André Yamaguchi talked about the way he created this fantastic 3d sculpts with Zbrush and Cinema 4D.
Hi, I’m from Sao Paulo, Brazil. I have been working with digital art for about 10 years since I’ve graduated Unibero College in Digital Design. I started my career making illustrations with Flash and later I started working as a motion designer using After Effects and 3d software. But my passion has always been to make character sculptures. In my spare time, I started studying traditional sculpture at an art school called Innovation Creative Space (ICS). At ICS I also did my first Zbrush course, and from that day on I never stopped studying digital modeling.
I did some other courses and workshops always looking to improve my Skills. At the end of the year 2016, I was invited to work at the company Prime1 Studio, and I participated in some projects with great artists. The job I most liked was to do Batman’s XE suit, which was my first professional job actually. Today I work as a freelancer and I keep doing some work with videos and try to get more and more to work with collectibles which is what I really like to do.
About the Project
Initially, the idea was only to do the Spirit Breaker, but at one moment I looked for an old model that I did when I still had little experience. The model was the Drow Ranger and I decided to improve it and to build a scene of her fighting against the Spirit breaker, it was at that moment that the idea of the Diorama appeared. In this project, I wanted to explore the techniques I learned working with collectibles and bring important Dota2 game elements into it.
The base of the diorama was based on the map of the game, the item Shadow Blade that is on the waist of the Drow Ranger is an essential item for her in the game, the Ward that is embedded in the Base of the Spirit Breaker is also an important element for him because of visibility for he can run on the map. So I thought of those little details to attract the attention of the fans of the game.
For the production of Spirit Breaker, I started blocking in a neutral pose and modeling all the objects. I tested a few poses until I found a good one to start detailing the whole piece. The pose was done with the Transpose Master system, I did the mask on the areas that I wanted to modify and then I rotated and positioned. To get to the details, I looked up several references and I observed what I could do to have a good quality of details. The main brushes I used were “ClayBuildup” to gain volume and fast shapes on objects, “hpolish” to leave flatter surfaces, “Dam Standard” for fine detail, “Move” for large area distortion and “standard” with alphas for details of textures of the parts.
The Drow Ranger production process was basically the same as the Spirit Breaker process. But I used Cinema 4d to model the base of the armatures and then I imported it into the Zbrush for detailing. The parts that gave me the most work were the armor, especially the details of the torso. After I did the pose the pieces distorted a lot so I had to reshape many pieces again based on the new pose. I still have difficulty with female faces because it needs subtlety to make it look beautiful, so it was difficult for me to be able to create the face that I liked.
My painting process is practically all based on ZBrush Polypaint. It’s a very powerful tool that I really like. For some finer details sometimes I use photoshop. The “Polypaint” painting process is made in some layers of colors and details helped with Alphas.
I like to work on the final render in Cinema 4d because I already had a lot of experience with the software, I used it a lot working with motion graphics. But also I really like the way it works with lights and materials.
One of the most difficult parts of the process is to think about the cuts of the pieces. Sometimes we worry only about the beauty of the piece, but it is important to model already thinking if it is functional to print, this helps a lot in the future in the cuts parts of the piece. The cutting processes are usually quite heavy because it is the time when you begin to decide which pieces will join and then use the dynamesh turning into objects with millions of polygons so that these pieces become homogeneous without holes.
One thing I’ve learned from this project and many others I’ve worked on, even if planed all the cuts, there’s always going to be some problems in the middle of the process, that causes you to find other alternatives. It is a tiring process and few artists like to do it, but it is a very important part of the whole production. I need to improve a lot of things yet in the upcoming projects. When approaching this type of project, it’s always great to do a draft and pose studies of characters to get a good harmony of the piece. Seeking opinions from other artists also helps a lot, it’s great to have a second opinion. You need to have enough dedication and patience because it is a piece that has many elements to model and depending on the complexity it will take many weeks to complete.