Starting the Lamia


What is a Lamia?

I have a reference image on the left there. Lamia is from ancient Greek mythology. She was a woman cursed to be a child-eating monster after her children were killed by Hera. Naturally Zeus was unfaithful, and Hera was extremely upset about it and cursed Lamia. Generally she is half serpent, though I liked this half lion interpretation. Like most mythology, there is all sorts of variants out there.

I imported my lion from Kickstarter as the base to work off of. Work smart, not hard!



Modified the base

I changed the lion body to resemble the elegance of the reference image. I used three brushes to do this. Claybuild up, move and trim dynamic.



3D Gizmo

Click W to bring up the 3D Gizmo. You can stretch your model in a direction by moving any of the rectangles. I used the green one (circled in yellow) to stretch the body of the lion vertically.



Starting the face

Horrifying, I know. This is from the Female Base Mesh provided in my ZBrush Files rewards. I put on the eye brows and eyes. Other than that, this is how it starts.


Adding emotion

Lamia has a seriously tragic backstory with quite a hefty curse. So I gave her eyes a very stylized monster look. Her eyebrows are slightly arched to give an expression somewhere between stoic and pained.




With monster design, you have to remember that it isn’t random. There is still a rhyme and reason to it. For centaur like creatures, I noticed that it is essentially a normal standing person with two extra legs tacked on. I make this look less awkward by smoothing the transition to her back and belly.


Progress so far!

I’m really loving the look of this so far! If you want to see a detailed step-by-step tutorial about how I sculpted her hair, go to the Learn to 3D Model page. All $3+ supporters have the password.

Next update I will start on the clothing/armor design!


Posing the Kobold Witch Doctor

Hiya! Before I jump into posing the witch doctor, I wanted to give you an update on the exclusive 3D modeling tutorial! The vote was really close! Instead of having a poll every week I plan to do a tutorial on each of these topics since the expressed interest was pretty uniform. Though let me know if you’d rather vote every week instead!

So all of these topics will be covered in depth on the Learn to 3D Model page. Access to $3+ supporters only!



Starting Out

I start in a t-pose. It’s a good standard pose to start with and allows me to work in symmetry for all the detail work.



Two Files

I have two save files just incase I do something with the pose I don’t like and save by accident.

You will see this trend in the ZBrush Files rewards if you are a $3+ supporter. There is usually a normal file, and a POSE file.



Lots of objects

So as you can see my subtool palette is a mess. There is over 30 objects making up this model. This makes posing really confusing, so I condense this.

Lower on the subtool palette is the merge button. Just click merge down and it will combine the object you have selected with the object below it on the subtool palette.



How I Organize

I combine objects based on what I want to move together. I would definitely what the head, horns, and horn “earrings” to move together.



New Objects

This is how I split up the model. It looks alien because I stretched it out so you could see each object separately.

Now where it might seem less intuitive is how I split up the clothing. I kept the tabard and the belt separate for example. I don’t want the belt to be stuck to the tabard if that makes sense. They would move independently in reality, so I try my best to mimic that when I pose the model.



Almost done!

I haven’t touched up seams or posed the hands yet. Overall, this is how it is going to look!

This model will be released tomorrow with a decorative base!


Detailing a Model

In order to sculpt fine details into a model you need to have polygons to work with. If I only have a few making up my model, there isn’t much room for them to deform. The more polygons I have, the more detail I can sculpt. If polygon count sounds complicated, just remember that a polygon is just a shape with three sides or more. So the more shapes, the more detail you can sculpt!


General Overview

Overall shapes are pretty well defined, but they are definitely not high resolution. What I mean by that is that there aren’t very many polygons making up each object.



Get a better look

I’ve zoomed in on the head here. As you can see, it looks pixelated and grainy almost. I’ll show you how to fix this.



New Object!

I mask the head by holding CTRL. Then, I open the Subtool palette and go to Split. (Both circled in blue). You can pick split unmasked or masked points. Accomplishes the same thing.

I split the head into a different object because I don’t need the entire body to be high resolution. Just the head. I could just increase the polygon count on the entire body, but that unnecessarily bogs down the program.



Increasing Polycount

You can increase polycount by clicking divide or using DynaMesh. I prefer DynaMesh because it adds more polygons where there is detail, and subtracts polygons where there is less detail. In other words, it optimizes your polycount for you.

Circled in blue in my current polycount. Then I go to the Geometry tab (circled in green). Geometry is located under the Tool palette. Then I go to Dynamesh and increase the resolution. Click Dynamesh to make it happen. It will become orange once you click it.




As you can see the Dynamesh button is now orange meaning it is active. My resolution (bottom yellow circle), is also much higher!

I will go over the strokes I use to detail models in the future. I wanted to go over polycount first though. Since without that you can’t even begin to sculpt fine details!



Ready for posing!



Kobold Witch Doctor WIP

This was the #1 pick from the last model poll! He will be a mad scientist still, but I like the witch doctor look so that style will be evident.


Kobold Base

$3+ Supporters have access to this exact base in the ZBrush files!


Modified Base

So already he looks way different. This only took about 5 minutes because I knew exactly what I wanted. When I think of this character, I think of wise and slightly neurotic personality traits. I reflect this in his face and build.


…Okay. But how.

I know it isn’t intuitive to convey personality in a sculpt from the beginning. So even though the model already looks way different than the base, I only changed a few things.

High cheekbones, different horns, and a stronger jaw line.

For example, the purpose of the high cheekbones is to convey age and wisdom. They also give a dramatic frame to the eyes.


Clothing Design

I block out the clothing quickly with masking (hold CTRL) and extracting in the Subtool Palette.


What’s next?

From here I will start detailing the clothing. I’ll try to detail the hard surface aspects consistently to tie the model together. The tail cuffs, arm braces, belt, and neck piece should match for example.

Posing the Cyberpunk Angel

Hi all! Friendly reminder that I will be choosing the two $5.50 winners tonight at 9pm PST. They will be announced tomorrow! Al $5.50+ patrons will be considered to win. Previous winners include the Haunted Horseman and Monster Queen.

Now, onto posing the cyberpunk angel!


T- Pose

I always start with a neutral position with the arms slightly away from the sides. This allows me to work in symmetry which is much faster!


Subtool Palette

I start by organizing all my objects. The subtool palette can be found at the top of ZBrush. It is under the Tool menu.


Reduce Objects

I want fewer objects to work with to simplify posing. So I combine the body, gloves and boots. As well as the head, hair, and mask. I combine these based on what I want to move together. For example, I definitely want the head and hair to move together.


Much simpler!

Now there are only 4 pieces to worry about! I combined these my clicking merge down further down the Subtool Palette.


Split Again

So, funny enough now I split it up again. I want the torso, legs, and arms to be separate.

I do this by masking an area (hold CTRL), and then clicking Split Masked Points further down the Subtool Palette.


All split up!

See now that the torso is its own object. Every arm and leg is separate now too. Now I can pose the model like an action figure.


Move Mode (Click W)

By clicking W that sphere will show up. That’s the 3D Gizmo. By clicking and dragging the different axes around it will move the object. You can re-position the entire Gizmo by holding ALT, then click and drag wherever you want it to be on your model.


All moved~

So for this transformation, I clicked and dragged that red line in the 3D Gizmo down.