Working on Stylized Assets in ZBrush: Detailing Wood and Metal

Oleksandr Bohdan discussed his stylized sculpting workflow in ZBrush and demonstrated the process of working on wooden and metal elements.


Hello everyone, my name is Oleksandr Bohdan, I am 27 years old and I am a 3D Artist at DragonFly Studio. I come from Kyiv, Ukraine, and specialize in making stylized objects.

I am a food processing engineer by education and I got acquainted with 3D in 2010 during my free time. When I saw how my friend worked in 3ds Max, an incomprehensible application for me at that time, I realized that this activity was more to my liking and I began studying it through videos on YouTube at a slow pace.

My first job was at an outsourcing company CGEAS as a 3D modeler, I created models for 3D stocks like TurboSquid. For the most part, I worked in 3ds Max and mainly made interior and exterior models. After a year and a half, I realized that I wanted to work in game dev and got a job at Artificial Core working on the CorePunk project.

As mentioned above, I am currently working at DragonFly Studio as a 3D Artist.

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Stylized Asset Workflow

I have always been attracted to stylization as it helps me to immerse myself in the world of wanderings and adventures.

After a long study of Michael Vicente - Orb's work and games like Darksiders III, I thought why not come up with my own style borrowing some elements from them.

In most cases, I look for references on ArtStation as well as collect my own gallery of different stylized concepts. The art school Smirnov School is a place where you can find many cool concepts and examples.

When I have the concept, I start blocking it. I do it entirely in ZBrush, except for some details, and the most important thing at the blocking stage is not to overdo it in terms of forms. From a distance, they should be readable but shouldn't attract much attention. To a greater extent, I use standard ZBrush brushes. In some works, I use my alphas, they can be found on my ArtStation.

When I am satisfied with the shape, I start working on the pattern. Below, you can see what steps I take during this stage. Also, I do not work with a high poly mesh until the final stage when I start fine detailing.

When it comes to metal, I block it in ZBrush using ZModeler, and then only for chamfers, you need to use a material that allows you to see small dents – I use Orb_clay_gloss. When working with metal, you need to highlight the chamfers, but the main thing is not to overdo it and find the middle ground. Basically, I work with hPolish to break the surface and give it a more wrinkled look – this can be observed when forging metal. In the video below, you can see an example.

Final Advice

When working on stylized assets, the main problem is not to overdo it with small details, since they can completely destroy your object and spoil the entire asset. You should also remember that the general form needs to be made more curved since this is a stylization and something unusual is always welcomed in it.

Move your object away and see if your pattern is readable from afar and did not shrink because a great number of details can create a lot of noise. Don't forget to follow the concept so as not to lose the overall shape.

Thank you all and see you next time!

Oleksandr Bohdan, 3D Artist

Interview conducted by Arti Sergeev

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Comments 3

  • Anonymous user

    Really love your work !


    Anonymous user

    ·4 months ago·
  • playrix Alexander Khorkov

    Thanks for the tutorial:)


    playrix Alexander Khorkov

    ·a month ago·
  • Anonymous user

    Tnx for tutorial


    Anonymous user

    ·4 months ago·

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