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Dmitriy Tityakov reviewed the process of making his recent wonderful character Nott with ZBrush.
The original character design was done by Becca Hallstedt! You can actually buy a print of the original sketch here.
Hello. My name is Dmitriy Tityakov, I’m a 3D Character Artist and live in Berlin, Germany. In 2014 I graduated from Games Academy Berlin. Since then I’ve mostly been working as a freelance artist.
Nott the Brave!
For me, the most important thing is to make an appealing character that will tell his/her story. From a technical standpoint, you need to know all basic rules and keep them in mind while creating your character.
Concept art by Becca Hallstedt
After finding all necessary reference for my Nott project I jumped straight into ZBrush and blocked out all existing parts to lay down the foundation. I prefer to block out body first, using basic geometry like cubes and cylinders, and slowly working on the silhouette.
I try not to focus on specific parts of the character and constantly jump from part to part. It always looks cheesy in the beginning, but this way I always know how much work is needing to be done. There is always a lot of stuff that must be re-done, so I’m never really attached to anything.
Nott was done entirely in ZBrush. It is way easier to stay in one Software and focus on things that matter. All small parts were made from basic primitives and then modified with ZModler Brush. It’s an amazing addition inside of ZBrush that makes the creation of such things very easy.
My Basic workflow looks like this:
Start with Primitive -> Modify with Move Tool -> Edit with ZModler brush -> Crease Edges -> Subdivide -> Add Details
All my baking was done in Modo. First of all, proper game topology and UVs will make your life easier. I have built custom preset to achieve the best possible results. I baked out Normal map, Ambient Occlusion, Illumination map, Slope map and Gradient map, Concave and Convex map with both small and large distances. I did some cleanup work in Photoshop and 3D Coat. Overall, this process took me a lot of time to set it properly, but it was worth it.
I laid out basic color and materials in Substance Painter. I could probably do it in Photoshop, but I chose SP. After the base was done, I moved to 3D Coat and made additional tweaks, added color variation, fake occlusion, and details, like scratches and dirt. I finalized textures in Photoshop, adding some sharpening and working on color harmony.
I tried different light set-ups. As for the workflow, I often find some useful tutorials on Marmoset site and stick to them. I added additional volumetric lights to make the character’s eyes pop and some light to brighten dark areas.
I created the character in around 5 or 6 weeks, working in my free time. I wasn’t in a rush really. There are some things for me that were challenging. The character needed an appealing face that is kind of sweet but evil and ugly at the same time. It should have fully shown her attitude if that makes sense. Finding that balance was kind of tough. Also, texturing and rendering weren’t really my strongest points, I spent a lot of time on these two things. But overall, I’m satisfied with the result.