Monthly Archives: June 2012

Critical reflection


Modelling was not my priority I when I started this course. I used to think modelling was easy then I wanted to be an animator. I still like animation but modelling now takes most of my learning and practicing time, primarily with ZBrush and Mudbox, and I’m so happy with them.

I know I still have a long way go to with modelling because I’m still struggling to get used to its brushes and find the most effective way to use them but modelling, especially with ZBrush, more interesting to me now. Hours experimenting with sculpting tools no longer make me bored.

I’ve also learned about anatomy this year and it is really helpful for me in human sculpting.

According to Flor and Mongeon (2010, p.5):

To be a successful figurative sculptor, a fundamental knowledge of anatomy is required. In this case, anatomy refers to the skeleton, muscles, and skin and fat – also collectively known as surface anatomy.

With this subject, I’ve learned how to use different sculpting applications, import/exporting files with different formats and other applications in the pipeline. And below are some of my experiences I gained in this subject:

Planning the project:

Have a good plan to make sure you have adequate time for every task in the pipeline.

Gesture, Form and Proportion:

These three elements should be considered all time of sculpting.

According to Spencer (2010, p.3):

If each element is addressed in the sculpture, they combine to create a solid, effective sculpture. If any of these is omitted or addressed inadequately, the work as a whole suffers.

Time management:

Time is fleeting so you should stick with you plan to keep it on track. You should have started the project right after receiving the brief so you wouldn’t have to rush to the last minute to finish it. And I learn the rushing is never good for anything.

File management:

Keep all the files of the project organised in 1 root folder so you don’t have to waste your time on losing or locating files.


Flor, MDL & Mongeon, B 2010, Digital sculpting with mudbox, Elsevie Inc., Burlington, MA 01803, USA.

Spencer, S 2010, Zbrush digital sculpting human anatomy, Wiley Publishing Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana.

Note: According to the Harvard referencing system, the exact quotations above are supposed to be indented at the left and the font is one size smaller but it’s impossible do it in this blog.

Hence I chose “Block quote” for these quotations, at least they’re indented at the left.

Click here==> CRITICAL REFLECTION to see the the right reference format.

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Pipeline and trouble shooting


–          The Caveman has been originally creating by using Zbrush (with details).

–          I’m still not happy with his hands and legs so I just use his head and torso to demonstrate this pipeline and trouble shooting section.

–          TOPOGUN:

  • Re-topology.
  • Save scene: OBJ as lowMesh.
  • Subdivision\Preferences:
    • Levels 5.
    • Compatibility: ZTL.
  • Click SubD.
  • Subdivision\Save: OBJ as highMesh.
  • Make sure that you save the scene and the obj in one folder so it will be easier for you to work on them.

–          UVlayout:

  • UV mapping the lowMesh of the model.
  • Remember to set the Map Rez: 2k
  • Bleed: 4 for packing.

–          ZBRUSH:

  • Import lowMesh into ZBrush.
  • Subdivide it 5 times (level 6).
  • Import highMesh into level 6.
  • If the mode doesn’t have UVmap, you can quickly create one here:
    • At level 1 (lowest level): Zplugin\UV Master\Unwrap.
  • We have the UV map with the model at this stage.
  • UV Map: check the UV map.
  • Add more details to the model.
  • Go back to the lowest level.
  • Normal Map:
    • Turn on Tangent, Adaptive, SmoothUV, SNormals.
    • Create normalMap.
    • Clone NM.
  • Texture\Flip V\Export Normal map as JPG.

–          MAYA:

  • Import lowMesh.
  • Press 3 to view in smooth mode.
  • Apply Lambert to it
  • Lambert\Common Material Attributes\Bump Mapping: file (to the normal map).
  • Make sure bump2d1\2d Bump Attributes\Use As: Tangent Space Normals.

–          Turn viewport 2.0 to see the result or render it out with mental ray.


– If your Zbrush model has to many polygons and you computer can not handle it, TopoGun will crash all the time. It’s better for you to decimate it before doing re-topology.

– in UVlayout, sometimes you have to move the individual points manually to help the program get rid of overlaps.

– Seam problems sometimes happen when you render it out with mental ray then you can play around with the normal Map options to find the most suitable option for your own character. If you can not fix it, then use PTEX. Hopefully I will learn it in next semester so I can show you how fix this issue.

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Anatomy Study

Anatomy study:

Anatomy study is a very important study in modelling. Thanks to it we can reproduce more accurate human characters then we can stylize them in the way we still keep them reasonable and believable.

Here are 8 muscles that I believe that they are important and affect human character modelling the most.

* The skeleton used in this task was originally created by Ryan Kingslien.

*Zbrush was used to sculpture the muscles for demonstration of the positions and shapes of them.

– Deltoid: is a thick and powerful muscle that forms the rounded contour of the shoulder. Its main function is responsible for the abduction of the arm (McKinley & O’Loughlin 2012, p.360).

– Triceps brachii: is the large muscle on the back of the upper arm. It is primarily responsible for the extension of forearm. The long head of triceps is also responsible to extends and adducts the arm (McKinley & O’Loughlin 2012, p.365).

– Biceps brachii: is a two-headed muscle that lies on the upper arm between the shoulder and the elbow. Its function is primarily to flex the forearm and powerfully supinate the forearm when the elbow is flexed (McKinley & O’Loughlin 2012, p.367).

– Gastrocnemius: is often referred to as the “calf”. it is a very powerful muscle located at the back of the lower leg. It is involved in many movement of the body such as standing, running and jumping. It flexes the leg and plantar flexes the foot. It spans both the knee and the ankle joints (McKinley & O’Loughlin 2012, p.386).

– Sternocleidomastoid: It is a paired thick muscle in the superficial layers of the anterior portion of the neck. It extends from the sternum and clavicle to the mastoid process posterior to the ear. Its function is to flex and rotate the head (McKinley & O’Loughlin 2012, p.337).

– Pectoralis major: is a thick, fan-shaped muscle, located at the chest. It covers the superior part of the thorax. It is the prime mover of the arm flexion. It also adducts and medially rotates the arm (McKinley & O’Loughlin 2012, p.360).

– Rectus abdominus: is also known as the “six pack”. It is a paired muscle running vertically on each side of the anterior wall of the human abdomen. It is an important postural muscle. Is main responsibility is to flex vertebral column and compresses abdominal wall (McKinley & O’Loughlin 2012, p.347). It also helps in keeping the internal organs intact and creating intra-abdominal pressure as when doing exercising or lifting heavy weights.

– Rectus femoris: is one of the four quadriceps muscles of the human body. All of the muscles attach to the patella (knee cap) via the quadriceps tendon. It is situated in the middle of the front of the thigh. It is responsible to extend the leg and flexes thigh (McKinley & O’Loughlin 2012, p.385).

Differences between male and female in anatomy:

Based on what we mentioned briefly above, we can easily recognize the difference between male and female in terms of muscles is in pectoralis major muscle. It makes up the bulk of the chest muscles in the male and lies under the breast in the female.

Additionally, we can see the differences between male and female in general shape and size of their skulls. Typical female features are delicate and small, while mal features tend to be larger, sturdier and bulkier (McKinley & O’Loughlin 2012, p.201).

Although we can determine the sex of a skeleton by examining the skull, the most reliable indicator is the pelvis, mainly the ossa coxae. They are the most sexually dimorphic bones of the body due to the requirements of pregnancy and childbirth in female. That’s why the female pelvis is shallower and wider than the male pelvis and the males have narrower hips then the females do (McKinley & O’Loughlin 2012, p.233).


McKinley, M & O’Loughlin, VD 2012, Human anatomy, 3rd edn, McGraw-Hill, New York.


Imaginary character

The original character:

The character with exaggerated muscles:

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Caveman – Character model process (part2)

The proportion of his head and body doesn’t look right with my concept drawing:


– Fix his head and body proportion.

– Adjust his face to make him match my concept drawing:

– Image


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