Sculpting Brigitte in ZBrush
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Sculpting Brigitte in ZBrush
6 June, 2018
Character Art

Karina Bastos talked about re-creating Brigitte from Overwatch in ZBrush. Get in there! 


Hello! My name is Karina Bastos, I’m a freelance character artist from Brazil. Like most of us, artists, I was a nerdy kid who loved games, anime, and movies. I graduated in Graphic Design and decided to focus my work on 3D characters so that I could mix both my passion for creating characters and work with video games. 

Character reference

I’m a big fan of Overwatch, and it’s the game I play the most in my spare time. I was interested in doing an overwatch fanart as I love the style of the characters. When Brigitte was launched I fell in love with her design and personality and couldn’t resist giving a try making a fanart. I found great inspiration in Blizzard’s art and some Brigitte’s fanart on Pinterest.


As for the cat, I used Garfield as a reference for a more cartoonish look.

Sculpt workflow

When I’m working on a personal project, I prefer to make it as useful for me as possible and take a chance to improve myself. That’s why I try not to use base meshes or recycling old characters. For Brigitte, I started with a sphere for the head and cylinder for the body. The cat was started as a sphere. My first step is blocking the large shapes and features of the character. The main goal is having all the character blocked as fast as I can so that I could see the overall look. The important thing for me is a good silhouette of a model, so I usually work with the model zoomed out to focus on the large shapes first and then start working on the details. 

Working on the details

I was really interested in improving my work with details in this piece, so I some time to it. First, I started looking for a lot of references, especially clothes, accessories and the cat. I find it important that the objects and details that you add to your character actually mean something for your piece. When I started the project I already knew that I will do the cat because the character has a special bond with him.

This could be a surprise but the worst part wasn’t the cat, but Brigitte’s hair. I wanted to make her more stylized with a nice movement and volume, so it was a long process of experimentation. I kept adding hair strands and detailing them to match with the others.

My process was the following: first create a large amount of hair and then using Curve Tube brush make extra strands.

Check out these short videos by LEGIT134 and Steve James about Curve brushes:

Texturing and colors

For Brigitte’s project, I focused on the sculpture and detailing parts because these were the parts I thought I needed to improve. As for texturing, I tried to keep it really simple. I used polypaint for the skin, T-shirt, and the cat. My only trick here was making the pores and tattoo using layer so that I could have more flexibility to use opacity in this parts. I used the same trick to play with the opacity of the cat stripes, however, they were made with polypaint. The cat’s colors come from Garfield, and for other objects I used basic colors.


I like to start with a three-point light. I use a Key light coming from the top to get a nice and strong shadow. The Fill light is usually a little warmer to reduce the shadows on the face, and the Backlight has a strong color to enhance the silhouette. In this character, I chose a strong blue for the backlight. When I finished its setup I added a few more lights in the places to focus on them or balance the shadows. For example, for the cat’s head, I added a soft light without shadows to highlight its features in the final composition.


Sometimes when you’re a freelancer it can be difficult to study new things. I think when working on the projects – especially personal ones, – you should try to study things that you want to improve along the way. It’s important to consider your time and have a realistic goal. This way it’s easier to stay focused, avoid distractions or getting tired of the project and leaving it unfinished. As I said, with Brigitte I focused on stylized sculpture, refining details and creating a good final composition. I decided to put aside retopology and UV this time. I spent 4 days sculpting and painting and another day rendering. The secret for me is to set a realistic goal for the project and keep focused until it’s done.

Karina Bastos, 3D Character Artist

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev 

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