Digital Concept Art: Designing Creatures | Learn with Wacom | Justin Goby Fields | Skillshare

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Digital Concept Art: Designing Creatures | Learn with Wacom

teacher avatar Justin Goby Fields, Concept Artist & Owner, Ironklad Studios

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Gathering References


    • 3.

      Basic ZBrush Tools & Interface


    • 4.

      Start Sculpting the General Shape


    • 5.

      Scultiping the Head, Neck & Muscles


    • 6.

      Facial Features


    • 7.

      Mandibles and Texture


    • 8.

      Adding Eyes & Super Fine Details


    • 9.



    • 10.



    • 11.

      Finishing Touches in Photoshop


    • 12.

      More Creative Classes on Skillshare


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About This Class

Take your illustration skills to a whole new world — and design your own creature! In this step-by-step class, concept artist Justin Fields show how to design with "digital clay," add realistic details, and color a character that pops in your portfolios, or even the silver screen.

Follow Justin’s process for sculpting creatures in ZBrush using techniques he’s applied to Iron Man 3, Maleficent, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Wolverine, Halo 5 and League of Legends.

Key lessons include:

  • Finding reference images
  • Sculpting your creature’s head and face
  • Adding textures and fine details
  • Coloring for a realistic pop

Don’t worry if you’ve never cracked open ZBrush before — Justin walks through the basic tools and features for beginners and intermediate designers alike.

Grab your tablet and let’s make some monsters!


Throughout the class, Justin uses the Wacom MobileStudio Pro — designed for creative professionals who want the freedom to tackle the biggest projects, anywhere. The software he designs in is ZBrush by Pixologic.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Justin Goby Fields

Concept Artist & Owner, Ironklad Studios


Justin Fields is a Concept Artist from the Gnomon School of Visual Effects, and currently works in the Film and Game industry as owner of Ironklad Studios. He has worked at such studios as Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc., Aaron Sims Company, Imaginary Forces and several other Features.

When he isn't working on 20 projects, he enjoys movies, playing with his 3 dogs, and working towards 10,000 hours. He is originally from Springfield, Illinois and has worked in the graphic design field since 2005.

Some of his credits include: Direct TV, Jupiter Ascending, Maleficent, Noah, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Firelight, Blink, Falling Skies, The Wolverine, Scrapyard, Eternals, Frog King, Ragnarock, Tethered Islands.

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Justin Fields from Ironklad studios and I make creatures for a living. I've designed for TV, film, and games and even commercials. I love my job because of the amount of creativity that I get to do. It's endless. I literally get paid to create creatures all day. I'm a child of the 80s, grew up with Star Wars and visiting fantastic places and watching horrific things tear other people apart. It's just I guess in my DNA at this point. In today's class, I'm going to show you guys how I use Zbrush, a 3-D sculpting tool to create super realistic creature designs and take what we've sculpt out into Photoshop and do the finishing touches and show a professional image at the end. I've been working with this program for five years plus, 10 hours a day. I don't expect you guys to get everything done in three hours, especially if it's the first time you're opening up ZBrush. But once you get in there and you learn the user interface, this will definitely speed up your workflow. You want to innovate when it comes to this, you want to be the first to create something and that's how you stand out. 2. Gathering References: So, in design, especially when it comes to creature design, or any kind of a character design, I like to focus on a bust of the creature. Because in my opinion, it's become very true throughout my career, is that this is what matters, you know what I mean? If this is working and the chest area is working, everything else will fall into place. Nobody green lights Captain America because they say, ''Look at those really cool boots he's wearing.'' That's not how movies get made. So, this is got to work on screen, if it doesn't, you got to start over. When I start a project, the thing I like to do first and which I think is very crucial to the design process is gathering reference and pulling reference from real-world creatures and real-world objects. So, in that regard, and I see this all the time especially with a lot of the younger students. I personally feel that I didn't get to a level of detail that I was happy with or a skill level until I started making this law, which is, always gather reference. Always draw from real life, always draw from reality because that's what you're trying to attain, especially in live action and film is, you can make a creature that is completely believable, but you can only do that by looking at reference. So, I like to use Pinterest to gather reference. It's really personal preference, but it's something that I tend to feel is very, very important to the creature design process. So, here I brought up an insect page by another Pinterest person. What I'm doing now is I'm just going through and looking for inspiration on certain things like this. This right here, that's a great leg right here, you can see that this is used for padding and this is like a claw that I might use for some inspiration later on. Seeing how the little hairs here on the fly kind of stick out in between the plates, that's all great reference. Even down to the texture and the coloring, what the surface was going to feel like. These are all things that I'm going to think about while I'm designing, or if I see something that catches my eye. I like this pattern here, that's pretty, pretty cool looking. It all tends to what draws your eye and what do you think you can mash together because sometimes creature design can be that. It can be about mashing the proper ratio of two creatures together to form something new and unique and then maybe even throwing in the third. I think it's old Wayne Gretzky quote where it's like, "You don't want to chase the puck. You want to go to where the puck is going to be." So, you want to innovate when it comes to this, you want to be the first to create something like that, and that's how you stand out in your portfolio, because there's a lot of times that I'll just see the same portfolio over and over and over. It's the same stuff and that's very boring and that says to me that you're not innovative and it says you don't have an imagination, you're just copying what you see. There's nothing wrong with that because we all start out copying what we see, but I think it's about individuality and finding your own taste. 3. Basic ZBrush Tools & Interface: So, you've just opened ZBrush and the first thing we're going to do, is we're going to go and click on the LightBox button that's up here in this top left hand corner, and that's going to provide you with a bunch of different options including the ZBrush and the project and the tools. So, I don't want you to worry about too much of the stuff right now. I just want you to go and click on one of these spheres here, we'll double click. It'll say, "Project has been changed, would you like to save changes?" No. That should just go ahead and load up your first 3D object. This is just a basic sphere and what we're going to do now is, I'm going to show you just a little bit of the power of ZBrush. So, right now we have symmetry turned on. So that means whenever I make a mark on one side, it will mimic that side or mimic that mark on the other side. All right, pretty cool. We can rotate this around by just using the pen tool and rotating around on the outside of the model. If you want to zoom in, you can hold down alt and go up and down with your pen. So, over here, you can scale your model by pressing this button over here on the on this toolbar. You can press up or down and that will scale it. You can click on the move tool and move around right here. You can also go up here and zoom your document in and out if you wish. So, we have our standard brush chosen. If you want to use other brushes which we will be using a little bit of brushes but not too many, you can always hit B on your keyboard and that will bring up your brush menu. From here, I tend to use maybe five or six brushes and that's really about it. Unless there's a specific thing that I'm going after that I know a brush can do that specific move. So, right now we're going to grab the clay build up brush, let me show you what that looks like. Just sit here and sculpt and build up the form. It's very much digital sculpting, it's very much feels like a digital clay. You can see that we can make all kinds of marks and just build up that form and begin to create something. Now, if you want to say dig into the surface, you can always hold Alt and that will cut in. Alt will always do the opposite direction of whatever brush you've chosen. So, you can see how that carves in or you can go up here to the top and choose Zsub or Zadd. Another tool we can do here is we can use a smooth function. So, if you hold down shift, you're going to notice that the cursor turns blue and that means that you're going to be in a smoothing option. So, if you just smooth out this right here, you can really push back some of the shapes that you've carved out and smooth them down if you wish. If you want to change the intensity of that, you can always go up here and change the Z Intensity. The Z Intensity is what controls the amount of pressure that you're applying to the surface. So, let's smooth all this out and let's go ahead and open up this menu here, the SubTool menu. So, right now you can see that there is only this sphere selected. If I want to add more tools to this project, it's very simple. All I have to do is go down here to append, I can tap this button and I can choose, any one of these pre-determined shapes to start from. So, let's say I want a cube in here, I'm going to click on the cube, it's going to load up in here as a separate SubTool. I'm still selected on the circle or on the sphere rather. In order to switch between the two, I'm going to go ahead and just click right here on the SubTool and now I can sculpt on the cube. So, the cube is pretty low polygons. So, as you can see, the changes that I make aren't very drastic, it's very low and I'll show you what this function called DynaMesh does right now. So, here are the polygons and how I turn that on right now is the polyframe button right here located on the side menu. What I'm going to do now is I'm going to go in here to the Geometry tab and click on DynaMesh. I want to make sure that project is highlighted because we want to save all the detail that we do. Let's go ahead and undo the changes that we've made to that surface. There we go. So it's just a cube again. Now, I'm going to hit this button that says DynaMesh. It may take a minute and what you're going to see is, it says power projection in process. So, now that we look at it, it literally, I want to say quadrupled the amount of polygons that we have to sculpt with. So, I can turn this off and now when you see me sculpt on the surface, you're going to notice it's very clay like, it's back to being digital clay. Now, jumping into this stuff, first time students and sculptors tend to jump into this and also subdivide. So, if you need more polygons, you can always divide. You can see that it just keeps getting more and more intense with the polygons. But, as I learned the hard way early on in playing with ZBrush, you don't want to do that. So, we're going to go back down to our lowest subdivision and we're actually going to go into the DynaMesh feature here and change the resolution with the slider down to say, let's go about 40, 40 or 60. Now, in order for us to get the DynaMesh to update again, we're going to hold down the Control key off to the side and draw this mask cube out here. Now, what that's going to do is tell it to do DynaMesh. So now, if I hit DynaMesh, you'll notice that everything got low res for a moment. That's okay because you can make all your design choices at a lower res without having to jump into high detail. All right. So now, we have this open and we can continue to sculpt on the surface and figure out what design we want to make. But right now, I'm going to go ahead and reopen my SubTool menu here and I'm going to go back to my sphere. I'm going to delete the cube because we don't need the cube just yet. Just go and hit Delete. No, you can't just hit Cancel, let's select the right one and delete that. Okay. 4. Start Sculpting the General Shape: All right. So, we're back to our sphere. So, that was the quick and dirty way to get into ZBrush and start sculpting. I'm going to go ahead and turn off my perspective here and I'm also going to turn off the floor grid because I don't need any of that right now. So, now that I have my sphere open, we're going to start figuring out our shapes for our creature, and we're going to do that by pushing and pulling the shape into more desirable form that we want to work with. I know that the UI can be a little daunting, there's a lot of buttons that you can press and figure out some different functionalities for it. But for right now, we're going to keep it simple, and we're going to just use just a few of the options here in ZBrush to create some fun designs. Let's go ahead and bring up the brush menu, and I'm going to go ahead and choose the Move tool. Now, you can either search through this and try and find the Move tool or a helpful shortcut would be to, you hit the first letter of the brush if you know the name of it. So, the Move tool, I'm going to hit M, and this brings up all the brushes that are labeled with an M, and here it is right here. I can either click on this right here or I can hit V as the shortcut to bring up that tool. So, now we have the Move tool selected, and what I'm going to do now is, I'm going to raise the draw size by pressing space bar and change the size right here. You can do it by using space bar or you can go up here to draw size in the top menu. You can also just hit S if you wish and that brings up this menu as well. So, let's go ahead and start building our shape here. I'm going to build up a neck shape here. So, we're just going to get in here and start sculpting out the shape. There's no right or wrong way to do this. What you're going to see here is, sometimes you'll get a little bit of this stretching, and let me turn on the poly frames again down here with this button. So, you can see what the surface is doing. For a lot of you that don't know a lot about 3D modeling, I'm not a 3D modeler but I do know that this is really bad topology. But, the nice thing is, is that we have this this dynamesh button. So, we can turn on the project and turn dynamesh on. Little menu is going to come up here and say, "This has multiple subdivision levels. Would you like to freeze the subdivision level?" No, we don't need to do that. If you noticed, it just went ahead and auto corrected that topology to be more like digital clay. It's a little bit of higher of resolution, so we're going to do the same thing we did before and we're going to click on the resolution and get that down to a lower number here. Let's see if we can get this to 64. We hit return and we're going to draw out our mask again by holding control down and off to the side, and that should update the geometry. There we go. So, let's get in here and just kind of jump in here and start creating some stuff. We can turn this off, we don't need to see the polygons. So, I looked at a lot of insect reference, so this guy is probably going to be a little insectoid. Maybe a little bit of crab influence and we'll see how far we can take him in the time allotted. So once again, since it's a low polygon mesh, it's a low detail sculpt, we can change the shape of it rather drastically and quickly by enlarging the move tool and kind of pushing things around. If you notice, I'm constantly rotating around the model and that's so I can take a look at the silhouette. See if the silhouette is working for me or I can see any design problems coming down the road that may give me problems, so I can address them now. All right. So, now I got a basic shape that I like for now. Let me just smooth this out here. Now I'm going to bring up the brush menu again by pressing B, and I'm going to choose clay buildup, so I'm going to hit the C button, and it's going to show me all the C brushes. I'm going to click this button right here, it's for clay build up. I'm going to make the brush size a little bit smaller by holding down space bar and I'm going to start blocking in some details. So, knowing what I know from anatomy, I'm going to start pulling in some neck muscles that are commonly found in humans and that really tends to add realism. When you add humanoid anatomy to a creature, it makes this relatable, it relates on a subconscious level. I'm not really worried about adding a lot of detail, I'm just trying to get in here and pushing some forms around and seeing what my imagination does with this character. Just adding a little bit of next structure here to hold up this head of his. We might use a little bit of Japanese medieval armor to influence the shape here. Once I've laid these kind of marks down, I can always go back in here and hit the B button and select my move tool again and start to push these around. So, we got a little bit of a neck structure down, I'm going to smooth it out just a little bit. I really want to pay attention to how anatomy works and how things move and really take a look at how everything works together in unison. So, we're going to add a little bit of a jaw line structure and fill in the space here, and maybe give this guy a little bit bigger shoulder muscles here. I'm not going to worry about the back too much because for the most part, this is going to be a front-facing design. That's just a time saver especially when you're really focusing on what the creature is going to look like no one's going to look at the back and say, "Green light that design." So, you want to make sure that the design in the front is really working before you jump ahead. 5. Scultiping the Head, Neck & Muscles: All right. So, I think I want to add a shape to this real quick here. So, I'm going to go into my sub-tools here and I'm going to append another sphere. So that dropped it in on a different subtool over here, I'm going to click that. I'm going to move this into position by using the transpose tool. I'm going turn my symmetry on by hitting X and now that I have my transpose tool selected, the transpose tool is a little tricky. Right here in the middle you'll see once your cursor goes towards the middle of that line a little white circle will appear. So, if you hold down shift and grab that white circle and pull it up, that is the direction in which it will go and that's how you manipulate this tool. You can draw this tool out from wherever you wish. So, now I want to put this into a little bit of a side view here, and just push this around this way. I think I'm going raise this scale too. Spy raising the scale here, I'm going to hit E or appear you can see that this is changing the functionality of the transpose line. So, I'm going to go ahead and scale up by hitting shift and holding that circle at the top right here, the red one and get that into a shape that I like here. I think I'm going to go with a disc. So, let's flatten this out a little bit. Let's draw the transpose tool out here, grab the Move tool. Push this down a little bit and maybe draw from here, I'll rotate a little bit. I think I'm going flatten it still. Just draw this out here, go back to the Move tool. Adding emotion or adding a specific look really comes down to your visual reference, you know what I mean? In your library that you have in your mind. You have to really study human emotions and take a look at maybe how certain creatures react when they're threatened or their burying of the teeth. Even down to angular shapes are usually more aggressive, where a triangle upward denotes almost stupidity in certain characters. Taking a look at how to draw comics the Marvel way, that's a great book to research and figure out that kind of a shape language. Let me go ahead and bring up my reference here, just kind of look at some stuff. See if there's anything that reaches out to me that grabs me as cool and uniquely, this guy's pretty cool. So, I'm going raise this guy up here. I'm going to go back to ZBrush now. What you can do is up here, there's a button called See-through. What I'm going to do is I'm going to scale that back to say like 13 or 15. What you can see in ZBrush is your window becomes a little bit transparent, so you can see the creature as reference. This is a way for me to take a look at something and start stretching stuff out and using it as a design, a jumping off point. So, I'm really taking a look at how it's plates form shrinking some of these out, I might even bring up a pinch tools. So, I'm going to hit the brush menu and hit P for pinch. Hairs that right there and I'm just going to go along the edge here, and thin this out going back to my Move tool and making sure this feels like a very flat disk. I can turn off see-through for now for a little bit. So, now that I have that shape, let's go ahead and make sure this is a dynamesh shape, double-check with polygons. All right. Let's go back to the other subTool. We can either go up here by clicking the subTool appear or we can hit N and that will switch between the subTools if you have more than three. Starting to find a little bit of a character in the sky, it seems kind of ominous. I'm going to give this guy some shoulders, so I'm going to open up the brush pallet again, and I want to insert a sphere, I don't want to append a sphere, so I want to make it a part of this creature. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to hit I for insert. Over here is going to be insert sphere, we're going to click on that, and now I'll be able to draw in some shoulders. So, we'll put those in here. So those come in masked, and by masked I mean it's separate from the other geometry right now. If I clear the mask it will become one. So, we can now manipulate and put this into any kind of a shape or position that we'd like. All right. Let's give him a little higher shoulders. I'm going to push this forward just a little bit more as we go. So to clear that mask, we're going to hit Control and drag out to the side. We're going to do it again to dynamesh it and merge it to make it all one. So, now I have these shapes that I can play with. I'm going to grab my clay tubes or ClayBuildUp brush again and just start sculpting in some detail here are fusing this piece together, emphasizing what I know about anatomy to really push the design. 6. Facial Features: I would say that if you're not good at anatomy, then start sculpting anatomy, that's practice. Not only are you going to learn your anatomy but learns ZBrush a lot faster. So now, I'm going to try and figure out where I want to put some eye holes and build up a framework for this guy's face. I'm pushing, pulling, carving in, sculpting on top, just pulling stuff forward just seeing what I can make. Making sure that I put some muscle structure back in here and you'll see me smoothing it a lot and that's just a traditional habit that I've gotten into that really does translate into digital. It's building up your form, smoothing it down, building up your form, smoothing it down. I think this is at a good point to go ahead and merge these two together, so let's go ahead and go down here to our Merge button, which is here in the SubTool palette. Click Merge and we're just going to hit Merge down. It will say, "This is not an undoable operation." Hit Okay. So, now this is one mesh but we're going to go ahead and DynaMesh by holding Control down and dragging out outside the model. Now, you could see, it just fuse those two pieces together. So, let's go back to our ClayTubes brush here and start, so just play with some features here. I'm might carve in a little bit here. Just try to make sure that these plates, when I look at my insect reference, they all flow together. That's a good one. Let's go to a different one here, and continue to look around at the reference. It has a cool little mouth here, all right. So, I'm going back to go back into Zbrush here and draw my inspiration from there. So, I'm going turn on a function right now. It's a brush technique that I don't want this brush to affect the other side of the geometry. So, I need to go down in here, into Auto Masking and click Backface Masking on. So, what that's going to do is make sure that I don't, if I sculpt on top of something, that it doesn't pull information from underneath of it, and that's just so I don't get any strange errors or anything like that when I'm developing this guy. Let's try to find these shapes. I'm digging here and we have like a little chin here that pulls out a little bit. So, I want to start and add a little bit of some plates here. How I like to do that is I like to hold down Control and bring up my masking pen tool. So now, I'm going to mask out on the model here a shape that I like, and I grab the shoulder piece here. I fill that in, all right. So, now we have our masks selected. I can go into the Mask toolbar here and choose, we want to sharpen it a little bit, so it's a little bit of a cleaner mask. We got that going on and go back into the SubTool. We want to hit Extract. So, you can choose the thickness of your extraction but this is about the extraction that I want right here. So, we're going to hit Extract and we'll preview what that geometry is going to look like. That's okay with me, so I'm going hit Okay and hit Accept. You'll notice that that selection just became a new SubTool. So, this is a really cool way to start doing plates and armor for your creature or any kind of creation that you want to do in Zbrush. So, we're going to jump over to the SubTool, the selection that we made. I'm going to hit X and make sure that my symmetry is on and we're going to clear that mask and I'm just going to smooth some stuff out here. So now, we have this armor piece, right? What I'm going to do now is I'm going to press W to bring the Transpose tool back and if a SubTool has no subdivisions, like you haven't divided it over here, you can quickly duplicate it with this tool. So, I'm set on the Move tool here and I've drawn my Transpose tool line now and now, what I want to do is I'm going to hit Control and tap the middle and you can see it duplicated it. So now, I'm going to move it up and out to come up with a plate-like image and I might even do it again just to see what that might look like. Since this is still selected, we can go back to our brush Move tool and pull these masked shapes out and come up with a unique looking design here. I'm just smoothing that out. I think it's time we can start carving into the guy. So, my go to tool to carve is the Dam Standard. So, if you hit D, it'll show up here and we'll just grab that. I'm going to make this a little smaller. We just could get in here and start carving away. I'm trying to find some features here that we like. We're at a point now where we should probably raise the resolution. So, we're going to go back in here, in the DynaMesh, and raise that up to say 152. Clear that mask and now, you're going to see it's become more clay-like again. So, I'm going to start to carve out some of these plates that are in between his future mandibles here. We're going to sculpt out and whenever you're concentrating on areas that will possibly be moving a lot, if you take a look at reference, especially in the elderly, you'll see a lot of the wrinkles happen around places that tend to have a lot of movement. So, taking that knowledge and that design, shape, and language, you can really infer a lot into a lot of your designs and really make them very believable just by including small hints of realism. Then I'm going to carve some holes in here for some joints, some possible mandibles that can come out. I can always fill those in later if they choose to go a different route. So, his head's kind of down. I'm going to change this by going into my masking selection here, choosing my MaskLasso by holding down Control. As you'd see, here's a normal brush and if I hit Control, it'll switch over to the masking tool. So, we're going to draw this lasso out here, around his neck so then we have that top part masked off and we are going to inverse the selection. So, by hitting Control and tapping outside the model, it will switch the mask and we're going to draw out our Transpose tool by hitting R and we're just going to draw it out here straight and rotate him a little back up here, so that he is looking at us for the time being. Here we go. All right, clear the mask and let's go back to some ClayTubes. So as you can see, I've really used maybe five or six brushes. I haven't really used all of them. You don't need to use all of them but all of them have a specific function and you'll always find a happy accident or a way to integrate those into your workflow depending upon what you need it for. 7. Mandibles and Texture: Another trick that I like to do is go back in here and choose my masking pen. This is how I start to form some of my armor shapes or some of my arm, like mandibles on this guy here. I'm going to mask out from this hole, and almost kind of draw on the shape that we want. Right? We can go back to the masking and sharpen it just a little bit, and go back up to our extract tool. Yes, that's okay. Except. So, now we have this geometry that we can add and make almost a little talons out of. Let's go and clear that mask, and build up some of these shapes. This might be a little too thin, so what we're going to do now is we're going to choose a different brush. I'm going to choose, by hitting B, we're going to open up that menu, I'm going to hit I for inflate. Now I'm just going to tap these to make these a little bit more beefier. I can always shrink them later. Smoothing out my selection, adding to it. We might go in here and rotate it with our transpose tool by hitting R, and rotating this down, grab the move tool, pulling this out from the face maybe a little bit, and then going back into the move tool, or the move brush rather, and start to pull us into a shape that's a little bit more to our liking. Okay, so, let's go ahead and make sure this is a dynamic shape. So now we have this that we can duplicate from if we wish. Kind of move that in to position here. Undo that, I'm hitting Ctrl+ Z, and lower this down here. We're probably going to go ahead and even rotate these out from here. So we've got those in place for now and let's head back to this head shape here. Clear that mask, so we can see what we're working with now. I'm starting to get a feel of what kind of character this guy could be. Not quite sure about the disk shape here, so I'm going to adjust this a little bit. I'm going to build up the top forms here. Give this a little bit of the bug patterns that we saw in that earlier Bito reference. What you should know by now what kind of outer shell or what kind of texturing you're going to be doing, and knowing where you can cut corners. Right? If you know that it's a bumpy surface, you're better off sculpting that in than trying to paint that off because sometimes it'll just come up as a strange looking attempt at what you were wanting to do, when you could have just spent some extra time in the sculpting process and added the bumps yourself. You know, it never hurts to like if you get halfway into the painting process and you're just not feeling it, you can always just go back to the sculpt add what you're trying to do in the sculpt because that's kind of what it's there for. I want to give him a little pointed chin here. I'm going to mask off this chin here, and I reverse it. Draw my transpose tool and we going to pull it down just a little bit. So, I'll do that, kind of just adjust just a little bit. All right, save check. I'll just remember to save it. Here's our guy so far. I think I'm going to go ahead and append, not append, I'm going to insert a sphere. I'm going to do that on his back here because I want to make sure I have enough geometry here to support the addition of some back volume. In production, this is one of those great tools is like, once I made this, I can render this from any angle, any perspective, any lighting, anything you want really. The cool thing is is that if this isn't chosen, I can use this as a starting point for another project. I mean, if the design wasn't chosen then I tend to Kit bash from my own supply when it comes to some of the monsters that I create, because there's just sometimes you just don't need to reinvent the wheel. You spend all these time making these assets. It's okay to throw some of them away as well because not everything is going to be great. I'm a firm believer and you got to put in that 10,000 hours and put things into perspective in that regard to where sometimes you just got to get the bad ones out before you can start making good ones. It's kind of one of those things where it's never done it's just do. So, if you're dealing with a client, and you have a deadline you'll just know, you'll just go, ''Yeah, okay, I've got to get this done, and I know that this is a good enough point to where I can keep going with this if I need to later on.'' 8. Adding Eyes & Super Fine Details: Okay, yes, give us a straight on look here, and we go to a sub tools, and we're going to go to Append. We're going to choose a Sphere. We're going to select that as the sub tool, and we're going to go down here to Deformation. Deformation is a way to control your shapes in a more confined way. So, I'm going to make this sphere really small, and that's going to look like it's going to disappear into his body, but that's okay. We're going to pull it out with a transpose tool by hitting W. I'm just pulling it out. We're going to draw straight up. Pull this into position and set it in there, however I would like it. So, it's going to look like that seems cool right there. Yeah, move it down just a little bit because I want to see little bit more of that eye. Now, hes starting to feel like hes a character here. Okay, and a very quick and easy way to do this here, would be to go to your Z plug-in, you're going to go to SubTool Master and this is going to bring up a little menu, just click this big button here. This is going to bring this menu up here, and what we want to do is we want to mirror that shape. So, you hit Mirror, Merge into one SubTool, hit OK. There we go, we got the other eye in place already. Now, we need to build up the structures around the eye, which tends to mean it's time to subdivide our geometry. So, right now, we're not even at a million polygons yet, so we'll just go ahead and hit Divide. Lets go do it one more time. Divide twice, so now we're at two million polygons and we're going to get in here and start developing out the shapes and the subtleness to this guy. Right now, I'm pretty happy with a lot of the shapes that are being created here. So, what I'm going to go ahead and do now is I'm going to focus on adding a lot of detail and a lot of character. We're going to speed up this process just a little bit. Once you get to a point where you feel like your solid forms are there, dont forget to just take time to just add the little details that you want to add. Turn off symmetry, turn on symmetry, use different techniques. Mix up some brushes. See what you can come up with before you jump into the painting phase. 9. Coloring: So, at this point, I'm going to go ahead and start painting in a little bit of the detail before we head over to Photoshop, just so I can paint in symmetry and create a little bit of pattern work before I jump into doing the rendering and then exporting it to Photoshop. So now, I have my standard brush selected. Up here in the RGB channel, and the Zadd, I'm going to go ahead and turn off Zadd because I don't want to affect this surface of the creature anymore. I want to just lay down color. Usually, you get a better paint job, if you have more polygons, at least into the million to lay down a good coat. So what I'm going to do now is I'm going to fill him with this color, right now. So I have the RGB selected, I have the color that I've selected right down here. You can just color pick around this wheel. I'm going to go up here to the color tab, and hit fill object. So that fills him with that yellowish, orangish that I like. I'm going to do that for all the sub-tools. So I must select a different sub-tool, go into color, fill object, and repeat. So now, he's all one color. I'm going to go back to the main body here. Now, I'm going to choose a darker of the two. Under the standard brush, I've chosen a different stroke. So if you click on this, it was set on dots, but now I'm going to go ahead and set it on a colorized spray. What that means is that, it's going to spray down different hues of the same color. It's like an air brushing technique. So here I'm just laying down a darker color where there would be in like perhaps the crevices or on the underside of something, where it wouldn't get a lot of sun or maybe it wouldn't bleach with time or anything like that. Anything that tends to be a softer color to me, denotes a softer underbelly. So, I can go back and fill that with a lighter color, right after I do this kind of a pass. Since we don't need to do that anymore, we can go back into geometry and just kind of turn off the dynamesh. So now that won't happen anymore by accident. ZBrush has some really good painting tools, especially if you use masking to do a lot of your work. So we're going to go into the masking folder or tab, I should say over here, and we're going to select mask by cavity. We're going to make sure the intensity here is at 100, and what I'm going to do is, I'm going to click that button, and then it just masked out all the cavities on this main creature here. So all the highest points are raised. So what we're going to do now is I'm going to invert that mask. So now, all the crevices can be painted in. I'm going to choose an even darker color. I'm just going to brush that in where I see fit. I don't want to do it all over because then it's just going to look kind of like comic book-ish, which we want to avoid. I think you could see how that adds a lot of detail already. I may do that once or twice, just to get the desired effect that I like. So I'm going to go back to a lighter color here. Start to paint this back in. Lower the RGB intensity, it's like playing with the opacity as you would in Photoshop, or playing with the fill. I'm going to go even lighter. Let's go to a brighter orange here. I want the appearance that this guy has a softer underbelly in certain parts. Especially when you design for a video game, sometimes you get a design in where the weakness is. So now, I'm going to add some even stronger reds in here. Maybe play with the intensity just a little bit. I just want to give it a sense of heat distribution. Because where blood pools in the face, is usually where you'll see very subtle purples, pinks, in someone's face. So I try to do that at a blending level, and then I'll probably hit the spec with one more tone of a darker brown or a yellow. If you've already chosen a color here and you're having a hard time getting back to it, there is an eyedropper command in ZBrush. It's not the Alt button, but it is C. If you tap C, it will choose that color that you have selected with your cursor. Just knocking back a little bit of a strong choices that I made, just to blend it in. I just want hints of that detail, I don't want all of it. So we're getting close to a point where we're going to be able to jump into Photoshop here. You might want to do some pattern work here. So for that, we're going to always check the reference. What have we got here? So, let's go with, maybe a little bit more black. Okay. What I'm going to do now I think is, I choose my masked pen tool, and go back in here and just start masking out a pattern. I'm not painting on the surface, I'm masking out a pattern. So that I can unmask it and lay down the color a little bit more subtly if I choose. You could spend a lot of time on this. There's no amount you could do that's a wrong amount. It's all personal preference and what's your deadline. So there's our pattern that we can see. What I think I'm going to do now is, I'm going to hit brush, and the Layer brush, and hit that. What I'm going to do now is, it's going to add to that surface that's masked out, but only in a specific layer. So it's going to pull everything that I have masked out, up off the surface by just a little bit. I'm just going to zoom in here so you see what I'm talking about. See how that's been, the masked part has raised off of the surface here. Every time I do it, it's going to raise it just a little bit more. All right. So, let me clear this just for a second here. So you can't really see the changes that I just made, unless we make those darker. So my control Z, to bring back that mask. And now we have this color here. I'm going to go back to the standard brush, that has our color spray. Let's go ahead and switch this over just to normal spray. We are going to raise the intensity. I'm going to start brushing this in. Let's take a look what this might look like here. So, it's a little too dark. Let's undo these changes we made. Let's go with a lighter orange, but still it's still going to be dark. What we can do now is, we can also lower the intensity and go back up into our color fill object, and it's only going to fill the things that we have masked. So let's see what that looks like. Do it one more time, maybe a little bit darker. There we go. He looks fun. Okay. I'm going to, I think I'm going to shade these shoulder armor pieces a little bit darker. Okay. So now, we are ready to take this guy and do pose and begin to paint him. 10. Posing: So now, we're going to get this guy ready to pose. So we're going to go ahead. And we saved him out already. And we're going to go to our Zplugin. And we're going to go to the Transpose Master here. And we're going to click on that button. And what we're going to do here is, we're going to hit this button here called TPoseMesh. And when you click this, you don't want to touch the computer, it's going to essentially start an automatic script that is going to take in account where everything is in 3D space. So what we're going to do is, hit Transpose Mesh and you're going to see that it's going to go through and put everything at a lower level and almost get rid of the Polypaint but don't worry the Polypaint is still there. So now, it's merged this all into one mesh force, so we can easily pose it. So what we want to do now is, we're going to grab the MaskLasso, and we're going to just tilt his head just a little bit, just to add a little bit of flair into this character. And we want to realistically mask out the neck piece here. But we don't want it to hit that shoulder piece. So maybe we'll reimburse this here, go through here, and make sure we've mask out that armor piece. Now that we've done that, let's go to our masking selection and go up here. And we want to, so sharpening this time, we want to blur it, we want a subtler selection of the mask. Okay? So this is where it can get a little tricky, but that's all right, we'll get through this. Let's see here. Okay? So now we want to turn the head. So what we're going to do is, we're going to hit R for the Rotate Tool. We're going to draw a line straight down the middle. Right? We're going to turn him sideways. We're going to make sure that Symmetry is off. And you can see that there's two lines there, so it is on right now, so we'll turn it off. And I want you to grab, with your Stylus, the outer orange ring of the Transpose Tool. And what I like to do is I like to imagine the Transpose Tool as the creature spine. So if you know a little bit of your anatomy, you're going to know that we're on the bottom of the skull. You would put almost the spine, putting in there and that's going to be your pivot point. He's still in the middle, but it's still at a slight angle. So when I grab it here from the front, if I grab this inner white circle and move up or down, you're going to notice that I can turn his head slightly to the left or to the right and kind of start to give him a little bit of character, just so it doesn't look so symmetrical. And you might get some a little bit of bending of the polyons or a little bit of meshing. That's okay, you can either paint it out or you can go back in there and resculpt it if you wish. I'm just going to move him over a little slightly, so it doesn't look like we've smashed him too badly. And we're probably going to hit him from this angle here. Okay? We can Undo our mask. That's good for me. I think that's a cool looking angle. So what we're going to do now is, we're going to go back up to our Zplugin button, and we're going to clear the mask and make sure we hit TPose to SubT. So what that's going to do now is, it's going to take the fully painted sculpt and pose it in the position of the Copy. There we go the posing is done and now we can start doing our render passes. First of all, when you're getting ready to paint the this guy up, what we're going to do immediately is figure out what angle we want him in. That's someone we want, but let's go ahead and raise. Let's go to Document here. And then in the Document, you're going to see a Half or Double Size button. We're going to go ahead and click Double, and it's going to say, Resizing a Document is not an Undoable Operation. Do you still want to do this? Yes, we do. And so you're going to notice that it drops him really big on the canvas. Now, he's an editable. You can't do anything. Actually, every time you draw on the workspace, you're just going to get to duplicate. Right, which is kind of trippy, and it feels like you broke the program. Don't worry, just go ahead and hit Control N, and that will clear the canvas. And you're going to redraw him out as big as you like, and hit this button up here called Edit. Now, we've brought him back into the 3D realm and we can position him accordingly. But, now that we have resized the document, we need to zoom out to see the full size of the document which is a lot bigger now. And now, we can go in here and make him a little bit bigger by clicking Alt and dragging up or down. We want to make sure that we get all of his body in the workspace here, so we can see what he's going to look like. And now that we have him in the pose that we like, we're going to go to Document, ZAppLink properties and save a Front view. We do that so if we accidentally move him, and we're doing our render passes, we won't be able to align it back up again, unless you click Front, which will snap him right back to that position. Okay, so rendering. We're going to click on the Render tab here, and this little button here as a drop-down box, but we're going to be using this a little bit more often now. So we're going to go to tap that button and this is going to send it over here to this toolbar, which you can, if you want to Undo that at anytime, you can always just click it and it'll disappear. So we want to go into our Render Properties and we want to make sure that Ambient Occlusion is turned on, and Subsurface Scattering. We're going to raise our details to four. And we're going to go into the BPR Shadow here and make sure that it's at 30 angle, which it is. And that's pretty much it for this part. And what we're going to do now is, we're going to raise the SubPixels to seven, that's at four, and we're going to hit this little button here that says Best Possible Render. After it gets done rendering everything out, all your RenderPasses will appear here under the BPR RenderPass. And I'll show you how to save those out in just a moment. 11. Finishing Touches in Photoshop: Okay, now that we have our render passes out of ZBrush saved as PSDs, what we're going to do is combine them all into Photoshop. Everything is on top of each other so it's all perfectly arranged on top of everything and what we're going to do is we're going to turn off all these layers to where you have this background layer here. What I'm going to do is select that and I'm going to go ahead and duplicate that. Now I'm going to start turning on these layers one at a time. Let me go ahead and zoom in here so you guys can see the full effects of what's happening. So, now I'm going to turn on this render pass that says BPR_AO. What you're going to see is a black and white image and what this is is this is like, in order to capture volume properly, this is the pass that you would then switch to a multiply layer and you can turn that on and off and you can see the subtle difference that it makes on the forms. The other one that you're going to do that to is going to be your shadow. Let's go ahead and move the shadow down here, shadow pass. Turn that on. Same thing, let's go ahead and turn that as a multiply layer. What we're going to do now is we going to play with fill and put that around 75 percent. You can turn that on and off and you can see the shadows wrapping around your object. Before we go any further, what I'm going do now is I'm going to add a folder. I'm going to drag this folder all the way up and out of the render passes, you should have gotten a mask PSD. So we're going to turn that on and we're going to use the magic glasso here and the magic wand maybe if I could find it again. There we go. We're going to select that out. So now that we have that out we can turn this off and we're going to go to the folder and we're going to hit the Mask button down here. So now we have that automatically mask out. So we're going to grab everything but the background and drop it into this folder. So it automatically masks each layer to that shape. This is our specular pass. So what we're going to do is we're going to put this on a screen and we're going to adjust the levels. But we're going to do it in a non-destructive way and that's by using an adjustment layer. I'm going to hit Alt and tap in between these two layers to upend this adjustment just to this layer. So we're going go in here and play with how well we want to make this skin feel, maybe even wet, or even shiny just a little bit. There we go. That way we can always go back and play with that if it's not to our liking. I've saved out several different lighting passes as you saw in the render properties. So now I'm going to go ahead and change this one to a Linear Dodge. You can see that that already added a nice little rim light along the side there. We're going to do another adjustment layer to that one as well to try and pump up the lights. We are going to append that to that layer. Grab the middle sphere here, pushes in to the white room here, crush the black a little bit and there we go. So now usually when I do my lighting passes, what I like to do is several different iterations so that way I can control the amount of light leaking around the object. So, we'll turn on another one so this is a light source from maybe possibly over here on our subject. We'll do the same thing, put that in the Linear Dodge and we can turn that on and off to see what it's doing. So this one also needs an adjustment, so we'll go in here to levels and Alt key between the two to get that appended properly. Just play with the settings to get it to your liking. I've got one more light layer here from the other side, same thing, Linear Dodge and play with the levels and appended to that. I want that subtle. I just want to show a little bit of the detail on the backside. But I don't want it to be a major point of reference to look at. So now we have a Chrome pass and what I like to do with the Chrome pass is set it on a soft light and play with the film a little bit. It really helps bring out some really cool colors in your creature. Now we get to start painting. Right, we're almost done. Feels like it. Let's go and add another layer here and we're going to grab a paint brush here. Switch our brush to a white and let's raise the size of this here. Now we're going to just dust in, put the flow down a little bit low. We just going to dust in light around the corners of this guy. Since that's on a different layer, I can go as crazy as I want and this suggests that later. Let's go ahead and do a blur on this here, gaussian blur. I just want a softer, there we go and we'll play with the opacity or the fill, bring that in there. Going to lower the chrome just a little bit more. Let's go ahead and do one more from behind this and let's use a gradient tool here to see if we can get a better circle going. I'm going to choose the foreground to transparent. I'm going to draw out a circle and play with the fill. So now that we have that going, we can collapse this group and see what we can play with here at this point. So now I'm going to go ahead and add a new layer and now what I'm going to do is I'm going to take a brush and I'm going to start painting some of my rim light in. We want the brush to be nice, small here and we want it to be pressure sensitive. I just want to bring out a little bit more of the detail and really push the image. I try not to over-complicate the viewer because sometimes it's really easy for an untrained eye to focus on the wrong things. So, what you don't want to do is you don't want to really beautifully rendered creature that gets lost with the background. So, if your assignment is to do the creature then that's your focus. Focus on the creature because the environment doesn't matter, not yet. I've seen a lot of creature concepts get muddled just because someone was trying to add in a background or just overdo what they've already done and it just doesn't help the concept. It doesn't help you sell your idea at all in my opinion. Let's go ahead and add a new layer here, let's see about adding some eyes. So, I'm just adjusting the flow here and painting a little bit of the blood pooling red in there and then I'm going to go back and soften this color. I just want to bring that back into some of the squishier layers of this guy. From here we have this layer here and on top of this we will add a new layer and we'll grab a black and do a little bit of a gradient from below here. I'm going to fade that. Do it again. Just build up that fall off. Just knocking it back because I want the client to look at the right thing and make a decision. So I hope you guys had fun with this class and got to see how we took from a very basic sculpt into Photoshop very quickly to be able to show our client a fully realized concept. Share your work especially as much as you can and can't wait to see what you guys come up with. 12. More Creative Classes on Skillshare: