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Creating a Fantasy Creature

3D Character Creation in ZBrush and Maya with Babak Bina


Turn your ideas into fully realized 3D illustrations with these workflow tips and tricks by industry VFX artist, Babak Bina. With over a decade of experience working in film and TV and credits including Avengers Infinity War, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Game of Thrones, Babak’s workshop offers workflow insights and industry techniques that will help you create your own fantasy characters and creatures — from sketch to final render.

The 5-hour workshop begins with a sketch — in this case, a concept based on macro photography of a silkworm. The drawing is taken as a rough idea for a 3D model into ZBrush, where all further design decisions are made. Babak reveals some of his favorite ZBrush tools that help him divide up models and maximize efficiency, and he discusses his decision-making and design choices throughout the process.

With the ZBrush model complete, Babak shares his ZBrush PolyPainting techniques and the process of exporting maps for further texturing work in the industry-favorite 3D painting tool, Mari. He discusses the other maps required for shading and reveals how they are generated and facilitate more shading possibilities.

In the final stage of the 3D creature creation pipeline, Babak takes the painted creature into Maya to set up an effective lighting environment. He shares his V-Ray shading network and discusses the power of RGB masks, and reveals how lighting can dramatically enhance the sculpted details of 3D models. He also shares a simple fur workflow before rendering out the final result using V-Ray for Maya.

The videos in this workshop have been sped up to cover a vast amount of material, with the goal to share industry-preferred workflows, methods, and techniques for creating 3D creatures. However, the workshop is also suitable for anyone — at any skill level — to discover new ideas and see the complete creation of a 3D creature from start to finish.

If you’re new to 3D character creation, be sure to watch Maddie Spencer’s Introduction to ZBrush 2020 workshop and Eric Keller’s Introduction to Maya 2019 workshop.

Duration: 4h 52m

Format: HD 1920x1080

Babak Bina

Character & Creature Design Lead at Zoic Studios

Through his journey as an artist, Babak Bina has pursued multiple creative disciplines, primarily graphic design, sculpture, digital art, and animation. Over the last 10 years, he has worked as a 3D generalist and character artist for Double Negative, Method Studios, and Scanline VFX on numerous productions. He has also dedicated time to educating, instructing, and mentoring students in various educational centers, including at Langara Centre for the Entertainment Arts in Vancouver, Canada. His VFX credits include Game of Thrones, Star Trek Beyond, Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Wonder Woman, and Alice Through the Looking Glass. He recently co-wrote and co-directed his award-winning debut short film, “The Seahorse Trainer,” that qualified for the 2020 Academy Awards.

Follow Babak on Instagram at @bina.babak.