“I always start in ZBrush from a sphere,” explains freelance artist Rodion Vlasov. He goes on to outline the 13-day process behind this image: “From then on the pipeline is pretty regular, nothing tricky and special – I even used the standard shortcuts and UI in ZBrush. When I need custom topology, in the eyes for example, I do it by hand in TopoGun and then merge it with the ZRemeshed mesh.” Lastly, Vlasov does his polypainting in ZBrush as a base for the texturing process in Substance Painter.
Highlighting his favourite part of the process, Vlasov concludes: “I love the process of sculpting, it’s the reason I do this. Some people play games for fun, I play in ZBrush.”
Modeller and texturing artist Stefano Strabla utilised HD sculpting for surfacing on this insanely detailed image. He explains: “The advantage of HD is that it allows me to focus on the hi-res sculpting without being concerned with seams or splitting the geometry into many different subtools. It depends on the type of creature and how big it is, but you can reach a really high density for fine surfacing. Also baking out the displacement is surprisingly faster and far more detailed.”
The entire piece took Strabla three weeks to complete, and discussing the process he says: “I’m always inspired by great concept art or artwork with solid shapes and forms. On this particular piece I enjoyed surfacing in ZBrush and the texturing and lookdev phase, where you can finally see the results of all your hard work come together.”
26. Ebola Virus
Medical artist Alexey Kashpersky has won international competitions in scientific visualisation, and his beautiful 3D art rendering of the Ebola virus is a fine example of his skills. "I wanted to transform Ebola into something fantastic and something that had its own unique character," he explains. The image took him three months to complete, with everything modelled by hand.
27. Ghost Mantis
“I’ve always liked insects, especially the mantis,” explains Dmytro Teslenko of the inspiration behind this ghostly image. “There are so many species. I chose my favourite, the ghost mantis, because he has such a mystique about him.”
Teslenko created the image on and off for over four weeks, choosing not to employ any revolutionary new techniques in the process. “It was all pretty simple, old-school modelling, sculpting and then texturing,” he admits. “Sculpting is my favourite part of the process, I absolutely love every moment of it.”
For Teslenko, improving and refining your work is crucial to its success: “I always try to do as many corrections as possible. When I get to the rendering stage, if I don’t like something, I’ll go back to sculpting or texturing the model before rendering again. Sometimes I’ll do this a few times. Don’t be afraid to spend a lot of time correcting. This is your project and only you can make it look better than it did yesterday.”
28. Here Be Dragons
Sandeman says of his process: “Modo has quite a robust replicator system which was used to generate most of the forest’s density and randomisation. Flowers really benefit from replicators because you only need to build one or two hero assets then use the replicator with randomised size, position and rotation.”
Seeing the image come together was a big moment for Sandeman. “It was really hard to tell if it was going to work out or not,” he admits. “With a forest being so diverse it can be hard to see the whole picture when you’re building one flower at a time, so to speak.”