View Full Version : HMC 8: Conan the Barbarian Full Model

03 March 2007, 04:43 PM
Ok, here's the reference I gathered so far. I will need to rent the dvd to get a better idea of the helmet and some good poses. I think this will be a bit tough for me, since I've never modeled a half nude human figure. So here goes nothing.

03 March 2007, 04:54 PM
I will need to rent the dvd to get a better idea of the helmet and some good poses.

Do you mean the one he is wearing at the end of the movie during the battle in the ruins? Conan is one of my all time favorite characters (nothing to do with Arnold, but the books, Frazetta, and Savage Sword of Conan). I wish you good luck and I will be watching the progress here closely - who knows, I may even be pickier than oDDity in this one.


03 March 2007, 05:34 PM
I've never read the books, but I loved the movie. Mainly I just wanted a character which showed the human form. I've never modeled the human figure before and this is a good chance to do so.

The helmet is the double horned one showing on the cover of the dvd.

03 March 2007, 08:14 PM

Spent a couple hours on this. I am SO not used to doing heads from scratch. I had no idea how to approach the head when I started, so I screen grabbed some examples of heads for polyflow ideas. I know I asked about how important polyflow is on this challenge, but then I figured if I'm gonna do this, I might as well try to do it right the first time.

It doesn't look pretty now, but I figure once the full model is done and I get it into ZBrush, I'll be much more comfortable in creating a likeness.

I'm still trying to decide if I want to model and sculpt him in the pose, or do it in the standard "T" stance, then rig him for posing. I'm leaning more toward modeling him in the pose. Maybe that way I can get better control of sculpting what the muscles actually look like in that particular pose. Any thoughts on this?

03 March 2007, 10:11 PM
I think its a great start, my only crits were to be that I think Arnold's jaw is a bit more squarish and defined (refering to the front view). Also I would start to give the loops going acroos the top of the cranium a slight curve, but you may be doing that already. Which reference are you using? There are some great close-up profile shots on the DVD (if you have it). I have seen the movie over a 100 times - LOL.


03 March 2007, 02:58 AM
Looks good so far. His head's looking a little cubish from the top. You should pull out some of those points on the side so his head appears a little less blocky from above and a bit more spherical. It could produce some weird shadowing.

Here's a tiny profile shot that I googled. It might make a useful image plane.

03 March 2007, 03:44 AM
Thanks for the tips, guys. I ended up finding a good reference for the side view.

I finished the head then took it into ZBrush and started to move some polys around that way to try and get a closer likeness. It was a bit easier for me. I think it's good enough for now until I finish the body and pose. Then I'll go back with ZB to try to nail down the likeness of the whole figure.

Some more screens...

03 March 2007, 03:48 AM
you may want to check this out for reference:

03 March 2007, 05:00 AM
Thanks Mashru, great idea! I totally forgot about that thread. I'll definately look through it.

03 March 2007, 03:08 PM
A little bit mo', a little bit mo'....

Another update. Not quite to Arnold's proportions, but I want to get the basic human form right before inflating him to Arnold's size.

03 March 2007, 04:27 PM
the upper arm looks abit short but maybe its the perspective

03 March 2007, 02:13 AM
Quick question here I was wondering if you were just using a side profile shot to do the low poly modeling?

03 March 2007, 03:32 AM
Quick question here I was wondering if you were just using a side profile shot to do the low poly modeling?

No, I was using front, side and perspective views to adjust it. Front and side get the majority of the form, but the perspective view is needed to see the angles of the face better.

03 March 2007, 05:13 AM
K. Finally got the base mesh complete. I'll go back in ZB and sculpt some better form and proportions to Arnold. Then pose him in Lightwave and export the pose to ZB and sculpt some more. I think that will be the best way to ensure the accuracy of the pose. Now.... I just got to figure out what pose to put him in!

03 March 2007, 08:29 AM
It's hard for me to comment due to lack of skill, but I will give you my personal opinion: The base mesh is looking really great and very clean - I feel that the feet are too small, and maybe the fingers are a bit too lowPoly. I like the fingers to have at least 5 divisions, and the joints split. I am not sure how much the sculpting software will take the final version, but I would think that one would want to define the base mesh a bit more ( I might be jumping the gun nad you may be doing that already though).

Can't wait to see that sword in cg, one of my all time favorite movie swords..........


03 March 2007, 12:21 PM
Thanks, Diaboblos. Oh yeah. I'll be subdividing this guy a few times and sculpting more detail. In the end, the model will have over 1.5 million polys after sub-Ds and displacement mapping. The fingers should be OK with the initial number of they have.

The feet are definately small right now. It was just 1:00 AM by the time I finished the mesh so I was a bit tired to keep going, so I just posted the update.

Today is where the real fun starts. Sculpting the detail and setting the pose. Then attacking the props.

03 March 2007, 02:14 PM
yeh.... another Lightwaver user :thumbsup:
I like the face you made really resembel him . but as I saw the topic in zbrushcentral
there are a lot of expectation a rise from this topic .
good luck in the contest

03 March 2007, 03:52 PM
You know it, Doch! The new nodes in 9 really help with creating nice skin.

Took lunch to put this thing together. The ornamentation is separate from the blade and I'll take that into ZBrush as well to add some detail.

03 March 2007, 05:21 AM
Some ZBrush work on the torso and head. Resisting the urge to give him a cyber eye!

03 March 2007, 07:54 AM
cool, its really shaping up - I can see Conan.


03 March 2007, 12:56 PM
looking good mate, its all coming togeather nicely..... what pose are you going to do....

If i had a choice i would love to see him in his black and white warpaint in conan the barbarian....

03 March 2007, 05:58 PM
I agree with the warpaint pose, and dont forget the blood!!! Looks Great.

03 March 2007, 07:36 PM
Finished the model for the Atlantean Sword. This was hard, cuz I couldn't find any close up good reference for it until I was halfway done with it. Try sculpting detail without understanding what you're seeing in the reference....

Finally though, I got a good closeup pic of the sculpt that the mold for the sword was made from and reworked the areas that gave me the problems.

03 March 2007, 08:57 PM
Your diong a great job, I love that sword and cant wait to see more of this stuff.

03 March 2007, 11:30 AM
That sword is awesome! I'm not good enough a zBrush to pull off that kind of detail yet. Keep up the good work.

03 March 2007, 04:20 AM
There's some great entries so far! It's shaping up to be one fine collection of models!

I think I'm to a point where I can start posing. Once the pose is finalized, I'll go back in and sculpt some finer detail to the hands, torso, and neck and fix some other problem areas I see. I'll also add more character into his face.

03 March 2007, 10:08 AM
Excellent Arnold likeness. Outstanding! Terrific body. I'd say your ready to start posing! Great work on the sword. Keep going!:)

03 March 2007, 10:16 AM
yeah, the model is very nice ... i like the chest and hips. thrilled to see some next updates

good luck 4 the competition

03 March 2007, 12:37 PM


03 March 2007, 05:04 PM
I rendered out the sword in ZBrush to get an idea of what it might look like when rendered in Lightwave. What I will do is take the cavity effect from ZBrush and apply it to the texture of the decorative part of the sword in Lightwave.

The leather handle will be different. I need to make a texture of wrapped leather strips instead of a something like what I have, which is just a leather type of texture on it.

03 March 2007, 06:21 PM
Looking beautifull, cant wait to see conan holding that sword. keep it up

03 March 2007, 08:12 AM
Wow...beautiful sword and character model. The skin tone might be a little too pink though. This isn't a criticism as it might be the colour your after. It still looks very realistic. Did you use a skin program such as VReel Skin or is the material all your work?

03 March 2007, 12:45 PM
Crom !
Since now it looks awesome ! keep going !

03 March 2007, 01:49 PM
excellent progress! go away for a few days and BAM!


03 March 2007, 01:51 PM
Thanks guys! Yeah, the skin material I came up with is experimental right now. I've been working with ZBrush to create some nice skin materials so for illustration purposes for a couple months now. The reason is so I can just model and render right in ZBrush to save time for something that doesn't need to be animated. ZBrush has an awesome material generator. I plan to use it to help texture almost every model.

I just used the skin material I created in ZB to get a better feel for the model for posting it. It is a bit pink, but I'll be using Lightwave for final rendering and I'll create a better skin material in Lightwave for him. In the end, I want a nice bronze tan type of color to him. But not too uniform which would look fake.

03 March 2007, 04:19 AM
Worked some more on the face. Gotta rig him now for posing.

03 March 2007, 06:14 AM
That sword is looking AWESOME! Did you draw a displacement in Photoshop or did you model it in Zbrush? Regardless, you're rocking it!

The lats look like they're prodtruding too far out the sides. But the pose and weighting could totally change that.

Good luck! :)

03 March 2007, 01:22 PM
damn nice work keep it up

03 March 2007, 05:08 PM
Wow, this looks really really great! The sword is pretty amazing! Great work. Wish I wasn't at work so I could work on my model... :(

04 April 2007, 05:46 AM
I just can't leave his face alone.... Keep seeing things that need improving. Here's an update on the face and the displacement test in Lightwave.

04 April 2007, 07:25 AM
Wow... look great man , maybe the neck look a bit too wide or big I do'no or
it's just the angle of the shot . But overoll it's look great .
can't wait to see it with hair and the war colors everyone are bugging you about :)

04 April 2007, 10:04 AM
Hi. I was just wondering what conan you are going to do in the final render.

Is it to be the warpaint one as people have suggested?

I would personnally love to see this pose but all your beutiful work on the sword and features of the body would be lost cause the sword isn't here and conan is covered in armour and hair. (

Another that I would like to see is the one where he is painted from head to foot in the spell to bring him back from the dead. Cool piant job but not a very good pose for a warrior, him just strapped to the ground...

04 April 2007, 12:09 PM
Keep GOING !!!

04 April 2007, 02:30 PM
Hi Stinger, I'm going to do something a bit different than the typical "I'm a bada$$" pose. I figure everyone already knows how much of a badass he is, so why reiterate it. :)

I will do something a bit more ummm.....romantic and closer to Conan's heart. He'll still look like a bada$$, but there will be more emotion to it..... I hope....

I started on the belt and headband. While he's in warpaint, he isn't wearing either of these, but they are some of the cooler parts of his entire wardrobe (the helmet in the movie doesn't live up to the ones in the Frazetta paintings IMO), so I'm taking a bit of artistic license and including these while most likely adding the warpaint.

I'll be ZBrushing the medallion on the belt.

04 April 2007, 12:58 AM
Man the likeliness is uncanny and I cant wait to see Conan make his come back.....Now Im going to go home and have to watch the movie.

04 April 2007, 02:04 PM
Here's a much cleaner version of the displacement map. The previous displacement render used a base mesh of about 2800 poly's. This one uses the next level up with about 11000 polys.

I worked on the poly hair last night and failed miserably. I tried using a lot of thin strips and placed them over the dome of the head. The idea was to get Lightwave's Motion Designer gravity to let them fall loosely into place, then export the shape to work on it and fine tune it. The result was horrendus though. I'll try a different approach tonight.

I also continued work on the skin shader.

04 April 2007, 03:48 PM
Hey KrakenCMT looks good as always :),
I wanted to ask you how you going to do your hair or in what method ?
cus we both LW user
but I see you got problem in it as I do .
in My way , I thought to make poly curves and than use sas to generete the hair .
but it's hard to get the results that I want .
what do you think about this way or if you got a better way....
it would be great to hear about it .

Thx in advange

04 April 2007, 04:16 PM
Thanks, Doch!

Well, I've been thinking about this for a while today and I remembered that you can hide an object in Layout yet it can still cast shadows. So what I'm thinking now is that I'll try the hair guides with Saslite and then have a general hair shape mesh hidden underneath close to the shape of the hairguides. That mesh will be there only to cast shadows onto the body since Saslite won't be able to. I like the look of Saslite, but not the fact it won't cast shadow onto anything but itself. That and adding reflections in it. I think if I take the time to do it right, polyhair would look better in the end, but right now I can't spend the time researching it for too long.

I think I'll still try motion designer after the hair guides are in place and try to add a bit of turbulence to the body of it to lessen the stiff look you sometimes get.

Edit: Maybe the hairguide can cast the shadows if I add thickness to the edges under properties?... hmmmmm.....!

04 April 2007, 05:30 PM
Thx for the quick reply KrakenCMT :)
yeh casting shadow is one of the problem I had trouble at .
the other is to render the hair without seeing the mesh and than try fixing it up .
well..., I will need to sit on this matter for couple of day , and maybe ask in LW
forum for some tips here and there ,
and if I get a good result be sure I'll let you know .
And again , Thx .

04 April 2007, 06:10 PM
I worked on a setup for hair guides using a tut I found here. (

Need to work more on the guides and filling in some areas, but so far I think it will work out OK. I just used a lo res version of his head to test it out.

04 April 2007, 10:33 PM
His features are so strong. A lot of resemblance so far.

04 April 2007, 02:40 AM
your hair look great KrakenCMT :)
Better than all the hair testing I've done. I will try to go on the method of making some
polygon with hair & alpha texture on it . and maybe mixing a little sas to make it look good .
and Thx for the link it's really helpfull .

04 April 2007, 03:33 AM
Hi Christopher. The hair is looking great. I can see why you're an art director. The likeness is really good. A simple anatomy ciritque is that the cranium is too small. I know he's a barbarian, but the eyes should be about half-way from the top of the head to the chin. Keep going!

04 April 2007, 04:52 AM
Thanks guys!

I think the cranium looks too small because I had the camera right up in his face just about 1 1/2 feet in front of him. The extreme angle makes it look a little disproportionate. I'll post some orthos of him soon with side views of the real deal to compare.

Also, I've worked on the wrist bands. Modeled and textured these in ZBrush. The rendering is ZBrush as well. I'll have to run some tests to see how many polys I'll need for a decent rendering of them on the figure.

04 April 2007, 09:41 PM
Great modeling ! i cant wait to see it finish !

the only critics i could done, is that the nose is a little flat. sorry i dont know the word in english. the base of the nose with the 2 holes.


04 April 2007, 05:49 AM
It's coming along really great! I hear what you're saying about the camera. You're definitely getting the likeness though.Those wristbands really capture the leather! Could you share your process? Good luck!

04 April 2007, 02:16 PM
Thanks hazzadus, basically for the leather bands it's all just one cylindar sculpted in ZB. I masked off the "straps" and inflated them one at a time. Then just wrapped a leather texture around it and painted in the worn areas and scratches. I worked on those a little bit more last night to make the edges of the straps cleaner because in the last image the edges of the straps aren't as clear as they could be. I might darken them up a little as well since Conan's bracers are more black in appearance.

visionmaster2, thanks! Yeah once I get him posed, I'll work more on his face and nail down the small details(or at least attempt to! :lol: ).

04 April 2007, 02:55 PM
great likeness! :thumbsup: ... the only thing i can see at the moment is the forehead.
It should not flow back that early ... because Arnolds forehead is a littlebit higher
and more defined above the eyebrows.

04 April 2007, 07:42 PM
Here's the belt and the boots. I may go back and work on it a little more later. Now it's on to the pants, necklace and headband!

04 April 2007, 08:24 PM
Wow all the stuff you have made looks awesome the face is great also nice work!!!

04 April 2007, 03:43 AM
Well, the last 3 days of work (well last 3 nights) went down the tube.... I was working on texture maps (color, spec, bump, sss) on the unposed model thinking that the UVs would be fine. I then took him into Lightwave, rigged and posed him. Then exported the new pose into ZBrush for some additional detailing. Then I tested the color map on it and nothing was lining up at all. Is there a way to fix that? I've tried flipping the maps, etc... but it still looks jumbled. I'll probably just have to go back in and do it again on the posed model.

Anyway here he is posed. You'll recognize the inspiration of the pose from Michelangelo's David. I wanted something simple, but powerful. I altered the pose somewhat to allow for him holding the sword in his left hand and holding the necklace he gave to Valeria (his woman in the movie) in his right.

I thought the pose was kinda somewhat fitting (just a bit) since David went on to become King of Israel and Conan went on to conquer and become king by his own hand. But the pose also tells the story of him lamenting over Valeria's death while seeking his revenge. That's interesting because in the beginning of the movie he states that the best thing in life is "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of the women." Yet, here he is on the receiving end....

Well after I posed him with LW bones, there was some pretty bad distortions going on in the arms. You can see it in his left arm. I started detailing his right arm and fixed the distortion there. But that's as far as I've got.

04 April 2007, 07:05 AM
well its safe to say that is quite awesome looking....when it all comes together it'll only look better....

04 April 2007, 03:10 PM
Update on the detail sculpting. Still need to work on the shoulders and neck some more.

04 April 2007, 06:54 PM
Roberto's Bullhorn: One week to go! ( Just an FYI.


04 April 2007, 05:15 AM
I believe that I've said it before but wow...

That really looks just like him... I envy your modeling abilities... (though I am developing my own)....

great job... I hope you can figure out your UV problem...

Well actually the UV's shouldn't have changed... unless you accidently have it set on projections accidentally, that's happened to me before...

What do you mean by "it looks jumbled"? maybe you could give us a test render showing what is happening...

04 April 2007, 09:00 AM
Well, the last 3 days of work (well last 3 nights) went down the tube.... I was working on texture maps (color, spec, bump, sss) on the unposed model thinking that the UVs would be fine. I then took him into Lightwave, rigged and posed him. Then exported the new pose into ZBrush for some additional detailing. Then I tested the color map on it and nothing was lining up at all. Is there a way to fix that? I've tried flipping the maps, etc... but it still looks jumbled. I'll probably just have to go back in and do it again on the posed model.

Yea your uvs should stay exactly as they are. I'm guessing that somehow the rigging process deformed them, which I've come across before in Maya, which I *think* was when adjusted the uvs after skinning.

What do your uvs look like on the posed model that you took into Zbrush, have they changed?

If that's the problem, I guess what you could do (and I don't know Lightwave so I'm going to talk in terms of Maya - I assume Lightwave has the equivalent) is take the unposed model where the texture works fine into Lightwave, and make a blendshape out of the posed model so that you can morph the unposed one into the pose, so everything is the same but it keeps your old uvs.

If you did your recent texturing in Zbrush, onto your jumbled uvs (I'm still assuming that's the problem), then Zbrush will have dropped it onto those uvs and your work is lost. If you did it in photoshop onto your old uv map, everything should be ok.

Brilliant work by the way.

04 April 2007, 11:50 AM
KrakenCMT you have talent dude, very nice work

05 May 2007, 04:58 AM
I really appreciate the nice comments and helpful suggestions! This has been really fun as well as taxing on the nerves because I tread far into unknown territory.

Anyway here is my final set of images and orthos. I included a set of orthos of the back view as well as the side, top, and bottom simply because I think I spent more time trying to get his back correct than anything else! :)

As I'm sure with most who participated, this has been a learning experience. I didn't get as far as I would have liked to. I noticed plenty of things to work on in the orthos that I didn't notice before. Plus I really wanted to get the warpaint done with a better scene for the beauty render and work more on the skin material and color map. That's OK though. I'll finish this guy up in the coming few weeks and post the result.

This was a blast!!!
Here's a link to the turntable animation.
Conan Turntable Animation (

BeautyRender800x600 (
BeautyUnshaded800x600 (

And the rest of the Orthos!

FrontHeadWithoutProps (
FrontHeadWithProps (

SideHeadWithoutProps (
SideHeadWithProps (

TopHeadWithoutProps. (
TopHeadWithProps (

BackWithoutProps (
BackWithProps (

BottomWithoutProps (
BottomWithProps (

FrontWithoutProps (
FrontWithProps (

TopWithoutProps (
TopWithProps (

SwordDetail (

WireShaded (

I'm throwing these last 2 beauty renders in because I just thought ZBrush rendered them very nicely.

ConanRenders (

ForeArm (

05 May 2007, 08:35 AM

Fantastic work... great to see the progress on this model.

05 May 2007, 12:19 PM
model looks great...but um...where's his nipples...:) ....everyone love man!! :thumbsup:


05 May 2007, 12:43 PM
Ummm.... yeah. Nips are part of being human ain't they! haha!

Actually they are somewhat present in the sculpt, just no nip texture was added. I corrected the beauty render for not, but when I finally get around to completing this guy, I'll add them properly to his color map.

Thanks for catching that!

05 May 2007, 12:53 PM problem man, with a model as complicated as this, I can see it being something veryEasy to miss.....but with it added, it pulls him together a lil better now....and that!!

So now you're ready!!! :thumbsup:


05 May 2007, 02:31 PM
Had a request for a rundown of how the fur was created. It's really not very difficult when you have a great plugin like SasLite(a lite version of Sasquatch hair/fur plugin for Lightwave.)

It's pretty easy to work with once you have hair guides in place for long hair. But creating the hair guides for his head was the most difficult part. I found a tutorial on how to create the hair guides at this link.

SasLite HairGuides (

It's a cool tut where you just place a several spaced out guides over the head, then rail clone them using the scalp vertices as guides. That creates the complete hair guides for the head. I then loosely moved those guides so they fall over the shoulders properly (well, I tried to. You should see the 2 point poly mess it made inside his chest! :) )

Once that was done, the plugin was applied with proper shinyness, color, and coarseness. I had to add one more light to the scene explicitly to highlight just the fur and exclude everything else. With the normal light setup I had, the fur just wasn't popping much.

For short fur, you just pick the surface you want it applied to, adjust some sliders for clumpiness, frizz, coarseness, spec, color, etc....

The only thing with Saslite, is that the hair/fur won't cast shadows onto other objects. Just itself. No problem with short fur over a surface since those polys will cast the shadow, but with long hair, you're outta luck. You'll have to figure something else out. I tried at one point to have the 2 point poly chain guides cast the shadow by giving them some width in it's properties and made it hidden but still casts shadows. It looked somewhat OK. There's some promise to that technique, but it was touchy so I just left it without shadow.

Oh and for the color of the surface underneath the fur, I made it dark brown. When it was a lighter color, it the fur appeared too thin.

I hope that helps for those who were curious!

05 May 2007, 03:29 AM
Kraken... All I have to say again is WOW :thumbsup:! This has to be one of, if not the best models on here. But then again I guess they don't give you an Art Director postition for nothing. I really like your model. Great Job.

05 May 2007, 01:11 PM
Your model rocks! One of the best on the challenge.
The model and the work on the main details are great!
Good luck on the votes!

05 May 2007, 10:22 PM
Really great finish. Love it. Defo one of the strongest entries in the competition.

I'd like to find out how you did the modeling. I'm just starting out in character modeling using C4D and ZBrush. One of the things I can get my head around is how do your model of the different elements then bring them together?. ie: making the head them stitching it onto the body. I have a few ideas of how it can be achieved but I would really like to know how you did it, before I go off and give it a go.

Actually, just thinking. Is there a way to mask out parts in ZBrush then have that part of the model become the centre of the axis.

Anyway, what am I doing. I should post this in a help thread.

Again. Great Model!

05 May 2007, 12:36 AM
Thanks Stinger! As far as stitching the model together, I really didn't do any of that. I just started from the head and worked my way down for the base mesh. Then I did the usual import of the full base mesh into ZBrush for sculpting. The model was posed in the sort of "T" pose then the elements like the belt and boots were modeled in layers over that in Lightwave. I used bones to deform it all into the pose, then brought the base figure mesh back into ZBrush to strengthen the pose and flex muscles the way they should when posed like that.

There is a way though to build the full base mesh then segment it into parts. Then you can create a displacement map for each section, lending even greater detail to your model. It's easy to find that info on ZBrush Central for Maya, Max and XSI. But I haven't seen much on it for Lightwave. :( That's something I'd like to learn myself.

As far as changing the axis in ZB, yes you can do that. Just hide the polys then hit "S-Pivot" in ZB. The new axis point will be the very center of the visible polys.

I hope that helps!

CGTalk Moderation
05 May 2007, 12:36 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.