Zach Sharts did a breakdown on her concept-based stylized character, SKEEN girl, shared her workflow in ZBrush and discussed hair and clothes production.
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My name is Zach Sharts, a 3D sculptor from Kyiv, Ukraine. I have almost 7 years of experience in the game industry. Five years as a 2D artist and almost two as a 3D artist. For the last three years, I’ve been working at DragonFly outsource studio. I’ve had an amazing opportunity to make 2D chromas and skins concept art for the League of Legends. Also, I created few 3D figures for Riot Games merchandise, and I sculpted some props for Darksiders Genesis for Airship Syndicate. And now I’m working on Fortnite skins for Epic Games. Before DragonFly Studio, I worked for Plarium Kyiv and for a few other smaller companies doing 2D art mostly for mobile games.
When I was a 2D artist I liked drawing characters more than something else. About four years ago, I thought that it would be interesting to see my characters from all angles, and I decided to try to sculpt in ZBrush. I made a few portraits as a hobby. However, two years ago, the art director of our studio conducted a short sculpting course for those, who wanted to learn new software. And after that, I realized that I wanted to grow up in this direction and asked for more 3D tasks.
About the Concept
I find other artists' works really inspiring. And when I saw Zeen Chin’s illustration, I saved it and knew that I needed to make its 3D version.
So, I wanted to sculpt a beautiful face with this amazing attitude and with all the interesting details and to see it in 360°. At first, I planned to make it as a speed sculpt for a Friday night but this process caught me for all the weekends. Since I’m a very lazy person, the hardest thing was to finish this sculpt. However, on the whole, it was a very relaxing project where I used just a few brushes and tools. Everything was super simple.
For my personal projects, I always start sculpting the body from blocking it out with some basic shapes, like spheres and cylinders using just Move, Smooth, Dam Standard, and Clay Buildup brushes. At this point, I care just about big shapes and silhouettes, and I don’t care about details or the way my topology looks. I keep it pretty low poly with dynamic subdivision on till the very end. When I’m happy with the forms, I just use Dynamesh and Zremesher.
For this particular work, I used my old head sculpt as a base but I totally changed proportions and the face features. I made cheeks bigger, lips smaller, eyes slanted and the whole face flatter, in general, to give it more Asian and stylized look.
As for her clothes, I masked the area of the shirt and extracted it from the body, deleted all the sides except the front. Then I Zremeshed it and worked with it till I got the forms, which I was pleased with. After that, I extruded it with Zmodeler to get some thickness.
As a base for the bandana and her hair bands, I used standard Ring3D and deformed it a bit. Later on, I added some fold details, split bandana to Polygroups with the Slice Curve brush and split it to the different subtools. And the knife was made from the basic cube in Zmodeler.
Working on the Hair
Her hair was the most fun part to do. The only custom brush I used was the Braid Brush from the BadKing. Other hair strands were made with the standard CurveTube brush and banded with the Move, Inflate, and Smooth brushes until I achieved the desired shapes.
Faces on the hair were made out of the girl’s face actually
Polypaint is always the easiest and the most relaxing part for me, maybe because of my 2D background. The color palette was already given in the original illustration, and I just made it a bit saturated. In this work, colors are mostly flat except her face and the ends of her hair, where I used a very soft brush with hight focal shift and low RGB intensity.
I used masking by Polygroups to paint the straight stripes on her shirt. Same with the badge on her shoulder and her eyes. I used just 3 materials for this sculpt, edited SkinShade4. Standard with wax effect on her skin and dark blue pieces. I used the Shiny material for the eyes and lips and Soft material for everything else to keep that pastel look.
And I turned on the transparency mode for one subtool.
However, the trickiest part of all the coloring was to draw those tattoos on her body because I had no idea what I wrote there xD
As for the render, the key for those outlines is standard Zbrush19 BPR LineRender filter with hight document resolution. The higher resolution you have, the thinner lines you will get. I just edited the shadows' strength a bit. And I saved the high-resolution images through the BPR Render Pass tab to compose them in Photoshop and to have the ability to choose the background.
Zach Sharts, Character Artist
Interview conducted by Arti Sergeev
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