Sculpt a Character from the Post-Apocalypse | Josh Dunlap | Skillshare

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Sculpt a Character from the Post-Apocalypse

teacher avatar Josh Dunlap, 3D Artist and Illustrator based in Los Angeles, Ca

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

14 Lessons (54m)
    • 1. Welcome to the Class!

    • 2. Zbrush introduction

    • 3. Roughly Block in the Character

    • 4. Make the Body

    • 5. Refine the Face

    • 6. Create the Jacket

    • 7. Create the Pants

    • 8. Create the Hair

    • 9. Create the Shoulder Pads

    • 10. Create the Hands

    • 11. Refine Face Edges

    • 12. Quick Polish and Detail Buttons

    • 13. Face Paint

    • 14. Final Thoughts

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About This Class


Sculpt a Character from the Post-Apocalypse

Have you ever wanted to take your character further than a sketch? Now you can! Here is your chance to learn how to make the leap from your drawn character design into a fully realized  3D sculpt of that character.

Picking up from where we left off with "Create a Character from the Post-Apocalypse", I'll take you through the process on how to interpret shapes from the 2D drawing into something that is readable and appealing from all sides in 3D.    

Meet Your Teacher

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Josh Dunlap

3D Artist and Illustrator based in Los Angeles, Ca


Digital Artist based in Los Angeles, CA.

I specialize in 3D Character / Hard Surface Sculpting and Design for the film, gaming, and collectibles industries. I currently work at Legacy Effects as a 3D Artist and have worked with companies such as Marvel, DC, Toyota, The Mill, Magic Wand Studios, Sideshow, and Mezco Toyz.

I approach digital art from a traditional mindset. My background in traditional drawing, painting, and sculpting gives me an invaluable perspective when approaching 3D digital projects and concept art.

A recent digital sculpture of 'Bruce Wayne' from Batman Begins, for a 6in scale collectible figure.

As well as 'Ras Al Ghul' from Batman Begins, for a 6in scale collectible figure.

... See full profile

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1. Welcome to the Class!: he over wanted to take your character further than a sketch. Now you can hear is a chance to learn how to make the leap from your drawn character design into a fully realized three D sculpt of that care. Picking up from where we left off with creative character from the post Apocalypse. I'll take you through the process of how to interpret shapes from the two D drawing into something that is readable and appealing from all sides in three D space. I'm Josh Doma. I'm an artist based in Los Angeles, California I've had the awesome opportunity to use my three D skills and design skills on recent projects such as Avengers. Infinity War mullets are in the Jungle and Pacific Room, just to name a few Z brush is a game changer for making the leap into digital scope. I'm really excited to walk you guys through the process. I can't wait to see you guys come up with and enjoy. I'll see you in the next video 2. Zbrush introduction : All right. So I'm gonna walk you guys through a quick start up a Z brush. If you guys have never used the brush before just to check out, I use my custom interface and hot keys to make my work flow a bit smoother and quicker. So I'm gonna be giving you guys all these hot keys and all these in this interface. You guys use it and speed up your workflow during this class. And as you see me using these in class to go make more sense of where I dio basically, I just have my top row one through eight set up this hockey's for brushes. We can go here, gotta load you. I just click that and find the file that load that you can save that afterwards for the hot keys. Same thing this quickly. Load them here and you can store or save whatever you like to do what you can make your own hot keys. It's pretty quick to do so right off the bat will have this. You need to be an edit mode to do anything. Three d. So you basically start off with it star or something clicked the edit mode, and now you can turn in three D space where I'm doing. I'm using Wake home Tablet just to drag around. I'm just literally clicking and dragging around the surface to spin it. So basically in three D space to snap, it will spin and hold shift. So as you see, it will snap and pay attention to this guy because this will be a good reference point as far as what keys amusing. So that shift in snap and then we'll hold off down. So basically your whole adult quick leko of all and drag this will go in and out. So this would be your zoom basically. So again, it is all too quick. Leko vaults ending of Dragon like this and then you could spin. So basically it's quick, like as you can see that I can do this pretty quickly. So basically you're just dragging and dragging out. Hold all first click drag out spin shift to snap. Next, we'll hold on Ault and you just click and drag this so basically be elected to walk your model. So I decide up and down basically in the flat space so it will snap it to the plane. She can move it around and let's go ahead and turn the floor. See, See what I mean? So here we go. It's the spins around, turn local just to make it a little better. Perfect. So So I decide. Up and down. So again, that's Ault. Click Click goes Alton, dragging it out cold all side to side and then just free pivot again, all to click, Draggin it out. Perfect. So now we have a three D mode selected. Sometimes that could get on dining. You're like, what happened? So you'll just hit command and to get rid of that and I just draw it out again just by clicking and dragging out and they get at it. So let's go ahead and start with something a little more interesting so I can show you guys some hot keys I use. So here I just went ahead and created a simple head. This is nothing too crazy. Your fancy, Um, but you know, it's whatever just showing the quick interface. So basically what I'm doing, I have these brushes which you can have access by hitting. Be and you'll see all these plethora of brushes and Z brush, which can get pretty overwhelming and a lot of easy. You'll never use some of them. You may once in a while, but ultimately you don't all the time. So it's good to just have your core sculpting tool kit just like you would in the real world. You know, you have your core favorite tools you use, like 34 main ones and then maybe a few like three more extras, just in case you need some specific areas for refining. All right, so a great one to start off with a guest would be the move tool, which I currently having it set for hockey number four. So obviously this will move everything around. So say when I move his nose like crazy like that do that, we want to move his ears or something. This is a great tool. If you just needed shift around your shapes. Basically, you'll use this all the time, So that's a great one I used. You'll see. Move that, Uh, sorry. You'll see me use this quite a bit during the tutorial. Even obviously, professional work. This one's used the time looking. Next sample house. Let's go with the Damien standard, which I have set up for hockey number one, and to adjust the size of the brush. I have it set up for a hockey just using the brackets. So, as you can see, it gets bigger and smaller with everyone I use, Um, or you can use the space bar if you really need to make a dramatic shift. But as you can see, Damian Standard is great, um, for adding details basically describing into the surface and what's really great about Z brush. It's cool because you can basically hold Ault, and then it will do the opposite of the brush so you can see, like, obviously describes and then say, I want to do some rays detail. Just hold old to get that great. So just using some move and Damian Standard right now. Cool. So another cool trick for Damian Standard or basically in a brush but Damian center and certainly good one. You could do it lazy mouse, which you can adjust that so it will really impact your curve here. So if it gets a little wild and you need to be very straight and precise, you can adjust the lazy mouse, and it goes all the way to 200 which basically just allows you to drag out more and keep it straighter. Defined shape. So so, next up, Let's go ahead and use that clay build up, which is a great tool as well. That's hockey number two. Clay. Build apple. Just basically. It's like you're adding little tubes of clay to the surface. So right now, also cool things you brush. I haven't mirrored which you just hit X, and it will mirror to the other side. You'll see that happening now, so this is great. You can, you know, obviously just this and adjust the pressure as well. The Z intensity is just the intensity of your brush, so right now it's 20. I like to stay with it. Basically 11 or 2 20 is pretty good. If you go too crazy, it's hard to sculpt in control. So what's good about the way calm tablet? It allows it to be pressure, sensitivity seeking. Control it that way. Perfect. Let's move on to number three, which is inflate. But I'm not using a whole lot. It's just nice to kind of have, so it builds up basically inflates the surface pretty self explanatory. Let's move on. So we'll have four again covered. Move. Next one, we have number five, which is the H Polish brush, which I use all the time. I'm gonna show you right now how I use it. So basically, it's great for getting anything like that chiseled Look, you need a fine edge. Pay for hard service. Or if you wanna have really defined planes like we do with the animated figures, they have really defined planes. It's as you can see that happening. And another thing, if I hold also able build up the surface just like it did with the Damien Standard, I showed you perfect. So you can kind of see what this is doing. And then in conjunction with the Damien Standard, I like to drop this way down because it's pretty strong, straightforward. I mean, straight out the box. So and then another thing I like to use a lot obviously is a smooth, which is just holding the shift key down space least acts like smoothing clay. So you get the idea. I think, um, cool. Okay, So, basically, we're one through five now, so we have the Damien Standard. Which scribes? We have number two, which is clear buildup, which can build up or is great for subtracting. I like to use this brush a lot. Um, and why I'm initially finding my forms and even refining something that I really needed. Just get it there, you know, take out a bunch of clay. Cool. So 1 to 5. So three. Inflate, which we use once a while for move all time. Five. Great for the hard angles. Six. It's a flattened brushes is very similar to the H polish. It's just sometimes h polish the algorithm. It won't always get what you want. Teoh do. It won't get a certain edge or look. So it's nice that flattened as a backup to go in there. Just get the edge. Seven. We have clay tubes. It's just another great one. It's kind of like the clay build up, which is talking up to it just keeps your surface a little better. It contorts to what, Yuri House, which is cool. Um, I haven't really gotten into this brush too much, but I know a lot of people use it. Um, do you play? I should try that one more. All right. And so Yeah, that's basically it. I mean, I use basically what I said four brushes and you could make quite a bit of cool things with it. The next principles I'm going to show you is how, ah, I would insert something So as far as like, say, winning his eyes or, you know, some shapes on him. So a great one is you hit B I, which is brushed, insert, and then we can get that. So now we can select all these cool functions. So let's use a sphere, and then we'll quick and drag out. I'm holding shift to snap it. And then it w to call that in. Which brings us to another point of manipulations. E brush tools. We have our core functions, which are cute. W e and R. Um, So now Z brushes kind of streamlining this so you can just basically it w and basically scale out everything from there by clicking this yellow square. And then you can use these gizmos to move things around Pretty straightforward is far instructional, uh, and then just take you to get back to your standard. Let's just and this is faking in a bit, but let's just pull his eyes out. Cool. So there he has some eyes and this is kind of a star. Obviously a stylized character is not anything super realistic yet, but again, just a demo head. So as you can see what happened, it masked out this surface. So basically it's only affecting that which I'll show you next. Had a mask things out. So, Metsa, get mask. You just hold command drag out and then we can get rid of it. Another great thing is let's shift control Click. So perfect. So okay, As you can see, his eyes have gone, but they're really just hidden. So I'm holding control shift dragging out and then I'll hope Ault to get the negative. So let's I usually have a hockey extension up for some reason not going to say that. All right, so I got a split split hidden. So now you'll see we have different sub tools and basically it's interface. This is a tool. This isn't subtitle. You load here, you save here. So another hockey I like to use is s which is so low for me so I can sell our things and go in there and sculpt, which is a great time saver. Perfect. Okay, next up, let's show you the master really quick. So the mass tool I like to use you just hold them the command button he had just drawn out . And basically, it's just like painting on the surface. You can drink off and make a square like that, or pain on your surface. Whatever you want to do is let's just go and make him some quick hair. Sure, something like that. Really straightforward, cool and now trick I used and you'll see me use this in the video. You just create the mask and basically anything that goes masked you can pull from, so you'll extract this so it's gonna drive double it extracts. So let's go. This shows is a preview, great, except and again. This is new subtitle now, and it will have basically see brushes. Things called poly groups, which is just You can define them yourself, but see how there's green, blue green. It's basically like we clicked off. It will be its own thing, so let's mask this display everything again. W key. I like to bring these things in just I do a lot of three D printing things, so it's nice every thick geometry, so it intersects with each other and could be three D printed, so that's a good thing to do. Perfect. So now we have some hair is a simple, pretty straightforward process. Just mask extract. And then you have that. And if you want to smooth that, you could go ahead and do that or six. Great writing. Another way you can insert shapes is insert and then pick your shape here, which is fine to do as well. Another good key is F, which will just frame everything that's in your workspace or everything, but I should say, visible in your workspace. But you know, you can insert things like this to UM, which is good. I like to do with Method. I did because, as you can see, if you had shift after going to poly frame mode, this has a lot of division, which is fine. It's just harder to manipulate. It's just more to control and deal with, uh, which starting out you don't really need this so but just another alternative for you guys to use Okay, so let's get a poly frame. Oh, to go back to the head. Perfect. So that's kind of it, Guys, that's my basic interface since the brushes I use again, you just for saving you could go here, which I recommend NZ brush saving as much as you can because sometimes it can crash. And that's it. Ah, another thing I should say for preferences. I do have it set up where your quick save, which basically it can quick save every few seconds or minutes or whatever. You guys have it set up as. But I like to turn that up just because it can be a little, um, annoying if it saves every two minutes ago. Just give you a pop up menu and say saving and it can get in the way if you're really, you know, going forward. So, yeah, this is this is basically it. Um, just like I said, using a few different Hakkies well, really save you guys sometime. So if you guys have any questions or any thoughts on this, feel free to ask a Sephora's masking goes to medical thing. You can bring in this, uh, what's going on. Do this really quick, you see how you can drag in and then basically to do the inverse, you've just hit, command and click on anything but your model. And so let's say we have eight, which is the standard brush. It's going to do this. So this is a great way to get, like, some poor textures and things like that. Obviously not right here. But you get the idea right on, guys. Right. So have fun with this. Play around with it again. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. If not, Let's go ahead and jump into the videos. Thank you. 3. Roughly Block in the Character: first up, we need to block out the body. This is the basis for all our sculpting. So it's best to get the general form and proportions right here. So when you blocking out the form, you can use any program you like. I used the Maya just to keep it quick, just very simple forms. And I could overlay the art easier to check proportions. That being said, I am working from concept art that I made for this character, which you can conveniently find in a previous video I created. You could do this justice quick. Lindsay brush. You see me doing that a little bit here, just stick pushing pools and forms a bit more. The key here is to keep it simple and obviously, but it looks of things. There is nothing too pretty or impressive in the stage, so don't get discouraged. And here's some things to keep in mind. Do not get caught up on details. We will definitely have time for those to keep this part quick. Just have fun 4. Make the Body: have the body of the character blocked out. Great. Let's continue with it now. We're gonna take that geometry and shape it up a bit, using just the move brush, pulling things around, just selecting different poly groups to shift and pull and see what's working, what isn't. You'll see me doing a smooth preview of the legs just to see how everything deforms correctly, just to keep things from being too bumpy. Because if you go straight to dividing them, they get pretty lumpy pretty quickly. But having low rez and just a simple preview of smooth works great. And since my character is pretty simple in terms of construction, his legs and arms are really just selling their shapes. So again, don't get caught up in detail. We'll get to the clothes and add ons later. 5. Refine the Face: Now we're going to focus our attention to the face in this step. We're thinking of forms in shape, so don't think of this as, Oh, here's the nose. I've got to get a perfect Or these are the lips like they have to look this way and their lips. It's difficult because this could get very overwhelming, and it's also pretty distracting, especially first, start out. Just think of it as shapes like This is a shape that's a shape. This rounds here. It curves here. It gets flat when it meets this. It's flat here on so on. So if you sculpt like this, it will give you a lot more freedom. It will be a lot easier for you to break down the art you're working from. So even though this is more of a stylized cartoon character, it's great to still have the anatomical reference and shapes in there just to have good form and flow. And so it reads like a realistic thing because you can easily just make a sphere with a face on it. But it's gonna be a bobblehead, smiling face basically, and you don't really want that all the time in this case, it's nice to add some human element to your work. Look at Pixar. Look at DreamWorks. Anything like that. They always have correct anatomy. So if you have some reference Andy, that would be great again. Just keep in mind. Look for the shapes and forms. Don't think as knowing every muscle. It's not really necessary for this. Just look at the form and see how they meet together. What kind of shapes the making is that our circle was their part. Edges that square things like that again. Just keep it simple, but it's nice to have something anatomical that fall back on. So just spend a few minutes on this refining. Cem edges, polishing things up, using smooth look out for the edges where things mean up and have fun. 6. Create the Jacket: Every cool character needs a lot of the jacket right. Think of this is simple shapes and simple silhouettes. It's also not a bad idea to get a real life reference of the clothes. Or in this case, I love the jacket just to check out how the fabric flows from one section to the other. So push around some form, see how they look. If it's looking a little flat, it's always good to kind of give some definition. It's a variation on the form just to make it a little more visually interesting also with this jacket. And if you're doing a suit or anything like that, take advantage of the fact that this is basically broken down into three parts. You had the left arm, you have the right arm and then you have a torso. So if you can kind of think of it in that way, you'll be a lot better off because the forms actually they don't carry through. They just stopped so that that seem it stops, which is really helpful because sometimes you get get tricky if there's so much fabric in a lot of wrinkles going on. So for the main part of the jacket. I'm just gonna insert a simple cylinder. I'm gonna resize it with the gizmo tool to get it in place and then just push and pull using the mask from here. I'll just smooth it out and get the initial shape I need. I also use a subtraction d former, which is a new feature NZ brush. You don't have to do this. I was just testing it out to sea. But you can just as easily get this by sculpting the form. So now we go back in with the brushes and just move and pushing pool and use the Damien standard to get the initial edges and flow to the jacket. You'll see me smoothing this out and using the H polish brush just to get the form here. We're going to take advantage of the subtraction element again in the new Z brush set up. Basically, you just take the second box and then you could subtracted. Haven't a life. Boolean is what the action is cold. I'm again. You don't have to do this and you can just sculpting do it manually as well either way. So I'm sculpting this. I'm just using a few brushes again, and that's pretty much use. It's used the Damien standard to kind of push and pull you can hold all took a go the opposite direction of what it initially rests at. So Damien Sanders kind of carves into the surface. And if you hold all tickle, make it ridge. So that's what I'm doing to get the nice, hard, polished edges and just going back with shift to smooth. - Now we're going to create the collar on the leather jacket. So I'm doing I'm just masking out the initial shapes I want. I'm gonna delay extract speech we did in the intro video. This is pretty straightforward, just kind of get the shape. If you need reference, just go ahead and grab that as well. Super helpful tohave just smoothing this out, and this is basically the first step of the process. If you can't get it clean enough, that's fine. We just re top it right here. Just insert Aziz fear and go and re top by hitting the at it Apologies button. You go in and drag those out. This allows us to keep it clean and basically from what that process was. It's just roughing it out and then going back with the disease Z Spear and getting a simpler shape. So nothing too crazy. It is pretty slow. So that's why I'm not. I'm kind of speeding through this process. Cinelli. Once we have a form, we can just use the Z Mahler toolkit and extruded out, so we have some thickness with. So we use the smooth former just to see how it looks. This movie preview, I should say move, tool to move out. You're looking pretty good. Just moving, refining, smoothing the same thing we have done throughout this character. So let's move on to the next video. 7. Create the Pants: well done without leather jacket. Let's move on to the pants. Here we were fined them and add wrinkles increases. So, as you see, I like to use separate sub tools for different things in different parts along this as, for instance, his pockets and the zipper. They will be separate tools just because it keeps it cleaner, and I can easily add creases without anything getting in the way. And zebra. She's great, cause you can solo out parts and work on them and then unsold. Oh, they've been. See how they fit together. Just take your time. Have fun making some pants and it If you need reference, you know, look down or look online and see how pants to form. It's always helpful to see riel world examples, even if they're animated characters. It's nice to add that sort of believability to them, so pay close attention to your art if you have anything special going on for him. He has Kneepads for this, amusing the just a simple square and using a curved if former, which is newer NZ brush instead of the move tool, it just keeps the geometry a little cleaner and doesn't make it was wildly. You'll see me do this for the zipper as well 8. Create the Hair: next up, we will refine the hair. It's really clean up the hair here and simplify it a bit. Don't worry about making every strand of hair here. It's much more effective to simplify the hair into a few basic shapes or chunks of hair. You can add little indication lines of hair flow of that helps. And again, as earlier, I'm just using the H polish again. You can use Ault to add, and then h polish will do some more deficit tracked. So that's how I get a nice, clean, hard edges for the region's again. I use Damian Standard and just draw out. Sometimes they turn on the lazy mouse. Distinct. Add an extra flow to my brush. It's also helpful to use the move tool pushed geometry into place. But basically I'm just taking my time smoothing ups and areas, trying to keep it very clean, very readable. And again, this is more of an animated character, so it's OK and you can get away with keeping it very simple. So just have fun with this, - uh 9. Create the Shoulder Pads: next up, we have the shoulder pads. - So basically, I blocked up form of shoulder pads, and now I'm gonna go back and refine it. So I'm gonna do a cool trick that helps keep things clean. I'm gonna isolate this simple geometry. I'm going to go to frame mesh, friend the Mesh. And then what I'm gonna do is insert occurred around this. I'm gonna just the size of the curve just to get that nice, clean ridge. You try to keep your jump trees lowest possible, so I won't get too there. We have a simple, simple show. Looks looks great. It's easy to read really clean and you'll see here. I'm able to get some really crisp edges. If I go back in and at a support line, which is great rather than sculpting it in by hand on these, you can go back in and manually believes edge 10. Create the Hands: next, we'll move on to the hands. This is where making the base Gemma tree comes in handy. I think there's a joke in there anyway. The fingers have pretty much already made up for us at this point. Where I like to do is go and actually probably group them so I can keep them separate. This makes it easier to work with. Once I have them separate, I can just go in and isolate them and work on them. One by one, it's pretty much blocked out. You can go in and add some refining edges. - Try to get that hand shape in there, some finger anatomy if you like. I'm a knuckles for him. He's pretty simple, so I'm just style izing him, giving him the one knuckle where it bends in the hand. I'm adding some wrinkle creases on the gloves where his fingers will fold again. This points back to adding some believability to character. Remember this point. People always look out for the head, the hands and the feet on sculpture or drawing. It's just kind of what people go to, so this is just a nice rule of thumb to keep in mind do you spend some time in the hand? Not too long. Just policy enough, and then let's go to the next face, all right? 11. Refine Face Edges: here is where we could make the model shine. This is the step we can finally see our character winding down in coming toe life good. Yeah, I always feel like I spend a lot of time on this. I think it's important. If you want the character to really stand out, I will stress this point. It does not have to be perfect because everyone has their own idea of what that it's make it professional and make it easier to read. If you do that and you're in business, you're good to go. So just take some time polishes again, as I mentioned earlier, having a really good face, having really good hands and having really good feet really help sell the character and drop people. 12. Quick Polish and Detail Buttons: Sometimes when you spend the model, we see things in a different angle or a different light catches the model differently. That's what makes sculpting more challenging than trying. It's a 1,000,000 different angles you're working from. Either way, just refine, refine and refined again until you get what you're after. Now we're going to the little accent. Parts received constant in this case. He has a couple pins on its jack, a skull and a star. For this, I take full advantage of older features E brush called Shang Box. You basically just used the mask tool and brush out your shapes onto a few planes for a lot . You have our jam tree for this car after little polish and sizing. We're good to go, so we'll do the same thing with this star. This is pretty straightforward, but effect. This'll saves us a lot of time, and we don't have to model out all these shapes 13. Face Paint: onto the face paint. Here's the last step almost there again for this section. We're just gonna be using the shadow box option. We're gonna paint the mask out, get the shape you want and they're extracts and you're good to go. I think we'll bend it and contorted to any shape, want around the face to keep it on the form. If you don't have face paint on your character, that is okay, why not? And in reality, this may just be painted or later if it were to be three printed. I think it's always nice to have some sort of registration of detail, if you can, so here we go. 14. Final Thoughts: I hope you guys enjoy this class. I was really fun to teach and get through this character and see how he came to life from a two D drawing into something. Three D. Now you guys could go do whatever you want with him. He's be rigged. It could be animated it. You can three d print him. That's pretty cool. You could do a lot of different things. So if you guys have any comments or questions, I want to see anything more in depth or any ideas for next tutorial you like to see. Please post them below. I'd love to see what you guys come up with and until next time. Thanks again for watching.