I made this vulture using similar techniques as the old man.   Starting out in Blender, I made a base mesh so I don’t have to worry about that in ZBrush


It is a very simple mesh, based on a cube. It is mainly intended to make sure I don’t get into trouble with the finer details later on. I used to start out in ZBrush with a standard  sphere or such, but working from a base that that already anticipates certain shapes works a lot nicer in my experience.

I then export the mesh as an obj to Zbrush. Since the update to Zbrush 4R7 it is a lot easier to make adjustments to the base mesh, so there I ad additional data as preparation.



I also made some changes in the orientation of some parts of the mesh. I started out with an open beak, but that was something I didn’t want for this illustration. So by masking parts of the mesh, I could rotate the jaw so that the beak was closed.



This mesh is already set on a higher resolution, so now I can start adding details.



And eyes:



The feathers are made using fibermesh in ZBrush and I had to tweak the fibers so that they mimicked the down feathers on the vultures neck. The feathers are made out of several layers of fibers, depending on place on the model.

zbrush5The fiber layer can be adjusted by using the mask brush: they are placed where you paint the mask.



I also added the feathers on the shoulder, but those I will tweak some more because I don’t like them.


zbrush10After this I started working on the skin material. At first I tried a skin material I used for the old man but that was too pink and there was too much subsurface scattering:



So I tweaked that untill it was about right.


I then rendered it and exported the different render layers as Photoshop files.


In Photoshop I tweaked everything until I was satisfied. I added some shadows and a slight vignette to add to the feeling/ambiance of the illustration.



with these as a result:









  • Mieke van Stigt says:

    Wow, really wonderful!! I love the details of the skin, and I admire the personality. I best love the slightly hesitant look in the eyes, as if he (Alfred?) is asking himself: should I pose some longer or should I go after the nice meal?

  • dobermunk says:

    Hi Mieke… fantastic!
    Have you made normal maps for the skin? It looks like that’s not coming through enough (ie. it looks mapped. Other than that fantastic.
    (Ping me if you need links ot software that does that – ie. bitmap2texture, NDO, Knald or the free Awesome bump)

  • Mieke Roth says:

    thanks! No, this is plain polypaint in ZBrush but I did the details in HD geometry and I still need to adjust my workflow for that to the new upgrade. A later version went well, but it is possible in ZBrush, so I want to be able to make it in ZBrush. Also, I am learning to make full use of the render engine in ZBrush but my pc is complaining 😉

  • Frank Biesboer says:

    Beatiful Bird, fascinating details. Maybe the beak is a bit too neat after a life of ripping of meat from dead animals. I think he (or she) is seeing another dish, but waiting for the other an dbigger carnivors to leave the scenenery.