Some sculpting Tip and Tricks!
So far to this point I've used a couple tricks I have learned from good peers and artists that help a ton to stay in zbrush more instead of jumping from Max or Maya to zbrush and back and forth. Doing that might be faster and cleaner but it usually ruins my flow and in the end takes me a lot longer to finish a project. But, to each their own!
So I will be writing a run down on some of her parts and how I made them:
The first thing with hair, like many things you make in cg you have to ask yourself, what it will be used for and how close will it be seen. Sometimes you will need more complicated ways to produce hair for something like a VRay render like those in movies or maybe something chunky for toys or prints. No use in killing yourself creating individual hairs if no one will see it. For this sculpture, she will be low poly and printed so I will go over both methods. For now this is just for the block out and it is the method I use for sculpting toys.
Step 1: I usually start with by appending a sphere or using the CurveTool brush to generate the general shape. For this we will use the CurveTube Brush
Step 2: I then push and pull the sphere with the Move Brush a lot with Dyne Meshing the overall shape when I start to get artifacting from pulling it too much.
Step 3: I will then dynamesh the hair shape a little higher or subdivide it if i'm happy with the overall shape in order to Cut into it with the Orb_Crack Brush to generate my over all hair flow. Or, I will use the Clay Brush to do the same thing but will build volume. I will go back and for with this until I have the hair I want. Just a quick tip: When you press ALT and use a brush you will be using the OPPOSITE of that brushes direction. So like with the Orbs_Crack Brush you will pull the cut out instead of cutting in when you press and hold ALT while you make your strokes.
Step 4: For more strands, I will usually just repeat all the steps but with a little more attention to the move brush to get more movement with the smaller strands.
Sculpting the face:
This is the funnest part for me, although it is always the hardest! If you have the time, starting with a sphere is the best option so that you can practice your facial anatomy. I try not to fall into the habit of having a pre made head. A lot of the toughest parts to the head for me are the fundamental components. I will usually use realistic facial references instead of referring to comics or other art for the start of the head. This process is always messy and pretty frustrating until the face "clicks" for me. I will sometimes go through many faces and hate it until find something I like.
Step 1: Start form a sphere and set the Dynamesh to a low number. Just like how we did the hair, use push and pull and begin to pull the skull shapes out to get the proportions you want for your head. I use a skull first as ref because that's the most basic shape to the head and you don't get all cluttered and confused with all the facial features. I also make proportion cuts as to where the eyes, the nose and the mouth go.
Step 2: Using the same push and pull method, I will refine the brow region along with the chin, cheeks and nose.
Step 3: I will add in separate eye balls so that I can sculpt around easily. Next, I cut the mouth shape out and figure out how wide I'd like the mouth hole to be. Then, I bring the nose out more to get the general feel for the nose size.
Step 4: I am adding in "eye lashes" (this is just to block out the over all shape) and adding in the lips, nostrils and eye lids.
Step 5: This is the funnest part for me, I will usually be zooming in and out of the model as I work with more detail in the lips eyes and the rest of the face. I will find ref of high resolution photos of the parts I want. I don't just get any lips, I find the specific ones I want as for the eyes and nose. Again it helps to look at real people for this. Keep detailing as you go, be careful because this is the part where it's hard to finish. The last 10% of polish is 80% of my total time I spend on the face.
Making Parts with Masking and Extraction Method:
This might be a little more complicated but I will try to make it make sense. Refer to the image uploaded below for a visual step by step. This is a neat trick a good buddy of mine taught me. It helps wonders, especially if you can draw shapes easier than push and pull them. It depends on the parts you're creating but, after you see this process you might know what parts this technique would be good for in your own projects.
Step 1: Append a 3D Plane into your scene.
Step 2: Subdivide the 3D Plane until you can get the resolution of the mask that you want.
Step 3: Draw your shape as a mask onto the plane
Step 4: I duplicate this mesh just incase you might not like the shape you created with the mask after you cut it out of the 3D plane. This part can cause a crash if you try to undo the extraction. In the Tool drop down menu you can select Mask and Sharpen the mask to get a better cut out.
Step 5: Go to Geometry in the Tool drop down menu and when you are at the highest SDiv lvl for your shape click Del Lower. You can't have SDiv lvls if you want to use the split option. To extract the mask from the mesh you go to Split in the Subtool Menu and hit Split Unmasked Parts. You can then duplicate your new shapes subtool for the next step to add thickness.
Step 6: In the Tools Drop down in Subtool you can now go to Split and Hit Split Unmasked Points. You just cut out your shape!
Step 7: Duplicate your cut out shape and lets get ready to add thickness!
Step 8: In the Tools Drop down you will click the Morph Target button and in that hit the StoreMT. This is going to remember your subtools shape and location when you hit the StoreMT button and then when you make your changes it will remember the end to that process as well. I don't know how it works but I just use it for this thickness cut out method. So basically, it is remembering your before and after of and changes you made to that subtool.
Step 9: Move your Subtool cut out shape the distance you want from the other Subtool that you duplicated and check the distance between the 2 and make sure you have the desired distance which will be your thickness.You're only using the subtool as a guide to see how far away your Morphed Target subtool is.
Step 10: When you are happy with the distance, you will go back into the Morph Target menu and click CreateDiff Mesh. This will create a mesh. Usually, I will have to go into the Tool Drop Down and click the display properties and click Flip to see my shape normals corrected. Now it is ready to manipulate even further. This seems like a ton of steps but once you do it enough its pretty easy, quick and REALLY helpful for things you want to cut out.