View Full Version : Marta Dahlig's Judith :: EXPOSÉ 7 Tutorial

08 August 2009, 12:09 AM
Hey there,

Marta Dahlig walks us through the creation of her Excellence Award winning 'Judith' from EXPOSÉ 7. This review may be NOT SAFE FOR WORK if your manager doesn't understand that nudity is part of the world of ART!

As an added bonus, Marta has provided a video of the creation of 'Judith', captured when she was developing the piece, and voiced over at 4x speed for your viewing pleasure.
The direct link is at the base of the story. Careful though. It's a direct link to an hour long 320Mb Quicktime. (

08 August 2009, 04:18 AM
Simply beautiful work

Thanks for taking the time to create the tutorial !!

- Ty

08 August 2009, 04:19 AM
its a great image,I love the relaxed of my favourite images in Expose!


08 August 2009, 04:31 AM
Beautiful work and beautiful artist :)

08 August 2009, 05:21 AM
manager can't understand that nudity is part of the world of ART!

Master stroke tutorial.


08 August 2009, 05:57 AM
Nice behind the curtain peek.

And where I work, art is encouraged. Helps that I'm the manager.

08 August 2009, 10:31 AM
Love the tutorial! Too bad the Expose series is a collection of gallerys rather than tutorials. That would really make it worth a purchase.

08 August 2009, 01:56 PM
Very nice read and beautiful work. From start to finish simply amazing.

08 August 2009, 02:10 PM

Really nice tutorial, thanks for your time Martha and congratulations on that superb artwork, I have the Special Edition Print in my hands and by understanding your creation process I can better admire it :)

Thanks Mr. Hellard :)

My best wishes,

08 August 2009, 06:08 PM
Amazing tutorial! thank you very much!

btw, amazing painting too... :)

08 August 2009, 07:17 AM
Amazing. PURE ART

08 August 2009, 09:49 AM
Hey there,

Marta has provided an hour long video, captured during the creation of the 'Judith' piece. I have placed a link to it at the end of the feature tutorial. Marta has commented throughout many areas of interest, an added bonus to the CGSociety feature tutorial.

Mind you it is 320Mb, yet worth every byte.

Here's a direct download link --> JUDITH video (

08 August 2009, 01:49 PM
Amazinjg as usual.

08 August 2009, 10:11 PM
great tut, thx.

08 August 2009, 12:20 AM
great work, indeed! thanks for taking the time to share your process.. love your work!


08 August 2009, 03:24 AM
Great reading how this beautiful piece was done, I'm looking foward to watching the tutorial with the commentary. Thankyou.

08 August 2009, 06:49 AM
To Marta especially and to CGS,
Thanks a lot for the wonderful tutorial and the video is $$. Can't believe you guys are giving it away for free.


08 August 2009, 10:30 AM
Marta`s work never fails to amaze me in ImagineFX and this is no exception, just a beautiful piece and the tutorial and video for free!!
I am forever in your debt, this will help me to no end.
Thanks so much!!!

08 August 2009, 04:58 PM
Hey there,

Marta has provided an hour long video, captured during the creation of the 'Judith' piece. I have placed a link to it at the end of the feature tutorial. Marta has commented throughout many areas of interest, an added bonus to the CGSociety feature tutorial.

Mind you it is 320Mb, yet worth every byte.

Here's a direct download link --> JUDITH video (

wow, thanks !


08 August 2009, 08:54 PM
Wow, such generosity bestowed upon us this day.

08 August 2009, 09:09 PM
Marta Dahlig is a talented artist :thumbsup: beautiful work as always
special thanks to "CGSociety" and "Marta Dahlig"

08 August 2009, 06:58 PM
The 7 deadly sins artist!

Her work really stands out.
I havent looked at this tutorial but I remember seeing something on her other work and it was nice to see how she assembles all sorts of different images as reference to create a work instead of simply getting someone to pose in a costume. much more of a creative challenge.

08 August 2009, 09:42 AM
Awesome. Really really great work. 5* from me.

08 August 2009, 02:19 AM
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate a good nipple as much as the next guy. But really now, if you had the common sense to place a NSFW warning in the thread on the forums, why would you mail people the NSFW image where they would unsuspectingly view nipplage at work?

I will now be unsubscribing from the newsletter.

08 August 2009, 03:27 AM
I apologise for the sneak attack. CGSociety doesn't usually throw nipples at people, as you know. With hindsight, in the newsletter, I should have had the 'Judith' title moved across the points of interest.

I hope you enjoyed the magnificent artistic talent nonetheless.

08 August 2009, 03:36 AM
The artwork *is* excellent.

08 August 2009, 06:08 AM
For the first I am a beginner (since one year but a very intensive year), so you are perfectly allowed to completely disregard anything I say. Still, from my position at the side-line I cannot help but observe that it is basically two kinds of CG artists, the 3D experts who are using 3D models in their still-life, and real artists like Marta Dahlig who paint everything. At one point she says,

"Moreover, I avoid using a huge amount of layers in the piece, limiting myself to four or five at a time in order to avoid any artificial copy-paste looks."

True, 3D artwork has an artificial copy-paste look. But while admiring Marta Dahlia’s skills I cannot help but ponder the enormous, almost insane amount of time and effort that went into creation of this piece. Surly there must be a better way?

Why is it that these two kinds of skill set is seems mutually exclusive? Why isn’t there a traditional artist that also knows, or at least are no stranger to Poser, Vue, Maya and zBrush (to take some)? If she had composed a preliminary picture with the aforementioned tools (and perhaps ready made 3D art work oh what a heresy) AND THEN used her traditional skills she could have speeded up the process 10 fold if not 20 fold..and maybe added some new technique to her arsenal.

Is there anyone here who master both skills set? Most of all I would like Marta to answer this questions but I quess that that is too much to hope for! :)

08 August 2009, 08:00 PM
hummm amazing work.. a really true masterpiece... its great that they provide color samples for the skin and fabrics... and that provide details about the brushes used... and even better that they provide a video of the progress of the work....

my point is... most ppl is not -but any near- that good... cannot find the right color for the skin.. or the organza curtain... on a multimillion colors palette in photoshop... um so I think its not helpful and cannot be titled "tutorial" I think this refers a series of steps that make u get a result... like a recipe... and a "walktrought" or "overview" is more like this.. just Im showing how I did it... anyways... im wrong? im confuse? I know that it takes years of practice and eye developing to choose the right colors for objects and give every material the proper effect.. the art is a totally career apart.. is not a tutorial that can be teached once and thats it.. u become a master showing u how I did my masterpiece....

thats the problem with drawing and coloring.. u cannot learn it just watchin "tutorials" u need to xperiment by yourself.. understand.. feel... wich are the right colors and the right shapes and volume... its a very hard task that dont deserve to be lowered a tutorial topic.

09 September 2009, 11:47 AM
Is anyone else having trouble viewing the video tutorial? I downloaded it, and I have the latest Quicktime player installed, but there is no image when I play it. I can here Marta's commentary, but all I see is lines in the viewer.
Any ideas how I might remedy this??

09 September 2009, 10:56 PM
Tested it back here and it plays fine.

re downloaded it and played it from that as well. No problems. Any one else having problems?

09 September 2009, 08:28 PM
Hey everyone,

I am sorry to write back so late, but I just got back from a holiday break!

First of all, I would like to thank you for the warm feedback as it really means a lot to me :) Secondly, to answer some questions...

Ralph: That is a very interesting thought. :)
I think the issue with 3D and 2D artists is analogical to sculpting and painting: You have great painters, great sculpters, but you also have artists who are both - wonerful painters AND sculpters. Having said that, there are artists who combine 3d with 2d skills - take a look at Steven Stahlberg's work for example:
His images are quite often a combination of 3d rendering with 2D Photoshop post work - he takes what is best from both of the crafts and combines them into something entirely new.

I myself do not consider myself entitled to judge why the majority of artists specialize in one of the crafts only - whether it is a matter of skill, preference, time...

Myself, the closest I ever got to 3d was using poser for reference. I would love to try diving into 3D someday, but at the moment I simply do not have the time I could devote to learning something entirely new. Aside from that, I am really horrible at sculpting (had a few tries in clay once), so I am not entirely confident about that either. :)

Meanwhile, I do not mind taking the time to polish details by hand - the process is quite fun and I always learn something new with each new image.

Flamander: You are abslutely right about experimenting - it is indeed the best way to learn. :)
Painting is a very personal matter - there are no universal solutions for anything, as all artists differ from one another in terms of workflow and technique. The best one can do is share their way of painting a particular element - what brushes were used, what colours were chosen and why and so on. That's why practically all tutorials have a bit of a walkthrough in them.
Now, the Judith article was indeed meant as a walkthrough, not tutorial, as I did not really go into detail on how every little bit was created. It was much more meant as an insight to my workflow rather than a "how to" guide.

Also, the issue with color choices you mentioned is quite a tricky one, as there is nothing as right and wrong color choices. Sure, there are some rules such as "do not shade with black and white" or "highlights, midtones and shadows should be different hue-wise". Aside from that, however, choosing colors, especially skin tones is a matter of experimenting and just playing around, that's what makes it so difficult.
It cannot be taught, so the only thing I could do is present my way of choosing them, in hopes it would inspire or help anyone....

I too am a huge believer in learning by doing, so I agree - it's best to try for yourself, play around and just practice. :)

Kurt: Did you manage to watch the video? I hope it worked for you :)

09 September 2009, 09:27 PM
Thank you Marta!

That was quite a surprice, I really had not expected that you would have time to answer!

As for the link to Steven Stahlberg that was not at all what I meant. The final result shall look like Bouguereau or yourself or Linda Bergkvist, ie no 3D feel at all! Also by knowing 3D I did'n meant "bare metal" modeling, not that you shall model everything from scratch but only using tools like Vue, Poser and zBrush who are far less demanding and quite easy to learn really (compared to max or Maya that is). In other words, so much that you can transform and adapt other(=not made by you) 3D models.

From wikipedia,
In October 2005, after the original of his The Singing Butler sold for £740,000, research revealed that Jack Vettriano had used the The Illustrator's Figure Reference Manual to form his figures. Vettriano said he used such sources in his early years, as he did not have the financial resources to hire models.

So everyone needs references, even established artists!

09 September 2009, 10:01 AM
For example matte painters have been and are using all the new tools without going into low-level hardline "modelling/programming". If matte painters (often with stunningly beautiful result) why not ordinary artists?


09 September 2009, 12:37 PM
Hi Marta,
I hope your holiday was refreshing!
No, still no luck viewing the video, but thanks for asking. I tried downloading it again, and even opening it on a another computer, but it's not meant to be.
You work is stunning nontheless.


09 September 2009, 08:34 AM
Ralph: The only software I can relate to is Poser. Now, I have only used an old version of the software and am not up to date when it comes to its current possibilites so my comments might be skewed....

Poser was a good tool for me to learn and practice hard perspective shots or basics of anatomy, however I wouldn't ever go as far as to doing post work to its models.
They always look stiff and artificial - the software can maybe depict how an arm is bent, but it will never show this small armpit fold, which is formed between the breast and the arm nor it would show how the skin is wrinkled at the joints of our fingers... That is why more often than not only a glance is needed to point out 2d illustrations which originated from Poser.

What I mean is - Poser might be good for basics, but for truly natural results you still need much, much more. I do not want to diminish the programs functionality, maybe it's just me, but I do not see the point of using it for basic models that need to be worked upon. Not in the long run at least...

Once you know anatomy, the key to achieve a believable outcome is the right colouring. Now with the technical texturing of Poser's models, it would be absolutely crucial to repaint every bit of the skin to enrich it in some lively tints and make the brush strokes bring out the softness of the human body. And if we had to repaint, what is the point of using it in the first place?

When you possess enough skill to model everything yourself from scratch (just like Mr. Stahlberg does) you can control and affect everything from the very beginning, and thus there would be no need to repaint the whole generated model. But then we come back to the original question of using methods to shorten the painting process.

So summing it up, given the rather limited amount of information I have on the subject, I do not believe that character painters can shorten their process dramatically with program generated 3D models :)

09 September 2009, 02:04 PM
Ok Marta, I get your point. No use to draw out the discussion to absurdities. Thought I could say a lot of lush vegetation (or lack thereof) in the work of the real artists – matte painters kind of stuff.

It has been extremely interesting. I believe that this is the first time ever that a established artist and a beginner have had a conversation. That is the wonder of internet! :) Nevertheless, you have not convinced me. I will prepare a blind-test and mix "Poser figures with post work done by beginners" with figures of real artists. Then we will see. Compare if you will with the tests that have been made of people who claimed being able to distinguish between different whiskey brands or fine wine...but of course it is the "Poser figures with post work done by real artists" blind-test that would be really something!

With all respect
Ralph in Stockholm
(Mr Stahlberg does not make the slightest attempt to hide his figure's 3D look and feel, it is deliberately there, that is his thing)

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