Game Character with ZBrush

Last year in August 2010 I did an 8 week online course ‘Game Character with ZBrush’ (or Modern Game Character Creation) at taught by Jonathan Rush. Each week a certain amount of time is needed to do the homework and post your work in a forum based on videos and instructions from Jon. After posting, you get feedback from Jon and the other students while you design, build and finally bring your idea to life.

Choosing a retro video game character
I was in a class of about 18 and we had to choose a retro video game character and draw a concept of it, how it would look when re-worked for the modern game athmosphere, including the weapons and/or accessories. I thought of a game my sister and I used to play on our NES console back in the 80s and choosed a character from the game ‘Ghosts n’ Goblins’. It was a fascinating game although very stressful. You only had 3 lives and when you lost them, you had to start from the beginning! I guess my sister could manage to play it till the end, I could not, the zombies and ghosts caught me before.. grrr!

However, after investigating online a bit, I’ve found a site explaining the characters from the Ghosts n’ Goblins game perfectly: and decided to pick the ‘Satan’ character, whereas the other characters were appealing too.

And here is a great site where you can actually play the game and other Arcade games! I feel like I’m 10 years old again 🙂 Check it out:

Drawing a sketch
After decision was made and gathering some images for inspiration, I draw a quick sketch what I had in mind. I wanted to have the expression of the face and body more humanized and one leg different from the other. But in the end, it turned out that one feet will be lame and the expression of the face shouldn’t be too human anyway. What I kept from the original idea, was having the large teeth like horns coming out of his mouth and touching slightly his temples which caused the character headache and made him capricious and shirty. (I remember, before I posted my sketch, I checked and felt a bit intimidated by what some of the other students had posted, as I could see by their sketches that they haven’t done that the first time, it was so professional and I thought it was ok for beginners too and I had experience with 3D from my Multimedia Procuder education some years ago. I never had an education in drawing, so my sketch was not that professional like you can see below, and I thought about not even starting the course. But Jon motivated me and said, I should just try. In the end, I’m glad that I did cause it was real fun. So if you feel, that you are not good enough at something creative, especially when you see what others are able to do, don’t be afraid, there are always other people who are more gifted or have their talent better trained. So if you have a certain basis of creative talent, than start now!)

Creating a stub mesh in a 3D tool
When creating a stub mesh in a 3D tool, you need to be careful, as it turned out later, I found suddenly a mesh hole after importing it and working on the character awhile in Zbrush. However, I could fix it, but it took me some time to find out how.

Importing in ZBrush and start modelling
In ZBrush imported, I started to work out the character, the ears, the fingers, the body itself, the wings – this was quite fun as you see so quickly what can be done and how helpful a stub mesh is.

Add details
After some time, you start with adding more details and import accessories and/or weapons.

Refine and partJon and the other students always give you helpful advices how to proceed and what makes sense or what they like and dislike. It’s great to interact and know what others are working on. So this is how far I got. Sometime I will continue…