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Jim Crafton

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Building yet another Tron character

This time I thought I'd do a quickie ZBrush sculpt (or as quick as I can work in ZBrush, which is not very fast) of Tron, just in case I needed him...

I started with the Modo Man base mesh, chopped off his toes and rebuilt them to work as shoes. This was brought into ZB and I used the polish brushes to kind of sculpt some rough planes on the surface until I had a basic look that I wanted. I wanted to roughly follow the concept art for Rinzler.

Brought this up to it's highest subdivison level and cloned it, and removed all the lower subd levels. This gave me a really high poly model to generate groups for the various suit parts. I masked out what I wanted, and poly grouped each section, used group loops to add mo details, and then used masking on the appropriate groups to inflate just the parts I wanted.

I then added in a tube holder on the right leg, then re-projected the whole thing back over to the original mesh. This then got brought back into modo to retopologize the holder area a little better and then re-projected as needed back in ZBrush.

Then I started to setup the texture maps for him. I generated these using a combination of ZBrush's UV Master and modo (for the head), and then used the high-res polygrouped model to generate poly paint per polygroup. Once this was transfered back to the UV'd version of the model, it's possible to generate a texture map that you can use in PS to isolate any part of the model. I used this to generate alpha maps for the neck and waist details.

From 3D 2012


From 3D 2012


From 3D 2012


From 3D 2012


From 3D 2012


And finally a (not very good - yet) render in houdini...

From 3D 2012


Note to zbrush/houdini fans out there - when you bring in the displacement map, remember to consider using the values in the Dicing tab of your geometry container that contains the geometry. If the displacement looks a little rough, try upping the Shading Quality (and possible the Ray Shading Quality) from the default of 1 to 2. This made a hugely noticeable difference in the renders and didn't seem to make much of any noticeable difference in render times.

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More Stories By Jim Crafton

Jim Crafton is software developer currently doing a variety of work in C++, C#, and Java. He is the author of the Visual Component Framework (more at http://vcf-online.org/), an advanced C++ application framework. He's also interested in graphics, particularly 3D graphics using tools like Houdini and ZBrush.