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Modelling Patrick Stewart’s likeness in ZBrush

By May 13, 2011Uncategorized

You can now buy a copy of the sculpture from Shapeways

screenshot showing reference







Work has restarted on the modelling for the digital portrait. This is lovely work to be doing. The process is quite close to working on a clay portrait in many ways.

Here is a list of best practice approaches to the sculpting phase in ZBrush which very closely mirror the best practice in traditional sculpture, but they also make sense in terms of the ZBrush modelling process.

  • Work on large forms first at the lowest possible mesh resolution, do as much adjustment as you possibly can before subdividing to a higher level of mesh detail.
  • Keep altering the lighting conditions in your scene, The human eye is very good at assuming form for insufficient cues, a bit of shadow can suggest more depth than there really is. Altering the lights reveals these perceptual errors
  • be aware of degrees of shift between forms. that is the speed of the curves that link them
  • use smooth as you work  building  up and smoothing back
  • Use the largest brush size that you can,  this helps to mitigate our natural tendency to get bogged down in detail before the bigger formal issues are solved.
  • Work on the whole model, resist focussing in and finishing one part before the rest. This helps to create a coherent sculpture where the forms relate to each other fluently.
  • Some best practice advice is specific to digital modelling and  ZBrush:
  • Regularly switch between levels of detail. This has an analogue to stepping away in traditional sculpture methods. Again it refreshes the perception of the whole intent of the artwork and resists the tendency to become absorbed in detail.
  • Keep moving the model and viewing from different angles. This is particularly important for on screen modelling where you are only presented with a flat image
  • Always gather as much visual reference material as possible and have it on display or to hand as you are working.
  • There is a tendency to commit to modelled parts of the figure even if they are wrong. Having reference on hand helps keep this habit in check.

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