This tutorial was written by the amazing KuanYu Yang and appeared in issue 108 of 3D Artist.Subscribe today and never miss an issue!
If animals could fight back to the cruelty, would people understand the pain and the sorrow of other beings? This story is about the madness of a gorilla that is tamed in a circus. The gorilla is trained to perform in a boxing show with other animals. He has to fight with tigers, kangaroos and sometimes bears. Not just the gorilla, but all the other animals in the circus suffer day by day, for people’s amusement. Finally, one day, an unstoppable fury drives the gorilla to strike out the punch of destiny. The punch had to be heavy, had to be furious enough. The ringmaster had to be knocked down, or it would be the gorilla’s last ever act…
This is a personal 3D art creation, with the idea coming from anti-animal shows and anti-animal abuse. I aimed to capture an interesting moment not easily created by a camera or 2D illustration. With this purpose, I tried to perform the art style of this work in a realistic way. There would be abundant details and realistic texture performance. On the other hand, the setting of the characters and the scenario needed some unusual, exaggerated and complicated elements.
I used ZBrush for most of the modelling process, along with UV seams and mapping and some basic texture polypainting. ZBrush provides users with lots of powerful tools: ZRemesher, UV Master, Decimation Master, DynaMesh, ZModeler, Panel Loops, NanoMesh – these tools all play very important roles in modern modelling processes. It really releases the freedom of shaping 3D geometry.
The texturing process was mostly done in Mari, Substance Painter and Photoshop. These tools help artists achieve wonderful efficiency and quality in the texture-making process. I used Arnold in Maya to set lights and do the rendering, and the final composition was done in Photoshop.
Step 01 – Make basic clothes
Prepare a T-pose character model that fits the desired proportions. Import this model into Marvelous Designer to replace the default avatar model. Find some nice cloth pattern references and create clothes in Marvelous Designer. Only the overall shape is needed – don’t add too many details or decorated patterns on the clothes at this stage.
Step 02 – Layer setting
This stage is very important. Make sure that the layer setting of every patch is accurate, or there might be mistakes when the dynamic simulation runs. For example, if the layer of a basic jean pattern is set to 1, the layer of the pocket patches on the jeans would need to be set to 2.
Step 03 – Transpose model
Transpose the character model in ZBrush. Don’t change the topology or the size of the original T-pose avatar. Keep everything the same as the original, and don’t move the position of the model to a place too far from its original position. Export the transposed model into Marvelous Designer to run the dynamic cloth simulation.
Step 04 – Dynamic fabric simulation
When loading the transposed model into Marvelous Designer, set the Object Type as Morph Target. Marvelous Designer will simulate the cloth movement by the new morph avatar model. The result won’t be 100 per cent correct, but it can provide an overall tendency of the dynamic fabric movement. About 50 to 60 per cent of the fold simulation result will be correct as in the real situation.
Step 05 – Wind simulation
Turn on the wind system in Marvelous Designer. Adjust the position, turning angle and the strength of the wind controller to suit your own situation. This function can help us simulate the dynamic floating fabric movement, and the result provides a beautiful fabric flow.
Step 06 – Export to ZBrush
Export the result from Marvelous Designer to ZBrush. Notice the export setting and unit setting in Marvelous Designer. Set the Object status to Weld and Thin. Also, don’t forget to check the Scale setting to fit your own scale needs. Import the OBJ in ZBrush.
Step 07 – Photo reference
Prepare the reference photo. Do your best to arrange the clothes and dynamic pose as required. Make it as real as possible, and take pictures from all possible angles of view. A reference image is very important; the sculpting task would be difficult if there were not enough clear references to work from.
Step 08 – Main fold sculpting
Follow the reference photo to sculpt the fold. In this stage, you will find that the simulation result from Marvelous Designer might be different from the photo reference. Don’t be confused. When this happens, just erase the geometry from the Marvelous Designer simulation and sculpt the form you observe in your reference photos. If the topology of the model causes trouble for sculpting the geometry you need, just use ZRemesher to get a new reasonable mesh.
Step 09 – Finishing details
After finishing the overall fold, use Panel Loops or ZModeler to create the thickness of the clothes. Start adding more details on the clothes, like edge structures, tiny folds, memory folds, seams and wear. Then use UV Master to unwrap and rearrange the UV. Bake
the normal map in ZBrush to finish the texturing in Substance Painter and Photoshop.