Thursday, February 21, 2013

Adventures in ZBrush

So, picked up a copy of ZBrush (thanks to my wonderful wife), and have been spending every possible moment trying to learn this thing.!

At least in the right hands, and right now, my hands are not the 'right hands.' That is where the hard work will come in.

ZBrush is extremely powerful, and although it LOOKS very user-unfriendly, it seems to just be a matter of learning what does what.

I have gone through sooo many tutorials in the past few days, the more the merrier!  I do find it interesting to note, that sometimes it seems the most basic tutorials may have that nugget of information that makes you slam your head on the desk thinking, "that is so much easier, faster and intuitive than the last tutorial."  (example: I spent about 2 hours trying to get a cylinder to become a tube last night after watching a tutorial on dynamesh subtract...just to watch a tutorial today showing how you just change the inner diameter...)

The features to speed up the modeling and texturing process are great.  ZSpheres are excellent for setting up limbs, chains, ropes etc and with the skinning feature change the form made of them into a polymesh.

For example, the following image started as ZSpheres and then I used the above method to make the base form, changed brushes as needed in order to shape and sculpt a bit, then just colored things in.  All within the same program!

ZSpheres, radial symmetry, sculpting...all in one program!

Plus, I have the GoZ functionality from DAZ Studio which allows me to bring in models directly from Studio to sculpt on or model around, and then I can zip them back into Studio without having to worry about getting the scaling correct (because it already is!).

Still have a lot to learn, but this is the first thing I have done in ZBrush that I feel is remotely worth sharing.

Expect more in the coming weeks, I am seriously going to love this program once I get things all figured out, the possibilities are just driving me nuts!

Also, I have seen a tutorial posted for taking items out of Marvelous Designer (which is great for clothes) and using the retopology tools within ZBrush to clean them up for use in other programs - have not watched it yet, but you can bet I will!

Monday, February 4, 2013


Considering my recent foray into the Old West, and those things that come with it, it stood to reason that at some point I would do a couple of badges.

The sheriffs badge was the first, due to prominence.  Easy enough to model, challenging to texture.  The filigree and text were done in GIMP after UV mapping the star, the points are merely small spheres that I stuck on the model.

About 30 minutes overall modeling time and an hour for textures, render was about an hour or so (hard to tell, I hit 'render' and went to bed after NUMEROUS text renders to get the lighting where I wanted it and bright enough for impact.

Took me a bit to get it right but this is what I ended up with:
Old West sheriffs badge
Sheriffs badge, love the way it turned out!
Due to the lighting, it actually took a long time to render.

With the current political climate, and the amount of 'like' I had for the way the render turned out, I went online for a search of 'notable quotables' from sheriffs around the country.

I learned quite a bit, found some really good quotes (not included) from not only sheriffs, but other lawmen, outlaws, sideshow performers, statesmen, marshals, etc

I picked the most relevant for today's issues, and took the image back into GIMP to add text.

Final result:
sheriff quotes
Final image, feel free to share.
I do believe this is my best render yet, inclusively.

Looking for the next thing, still have a few more badges, but I think I can wait for those and focus more on the less 'popular' items like wagons and buildings, I have focused on the small things, time to get a little bigger.

All of these items are for a series of renders for a game I'm wanting to run, so I have a pretty good idea of what types of characters would be involved, just a matter of modeling the various props for them.

Playing cards, weapons, clothing, buildings, barrels (the wood kind), bows, knives, whiskey bottles, hats, lariats, spurs, etc.

Once I get to a point where I am about ready to run the game, I will shoot off some renders of the various character types.

It's not Deadlands, but it will be a type of 'Wierd West.'

Saturday, February 2, 2013

3D Update: 1800s Inspiration

Not quite sure where it came from, but it started with this:

Got the inspiration from someone at work when they were talking about "Telegraph Day" (they have a list of strange 'holidays')

Interesting time and it really made me delve into the texturing in Blender, along with brushing up on basic modeling techniques and getting familiar with the Blender interface again.

My second foray into the 1800s was in response to a conversation I had with a friend regarding translating a fantasy RPG into a Wild West RPG.  Friend asked if he could have a 'buffalo rifle,' so I looked one up with a quick Google search and produced this:

Of course, if you do a Google images search for that particular rifle, you will get pics of OTHER rifles and firearms from that timer period.

Which brings me to my latest model, an "1892 Mare's Leg."  Which, from further reading and research, never really existed until 1958, where it was seen in the tv show 'Wanted: Dead or Alive' with Steve McQueen.

Not to be outdone, firearms manufacturers have since blessed us with many different versions of this lever action pistol.  It was also shown in Brisco County Jr and Firefly.

A bit expensive for the heavier calibres, but definitely ranks high on the "I want my character to have THIS!" chart.

Needs a bit of reworking (shells are expelled from the top, the side port shown is for loading); but that would just be a quick extrude.

Will probably be exporting as obj files for the express purpose of making them Poser props at some time.

We will see what comes next as I continue...maybe an old revolver, the 1800's just has such awesome toys!