Sinks and a little Trailer

I finished my low poly sink, a test into some ideas for hard surface sculpting, and it’s turned out quite well. Its about 1300 polys with flannel, bottle and soap bar.


Here is a quick rundown of how I created it.

I began with lots of reference obviously, then worked on the high detail version seen here. The sink was created using a dynamesh object with a few cuts from spheres and masked scaling. The structure comprised off a number of cubes smoothed and scaled.

view_1_2_maserAnd finally the texture was created using spotlight, and in some place standard masking with alphas and an inflate.

masterThis was then merged into one object and decimated to enable me to work on the low poly in max using graphite modelling tools. Basically using the surface of the high poly as a guide to create the low. I know Zbrush has topology tools but I do prefer and find it faster workflow on the low in max. I then uved it in max, and created the smoothing groups.

I took it back to Zbrush to project from the low, and had no end of trouble either getting the project all too correctly detail the model, or the final texture maps converting to the low poly correctly without stretching. Suv fixed some of the issues but more appeared. It became clear Xnormal would do the procedure a lot quicker and with better results. Ten minutes later rather than an hour projecting, the finished texture and normal map, cavity and ambient occlusion were ready.

I imported it into Marmoset for the final touches, creating the specular and gloss maps by creating base colours first to see how it affects the material, before adding detail, and finally correcting some normal map errors in Photoshop.

Here are some views with different skys in Marmoset.



Now the second thing I have been working on recently is a book trailer for my new novel. I created it mainly in Max, with animated writing, using opacity to hide and show lettering, and key framed animation. It was later composed with a pre rendered ladder scene to create the final trailer seen below. Enjoy!


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Sinks, Mentors and Maleficent

I have had such a busy few weeks with my novel; I really wanted to spend some time back working on 3D. I also worry I am spamming people with so much news of the book and nothing of art or just other interesting info. So today it’s the sink and a few other bits and bats!

Taking a closer look at the texturing I worked on the base, marble, grouting and the sink itself, and finally the flannel. Still the taps, handles, soap and soap bottle, but I am taking it slow to try and get it as near perfect as I am able and improve in the use of Zbrush.

Here is a composed shot from Zbrush BPR render.


The base is rendered with the default Zbrush render (I always find it gives a nicer quality than bpr for the base) then shadow on multiply by about 50%, ambient occlusion doubled up and the second layer set to 25% then put the depth in the alpha channel, flatten or copy merged, then lens blur.

I am thinking of reducing the effect of the bump on the flannel a little when the textures are extracted from the final low poly. But will see how it looks.

With more practise I am becoming more proficient in alpha creation, and it can take just a minute to create some nice bump and mask alphas for things like wood detail or torn paint.

This will be the first of a new series of objects, to get better at asset design. I have a list of some interesting models to create at the moment that allow me to really get to grips of these modelling methods.

On another subject, I found a great article on mentoring in the industry by Jade Raymond (here). It highlights a problem many experience when working in house. We were lucky where I worked to have a great selection of tutorial DVDs for self improvement, but you do not know what you do not know. It would have been great to have that extra guidance and a friendly hand when needed. A Mentor just to say what I am missing. In fact when teaching I had the added bonus of a mentor and it makes it so much easier and helps to no end in growth.

I spotted a very interesting article on effects in Maleficent (here). Detailing the steps taken to produce life like facial animation in the film. It even has some superb animated sequences with the fairy’s and a comparisons to the actual actors facial textures. So incredible to see.

RD0126_final_quad_pub4k_v001.1001I actually never fancied the film, but having seen the work involved I think I will have to get it on blu ray.

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Printing costs

Here are the samples I mentioned about in a previous post (here). My business cards and bookmarks have been ordered (the site is here), and although the initial cost seems very cheap, the hidden costs such as vat and postage charge (my postage was £22) balances it out to other vendors.

samplesThe quality of the samples is beautiful though, vivid with a nice depth of colour. So although the price tag in the end was more than I thought, I am looking forward to finally having the finished product in my hand, which should be at the start of June.

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Helmet tutorial and my bathroom sink

Pixologic has released a series of videos entitled “Helmet Design” in the free to use Zbrush Classroom.

I have been through them all and find them extremely useful. Giving tips and insights into methods of hard surface creation and texture. Since the tutorials are based on a growing model, it allows the user to understand in a fundamental way different and alternative ways to accomplish results in Zbrush.

There are 37 videos, each average about ten to twenty minutes in length, so it may take a good few days to get through them. But it is well worth the study. I have been applying the methodology to my first hard surface sculpt in Zbrush, my bathroom sink.


Next step is texturing, then topology for the low poly, which will begin next week.

All the best


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Ordering from Amazon – Please pre order

amazon iconLast night the Amazon page for All for Socks (my children’s book) came online. (click here to go to it) There is no image displayed as yet but I have been told it takes a few weeks to get everything in place. It’s going for £7.99 which is a very good price. In fact it’s the same price as I had to set up with the publishers. So they are taking the requested cut and not any more, which is wonderful, I was worried the distributors may mark it up too high.

It says it is temporarily out of stock, therefore I have ordered a copy so I know how long it takes to get it off the bat, but I’m unsure if Amazon actually order a number of copies from the publisher so they will eventually have some in stock, to allow for quicker delivery before they receive any orders (the publishers are print to order, so technically there will never be any in stock at their end). If so, if you want a copy, please pre order now, therefore it gives an indication to Amazon of the need. (Amazon page).


All the best



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Business cards, printing costs, and bookmarks

I have been working on some business cards today. I found a really cheap site that doesn’t seem to sacrifice quality for the price (which is surprisingly cheap), and am going to do 3 batches, one as Freelance 3D artist, another as Author, and the final a mixture of the two. I have ordered some samples from the site to be sure before I go any further, but I found it a lot easier than the last time I created some cards, mainly due to the templates available on the site in Photoshop format.

Here is a link to the site if you fancy it (about ten pound for 250 is an amazing price).

And here is my business cards so far. I am torn between round corners or square, but am thinking maybe round.

fbI will post up pictures of samples from the site when they come. I think the place is in the Netherlands so it may take a few weeks.

I have also created bookmarks to advertise my new novel. The finished idea is below. You can click on the picture to see it in full, with the blurb on the back.


Anyway have fun; I’m off to the theatre!


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My book

I have been working on a children’s book for the past few years, and with great joy I opened the front door today to UPS, delivering the very first copy of All for Socks, my finished novel. For the drivers sake I did not take any pictures of the exchange, but as soon as that door was closed I started.
Here is the amazing packaging I received direct from the publisher.

P1010872Here is it opened. Snazzy looking covers.

P1010873And here is a few of the actual book.


I have read it entirety again, it reads well, and is now on its way to Amazon and all good stockists. It should be around two to six weeks for it to be placed, but I will keep all informed here and on my website.

P1010874I feel like I just passed university again!

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