Adding Texture

With the UV map already in place for the Bake I took a snap shot of it and brought it into Photoshop. There I added some colour and blushes in the place of the ears and cheeks. There was a little issue with the nails as the map was a little distorted and I couldn’t get the colouring right, so I left them as the where.




As part of the assignment we had to retopolgising our elephant low poly. I retopologised using the Zremesher in Zbrush. I used the guide brush to mark our any loops I wanted in the mesh or try to fix where  it didn’t quite retop correctly. Once I was happy enough with the retop I projected the detail of the high poly onto the low poly also in Zbrush. Below are the images of the low poly.



Once the mesh is low poly, even with project it still loses alot of the detail. To fix this I baked the high poly detail onto the low poly. Firstly the sculpt had to be UV Mapped. I did this by using the UV master in zbrush. I then I was able to do this in Maya after I exported the sculpt out of Zbrush as an OBJ.

UV mapped in Zbrush


UV map shown in graph editor

Below is the two meshs after I have baked them. They both look the same detail but the one on the right is high poly with over 3 million polys and the left is low poly with below 10 thousand polys.


Final sculpt

After considering the feedback I looked more at the concept and tried to bring in more characteristics that I had drawn. I tried to make it look younger, with the legs more pudgy around the knees. I also looked at other sculpts of elephants and noticed that they all had alot of detail on the skin like the winkles of a real elephant. Since this character is more for animation I looked at different animated elephants. I liked the look of Horton from Horton hears a who. He does not have alot of detail on his skin, only a texture.

Image Link


Here is some screen shots of the final elephant. I will be doing some renders and turnarounds soon.




Update: Feedback

Alec looked at my elephant that I have created so far and give some feedback . Looking at my concept design reference he noticed that the legs do not have the same thickness around the ankles. It actually makes the elephant look older. For myself to look at the reference I actually seen a big difference in the size of the trunk. So for the next stage I will give the legs added fatness and little chubby ankles like a babies. I will make the nose smaller to the likeness of the reference image. Overall I add more detail and perhaps start looking at textures or materials.


Another attempt and sculpting an elephant. I began with the same method, using the Zsphere. This time I wanted to make the head higher, as the other attempt looked like the elephant was looking down or hunched over. I got some feedback from my class mates in the last attempt, and they suggested having the legs closer together. Also the brow was a little too low and made the character look angry. I looked at the elephant references again and noticed  that baby elephants are quite skinning, considering how big there bellys get when they are older.

Image Link 

My own design of the character has more of a chubby look. When I see a toddler I love how they have there round belly’s and chubby arms, wrists and legs. I wanted to bring that more into the character.elephant-4



Sculpting an elephant

Since I plan to do a stylised elephant I was lucky enough to come across a tutorial creating an elephant in Zbrush. Isaac Oster was kind enough to do a 5 part video tutorial from start to finish showing how he created his elephants. This was so helpful and I learnt so much watching his videos.

To begin with I used the Z sphere and roughly created the shape of the elephant. Hitting ‘A’ and then shift F allowed me to see the mesh shape of the elephant and look at the topology, ensuring that there was no clipping or polygons out of shape. From that point I started using the Move brush to shape out the elephant.



From here I started using the Clay tube brush to build up shape. I looked at references of a baby elephant to see what muscles or bones were more pronounced. I started giving more detail in the face using build up and flatten aswell as smooth. For the creases I used Dam-standard brush. To make the wave shape on the ears I used the inflate brush. The eyes I brought in separately as sphere and placed them in the head.

For this to be my very first sculpt ever I am rather pleased with myself, and have found something that I thoroughly enjoy.


Learning to 3D sculpt

I have absolutely no experience on Zbrush and if I am honest I was pushing back doing task 3 because I it seems a little over whelming. I began by watching a few tutorials for beginners on YouTube. The book that I purchased on Zbrush creatures was for people with a little experience, so I will look back at it further down the line when I have better understanding. Below are just some of the video tutorials I watched. I started learning about the layout of zbrush and how to navigate. I then learnt the different brushes and what they do, taking notes. I took some time with just a simple sphere and practiced using these brushes.

After a while I discovered that my reluctance to start my sculpting was silly, and Zbrush was actually really enjoyable. I moved on from a sphere and started making shapes using the Zsphere which I found really helpful when wanting to create limbs etc. Another way of creating a shape was having and image plane. The sphere turned transparent and using the move brush I was able to shape it into the silhouette of the reference. I used Dynamesh with this and added more polygons so that it did not stretch too much.



Character Concepts

My confidence in drawing isn’t that great so I wanted to challenge myself for this next task. We had the option to use another artist concept with their permission, but I wanted to do my own character for sculpting. As I am completely new at Zbrush I wanted to keep it simple, aswell as wanting to model a whole body. I have a love for elephants and I was looking at Aaron Blaise’s work who really inspires me. He draws alot of animals and I came across a concept of his that has his own character of a baby elephant.


Image Link [Accessed 9th Oct.2016]

So I thought I would give it a shot doing my own baby elephant characters. I looked at the likes of Dumbo, the elephant from Tarzan and Jungle Book. I also took some inspiration from pictures of real life baby elephants.

I want to practice drawing so I wanted to do a few. I still haven’t decided on the pose I want for the sculpt, but check out these so far… isn’t he cute!

all ellie.png




Task 3

For Task 3 of Creative Strategies we have been given a choice in what topic we want to do. I was torn between Composition and 3D sculpting, but I have decided to try the sculpting. The reason I went for this is that I find it more interesting to created your own character and re toplogise ready for rigging for animation. I think this would look well in my showreel. I will do compositing at another time or even as a personal project. So for the 3D task here was the criteria given:


  • Highpoly sculpture
  • Re-toplogised mesh suitable for animation
  • HD stills and/or turntable render
  • Give credit to the concept artist on your blog/showreel.

Consider the following:

  1. Character pose and underlying forms
  2. Silhouette
  3. Details
  4. Material/Shader
  5. Topology tools & techniques


I purchased a book in preparation for this task to help me. As well as looking at online tutorials on YouTube or Digital Tutors.