Making of Dragon
- Skill Level:Advanced
- Used Software:Maya, ZBrush, Photoshop.
- Completion Time:6 hours
The base mesh of this character was made in Maya, sculpted and detailed in ZBrush, textured and composed in Photoshop.
I wanted to do a dragon for quite some time, and I like to mixture 3d with 2d in my personal art work, so the base mesh of this character was made in Maya, sculpted and detailed in ZBrush, textured and composed in Photoshop.
I was not sure what to do, I had a basic idea in my head of what it should look like and since my drawing skills are not that good these days, I didn’t do any concept art and started like I usually start most of my projects, with a cube. I then began to extrude faces just to give it a very basic shape.
After the volumetric shape was done I them started preparing the mesh for ZBrush, regarding basically the edge flow in the character, so it will behave properly when subdivide.
In ZBrush I started playing with the shape of the model using the move tool brush and the standard brush, trying to figure out what I really wanted, it is also important not to start subdividing at this stage because I wanted to move back and forward between Maya and ZBrush to be able to change the geometry edge flow.
When I was satisfied with the shape, I separated the head and neck from the body so I could focus more geometry on itch one them, subdivided and started sculpting, using the standard brush, move brush and the clay tubes brush with the Alpha 28 just to define the basic shapes of the model.
After having the shape of the head it’s easier to define the body, using the exact same process for the body that I used for the head, not subdividing at first using only the move and standard brush for defining the shape and correcting the proportions, and them when I has sure that it wouldn’t be necessary to change the geometry in Maya, I subdivided the model and began sculpting.
Them I begin the detailing part, I added the teeth and spikes to the face, nails to his feet, flaps to the tail, and the membranes to the wings. I wanted for this character to have different types of scales, for the torso I wanted him to have more large and strong scales like they were protecting his vital organs, I used the move brush to pull them out, the clay tubes brush to flatten them, and the pinch brush for the hard edges, these large scales were sculpted one by one, on the other scales I used alpha maps.
I then did a quick pose of him using the ZBrush transpose tool, nothing to extreme.
After adding the details begins the painting step. For this character I wanted him to have more vivid colors like he belongs on a rain forest, so I started to poly paint the base colors.
When the painting part was done, it was time to select a camera angle, I wanted majorly to focus on the head and torso.
I then select a bunch of different ZBrush materials for overlaying in Photoshop, some of these materials came with ZBrush others you have to buy online and others like the alpha and the cavity map you have to create them yourself, I tend to select allot of them even the ones that make no sense because you never know, it just might work while doing the compositing.
Now begins the Photoshop part, after testing the materials I selected the ones that were better for the character, most of them are in overlay and a few in soft light its important to play with the opacity for them to blend better.
Them it’s time to begin texturing, this is part you go crazy and throw a bunch of textures on top of the character and see which one of them works better, I used range of textures that went from metal to tree and paint textures. Again most of them in overlay and soft light.
Once done with the textures, I painted the shadows and glows and putted some dirt on the model.
The initial idea for the background was just grey with some grunge brushes applied, but then why not have him in an environment that fits him, so I went on the web and did a search for rainforest photos, picked one, scaled it to fit the image and applied some filters on it, changed the levels of brightness and contrast as also the levels of hue and saturation to be more fitting with the character.
Now merge the layers that need to be merge and discard those that are no longer needed, merge the two layers the background layer and the character layer, apply a light effect filter under Render/Lighting Effects (I used a directional light), desaturate a little the colors, apply some shadows of the surroundings on top of him, and apply a final filter in this case I applied the Crosshatch filter with low settings that is under the Brush Strokes tab.
Well and that’s pretty much it, I hope that this tutorial was helpful and thank you for your interest.