Archive for scifi

ZBrush Sculpt: Super-Secret Project

Posted in 3D, Design, Masks, scifi, Uncategorized, zbrush with tags , , on October 18, 2017 by Jim St Ruth

For an upcoming something


??? … Click to enbiggen…

This will be one of my next physical sculpts in Monster Clay… but the reason shall remain a mystery, perhaps for some time…


Reptoid Sculpt

Posted in 3D, Design, Fantasy, General, sculpting, zbrush with tags , , , , , on September 20, 2017 by Jim St Ruth

Part of a series of Zbrush concept sculpts that I might turn into a silicone mask.

The upload quality of the turntable video is pretty awful. It was recorded at 720P and the file on my PC is absolutely fine. Something I need to look at in more detail for the future, I think.


Attack Ship

Posted in 3D, Maya, Photoshop, Pictures, science fiction, Substance Painter, zbrush with tags , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2016 by Jim St Ruth


It’s been a long while since I posted to my blog… Busy world, lots of distractions and a lot of home improvement.

I bought Substance Painter a few months ago, and have been blown away by the ease of texturing a model. With so many filters, so much control and a great ability to customise, paint and make a model worn/ dirty, it’s an exceptional piece of software.

The model was sculpted in ZBrush, then retopologised and UV mapped in Maya.


Original ZBrush Sculpt

To allow for high resolution textures, there are nine different texture sets/ UV groups, each with their own materials assigned, set up as different objects. The component objects are then unified into a single object that now has multiple texture sets, and it’s exported as an .obj file; importing this into Substance Painter then allows for the different texture sets to be worked on. I’ve included a UV snapshot of three of these texture sets below for reference and, whilst one of them doesn’t fill up the space as efficiently as it might do, it did the job.

The modelling took far more time than the texturing. Completing the ZBrush sculpt was pretty rapid, and I was happy with the overall design. This was created via Dynamesh and then reduced from 5m polygons to 36k using Decimation Master. The model was then made live in Maya, curves drawn across the surface which were then smoothed to make the flow of the individual piece of the model in the next step more regular.

The retopology was then completed at a low resolution; only around 25k polygons for the whole ship. The borders of the model’s pieces were checked with smooth preview, before the next step in Maya.

Substance Painter doesn’t have an option for smooth preview, so to prevent any blockiness the objects need to be at a higher resolution. So the pieces were subdivided, and unwanted edges were deleted. The final object is around 100k polygons which, when imported into Substance Painter, made my machine run like a dog.

However, because I’d UV mapped in groups and created several texture sets, the various pieces can be viewed and worked on in isolation in Substance Painter, speeding things up considerably. It’s also worth pointing out that by cycling through the material options with the ‘m’ shortcut key, you can effectively turn lighting and shadows off, allowing the whole object to be visible with very little slow down.

I was going to take everything back into Maya to render… but the in-built renderer in Substance Painter does a very nice job using HDRI maps for lighting. Since this is just a static image, just some beauty shots of the model and no scenery or posing, I’m just going to leave it as it is.

Head Bust

Posted in 3D, Design, Pictures, science fiction, zbrush with tags , , , , , on June 28, 2014 by Jim St Ruth


Armored Scout Buggy: Teaser

Posted in 3D, Design, Maya, Pictures, science fiction, scifi, sculpting, zbrush with tags , , , , , , , on September 27, 2013 by Jim St Ruth

NewCar1a-JimStRuth2013A quick update of the model. The exterior has been completely retopologised (thanks to the use of Maya’s Quad Draw function and lots of curves to help smooth out the edges and various interior pieces of the body panels). The front wheels now have brake pads and suspension modeled too. The textures are purely placeholders… lots of exciting stuff still to come: interior modelling, full texturing, the weaponry and maybe some exterior armor plating.

Another Alien WIP!

Posted in 3D, Design, Fantasy, Pictures, science fiction, scifi, sculpting, zbrush with tags , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2012 by Jim St Ruth

Sculpted, retopologised and textured in ZBrush 4.5.


Space Ranger: Update, with Zbrush Ship Concept Sculpt

Posted in 3D, Design, Fantasy, General, Maya, Photoshop, Pictures, science fiction, scifi, sculpting, Uncategorized, zbrush with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2012 by Jim St Ruth

So here’s an update to my Space Ranger. I’ve added some texturing to the figure, plus his basic clothing (with texturing). The clothing was created in Topogun, using the base Zbrush figure as a guide; a really easy process of drawing out polygons over the figure’s surface. I’m not sure that the denim texture of the trousers will stay; I don’t think it really says ‘Space Ranger’ TBH, so that will be re-done.

I’ve also created the shoulder strap and his rifle (which will be slung over his back), and there’s a blaster that needs to be modelled to; I’ve not added the rifle or shoulder strap yet because, if I’m honest, it looks rather fine and it’s almost a shame to have it covered up from view in the final scene. Some thought is needed there, I think.

Next up, we have the work in progress for his ship, from Zbrush concept sculpt, to topology in Topogun (with a little help from Maya for the circular shapes that I wanted to keep perfectly shaped), to the beginning of the refinement back in Maya.

I’ll probably go much further than I need to with his ship; I like to detail the insides as well as the exteriors of ships and, hey, it’s not for a production environment so I can go the whole hog if I feel the need.

As the final scene wasn’t based on an initial concept sketch (just an evolving idea), everything’s still pretty free-form right now. Once the basic ship is modelled, I’ll assemble things as a composite in Photoshop and do a sketch-over to rough out that final image, then build everything else around that concept.

I’ve included a few tips on the ship images that might be of some use to a modeller; concepting a ship in Zbrush is a lot of fun, but developing that into a full, neat model takes time and, in the past, has left me stumped, so here’s hoping that the scant tips help someone out.