3D Artist

Sponsored: From sphere to hyperrealistic character: creating a zombie in Mudbox, Maya, and Arnold

News & Features
Trevor Adams

Principal product designer Trevor Adams walks through how Christoph Schädl created this menacing zombie character

Hi folks. I wanted to share with you some great work that one of our customers has created in Mudbox, Maya, and Arnold. Christoph Schädl (you may know him from the forums as “Oglu”) has been testing out the new Dynamic Tessellation feature in Mudbox 2018.2 Update, and wanted to see how far he could push it when he brought Maya and Arnold into the picture. We were lucky enough to have him record the entire process on video—some 20 hours of it—which I’ve edited down to under 20 minutes.

Sponsored: From sphere to hyperrealistic character: creating a zombie in Mudbox, Maya, and Arnold

Christoph started with just a low-poly sphere in Mudbox, and created his base sculpt using Dynamic Tessellation. He then used automatic retopology to quickly convert that to quads, before popping into Maya and using Quad Draw and Multi-Cut to manually refine some areas of specific interest, like the eyes, nose, and mouth. Next, he used Maya’s core modeling tools to create cavities for the nose and mouth, before creating the UVs and laying them out using 3D Cut & Sew UV tool directly on the 3D mesh (it’s a great technique, if you haven’t checked it out yet).

Back in Mudbox, Christoph sculpted the high-resolution detail, using stencils to get the fine details like pores and wrinkles that really add to realism. Being the perfectionist he is, he also used the Caliper tool to check his feature ratios, and imported some clavicle geometry to check his chest sculpt was anatomically correct. Next, he extracted an Ambient Occlusion map and got set to paint the Zombie. It’s fascinating to watch the techniques he uses as he builds up the layers.

As he worked, he’d send the mesh and paint layers to Maya to do test renders in Arnold, before tweaking further. Finally, he used XGen to give the zombie some hair, and set up the final render. And there you have it: from sphere to zombie though one guy’s creativity and talent.

We’d love to see what you could create when you put these tools together into connected workflows, just like Christoph did.

Thanks for watching!

Learn more about Maya 2018 and 3ds Max 2019.