Learn helpful ZBrush sculpting tricks from pro artist Marco Plouffe

122_ Digital Art Master: Soldier

Learn how Hasan Bajramovic crafted his stunning 3D masterpiece, Soldier

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Each issue the 3dcreative team selects 10 of the best digital images from around the world. Enjoy!


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Submit your images! Simply email: marisa@3dtotal.com

Opening the Dark Portal Guilherme Henrique Year created: 2015 Software used: Blender, Mudbox, Photoshop Web: sepultura.artstation.com


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Migration Alexander Gluhachev Year created: 2015 Software used: Blender, Photoshop Web: artstation.com/artist/slir

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Make Believe Daniel Ocean Year created: 2015 Software used: Blender Web: cgcookie.com/u/bpeders1

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Desert Horse Field Leisner Year created: 2015 Software used: ZBrush, KeyShot Web: leizner.com

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Azid Mohammad Hossein Attaran Year created: 2015 Software used: ZBrush, Photoshop Web: mhattaran.com

Sea Creature Gary Foo Boon How Year created: 2015 Software used: Maya, V-Ray, Photoshop, ZBrush Web: graxious.deviantart.com

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Infiltrator Igor Sobolevsky Year created: 2015 Software used: ZBrush, KeyShot, Photoshop Web: igoq.artstation.com

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Eleanor Peyman Mokaram Year created: 2015 Software used: Maya, ZBrush, MARI, V-Ray, Photoshop Web: peymanmokaram.com

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Toad Romain Lavoine Year created: 2015 Software used: Maya, MARI, Arnold, Photoshop, NUKE Web: lavoineromain.com

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Nadia Rodrigo Paulicchi Year created: 2015 Software used: ZBrush, 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop Web: rpaulicchi.wordpress.com


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3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Mastering artistic lighting

Mastering

artistic lighting Gleb Alexandrov, lighting enthusiast and founder of Creative Shrimp, shares his immersive images and advice for artists stepping out into the online world

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The Artist

Gleb Alexandrov Owner of Creative Shrimp blog

creativeshrimp.com Interviewed by: Marisa Lewis Gleb Alexandrov is a digital artist, blogger, and the founder of educational website Creative Shrimp.

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Gleb Alexandrov is the digital artist and blogger behind the Creative Shrimp blog, the place where artists go to get ahead in computer graphics and art. He actively participates in Blender community by sharing tutorials and experience. 3dcreative: Hello, Gleb! Please could you introduce yourself to our readers: who are you, where are you, and what do you do? Gleb Alexandrov: Hey everybody! I’m a digital artist and a blogger. I run the Creative Shrimp educational blog, where artists learn tips and tricks about computer graphics and art. I love sharing the knowledge and experience with people online, and that is the most important thing in my life. Basically, I believe that every artist can make a living by creating what she or he really wants. On my blog I’m showing how to do it. I’m showing how to become a better artist and how to think out of the box. And that’s super exciting for me. I live in Belarus and I feel mentally connected to many other places (today’s world is a global village indeed). I have friends, contacts and readers from all around the world including the UK, Australia, USA, Germany, Malaysia, Poland, Netherlands and many other countries. So I’m a kind of a global nerd.

Artist history Gleb Alexandrov’s career up to this point... 2013: Won first place in the Her Majesty’s Air Fleet competition. 2013: Created a blog and started recording tutorials for artists. 2014: Won a Render of the Year award on BlenderNews.org. 2014: Artwork published in the Digital Mayhem: 3D Machines Techniques book. 2015: Participated in creation of Pro-Lighting: Skies trailer for Blender Guru. 2015: YouTube channel reached 1.5 million views. 2015: Invited to Blender Conference 2015 as a speaker.

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The Brushes – This was Gleb’s attempt to push himself (and Blender) to the limit and make a hyperreal image


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Her Majesty’s Zeppelins – Gleb’s first image in Blender, and possibly his most popular one. It’s featured in books and magazines and won an award on Blender News last year

3dc: What first inspired you to get into 3D, and what inspires you now? GA: When I was a kid, I played videogames like a maniac. But everything changed when I stumbled across 3D games like Half-Life, Quake (and even

pre-rendered panoramic adventures like Myst). I was 12-years-old and it impressed me like nothing else on Earth. Computer graphics blew my childish mind and in an instant I knew that this was my thing. I

knew that I wanted to make virtual worlds for the rest of my life. Before that moment, I was just playing. After that shift, I started to learn how to create computer graphics. That was my biggest obsession, and I tried every piece of software that I could install on my lousy computer. 27


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Personality of a Lamp – Gleb believes that “every lamp has its own personality, which very much influences how we perceive its light”

Warm and Cold – The pleasure of drinking a hot cup of Costa Rican coffee while watching cold rain blasting the street. The rain is chilling, but the coffee is hot

Not to say I wasn’t lazy – I was probably the laziest person when it came to learning. But still, that urge to actually create, it made all the difference. 3dc: What software and tools do you use for your artwork, and why?

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GA: For my artwork I use mainly Blender, because this open-source content-creation tool complements my way of thinking. I love sharing stuff with people and I’m a huge fan of open-source movements, free knowledge and community-driven projects.

Honestly, I have never seen such an active and amazing community before. There is an ecosystem of people that communicate with each other in Blender community, share tools and create tutorials. That is a crazy mix of democracy, smart crowds and Web 2.0 trends.


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Big City Sensory Overland – It took Gleb nearly a month to get from the initial idea to the final image, and he was caffeinated the whole time…

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The Fog – All-devouring fog is actually a good thing. It helps you to create awesome ambient lighting!

Besides Blender I use ZBrush, After Effects, Photoshop, Audition, 3ds Max, Unity, Unreal Engine, PhotoScan and who knows what else for my artwork. And that’s my recommendation to every artist: experiment often. Experiment and always search for new things. You will be surprised how many crucial things you’ll find while conducting your experiments.

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3dc: Could you describe your general 3D workflow for us?

because it always pays off in the future. After that, just “draw the rest of the owl”, you know?

GA: It all starts with the reference. Finding the great reference is a sure way to push your project in the right direction. So I usually spend some time surfing Pixabay and Flickr and saving cool photos in my ‘Top 100 Inspiring Photos’ folder,

For me it means modeling stuff in Blender, visualizing in Cycles and post-processing in Photoshop. That’s the backbone of my general 3D workflow. Oh, and I drink a cup of Costa Rican coffee somewhere in the process.


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I also think that sharing works in progress with others is a super important part of my workflow. I don’t trust my own eyes too much, you know. Ask other people! To really drive the point home and persuade other people that critique is important, I run an honest critique session every month on Creative Shrimp. The last one amassed an astonishing 690 comments.

3dc: You have a very active online presence, creating podcasts, tutorials and YouTube vlogs. Not many 3D artists present web content in this way – what motivated you to take this approach? GA: I am my narrative, and I am my own online presence, though it may sound weird. Creating tutorials, podcasts and communicating with my

readers is the biggest motivation for me. Nothing stands close to it. Getting feedback from people, and seeing how they are getting ahead in art by watching tutorials is the best motivation for me. So if you are hearing it, you guys are keeping me afloat. Highest of fives!

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Without you I wouldn’t have started Creative Shrimp, and I wouldn’t create anything, because I love to share my knowledge. It’s like a drug and I can only make my dose higher and higher. I call it gonzo blogging (like gonzo journalism, invented by Hunter S. Thompson), but instead of heavy stuff I drink coffee. 3dc: What have you learned from the experience of setting up and maintaining Creative Shrimp? GA: Here is what I learned from setting up Creative Shrimp. Set up your blog, if you haven’t done it already. Just do it and before the end of the month you will be amazed by your newly found productivity, I guarantee. In today’s world, it’s not enough to create art. What you really need to do is learn how to make your voice heard.

The Winter Morning – Sometimes you hurry to make a photo, only to discover later that it didn’t capture subtle color nuances of the ice. In 3D, you are in control

You need to learn how to share your art. How to show your personality to other people. Potential clients, if you are freelancer. Readers, if you run a blog. After setting up Creative Shrimp I almost instantly started to see the difference. I could draw more eyes to what I do, and I could establish meaningful connections to artists and Blender enthusiasts all around the world. Now it is transforming into my income. 3dc: Tell us about your Open Lighting Book. What subjects do you cover, and what’s the feedback been like? GA: The Open Lighting Book is all about (re) discovering lighting as an aesthetic experience. I deeply believe that to create awesome lighting in computer graphics, you need to forget about computer graphics completely. We’re used to talk about lighting in terms of shaders, light sources and their parameters. We are so focused on the technical side of things. It’s fine while you’re learning the basics of the software, but if you want to create something really stunning, something weird, something ‘outside the box’... that approach sucks. Really awesome lighting isn’t created with light sources. Really awesome lighting is created with your eyes. It’s your aesthetic experience that you translate to your 3D work. It’s your life, and your artistic sensitivity. For example, to create really immersive night city lighting (like in Big City Sensory Overload), you need to feel that sensory overstimulation. You can’t interpret this Blade Runner-esque scene in terms of lighting schemes. The overwhelming 3DCREATIVEMAG.COM

The Ghost – Gleb created this image for CGCookie’s Halloween Competition 2013 – and the picture was awarded with first place

amount of light coming from different angles renders obsolete such things as light placement, softness and direction.

But we can describe this lighting scenario in terms of aesthetic experience. Once I stumbled across the article on a mental health talk website, where


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Complexity of Light – You notice the dazzling complexity of the lighting. You stop. And the whole world stops

some person described her overstimulation while visiting a mall. She said it was like taking LSD. “Then my visual perception would shift and it was like everything within my visual range was reaching toward me.” It’s what Susan Sontag called an ‘erotics of art’, noting that “in place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art”. For me, the format of open project is the only way to write a book. I share every new chapter for free with my readers and I’m getting awesome feedback. I’m very excited to sit down and continue writing this book for you guys. 3dc: What is one key piece of advice that you’d pass on to other artists? Gleb’s workspace

GA: Don’t be afraid to show your personality. You are your own brand, so start building the narrative using your blog and social media. In the end, to be visible, it’s not enough to create artworks and wait till someone sees it. Speak with other artists, post your artworks to every online gallery that you can find. ArtStation, CGSociety, 3dtotal, Blender Artists and so on. If you wish, ask other artists for a critique. After taking that leap, you’ll never want to return into your comfort zone. Steve Jobs once said: “All dreams are outside of our comfort zone. Leaving that comfort zone is a price we must pay to achieve them.”

3dc: Finally, and most importantly: what do you like to do in your spare time?

of what I am. I heard somewhere that it’s called self-awareness, and I like how it sounds.

GA: I’m a coffee monster, so I drink lots and lots of espresso.

Thank you so much and come visit me at Creative Shrimp.

When I’m not creating weird images, I spend my time with my wife. But honestly, I don’t think that my life consists of a ‘work time’ and ‘spare time’ separation. My work is my life, because I create the projects that are super interesting to me. And that is so satisfying.

3dc: Thank you very much for speaking to 3dcreative today!

The Artist Gleb Alexandrov creativeshrimp.com

The blog, the book, the tutorials, the art: I try to make sure that everything I do fits into the vision

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Creating striking

designs daily

Multi-talented designer Mike Winkelmann has finished an image a day for over 3000 days, with no sign of stopping! We chat to him about his creative workflow and various projects

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The Artist

Mike Winkelmann

Motion Designer at Beeple beeple-crap.com Interviewed by: Marisa Lewis Mike Winkelmann is a freelance motion designer, graphic designer and 3D artist from Wisconsin, USA.

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Mike Winkelmann is a graphic designer from Appleton, Wisconsin, USA. His short films have screened at onedotzero, Prix Ars Electronica, the Sydney Biennale, Ann Arbor Film Festival and many others. He has also released a series of Creative Commons live visuals that have been used by electronic acts such as deadmau5, Skrillex, Avicii, Zedd, Taio Cruz, Tiësto, Amon Tobin, Wolfgang Gartner, Flying Lotus and many others. He currently releases work on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder imprint.

GOBWONG – Trying out a ‘gobo’ technique where you project an image using lights

3dcreative: Hello, Mike! Please could you tell us a little about yourself: who you are, where you are, and what you do? Mike Winkelmann: I’m a graphic designer living in Neenah, WI, USA. I’m 34, married and have a two-year-old daughter with another baby on the way. I work as a freelance motion designer, primarily working with clients to create concert visuals. Before venturing out as a freelance artist I worked for a small company near my home as a graphic designer. Aside from commissioned work I am also interested in creating short films, VJ clips, and my daily ‘everyday’ project has kept me busy for over eight years. 3dc: Could you tell us about your creative background? How did you find your way into 3D? MW: I’ve always been interested in film and design, although I have a degree in Computer Science from Purdue University. Out of college I took a job as a graphic designer at a small B-CRYS – Some fractals and crystals!

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company near my home. I worked there for 10 years. Having a 9-5 job allowed me to work on personal projects in my spare time. I started my everyday project which led me to a number of

freelance opportunities. I started making short VJ clips that evolved into concert visuals. My everydays and personal projects challenged me to improve and gain skills working in CINEMA 4D.


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BREATH CONTROL – This image used a plugin called x-particles for CINEMA 4D to make a bunch of glowy strands going through a frosted sphere

3dc: Who or what are your biggest creative inspirations at the moment?

fit for me in terms of 3D software. I’ve used it as a focus for a number of my everyday rounds.

MW: Right now, my biggest inspirations are GMUNK, Ash Thorp, David OReilly, Aaron Beck, Greg Broadmore and Vitaly Bulgarov.

3dc: Could you describe your general 3D workflow for us?

3dc: What software and tools do you use for your artwork, and why? MW: I work primarily in CINEMA 4D, After Effects, and Photoshop. CINEMA 4D seemed like a good

MW: I usually start out with a general idea for a look for the day. I start my work in CINEMA 4D and really just jump in and start creating. Each day is different. Sometimes I am able to get a few hours of work done in a stretch and other times I have to work on it slowly throughout the day.

Once I’m happy with my work (which isn’t that often) or I run out of time (which is usually the case), I render it out in Octane Render and do all the post-work in Photoshop. Then I do it all over again the next day. 3dc: Tell us about your everyday project. When and why did you start it, and how has it changed your work? MW: I started my everydays in May 2007. At the time I just wanted to work on drawing. I saw Tom

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Judd do a drawing a day and the progress he had made and thought I’d give it a try. It was a real challenge at first, and of course continues to be. I needed to make time every day no matter what. It didn’t take long for me to see the impact the everydays were having on my work. I was learning a lot and applying what I learned each day. It stopped being a matter of if I could get it done, but when could I make time to get it done. I do feel a little overwhelmed at times knowing I have so much more to learn about so many different kinds of software. But I try not to let it get to me. There’s always another day. I’m getting incrementally better and that’s the whole point. As an artist, you need to be okay putting stuff out

and realizing that it may not be your absolute best work, but you’ll have another chance to do it better next time.

designer to work as a freelance artist and that has freed up some time for me to explore more of the things I’d like to learn more about.

3dc: You’re interested in a lot of media: video, audio, graphic design, 3D... Is it difficult to prioritize what to do or learn next?

3dc: You release a lot of Creative Commons videos and resources for other artists to use. What has the response been like, and what cool projects have your visuals ended up in?

MW: I have a pretty solid workflow that allows me to do a little of everything. My everydays start with a focus/goal each year. I always have a personal video that I’m working on in my spare time which gives me a chance to play with video and audio. It can be hard at times because I like being a part of the entire project. That just means I tend to have long days. I just recently left my job as a graphic

GAUSSIAN HARVEST – In this image, Mike imagined a weird sci-fi future in which people harvest giant glass balls

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MW: I love hearing how and where people are using my stuff. There are so many cool projects people have sent me links to over the years. The coolest experience was probably when I was in Hong Kong with my wife, brother, and his wife. We just happened to go to a night club, which we never do, and while waiting to get in the club we


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BOXXX-3W – Just a simple sci-fi box that can float over people

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BUTT SMOOTH – For this image, Mike wanted to make something peaceful and smooth

GHOST JACKED – An image with some fractals as a displacement map with some spheres thrown in

CHILI CHEESE DOG – Here, Mike was playing around with a CINEMA 4D plugin called DEM Earth, and some lasers

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TINCT FORMATION DISCOVERY – The large shard formation in this scene was modeled with ZBrush

noticed my visuals playing on the outside of the club as well as on screens once we got in. What made it so cool was that we weren’t expecting it. What are the chances I’d see my stuff being used that far from home?

MW: Haha! Spare time!? I spend most of my time at a computer, so when I do get some free time I like to spend it outside with my family. My daughter is almost two and she keeps my wife and I pretty busy.

3dc: What is one key piece of advice that you’d pass on to other artists? MW: Start an everyday project and put your work out there. Be patient and stick with it.

She’s a little sponge so just doing simple things like taking walks or going swimming are pretty entertaining. I enjoy running when the weather is nice, which in Wisconsin is pretty hit or miss, and I really enjoy a good nap.

3dc: Finally, and most importantly: what do you like to do in your spare time?

3dc: Thank you very much for speaking to 3dcreative today!

Read on to find out about Mike’s recently released short film, ZERO-DAY

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3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Mike Winkelmann – ZERO-DAY

Mike Winkelmann recently released a new short film, ZERO-DAY, a 3-minute video created in CINEMA 4D, with instrumental music by fellow ‘everyday’ enthusiast, standingwave. You can watch ZERO-DAY here and see its process video here. We ask Mike more about the film and how it was created.

ZERO DAY still

3dc: What inspired the themes and visuals of the film, ZERO DAY? MW: This video is actually the eleventh video in the ‘instrumental video’ series that I have been working on for about 10 years. The last ones were IV.10 and IV.9 which, as you can see, really laid the groundwork for this film. This series is about animating every single instrument in a piece of music so that the visuals and audio are super tightly synced. In terms of the actual look and design of the piece, I was extremely inspired by the amazing work of people like Vitaly Bulgarov, Aaron Beck, Greg Broadmore, Fausto De Martini, Ben Mauro, etc. Those guys are absolute design and modeling legends and I would be insanely happy to one day be half as good as them. 3dc: How long did it take you to make ZERO-DAY, from early concept to final piece? MW: I ‘officially’ started in January of last year, so about a year and a half. But some of the models in the piece were made even before that. A lot of the assets that were used came from my ‘everydays’, a lot of which were made with the film in mind. So one day I might model a little machine or a bunch of wiring or a wall panel as my everyday, and then these assets were used in the final film. 3dc: What came first – the subject matter, the visuals, the music, or did you work it out as you went along? MW: The modeling of all the instruments came first. From there I worked very closely with the standingwave to make sounds for each instrument. Then we took all of those sounds and made a piece of music from it. Then it got handed back to me for 6 months of key-framing to make sure the visuals matched up to each individual snare hit, hi-hat, and kick drum. As you can probably assume, this is a painfully long and boring process!

ZERO DAY still

The Artist Mike Winkelmann beeple-crap.com

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ZERO DAY still


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | ISSUE 122

ZERO DAY still

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Sketchbook of Damir G Martin

The Artist

The sketchbook of

James Suret Freelance artist James Suret shares a sample of his sinister ZBrush monsters and mechs 3DCreativemag.com

James Suret

artstation.com/artist/zerojs Software used: ZBrush James Suret is currently a full-time web developer and freelance 3D artist, focused on creating detailed character and creature sculptures. He also enjoys creating illustrations and concept art from 3D renders.


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | ISSUE 122

Meet James Suret’s fascinating ZBrush creations…

A vehicle and character for the tabletop miniature game The Edge created by Awaken Realms (awakenrealms.com)

I have used pencil, paint and clay in the past to attempt to express my creativity in the physical world. However, there was always something that constrained the creative process; something that stopped me bringing my imagination to life. Then I found ZBrush, and the creative freedom it allows is fantastic. As soon as I learned to use ZBrush I was amazed at the speed at which I could create a 3D model of what was in my mind. It is perfect for sketching out ideas on a 3D canvas. I actually find it easier to work this way rather than drawing in 2D first. Inspiration and ideas I started sketching in pencil and ink when I was very young; my main source of inspiration was manga and anime film. As I got older I found inspiration in sci-fi and fantasy films. Without a doubt the artist that inspired the biggest change in me artistically was H.R. Giger. His work showed me that art can be dark, twisted and provoke fear as well as joy. I stared at Giger’s original designs for Alien for many hours thinking how beautiful it was, but at the same time disturbing. A bust of a ferocious primeval vampire character

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3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | The sketchbook of James Suret

Toolkit I used to generate the basic 3D form of a model in traditional 3D modeling software and then import into ZBrush for sculpting, but now I can work from start to finish in ZBrush thanks to the many improvements that have been made. I sometimes use KeyShot for ZBrush to create quick professional quality renders; other times I create several renders in ZBrush and composite them in Photoshop. Sketching workflow When I am creating a character based on human anatomy, I start from a pre-made base mesh and then change the proportions and add to the form. However, if I am creating a character from my imagination I start by creating a ZSphere skeleton, then pull out the rough form using the Move and Inflate brushes. From there I mostly use the Clay and Dam_Standard brush to build up the definition, separation and form of the character. During this process I use DynaMesh to re-create the mesh and increase the polygon count. After posing the character using the Transpose tools, I then use several Alpha materials to add finer surface details such as wrinkles and pores. A scene showing an alien creature tending to her newborn baby

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A fantasy-style female necromancer equipped with a staff and spellbook

An angel corrupted into a twisted demonic form, inspired by Dead Space and The Thing

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TOP TIP

3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | The sketchbook of James Suret

Tell a story When sculpting a character or creature, it’s important to create a pose that brings it to life. Try to imagine what the character would look like if it was in a game or movie and how it would move or stand. Try creating a pedestal base for the sculpture that incorporates the environment the character would be set in.

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A robotic alien invasion force created using DynaMesh and kit-bashing 51


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | The sketchbook of James Suret

The Artist

James Suret

artstation.com/artist/zerojs

An insect-inspired alien creature in a defensive pose

3DCREATIVEMAG.COM

A twisted abomination of Serqet, the ancient Egyptian goddess of scorpions


Would you like to see your sketches featured in 3dcreative magazine? We’re always on the lookout for talented artists and their artwork to adorn the pages of our magazines. If you think you have what it takes, please get in touch! All you need to do is email marisa@3dtotal.com with a link to your portfolio and some information about you. We look forward to hearing from you!


IG

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3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Sculpting in polymer clay

T AR

I

S ST

P

L T O

The Artist

Sculpting in polymer clay Freelance artist and sculptor Samo Kramberger shares a selection of his traditional clay works 3DCREATIVEMAG.COM

Samo Kramberger samokramberger.com

Software or media used: Polymer clay Samo Kramberger is a multi-talented freelance artist from Slovenia, working as a designer, illustrator and sculptor.


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | ISSUE 122

Discover the dark clay creations of sculptor and illustrator, Samo Kramberger...

Space – 1/6 scale, mixed media

3dcreative: Hello Samo, thank you for speaking to us! Firstly, could you tell us a bit about yourself? Who are you, where are you from, and what do you do? Samo Kramberger: I’m 43 years old, married, and I have two wonderful daughters. By education I’m an art teacher. I’ve worked as a designer in many studios and today I’m a self-employed freelance artist. I’m specialized in website design, application design and book illustrations, and in the last few years I’ve been designing casino games. I devote my spare time to sculpting. 3dc: What first inspired you to get into sculpting, and what inspires you today? SK: I’ve been drawing and sculpting since I can remember. I realized that I could reproduce my favorite characters from movies and comics in clay. My first sculpture (in elementary school) was a life-sized Yoda in papier mâché – I never finished it, but I still have it in my basement. Today, after years of being a ‘serious’ artist, I still find joy and inspiration in the fantasy and pop culture universe. 3dc: What tools and materials do you use for your sculptures, and why? SK: The majority of my sculpting is done in polymer clay. I use Super Sculpey and Sculpey Firm. It allows me to sculpt with my hands or I can use sculpting tools when I need the detail. The final product is durable when it’s baked. But I don’t limit myself with one material; I also like to use a ‘mixed media’ approach and combine all sorts of materials.

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3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Sculpting in polymer clay

1/6 scale, mixed media

Warrior – 1/6 scale, mixed media

Vampire – 1/6 scale polymer clay and resin

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War Horse – 1/6 scale, mixed media

3dc: Could you describe your typical creative process for us – both the planning and the practical sides? SK: Sometimes (especially when I’m doing fan art) I’m very thorough; I’m studying my subject, doing sketches, proportional sheets and so on, but I still leave room for my own interpretations.

always combining different things (used parts) and creating new forms out of them. If I take a walk with my wife, she’s enjoying the sunset while I’m checking the bushes next to the road to see if there are any thrown-away used lighters lying around. The parts from the disassembled lighters become my sculpting material!

My approach is to sculpt in color clay. The figure is still painted with acrylic, but sometimes a light color wash and a bit of dry brush is all it needs.

3dc: What are the advantages of being able to work with different digital, traditional, 2D and 3D techniques? How do they influence each other in your artwork?

When I’m sculpting my own subjects, I don’t plan anything ahead. I especially like to ‘kitbash’ – I’m

SK: I have my cycles of interests that are all spinning around art. Sometimes my focus is on

watercolors, then it’s sculpting, then I’m building wooden ships and then I’m completely digital for months. So all I do is in some way connected through art. But I do think that being a traditional artist first has helped me with my digital art work. 3dc: Lastly, what are you working on right now? Anything we should particularly look out for in the very near future? SK: Currently I’m working on a personal project called Death and the Maiden. It’s a 1/6 scale sculpture of Death and a maiden on a horse. I’m really enjoying this one – it’s dark, it has power and is a bit of a pin-up. 57


1/6 scale, mixed media

The Artist

Samo Kramberger samokramberger.com


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Model a stylized female character

The Artist

Roumen Filipov roumenfilipov.com Software Used: ZBrush Roumen Filipov is a 3D generalist born in Bulgaria, currently living in Brazil. His specialty is making 3D characters for film and the advertising agency.

Model a stylized female character by Roumen Filipov

Roumen Filipov shares his modeling expertise in this new tutorial series, sculpting a plucky steampunk-inspired character in ZBrush. In this part, learn how to model a character from scratch, with useful techniques for creating clothing and adding accessories 3DCREATIVEMAG.COM


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Improve your ZBrush workflow by following Roumen Filipov’s tutorial advice…

Head sculpt progress

This is the first of a series of four tutorials covering the production of a stylized 3D character using ZBrush and 3ds Max, from the initial blocking to the final render and postproduction. In this first phase, we will look at the creation and blocking of a full character in ZBrush without worrying about mesh topology and integrity. During the process, I’ll be showing techniques for organic and hard-surface modeling using ZBrush’s internal tools like DynaMesh and ZRemesher, smart ways to use the primitive geometries to create accessories and details in the clothes, and also some tricks to deform the mesh without hours of sculpting and polishing. The aim is to define the forms and proportions of the character as quickly as possible, just to use as reference for subsequent production in another software, like 3ds Max, where the mesh will be ready for texturing, rendering and posing. The character will be a steampunk pest exterminator girl with an athletic figure and all her equipment ready for the job. Now, let’s have fun!

The process of sculpting the ears

01

Sculpting the head and eyes from primitive spheres: Every time I sculpt a character, I prefer starting with the head since I consider it to be the most significant and difficult part of sculpting. It’s no use having a body with perfect anatomy and all the details in place if the face is not the most expressive part and as pleasant as possible. I usually start with a primitive Sphere3D in ZBrush and, with the help of DynaMesh, sculpt each facial detail to achieve a shape that suits me. For the eyes, I usually use two primitive spheres with the pupil subtly marked to help position the eyelids.

Building up the body

02

Adding the ears: Some of the most delicate parts of the body, such as ears and fingers, are easier to sculpt separately and then merge with the main mesh using DynaMesh. In the case of the ear, I generally start with a sphere, scale it in the Y axis using the Transpose tool, planify one side by dragging the first axis of the Transpose, and then sculpt the basic shape and position of the ear to the head. Once properly positioned, I merge the ears and body SubTools and turn on DynaMesh, causing the contact zone between the two objects to join and form one continuous mesh. Finally, I give some final touches to remove the intersection mark.

03

Sculpting the body: To sculpt the body I generally use a structure formed by ZSpheres and converted to a mesh. I start by creating a ZSphere at the base of the neck and then creating all the body parts from it. After creating the structure in a pleasing proportion, I convert the ZSpheres to a mesh by pressing

‘A’ and then ‘Make Polymesh3D’ in the Tools tab. Then I start sculpting until I reach the final form shown in the image. To join the head with the body, I merge both the SubTools and apply the DynaMesh with a reasonable amount of subdivision so I don’t lose any of the details from any part. 61


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Model a stylized female character

04

Sculpting the hair: Every time I make a character, I usually sculpt geometry to block out the hairstyle, even if it is completely thrown away later to create it from scratch using hair and fur tools. Hair blocking is important because it helps define the silhouette of the head and the character’s face. To sculpt the hairstyle, I add a SubTool with a primitive sphere and start adding DynaMesh divisions, then refining until I get a nice result. Some artists prefer to use ZBrush’s FiberMesh to create the hair, but I stick with the geometry because of the speed with which you can get the desired result.

Hair sculpting steps

05

Extracting the cloth mesh: Now that the body is finished, it’s time to start creating the base mesh to sculpt the clothes. Some clothes can be sculpted directly onto the body, such as the shirt, though some others that are not as close to the skin should be sculpted into separate SubTools. To create new meshes without using primitives, I usually create a mask over the portion of the body that the clothes will cover, then use the Extract tool (in the SubTools tab) with ‘S Smt’ set to 0 and ‘Thick’ set to 0.01 as a base. Finally, I apply some final sculpting to the extracted mesh to mimic the natural behavior of the garment.

06

Finishing the cloth piece: The problem with using the Extract tool to create multiple garments is that after some time, your file will be quite slow and heavy. It will be very difficult to work with and will consume a lot of hard disk space. To resolve this issue I usually use the ZBrush’s automatic retopology tool, ZRemesher. Simply select the desired SubTool and click the ZRemesher button, then repeat the process to reach a reasonable polygon count, while of course keeping the volume and silhouette of the original mesh.

07

Boot modeling: For hard-surface or hybrid objects it’s easier to take advantage of the various primitive geometries that ZBrush offers. To model the boot, for example, I select the Cylinder3D tool and edit the settings in the Initialize tab to get a good mesh to start sculpting. Then I click on ‘Make Polymesh3D’ and start sculpting the boot, adding DynaMesh subdivisions. Remember that the Initialize tab disappears if you add the primitive as new SubTool; therefore, configure what you need in a new tool and then add the mesh as a SubTool in the main ZTool.

08

Other uses for primitives: Another example of how to use primitives is in the case of objects formed by closed pieces like rings and chains. There are several ways to create

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The mesh extracting process


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ZRemesher configuration

Modeling the boots

Modeling extra clothing accessories

this type of object. You could draw the shape as a mask on a 3D plane and extract it as a new SubTool, as was done with some of the clothes. However, in this case, I prefer to use the Ring3D primitive and deform it with the Move brush until I achieve the desired shape. After it’s finished, I just position the object with the Transpose tool, duplicate the SubTool and press the Mirror option in the Deformations tab. 63


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Model a stylized female character

09

Cloth detailing: To help define the look of the character a little better, always add the essential detail to distinguish between different types of material such as skin, metals and fabrics. To model the shirt underneath the overalls, I draw a mask where the clothing covers the body and use the Inflate deformation to extrude the edges. To finish the details, I usually use the Clay Buildup, Slash3, Standard, Inflate

Examples of deformations

Hard-surface blocking technique

3DCREATIVEMAG.COM

and Clay brushes. It is important to always keep a ZTool saved with the original character’s body; it will be essential later for the correct retopology and modeling of other objects close to it.

10

Blocking the spray tank: At this stage, ZBrush primitives are used to block the spray tank that the character carries. Analyzing some steampunk references, I notice

the presence of gas tanks with various tubes and valves, so I decide to make a large, heavy tank with some smoking rusty pipes and various screws and welded metal. To create the pipes, I use masks and the Transpose tool to get them in the desired form, applying DynaMesh for finer details. The main tank is basically made of a cylinder with the ends inflated and smoothed using the Smooth brush.


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Refining tools for the spray tank

Extracting the exterminator’s gas mask

11

Finishing the spray tank: After finishing the blocking of the basic parts, I use some techniques and additional primitives to finalize the spray tank. At the blocking step, remember that what matters is the volume and silhouette of the character and its accessories; there’s no need to add time-consuming details such as handles and screws yet. In the case of the tank, I just use masks to inflate some details, and test out features such as welding in the pump part using Clay Buildup.

12

Making the gas mask: To model the character’s gas mask, I decide to use the same technique used to extract the clothes, this time masking the covered region of her face and extracting it with the same configuration as before. When this is done, I sculpt into the extracted mesh the volumes of the lenses and filter, and then apply DynaMesh to reconfigure the mesh. One thing that eases the process is to sculpt the inner and outer parts of the mask to prevent DynaMesh from creating holes due to mesh intersections.

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13

Finishing the gas mask: As the mask is a hybrid object with both organic and hard-surface forms, it may require a little more detail, mostly because it’s an object that can create a totally different tone depending on whether the character is wearing it or not. Following the steampunk style, I decide to sculpt a few divisions as if it was made of metal plates, with exaggerated screws joining them together. Sometimes it’s easier to create hard-surface details through alphas using the DragRect brush mode (for the breathing filter, for example). I use both DragRect with alphas and sculpting to create the mask.

14

Blocking the utility belt: This accessory is important because it’s made of several smaller pieces forming a utility belt. In addition to the spray tank, it might be interesting for the character to have formulas and portable insecticides for more precise work. For this, I decide to model three tools separately from primitives: tubes with poisons, an insecticide can and pockets for other related stuff. After that, I extract a belt mesh from the body and insert the objects as new SubTools, finishing by using the Transpose tool to rearrange them in scale and position.

15

Adding color and basic materials: Now that we have the blocking of the model finished, it’s time to create a color palette and basic materials that can guide the texturing and render later. I use a triad of colors with shades of yellow, blue and pink. To plot Belt accessories modeled separately

3DCREATIVEMAG.COM

Techniques and tools used to finish the mask

out the materials, I use a slightly reflective metal simulating bronze; SkinShade4 for parts like skin, eyes and hair; MatCap gray for inorganic parts like clothes, and SoftPlastic for less reflective parts

like the gloves and belt. A good tip is to never use 100% saturated and vibrant colors, except in extreme cases like a magical stone in the character’s armor.


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Painting and materials details inside ZBrush

The Artist

Roumen Filipov roumenfilipov.com

NEXT ISSUE Join Roumen as he continues modeling and UVing in 3ds Max 67


+plus

• Creating striking designs daily • The sketchbook of James Suret • Modeling mechs in SketchUp • Create a forest scene in Vue • Model a stylized female character • and much more!

Art blogger Gleb Alexandrov discusses his passion for lighting, Blender, and social media

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Issue 122 | October 2015


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3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Create a forest scene in Vue

Scene files

Create a forest scene in Vue by Drea Horvath

Vue pro Drea Horvath shares the in-depth step-by-step process behind this enchanting woodland scene 3DCREATIVEMAG.COM


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | ISSUE 122

The Artist

Drea Horvath dreahorvath.eu ddcreations.eu

Software Used: Vue, Photoshop, Filter Forge Drea Horvath is an environment artist, owner and co-founder of D&D Creations, a studio specializing in 3D Visualization and Audio Production. She also creates environments for matte painting, animation and games.

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3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Create a forest scene in Vue

Discover how Drea Horvath created this summery forest… Forest scenes have always been popular among landscape artists. Lush, lively woodlands look amazing in every season, at any time of the day, and we often get inspired to create our own natural environments. With its highly advanced and powerful features to generate complex ecosystems, Vue is a perfect choice to build our virtual forests. In this article, I illustrate the creation process of my scene titled Summery Woodlands. This tutorial covers every key step of the workflow, from making a path, all the way to the postprocessing after final rendering. The steps include exporting and importing terrains, manipulating height and material distribution in Photoshop combined with Vue, creating complex mixed materials and multi-layered ecosystems, achieving realistic lighting and depth, rendering and enhancing our final image in Photoshop and Filter Forge.

Exporting the height map of the basic (path) terrain in TIFF image format in Vue’s Terrain Editor

Before getting started, I’ll highlight some settings that have been applied right from the start: a shadow softness of 5.00° is enabled to get smooth shadows without making the edges too hard, the camera focal is set to 25mm, the input and output gamma is set to 2.2, and auto-exposure is disabled in the Post Render Options. This tutorial is intended for Vue artists with basic general knowledge of the software and its functions. If you have any questions regarding these settings or any step in the tutorial, don’t hesitate to contact me at drea@ dreahorvath.com or drea@ddcreations.eu, and I will be happy to assist you.

“I choose an old method for making a path over the newer material painting function”

01

Creating the basic terrain: As the first step of the process, I create the main, basic terrain with the path. Due to the complexity of the materials I am about to create, I choose an old method for making a path over the newer material painting function. I generate a simple heightfield terrain, increase its resolution to 512 x 512 in the Terrain Editor, then export the terrain as a TIFF image file. This generates a grayscale height map of the terrain. I load the height map in Photoshop (if you don’t have Photoshop, GIMP can be a good alternative).

3DCREATIVEMAG.COM

Top: Setting up the path terrain’s height and material distribution maps in Photoshop Bottom: Importing the height map into Vue’s Terrain Editor

02

Drawing the path: After loading the terrain height map in Photoshop, I add a solid white layer for the distribution map, and another, transparent layer for drawing the path. I

hide the solid white layer, and on the top layer, I draw the path with a simple smooth black brush. I decrease the path layer’s opacity to 30%. This will result in a slightly lowered path on the terrain.


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I save the image as the new height map (TIFF). I make the white (middle) layer visible again, increase the path layer’s opacity to 80%, and then save this image as the material distribution map (as a JPEG).

03

The distribution map created in Photoshop, connected to the Distribution output node in the Function Editor as a Projected Texture Map

Applying the distribution map: Back in Vue, I reset my terrain and load the new height map with the lowered path. After that, I reset the material on the terrain, then enter the Material Editor and switch to Mixed Material. I highlight both materials, giving the first one (that is about to become the path) a brown color, and the second one a green color as the basis for the surrounding forest. Under ‘Distribution of Materials’, I enter the Function Editor (right click > Edit Function), add a Projected Texture Map node, and load the distribution map. I click OK and set the mapping to ‘Object – Parametric’.

04

Mixing bitmapped texture with procedural material, using a Grainy Fractal node connected to the Distribution output node in Vue’s Function Editor

Making a complex ground material (path): After setting up the path’s material distribution, I move on to creating its texture. I double-click on the first material from Step 3, and switch to Mixed Material. Under ‘Distribution of Materials’, I enter the Function Editor, and connect a Grainy Fractal to the Distribution output node. After double-clicking on Material 1, I change the coloring mode to Mapped Picture and load a 4k bitmap ground texture I made previously in Filter Forge. I switch to the Basic Material Editor and load its bump map as well. As Material 2, I load a procedural texture I tweaked from the Wet Stones material from the Landscapes library.

05

Twigs and pebbles: After setting up the mixed material of the path, I switch from Mixed Material to Ecosystem/Particles, and add three variations of twigs I previously created by tweaking and drastically re-scaling Vue’s leafless trees. In the Density tab, I enable Variable Density, then I enter the Function Editor and connect a Grainy Fractal node to the Density output node. I set the Overall Density to 75%, and the ‘Offset from surface’ to -19% (Proportional), so the bottoms of the instances are buried in the ground. I add a second ecosystem layer with Natural Pebbles (from Vue’s library), and apply the same steps. The path’s material is included in the downloadable resources.

06 Top: general settings of the twigs ecosystem layer (left) and density settings of the pebbles (right). Bottom: Variable density of the twigs

Lush ground cover: The next step is creating the lush ground cover ecosystem of the forest surrounding the path. Since I’m about to make a dense ecosystem, a simple procedural ground material is enough. For our original Material 2, I load Simple Grass from Vue’s Material Layers library and give it a brownish tone (RGB 48, 42, 32). After that, I add five layers 73


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Create a forest scene in Vue

of ecosystem. The lowest layer, ‘groundcover’, includes Small Grassfield Plant 1, 2 and 3 from Vue’s ‘Grasses – Plants’. The density is set to 86%, and in ‘Scaling & Orientation’, I tick ‘Shrink at low densities’, so the scale of the instances gets smaller as they appear closer to the path.

07

Grass and flowers: For the next layer, ‘grass’, I add Long Grass and Dry Weeds from ‘Grasses – Plants’. I set a Density of 83%, and enable Clumping with an amount of 71% and a size of 1m. I also enable Variable Scaling, connecting a Grainy Fractal node to the Scaling output node in the Function Editor. I set the maximum size variation to 2 (X), and enable ‘Shrink at low densities’. As the third layer, I add a sparse population of flowers: Small Blue Flowers, White Flowers and Yellow Flower, also shipped with Vue. I set the Density to 26%, then enable Clumping (87%, 4m) and Variable Density with the same method as before.

08

Adding high-quality bushes: For the fourth ecosystem layer, I want to add some bushes. Since the SolidGrowth bushes shipping with Vue are not realistic enough due to their flat leaves and twigs, I choose three bushes/small trees (EU43 young, FR16 young, SH03 3) from Xfrog’s free samples, available on their website. I set the Density to 21%, and to bury their roots under the ground, I set the ‘Offset from surface’ to -15% (Proportional). I decrease the overall scaling to 0.517, set ‘Maximum size variation’ to 2 (X), and enable ‘Shrink at low densities’. Variable Scaling is enabled, connected to a Grainy Fractal.

General settings of the ground cover ecosystem layer, including the relative presence of the species

09

Alders and tall pine trees: I pick two ways of adding trees to the forest: the first step is adding a fifth layer with SolidGrowth (Vue) trees to my multilayer ecosystem, and the second step is manually placing high-quality Xfrog trees closer to the path and the camera. For the tree ecosystem layer, I select the Tall Pine Tree and Alder – Late Spring trees. This is a simple ecosystem just to fill the forest, so no variable density or scaling is needed. I set the Overall Density to 64%. After populating the terrain, I open up the Ecosystem Painter (by clicking on Paint), and erase the instances that are too close to the camera.

10

Adding trees manually: Focusing on getting a detailed forest scene, I pick some tree models from Xfrog’s free samples, import them and add them to both sides of the path. I load multiple variations of Chestnut Trees, European Hackberries, European Beech and Bishop Pines. After loading the trees, I optimize each model for faster rendering by disabling

3DCREATIVEMAG.COM

Top: variable distribution and scaling of the grass layer Bottom: test render of the path with the surrounding ground cover


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Top: the three Xfrog bushes I used in the ecosystem Bottom: test render of the current stage of the process

Test render of the current stage with the alders and tall pine trees added as a new ecosystem layer

Manually adding high-quality trees makes a big difference, and the rabbit and butterflies bring the scene to life

Side view of the scene with the largest background terrain highlighted, demonstrating the actual scale of the scene

TOP TIP Basic rules of composition Even with perfect lighting and excellent render quality, bad composition can ruin the overall perception of an image. One of the most important guidelines is the rule of thirds, which means positioning the main element(s) in the scene offcenter. If you look at my render, the path is positioned a bit near the right side instead of the center. ‘Leading lines’ are also easily recognizable on the image; instead of a straight path, the path naturally leads your eyes from the left to the right, then back to the center. The third rule I would highlight is framing; notice how I place firm trees to each side to form a natural frame. Demonstrating the rule of thirds; the image is divided into nine equal segments. The blue dot indicates the position of the path

caustics on the leaves and resetting the bump map on the branches of the more distant trees. I also add some leafless trees from Vue’s library. To avoid hard, unrealistic edges on the branches, I double their resolution in the Plant Editor. I also modify the gnarl, diameter and angle.

11

Background terrains: I add three background terrains behind the path. Two of them are flattened terrains with a simple material and ecosystem; I load Simple Grass as the ground material, and I add a layer of Alder and Large European Ash trees. I set the Density to 64% and leave all the other settings untouched. As the third background terrain, I load a heightfield terrain, double its resolution in the Terrain Editor, and tilt it a bit to the left and towards the camera, making it look like a steep cliff. I load the Colorado material from Vue’s Landscapes library, and use the same trees as ecosystem. I set the Slope Influence to 100%, so fewer trees are populated on steep slopes.

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3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Create a forest scene in Vue

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Photometric lighting and radiosity: When all elements in the scene are put in place, it’s time to set up the lighting, based on the photometric spectral lighting model that was introduced in Vue 2014. After finding a good custom Sun location, I open the Atmosphere Editor and, in the Light tab, I increase Shadow Smoothing to 66%, and drop the Quality Boost to -1.5. These steps increase the rendering process, and – in combination with the settings in the next step – the image can be rendered without virtual quality loss. There is also an option to override photometric settings, but if you plan to load the scene integrated in another application, I do not recommend it, because it would cause a mismatch in lighting.

13

Sky, Fog & Haze: In the ‘Sky, Fog & Haze’ tab, I leave the Sky settings untouched, and I modify the Fog & Haze and Global settings to achieve a slightly foggy forest

TOP TIP Bringing the scene into life I have seen several perfectly realistic and high-quality environment renders, but in some cases I still couldn’t help feeling that something was missing. Realism can be a good challenge, but if you want your render to leave a bigger impact on the viewers, triggering emotions, I highly suggest adding an object or two that brings the scene to life. I add a rabbit I downloaded from http:// tf3dm.com/3d-models/animals, and some butterflies by my fellow artist and modeler Oli Lucianus Pfeiffer. Without these extra models, the scene would look empty, and probably wouldn’t leave as much of an impression.

Before rendering the scene, I added this rabbit and some butterflies near the path to bring some life into the forest

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Lighting settings in Vue’s Atmosphere Editor. Since overriding photometric settings is disabled, some settings cannot be modified

Tweaked fog, haze and global settings in Vue’s Atmosphere Editor. With these settings I created a mildly foggy landscape with more depth


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with nice depth. I set the haze color to RGB 11, 12, 14, ground density to 9% and mean altitude to 1.2km. I increase the Fog ground density to 92%, but decrease its mean altitude to 28m. I set the Fog color to RGB 90, 103, 121. I increase the Glow intensity to 100% and set the Scattering anisotropy to 0.57, so the light is scattered more near the Sun’s direction. To add more depth, I increase the Aerial perspective to 3, and boost the quality to 12.

14 Screenshot of my render settings and anti-aliasing settings for large resolution – soft AA strategy and advanced effects quality boost

Rendering in high resolution: After setting up the atmosphere, the scene is ready to render. When it comes to rendering in Vue, I have a rule of thumb: do not use any render presets, since they may have unnecessary settings enabled. So I switch to User Settings and customize everything specifically for this scene, according to my own system. Since I gave the atmosphere a high quality boost, I leave ‘Optimize volumetric lights’ enabled. I increase the Advanced Effects quality to 55%. I use Energy Conservative Anti-aliasing with ‘Soft’ strategy. Subrays per pixel is set to min. 8, max. 16, Contrast at 80%. Texture filtering and Texture anti-aliasing are disabled.

15 Top: Adjusting colors, highlights, contrast, clarity and vibrance in Photoshop’s Camera Raw Filter Bottom: Final enhancement in Filter Forge

TOP TIP Effective resource handling If you work with heavy meshes or relatively large-scale ecosystems, you might eventually get a warning that your system is about to run out of resources, and you will notice Vue not working smoothly. To prevent this, it helps if you change the display option of small-scale ecosystem instances to ‘None’. You can also put large, populated background terrains and less important objects on a separate layer, and hide the entire layer in the viewport. Another effective solution is to change the display mode of heavy objects to ‘Wireframe Box’ after placing them in the scene.

Post-work in Camera Raw Filter: After rendering the image at high resolution, I saved it as a PNG image, and load it in Photoshop. First, I convert the image layer into a Smart Object (right-click > Convert to Smart Object), so I can perform non-destructive editing on the render, making corrections without losing the original image data. For corrections, I use the Camera Raw Filter from the Filter menu. CRF enables you to adjust basically everything in the image in one place, from color corrections to highlights, clarity, vibrance, saturation, noise reduction, split toning and many more. As the finishing touch, I open the render in Filter Forge and apply the Dreamy filter to further enhance the highlights and shadows.

The Artist

Drea Horvath There are several options to display the ecosystem population in the viewport. By selecting ‘None’, the instances appear as dots

dreahorvath.eu ddcreations.eu

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3dtotal presents the new issue of 2dartist magazine, a downloadable monthly magazine for digital artists for only ₤2.99 (approx. $4.79/€3.69). Visit www.2dartistmag.com to see a full preview of the latest issue, subscription offers, and to purchase back issues.

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Issue 117 | September 2015

The Art of Loish

We interview Loish, a.k.a. Lois van Baarle about her first art book and Kickstarter campaign

+plus

• 10 of the best digital images • Captivating Bungie environments • Design an alien power source • and much more!


The popular Digital Painting Techniques series returns in its seventh spectacular installment to once again showcase the latest digital painting trends and techniques from talented experts, including Reneé Chio and Cris Delara. In Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 7 you will discover a variety of artists’ methods for creating perfect pin-ups, impressive vehicles, breathtaking environments, magnificent mythological creatures, and much more! Plus you will learn how to craft matte paintings using Cinema 4D and brush up on your speed painting techniques. Browse for inspiration and to pick up top tips or follow project workflows in more detail with the step-by-step tutorials – either way, you’ll open up the book and find something valuable to take away. Useful for intermediate digital artists and professionals, this title is another must-have for any digital artist’s bookshelf!

ONLY 29.99 (APPROX 49.99) | 288 PAGES | ISBN: 978-1-9094142-0-4


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | How to portray facial expressions

The Artist

Mario Anger

marioanger.com Software Used: ZBrush Mario Anger is an animator and learned his craft traditionally with clay, stone, and pencil on paper. He has worked in the film VFX business and currently works as a modeler at Double Negative, London.

How to portray facial expressions by Mario Anger

Join character artist Mario Anger as he studies the female face and creates believable expressions 3DCREATIVEMAG.COM


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Take your faces to the next level with Mario Anger’s help…

Locating the muscle on the neck during lateral bending

In this article we will look at the female face and neck and show these body parts posed in conjunction with one another. We’ll also look at single elements like the eyes and mouth, and discuss how they can be portrayed in different extremes to convey a feeling, and how the muscles can alter their shape. Finally, the expressions of the face will be examined further and we‘ll describe how this interplay of underlying facial muscles creates a coherent look on the surface.

01

Lateral bending of the neck: Here the head is rotated, flexed, extended and bent by the muscles of the neck. It’s called lateral bending when the ear leans toward the shoulder while looking straight ahead. In the average person, the head is able to bend halfway between the mid-line of the body and the position of the shoulder. The muscles are activated on the side of the head where the ear leans towards the shoulder. They get thicker because their anchor points are moved towards each other. On the other side, the muscles get stretched and thinned out. Towards the clavicles you can even spot tendons on the surface.

The sternocleidomastoid (yellow), trapezius (aqua), levator scapulae (orange), scalene muscles (purple), omohyoideus (teal), clavicles (red)

02

Muscles in the lateral bend: Here you can see the extent to which muscles can thicken or thin out when they pull on their anchor points. Bending the head is a functional interaction of muscles that grab mostly on the mastoid process (a pointed bump behind the ear) and the occipital bone of the head. They then try to bring these parts closer to their insertion points at the clavicle, scapula or acromion. In this view you can also see the splenius capitis at the back of the head (light green), acromion (green by clavicle) and scapula (shoulder blade)

Turning the head reveals new contours around the neck

03

Rotating the neck: The neck is able to turn the head to the right and the left quite a bit. Its maximum range is about 80-degrees so that the chin is almost pointing to the shoulders.

Muscles will rotate the neck and head around the longitudinal axis of the cervical vertebrae (the neck bones of the spine). This axis inserts at a joint just below the skull, in line with the ear from a side view. 83


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04

Rotation of the neck: Not just one muscle is responsible for turning the head, but on the surface the sternocleidomastoid is the most prominent one. It tries to shorten the distance between the mastoid process and its insertion points at the sternum and clavicle on one side of the head. At this region two tendons pop out right under the skin. A more convex round mass becomes visible at the upper part towards the head.

The sternocleidomastoid (yellow), clavicle (purple), and sternum (pink)

05

The neck: flexion/extension: Bending the joints of the cervical vertebrae (neck bones of the spine) towards the chest is called flexion. The angle relative to the mid-line of the body decreases. Normally the chin is able to touch the chest. So the change of angle is something like 60 degrees maximum.

Tilting the head back is called extension. The eyes are able to look straight up in an extreme pose, which is a 70-degree bend from the midline of the body. The head is moved at a point right below the skull by the bones of the cervical vertebrae, which act like a bent chain.

06

The neck: flexion/extension muscles: The extension stretches and flares out the muscles below the chin. It also shortens and thickens the muscles on the back of the neck like the trapezius or splenius capitis, coming from the upper back of the torso. Anterior fibers of the sternocleidomastoid give an additional pull to the rear part of the head. Beneath the hyoid bone the two protrusions of the cricoid and thyroid cartilage show up on the surface quite prominently. The neck muscles are almost reversed while flexing. The back muscles of the neck are relaxed and stretched, the front muscles are active. The posterior fibers of the sternocleidomastoid have a small influence too.

07

Muscles of the face: When muscles beneath the skin of the face are activated in certain relation to each other, they create expressions. As a part of nonverbal communication, they help to transfer information between humans. Facial muscles are different to skeletal muscles; they originate near the bone and don’t create any considerable shapes on the surface. It’s a fine mask on top of the skull, and subtle folds that occur when muscles pull skin together are important for reading a person’s countenance.

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Representing the flexion and extension movements


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The mylohoideus (red), digastricus (green), sternocleidomastoid (blue), trapezius (pink) and various cartilages of the throat

The neutral expression is the default base for all expressions

The trapezius (green), splenius capitis (blue), levator scapulae (pink), sternocleidomastoid (yellow) and scalene muscles (red)

The frontalis (yellow), corrugators (aqua), orbicularis oculi (red) and orbicularis oris (purple around mouth) are major facial muscles

The neutral position is the base of all expressions. To identify an emotion, the brain puts it in relation to this muscle setup.

08

Deformation of the eyes: Eyes are not just simple balls lying in the eye sockets; they are in fact imperfect-shaped spheres that can appear shorter or longer from the side view. At the front they become flatter where they are surrounded by the eyelids. In the middle of the shape, a small tip sticks out – this is the cornea.

The typical shape of the eye and placement of the cornea

When the eyes rotate, this protrusion moves under the skin, so it actually creates a convex plane change on the surface. When rolling to the sides or up and down, the eyebrows most often follow the movement to clear a path of sight for the eyes.

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“The muscles surrounding the mouth are able to create a rich assortment of poses”

The eyebrows help move the skin around the eye

09

Deformation of the mouth: The muscles surrounding the mouth are able to create a rich assortment of poses. The orbicularis oris contracts or widens the opening of the mouth, and can also pucker the lips. The muscles attaching to this circular shape create additional expressions. The jaw bone opens or closes with the help of the masseter muscles. A big flat superficial muscle, the platysma, is connected to the mouth area on the sides and the bottom of the chin. It can help to depress the jaw or pull down the lower lip or angle of the mouth.

10

Facial expressions – happiness: The psychologist Paul Ekman created a whole ‘atlas of emotion’, a set of thousands of expressions that a face could potentially display. In simple terms, these can be broken down to a model of six basic emotions: disgust, happiness, anger, fear, surprise and sadness. Happiness or smiling, for example, have their active areas around the mouth and eyes, though eyebrows can also emphasize this range of emotion. Crow’s feet wrinkles appear when the ring muscle that orbits the eye contracts.

A variety of expressions of the mouth

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11

Facial expressions – happiness: The zygomaticus major and the orbicularis oculi primarily create a happy face. The lower lid of the eyes is pushed up to create a smiling eye. The corners of the mouth are pulled back and up so that the upper row of teeth begins to show

itself. The space between the eyes and mouth has been compressed so that the cheeks get pushed up and become more convex. Because of the contraction of muscles, folds can appear not only around the eyes and mouth, but sometimes even on the cheeks.


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A smiling face actively uses mouth and eye muscles

The orbicularis oculi (blue), zygomaticus major (green) and risorius (yellow) used for smiling

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A shocked or fearful expression pulls the muscles of the face back

The frontalis (yellow), depressor anguli oris (green) and platysma (blue)

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Expressing anger uses muscles around the eyes, nose and mouth

12

Facial expressions – shock, fear: Shock, fear or surprise usually generates a wide open expression. Fear forces the eyes open with raised upper eyelids and a tension in the lower eyelids. This can cause wrinkles in that area. In fear, the eyebrows are also raised and pulled together a little. Lips start to retract and get slightly stretched horizontally back to the ears. Sometimes the jaw begins to fall and the mouth opens.

13

Facial expressions – shock, fear: On the forehead, the frontalis muscle raises the eyebrows. It also helps to create the folds on the forehead. The cheek area flares out a little when the opened jaw stretches muscles between the mouth and eyes. The wrinkles of the mouth are pulled back and downwards caused by the depressor anguli oris and the platysma muscle. This muscle is often activated with negative emotions like fear or fright.

14 The corrugator (red), levator palpebrae superioris (yellow), levator labii superioris (green) and orbicularis oris (blue)

Facial expressions – anger: Anger is expressed with the eyes, nose and mouth. The eyes are wide open and glaring, the nostrils are raised and lips become compressed or pulled down. Deep folds can appear around the nose if it is wrinkled. Again, eyebrows help to express the extremity of the expression by bulging towards to the middle.

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Facial expressions – anger: The corrugator is responsible for the sunken eyebrows, and it creates frown wrinkles on the forehead. The levator palpebrae superioris on the other hand raises the upper eyelid. As a result, the space between the eyebrow and the eye seems to get smaller. The lifting of the upper lip by the levator labii superioris shows teeth as an aggressive sign. The orbicularis oris also tenses so that the lips become tight. The corners of the mouth are pulled down.

The Artist

Mario Anger

marioanger.com

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3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Modeling mechs in SketchUp

Scene file

Modeling mechs in SketchUp by Jessica TC Lee

Jessica TC Lee shows us how to get the most out of SketchUp’s free edition with this comprehensive walkthrough of her sci-fi image, No hazard found… 3DCREATIVEMAG.COM


The Artist

Jessica TC Lee

jessicatcl.com artstation.com/artist/j03150315 Software Used: SketchUp, KeyShot, Photoshop Jessica TC Lee is an experienced concept artist and awardwinning illustrator working in a game studio as the leading concept artist, and is currently residing in San Francisco.

Click here to download SketchUp Make for free


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Modeling mechs in SketchUp

Create detailed mechs with the free SketchUp Make software… In this tutorial, we will learn how to complete a portfolio piece of a mech design in SketchUp, KeyShot and Photoshop. We’ll talk about the process of designing the mech, developing thumbnails into a detailed sketch. You’ll be introduced to essential SketchUp plugin tools needed for following the tutorial, examples of how to use them, important modeling tricks and demonstrations of how to achieve certain shape results. In the next article, we’ll take the completed model into KeyShot to add materials, make a render, and then finish the image in Photoshop using basic photocompositing techniques.

Testing out design ideas with thumbnails

Before I even start making thumbnails, I usually research online for inspiration, especially when I don’t have a specific idea in mind. I look into references that have a lot of mechanical parts. I sometimes just draw from references to build an almost subconscious awareness of how the mechanical parts distribute, and are concealed and exposed. To name a few good references: DARPA robots and drones, car assembly machines, sand buggies, garden machinery, generators, streetcleaning machines, and so on. I also pay attention to where the power source might be located and how big it has to be to move the machine, and what elements such vents, wires, hydraulics, rivets, joints, handles and sensors look like and where they’re located. Collecting this information is like preparing all the carving tools and materials when sculpting. I know where to put what, so the design not only looks cool but makes sense, without me having to stop too often from the creative process to go back to look up things that I might be able to use.

Developing our chosen thumbnail into something more complete

01

Thumbnails: The point of thumbnailing is to figure out an interesting and exciting silhouette which will define the general shape of the final design. Since we are designing something mechanical, there are a few things we should ask when doing thumbnails. Is this mech bipedal or quadrupedal? How does it move? Does it use weapons? What is it for? These basic questions define how the ‘big chunks’ of the silhouettes are arranged and proportioned. When I am doing mine, I like to think about if it’s an attack mech; where the weapons might go and what kind of weapons they are; I like to think about how the ‘head’, ‘body’ and ‘legs’ would co-ordinate in order for the mech to move. Try to

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Some useful plugins recommended for this tutorial

think about the mech in motion to get a better grasp on the overall arrangement and proportion of all the parts. A useful tip to keep in mind is the common rule for proportioning the overall look

of the parts. I always have big, middle-sized, and small parts. As my mentor told me, treat it like the proportion of the layers of a cake. The final touch will be the tiny cherry decorations! In a mech


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The basic block-out of the mech design

Don’t forget to make shapes ‘unique’ as you go along!

Saving shapes to your component library will save time later

design, the ‘cherries’ can be lights, rivets, pipes, wires or handles.

02

Detailed sketch: After I finish the thumbnails, I move on to interpret the chosen one as a perspective drawing. The method I use allows me to gradually flesh out all the details with ‘layered thinking’. In #1, I rough out the general shape of the design in perspective and some ideas of the overall structure. In order to translate the design from the thumbnails, I think about the ‘big chunks’ in perspective, such as the big rectangular shape on its back. I also mirror the legs. I pay attention to how the joints are connected and use circles to indicate them. I also roughly think about how I’d like the ‘head’ or the front part of the mech to look, since it will be the focal point of the design. In #2, I further define and develop the look of the big parts and important joints, such as subdividing or cutting out the shapes and editing cut lines. I also start to think about the decorative ‘cherry’ parts, such as where to put handles, wires and rivets.

In #3 and #4, I use a new paper and start to really define all the details. After I am satisfied, I add some basic shadow to see how the overall shapes will feel in 3D. For the mechanisms of the joints, aside from following the thumbnails, I sometimes experiment with ideas by drawing simple cylinders and boxes to see what other possibilities are.

03

Important SketchUp plugins and customized interface: I’d like to mention a few necessary plugins for accomplishing this tutorial. All the plugins I mention can be found on SketchUcation, a free online SketchUp plugin community. I install their Plugin Store tool so I can easily find and directly install plugins to SketchUp without having to go through the process of manually installing and downloading them from the web. The SketchUcation Plugin Store tool can now be found under the Extensions tab. The essential plugins for this tutorial are FredoScale, JointPushPull, Round Corner, and BoolTools. All the above plugins are free except for BoolTools, which is released by smustard.com and costs ten bucks. However, it’s worth having.

After installing all the essential plugins, it’s time to customize the interface by going to View > Toolbars. Except for the above-mentioned plugins, I usually also turn on Shadows, Measurements, Construction, Drawing, Solid Tools, Styles, Views, and Warehouse. Since I like to model in Parallel Projection mode (found under the Camera tab), it’s convenient to have the Views tool on, so I can change to different views to check my design. Having the Styles tool on is handy too, because sometimes I need to adjust geometries or components that are hidden. With the Styles tool on, I can switch between shaded mode and X-Ray mode. In addition, since I use SketchUp Make instead of SketchUp Pro, I can’t export models to OBJ files with the default options, so I get SketchUcation’s OBJ Exporter plugin in order to do so.

04

Blocking in: I start to block in the big chunks of the design. I overlook all the details or subdivided shapes at this point and just try to get the proportion of the design the way I want. I save a cube and a cylinder to my component library (fig.04b) so I can simply drag them into the scene, scale and rotate them for 95


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Modeling mechs in SketchUp

blocking in. This way, the work process will be much faster and easier, and the components won’t ‘stick’ to each other (if the geometries are not components or in groups, SketchUp automatically merges any connected parts). I carve out the big general shape of the head part, which is the focal point, to get a good feeling of how the overall silhouette of the model would look. I mimic what other 3D programs have and make components on both sides by flipping one side to mirror it on the other. After finishing the initial blocking-in, I make the cubes and cylinders ‘unique’ in order to further detail the shapes of the different parts without changing the shapes of the others (fig.04c). This is a very important action that I need to constantly remember to do. Without it, if I modify one component, I would then affect the other components which are recognized by SketchUp as being its duplicates.

Adding more detail to key areas

Duplicating a piece and moving it out for ease of editing

05

Starting to add details: After establishing the general proportion and shapes, I start to dig into the focal point, which is the head and front area. At this point, I still don’t get too detailed with tiny rivets or handles, but pay more attention to the subdivided shapes of each big chunk. The advantage of making different parts into components comes in again, because I can still easily modify each part, even when it is hidden by other parts, by duplicating it and dragging it to an empty area and modifying on the duplicate (fig.05b). Using FredoScale to make slanted areas

I use the Tapering tool in the FredoScale plugin to make a component slant without messing up the geometries (fig.05c). The same tool can be used to taper a component as the name says (fig.05d). The power of the FredoScale plugin is to modify the general shape of a selected area without messing up with the geometries, in most cases, and can achieve results very fast.

06

Adding further details: I also use the technique of intersecting faces to carve out certain shapes while not messing up the geometry of the component. I first put in the shape of the part that I want to cut out from the shape that is in the component. I then select them all and right-click to find the Intersect Faces option. I choose ‘with Selection’ to cut the geometries. However, since I am editing inside the component, it doesn’t really matter which option I choose. They will all do the same thing. However, if I am editing outside a component, then the result will be only the cut lines of the intersecting components instead of really cutting the geometries (fig.06a). I then remove the part that I don’t want and seal the geometry (fig.06b).

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A way of cutting geometries outside of components or groups is by using the BoolTools plugin. Here I use the Difference tool to cut out the shape I don’t want (fig.06c). The icons of the BoolTool clearly show the function of each

subtool. After getting to a certain degree of detailing, I change to a side view to make sure that the upper-front part of the mech won’t cut into the parts on the sides when it’s turning around (fig.06d).


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Using FredoScale’s Tapering tool

Cutting up some geometry

Removing unwanted geometry

Cutting geometry with BoolTools

Checking how the mech looks in profile

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07

Creating handles and arched panels: This step is more about showing a couple of tricks and techniques that help me get certain shapes that I want. For creating handles, I first draw a circle, then find its center and draw the path along which I want my handle to follow, and then use the Follow Me tool to finish the tube (fig.07b). I finish the handle in an empty area so I can see better, then make it a component before bringing it back to the model. All the wires, handles, tubes and pipes can be achieved using this technique.

Adding handle and arch details to the mech

Sometimes I want a covering panel slightly above the body but with exactly the same arch or shape. In order to achieve that, I first duplicate the face which has the arch I want, and elongate it (fig.07c). After that, the powerful plugin JointPushPull comes in to help me thicken the surface. It allows me to push/pull a surface that is not flat (fig.07d). However, I decide to tweak the shape a little bit, again using the Tapering tool in FredoScale. I want the axes to follow the slant degree of the panel, so I click on an edge that has a similar slant degree to redefine the scaling axes (fig.07e).

08

Further detailing and mechanism logic: I further detail the front part and the middle body with other techniques. Here I use the Arch tool to connect arches with different degrees to create the result I want (fig.08b). Here I also use a technique to create the thickness of certain portions of a handle. I first use the Intersect tool to create cut lines, and then use JointPushPull to create the thickness. (fig.08c) I also want to create an indentation on a slanted surface with the same slanting degree. I first use the Follow Me tool to create the indentation (fig.08d). I then use the Intersect Faces tool to cut the geometries and delete any unwanted bits that I don’t want (fig.08e).

Creating handles with the Follow Me tool

Duplicating and enlarging an existing face to create the arch piece

An important thing to keep in mind when interpreting a 2D mech design into a 3D model is how different parts are connected, and if they can move without cutting into each other. When I design and model, I mentally assign certain parts to certain groups, such as the ‘thigh’ group, the ‘joint’ group and the ‘leg’ group, to make sure that they’re connected in a way that can move, no matter how complex the structures are. Once things are broken down into different groups, I know that I can pay more attention to how to make the ‘joint’ groups functional and have more fun with the shapes of the other parts. Using the JointPushPull plugin to thicken the arch

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Adjusting the scaling axes of a slanted piece

Taking the details even further

Connecting arches with the Arch tool

JointPushPull in action again

Creating indentations with the Follow Me tool

Cutting and deleting unwanted geometry

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3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Modeling mechs in SketchUp

Modeling more detailed joints

Using Intersection Faces to add bevel detail

The mech’s detail level at this stage

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The mech’s detail level at this stage

09

Hidden joints: After finishing most parts of the front portion of the mech, I start to think about the joints between the main body and the front legs. These joints are hidden from a three-quarter view beauty shot, but are essential to the mechanism of the front legs. I block in some cylinders and boxes to settle the mechanism, which should allow the legs to move both up and down, left and right. Then I detail the shapes of the parts to make them more than just primary shapes (fig.09a). A small trick I use here to get a bevel corner on an irregular shape is by using the Intersection Faces tool and sealing the holes later (fig.09b).

10

Back legs: It’s time to get to the back legs. There is a lot of fine tweaking to the model and I don’t follow exactly how the original sketch looks, especially with the ankle parts. I rearrange how the panels are overlapping each other, so I can get a look as close to the sketch as possible while not making the legs too thin and narrow. This is a situation I often encounter when interpreting 2D design to 3D; the width of a part of a sketch on paper is often not really the same case when it’s modeled. I adjust the proportion of the back legs because I imagine this mech has a strong jumping mechanism that resembles a hunting animal. I start to have a rough idea about the exact usage of this mech; more for scouting in a small area. In many cases, a design that mimics a function in nature is usually appealing because of its relatability.

11

Back legs, continued: I use a couple of tricks to get certain shapes. For the small panel extruding from the joints, I first draw a rectangle, and then cut out the shape on the rectangle (fig.11a). I finish the panel by pushing out the thickness.

Top to bottom: drawing construction lines, finding the pink line, and connecting the points to create faces

I also want to create an offset continuation on an irregular and slanted surface. Therefore, I first use the Offset tool to offset the edges I want, and then I draw the construction lines from the points. In order to connect the construction lines, I draw along the line I already have and find the pink indicating line, which means the new portion of the line is on the same path. Eventually, I connect all the points and create faces (fig.11b). 101


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Modeling mechs in SketchUp

The mech’s detail level at this stage

12

Wrapping up details: Here I like to mention a few tricks and a plugin that are useful for adding the ‘cherries’ on top, or the details such as rivets, small and repetitive indentations, bevels on an irregular shape, and smooth bevels on edges. I created and saved a rivet to my component library right at the beginning, so now I simply drag and drop it every time I need it. To create repetitive indentations with the same intervals, I first draw the shape of the first indentation, and then duplicate it by holding Ctrl while using the Move tool. Right after duplication, I type in ‘3/’ to create two duplicates in between (fig.12b). ‘3/’ means ‘divide the interval by three’. We can also duplicate right next to the original and type in ‘3X’, which means ‘make three duplicates from the original’. I then finish the indentation by using the Push/Pull tool.

13

Refining edges with bevels: To create a bevel on an irregular surface, instead of using ‘Follow Me’ as if it was on a straight edge, I use the ‘Intersection Faces’ tool (fig.13a). The plugin I use to create smooth and sophisticated narrow bevels on edges is called RoundCorner. It is simply for mimicking how, in reality, most edges of an object are not really that sharp (fig.13b). Finally, it’s time to check if the four legs can move without obstruction, and can allow the mech a reasonably smooth movement and ability to turn (fig.13c). Next time, we’ll look at ID-labeling, adding materials and rendering with KeyShot, and creating a background to finish the image!

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Duplicating a piece to create repeating patterns


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Creating bevel edge detail with Intersection Faces

NEXT ISSUE Jessica finishes the mech with KeyShot and Photoshop‌

Creating smoother bevels with RoundCorner

Testing whether the limbs can move unobstructed

The Artist

Jessica TC Lee

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3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Mysterious monster designs with ZBrush

The Artist

Aram Hakze

aramhakze.com Software Used: ZBrush Aram Hakze is a visual effects artist from The Netherlands. He most recently worked on The Jungle Book and Terminator: Genisys.

Mysterious monster designs with ZBrush Visual effects artist Aram Hakze reveals the process behind his towering Lovecraftian horror, Nautilus 3DCREATIVEMAG.COM


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | ISSUE 122

See how Aram Hakze crafted this eerie scene…

01

Photographic inspiration: I tend to draw a lot of inspiration from my surroundings and took a couple of photos during a visit to the beach when inspiration struck. My idea was to create a Lovecraftian creature that would feel very alien and have some ambiguous features. I liked the idea of a giant creature lumbering over the beach and quickly combined a couple of photos to create a frame. I wanted the focus of the image to be on the creature, and so use an interesting stage or narrative to present the design.

02

Starting to sculpt: This was an exercise in design for me and I wanted to focus most of my attention on the creature. What made this stage fun was improvisation and being creative. I wanted to create something alien but also tried to think of functionality when creating new shapes. It’s important to start working in broad strokes and make harsh decisions early on.

Keep a camera handy for when inspiration strikes

As you progress you can add subdivisions and start to refine your model. I used ZBrush’s UV Master to create the UVs.

03

Skin texture: Even though MARI is my main tool for texture painting, mainly for of its non-destructive workflow and highresolution texture capabilities, for efficiency purposes I decided to quickly lay in the base of the creature using Spotlight in ZBrush. When

Use the Move, Snakehook and Curve Tube brushes a lot in the beginning stages

The creature’s skin is textured after the pattern found on a nautilus

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3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Mysterious monster designs with ZBrush

Isolation maps created using cavity masking in ZBrush

Editing an HDRI using the HDRI editor

creating a color map it’s important that values relate to the albedo of the object in real life. Albedo is essentially the reflective power of a surface; for example, something that’s white reflects a lot of light and should have higher values than something that’s dark. For physical accuracy it’s important to keep values between 0 and 1.

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04

Different surfaces: I created various masks because I wanted to control the different surface aspects of the crevices. Dirt usually collects in crevices, making them more diffuse, whereas exposed parts may be glossier. This is also useful for layering on top of your initial color map. Subsurface scattering (SSS) can drown out a lot of the detail and I find it helpful

to enhance that in my color map. For control purposes, this can also be of great help when using specular and displacement maps.

05

Adding an HDRI: KeyShot’s progressive render capabilites are perfect to make on the fly decisions regarding surface light interaction. I knew what the environment was like


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Various material and lighting passes

where I shot my plate so I chose one of KeyShot’s out of the box HDRI’s and used HDRI editor to crudely match the light direction. Because I had already established a specific look earlier I knew exactly which material attributes to render. I used a 35mm lens on my camera and made sure I rendered out ground reflections since the creature would be standing in the water.

06

Render passes: After loading my model and textures in KeyShot I created a couple of shaders, and rendered these out using various settings in passes. By layering the passes in Photoshop I established the final look of the creature. Because my final result would be presented as a still I didn’t worry too much about the shader. In an asset production environment you would spend a lot more time on this because it needs to hold up in motion. By painting isolation masks to control different aspects in a shader or even layering shaders using masks to control material attributes.

07

Bring everything together: When matching CG to a live action plate try to breakdown what’s happening in real life as light travels through a camera. Mimicking effects like lens distortion, chromatic aberration and matching grain will help sell the believability of

Working on the integration of the creature with the background

your image. Always refer back to the original plate for focus and shadow values. I duplicated the creature’s alpha channel and set the top layer to dissolve, merged them and did a slight blur to get some edge breakup so that it matched better with the plate. I also added a bit of fog and graded the lighting passes.

08

The final image: Even though this is a concept piece I wanted the image to

have a certain believability. To create a narrative and to give the image a sense of scale, I placed a character and crash-landed space capsule in the frame using various photo references. The idea was that an astronaut had just returned to find the Earth in a ravaged state, and devoid of all modern communication. He has managed to get to shore safely, only to be left in a maddened state shortly after an encounter with one of Earth’s new denizens. 107


The Artist

3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Mysterious monster designs with ZBrush

Aram Hakze

aramhakze.com

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3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Sculpt a detailed ZBrush mech

The Artist

Marco Plouffe

marcoplouffe.com keosmasons.com Software Used: ZBrush Marc-Olivier ‘Marco’ Plouffe is a Montrealbased character artist and co-founder of Keos Masons. He has worked previously for THQ, BioWare, Eidos and other companies in the entertainment industry.

Sculpt a detailed ZBrush mech Marco Plouffe gives us an insight into his dynamic mech design, W.A.S.P., made with ZBrush, KeyShot and Photoshop 3DCREATIVEMAG.COM


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | ISSUE 122

Enhance your ZBrush modeling with Marco Plouffe…

01

Blocking: Blocking is the first stage of the modeling process, since it is when I

begin to conceptualize my model. It’ll be followed by the polishing phase next, then posing, and finally the rendering in KeyShot. I start the blocking from anything (ZSphere, sphere, base mesh, and so on) – whatever takes my fancy –

and I explore the shapes until I find a theme or a visual language that I want to replicate all over the model. I don’t put much detail into it or polish at this point, and I use very few brushes. It’s about exploring the idea.

Blocking out the basic forms, without too much detail

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3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Sculpt a detailed ZBrush mech

Use more SubTools in complex focal areas like the face

Cutting the model into pieces and starting the polishing phase

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You can see that the tibia is only one piece blocked roughly, then polished


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | ISSUE 122

02

ZTools and SubTool management: I work with many different ZTools (see colors pictured) for smoother navigation in ZBrush. I temporarily decimate completed meshes while working on other ZTools. I reassemble the undecimated ZTools at the end before the posing phase. I sometimes may even merge many SubTools together, even if it destroys all the subdivs. In each ZTool, I work with many SubTools, so when I’m working on an area that will be focused on (like the head) it’ll be easier to polish. Still, most of my SubTools are DynaMeshes. In areas with less focus, I tend to use fewer SubTools. For example, the head has many SubTools, the arms less, and the legs even less.

Working on some smaller parts separately

I work on some smaller parts individually and in an Orthographic view. Once finished, I place them around the character, like the thruster (Fig.2d) for example. I tend to work this way when I will be reusing a part all over a model.

Sculpting further details and placing IMMs

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3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Sculpt a detailed ZBrush mech

Posing and preparing the model for KeyShot

03

Posing and separating materials: Once finished, I assemble all my ZTools together and I pose the result with Transpose Master. Then I merge every piece that I know for sure will share a common material (see pictured). Sometimes I may decimate the model before exporting it, but KeyShot is pretty good with heavy meshes.

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04

Setting up in KeyShot: I import my meshes into KeyShot and test the materials on them. I don’t change the materials much. I use a common HDRI and tweak some settings around, rotating the lighting until I find one that makes my volumes easily readable. (If I need more lights, like

a rim light, I’ll add them in later passes.) I choose a suitable backplate if possible (pictured in the lower-right corner). I try to find a background at this early stage because it helps me to integrate the model into the scene. In the Camera tab, I will simply save my various camera angles, apply a depth of field and choose a field of view that I feel works best.


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Importing and setting up the model in KeyShot

Examples of render passes – these took 6-10 minutes each without Area or Object Lights

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3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Sculpt a detailed ZBrush mech

The various render passes used for this image

Layer setup in Photoshop

3DCREATIVEMAG.COM


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…and it’s done!

05

Render passes: AO (ambient occlusion) pass: choose the ‘All white’ HDRI, pick a white diffuse material, and set Gamma to 1. Rim light pass: choose the velvet material; this pass will let you mask your own rim light when inside Photoshop. Clown pass: enable the ‘Clown pass’ in the Render settings. Curvature pass, choose ‘Curvature’ in any Material Texture slot; this pass lets you apply scratches and rust in Photoshop using the Color Range selector or Magic Wand tool. Finally, I usually render my area (physical) light passes since they require more sampling.

06

Setup in Photoshop: The final image is assembled in Photoshop using the render passes. Color adjustments, textures and glow effects are added to tie the piece together. 117


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Sculpt a detailed ZBrush mech

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3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | ISSUE 122

The Artist

Marco Plouffe

marcoplouffe.com keosmasons.com

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NEXT MONTH Model and UV a character in 3ds Max Hard-surface sci-fi designs Informative new interviews Inspiring ZBrush sketches 10 of the best 3D images from around the world Plus much more!


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Digital Art Master: Hasan Bajramovic

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Discount code: damv920

DIGITAL ART MASTER:

Soldier

by Hasan Bajramovic Discover the processes behind a stunning 3D masterpiece with a sneak-peek look inside the pages of Digital Art Masters: Volume 9. Learn how Hasan Bajramovic crafted his fantastic character in, ZBrush, MARI, 3ds Max, BonesPro, Ornatrix, V-Ray 3DCREATIVEMAG.COM


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | ISSUE 122

The Artist

Hasan Bajramović

hbajramovic.cgsociety.org Software Used: 3ds Max Hasan Bajramović is a freelance 3D artist specializing in high resolution modeling for cinematics and games. His skills include texturing, lighting and rendering.


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Digital Art Master: Hasan Bajramovic

I really wanted to create a soldier character that didn’t fall into the typical alpha male category. I went with a more natural look for a realistic presentation of a soldier inspired by a couple of photos from the Vietnam war that I found online.

Head sculpting and detailing

It was definitely a great experience working on this one. I learned a lot during the process and I introduced new software to my pipeline. I used ZBrush for all my sculpting and modeling needs, MARI for texturing, and 3ds Max and V-Ray for rendering. Hair was done using Ornatrix. I am very satisfied with the final results and the image was well received. Sculpting & modeling I started by modeling the head for the character and once I was happy with the look I began adding subtle details like skin wrinkles, pores and imperfections. I used morph targets to blend between different stages of detailing. Layers are a great option for this but they tend to increase file size. Once I was happy with the head I started working on the rest of the body. Cloth was one of the hardest things to do on this character. I really took my time doing it. Once I got the basic proportions right, I converted it to DynaMesh and slowly started to add major folds on the shirt and pants. Finer details were added using alpha maps and NoiseMaker. For the boots I started off with a simple sphere that was moved and stretched The final character sculpt with all details

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around until I was happy. I mostly used brushes like TrimDynamic and Standard throughout the entire process. Finally, I used ZRemesher on all of the SubTools with custom curves where needed (Fig.01 – 02). Texturing & materials For this project I really wanted to try MARI. I was amazed by how good the learning curve is for the software. In no time I was able to pick it up and create great-looking textures. I used images from www.3d.sk and www. cgtextures.com as references and for projection painting inside MARI. I also used the maps like cavity and displacement that I exported from ZBrush. Once I was happy with these maps I

imported my model and all the textures to 3ds Max. For skin shading I used the VRayFastSSS2 material which was incorporated together with VRayMtl inside VRayBlendMtl. VRayBlendMtl allowed me to get some really nice reflections on the character’s skin. The cloth material was also pretty easy to set up thanks to the textures that I exported from MARI. All I had to do was set up a Fresnel falloff on the diffuse. I also did some blending between different textures to create wet and dirty looking cloth procedurally. For the hair, beard, eyebrows and subtle fuzz on the cloth I used Ornatrix which is an amazing plug-in for 3ds Max (Fig.03 – 04).


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Texturing the face with MARI

Skin material settings


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Digital Art Master: Hasan Bajramovic

Creating the rig and posing the character

Posing & lighting After Darijan Kalauzovic, a good friend of mine, created a rig for me I did all of the skinning using BonesPro. Thanks to this plug-in, skinning didn’t take too long and I was able to pose the character in no time. I already had an idea on how I wanted this to look so it really wasn’t hard. For lighting I created three lights in the scene. One key light was placed on the right side, and one right above the character with a very low intensity to just fill in the blacks. I also created a very low intensity light behind the character for a very subtle rim light effect. To get some light bouncing in the scene I created a cyclorama studio setup (Fig.05 – 06). Rendering & compositing For rendering I used V-Ray with Global Illumination where Brute force was used for primary bounces in combination with Light cache for the secondary bounce. I always use linear workflow to get better results and more light in the scene. I also did a few tests to optimize the render times by rendering separate render elements like VRaySampleRate to see how antialiasing (AA) was affecting the scene. This was necessary because initially I was using very high DMC values to avoid the noise that hair geometry was producing. 3DCREATIVEMAG.COM

Simple lightning setup


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | ISSUE 122

Once I was happy, I set my final resolution and waited for V-Ray to finish rendering. Finally, I imported my final render into Photoshop and added a Brightness/Contrast adjustment and Gradient Fill layer on top of my image. I was satisfied with the beauty render so there was no need to do any more compositing as I felt it would only take away from the final look of the image (Fig.07 – 08). Feedback Throughout the process of creating this image I introduced new software to my pipeline as well as new texturing techniques. I’m definitely looking forward to using and applying these techniques on my next project. It was really helpful to receive input from many different artists during the making of this image. I always post some WIP images either on one of the forums or my Facebook profile to see what people think and whether I should fix something. I don’t think I would be here right now if it wasn’t for them. That’s one of the most important things I learned over the years. Listen to all the input and try to correct your mistakes. V-Ray render settings used for final render

Simple compositing on the final image to adjust the contrast and brightness


3DCREATIVE MAGAZINE | Digital Art Master: Hasan Bajramovic

© Hasan Bajramović 3DCREATIVEMAG.COM


HARDCOVER EDITION ONLY AVAILABLE FROM WWW.3DTOTAL.COM/SHOP Digital Art Masters has long been supporting the up-and-coming talent in the digital art industry, showcasing their work to a global audience and helping to bring them the recognition they richly deserve. In the ninth volume of this ground-breaking series, 50 more artists bring their imagination and talent to such topics as characters, scenes, sci-fi, fantasy and cartoons, resulting in a book that is filled to the brim with beautiful images and words of wisdom. With a mixture of veterans and newcomers, Digital Art Masters: Volume 9 provides the perfect cross-section of the best artwork the industry can offer, and is sure to leave you fired up with inspiration, ready to create masterpieces of your very own. Hardback - 21.6cm x 27.9cm | 288 Full Colour Premium Paper Pages | ISBN: 978-1-90941408-2


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