How to model a dynamic comic panel in ZBrush

Bring your 3D to life by creating an action-packed comic panel in ZBrush.

Usually, freelance CG artist Daniel Kho models his characters in an A-pose, but the dynamics of concept artist Renan Nuche's sketch - called Pow - forced Kho to change tactics.

01. Start with a concept

Starting with a concept will give you a better idea of things

I always work with a concept, it gives me a better idea of things. With this piece, I chose one by the amazing Renan Nuche. I start by analyzing the concept, and figuring out which parts need extra attention, which can i use symmetry on, basically any where I can cut corners.

02. Model the face

Try to pay a lot of attention to your character's faces

Start with the face, I tend to pay most attention to the faces, because for people, faces are almost always the first read. Once i have a rough feel of the character, I blocked out a rough pose just to get a better feel of the character.

03. Set a dynamic pose

Make sure your subjects look good from all angles

The next step is focusing on the posing, and the dichotomy of the characters. I try to find nice form and balance between the two interacting characters, the rhythm of their poses, and making sure they look good from all angles.

04. Create styised details

Make sure the detail is scaled up a little

After all that is settled, I move on to the tertiary details. Remembering that this is a stylised character, I make sure that my details are scaled up a little, so it would work well with the rest of the sculpt.

05. Start texturing

Block in rough colors as masks for textures

I then proceed to the texturing phase. I mostly use Mudbox, because it enables me to paint in 3D. As you can see, I block in rough colors as masks for my textures, and then fix up everything in photoshop to get the final look.

06. Turn to the shading

Shading is an essential part of the process

Shading is an essential part of the process. With stylised shading, I tend to push the materials a little more. Stronger bumps, deeper subsurface, exaggerate the details, to amplify the form.

07. Set-up the lighting

Ensure your set-up lights both characters properly

The lighting was quite a challenge. I made a setup that would light both characters properly, while also adding mood and story element to the image. I used a lot more lights than I normally do, because of how close the characters are to each other.

08. Tighten the composition

Composition plays a huge part in every image, so take time to get it right

Composition played a huge part in this image. In order to push the dynamicness of the image, I could not stick with the same composition as the original concept. I went with a wider lens, and added papers to help exaggerate the action of the scene.

09. Render and colour correct

Lastly, render out all the passes and put them together in Photoshop for some colour correction

Lastly, I rendered out all the passes and put the together in Photoshop for some colour correction and minor tweaks. I then added motion blur to the papers for a more dramatic effect.

See more of Daniel Kho's work at his portfolio site here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ian Dean is editor of 3D World and has been writing about film, video games and digital art for over 15 years. I have the grey hair to prove it.

Topics

3D