View Full Version : Forest Tenders

08 August 2010, 04:30 AM
This First Shot is a bust I've been working on for a Race of Forest Tenders I plan on doing. I have the adult male features figured out.
In the second set of Photoss I have I have polypainted it and am really pleased at the final outcome. I gave the skull and areas that are really close to the skull and less muscled a rough hard surface type texture. and the areas of skin like the neck chest and areas around the eyes nose and mouth a sort of thick veiny look but it actually supposed to be like a root tangle.

these creatures are creatures of the earth type thing and their bodies simulate the plants and such about them i guess. I havent fully fleshed out their history yet but just an idea I had for them. Kinda like a peaceful keepers of the woods type people but are deadly when the forest etc is in danger.


08 August 2010, 01:32 PM
Now this got posted here is the second set of pics showing them polypainted. like I said I love the way the colors came out they are nice and soft and natural looking


08 August 2010, 06:17 PM
Here I poly painted the female in full body and though I liked the scheme on the male it just doesnt translate very well to full body. Also I think the rooty look doesnt quite do it and might just use the root look on the chest and upper back as it looked ok there before I got carried away.

I am up for any suggestions


08 August 2010, 11:25 PM
ok I have redone the male full body and it is sort of ok. theres something to it that just missing would love to get some ideas of what it may be.

here are some shots of the bust and then some full body shots. Maybe once I get some kind of garm on him it may change things dunno. will try to figure out what kind of clothing they should be wearing and try that.

08 August 2010, 11:26 PM
and here is the full body shots

08 August 2010, 10:25 AM
Reference, more reference, then some more.
The Sculpting of the faces is un-organic. Get some images of bone structure and use that to enhance the head geometry.
The Veins/Roots, could be much more prominent and more organic. Right now they look like an after thought. The bodies themselves look to solid and superhero like, especially the female. Look on sites where the images show nude models instead of swimwear models. Same for the males.
Look to implement facial details like wrinkles and folds to make it that more realistic.
Good luck.

08 August 2010, 11:14 AM
thanks some good ideas there.not sure how to make the veins/roots more organic I kinda thought they were. theres a lot of hairline offshoots from the main trunks like some vein would have they just done show up as well in the pics. my original bust shows these a lot better. maybe I need to highlight them more to make them more prominant to solve that issue.

I could detail the bodies a little more detailing the muscles etc for sure. I had neglected those areas trying to get the color scheme and facial features worked out. I think the original bust looks the best of all the faces I think I just rushed these others trying to get an overall look that worked before spending a lot of time making them more realistic. I think I got a look that works ie the color schemes the chest and upper back only veins and the general facial details. now I can take your suggestions and modify the head features and detail the face now.

thanks for the ideas they kickstarted my mind with lots more ideas etc.


08 August 2010, 03:50 PM
It's a good first round but you have to think about the design and purpose more. Like you said, they're supposed to be forest people who I suppose should look like part of their environment. But now they just look like hunky humans with Star Trek like stuff tacked on their faces. Not that it's wrong to just ADD to the face but it could be interesting to also SUBTRACT. Maybe make them look more gnarly than any real human with makeup could. And think about HOW to design those ridges. Give them a motif. You've got kind of a radial thing going, maybe make it look like roots growing out of the tearducts or something. Right now it just looks like random lines.
You could maybe make them leaner too. When I see them now I think more of boulders or beefcake than of roots, leafs, trees and ferns.

As for the veins looking like an afterthought, I have to aggree. It's not that you haven't painted in a lot of detail, it's that you've done so totally uniformly. You need more variation, like one or two large veins crossed by a few midsized ones etc. This also goes for your other textures. In fact I'd paint in the larger colour variations first before going to town on the little splotches.

Good start though, the bodies look pretty grounded with a few tweaks which I hope the more anatomically aware here can help you out with.


08 August 2010, 07:01 PM
thanks for the input Wiro I totally agree and have been getting a few more ideas and watching some masters at creature design tutorials today learning some tricks to use. I wanted them kinda beefy as I was thinking like a Big Oak or Big Boulder type thing and being helpers of the forest thought they should be strong.

that said I need to define the muscles more as theres no real definition and then can use the large veins type thing in places with some type of wrinkling going on so they dont look like just a bunch of painted up body builders. maybe add bumps and stuff on their body or give their body more of a nark look.


PS the ridge on the side I was kinda using an extended edge of the skull type thing but I can always mod things I have another Idea I been tossing around.

08 August 2010, 04:09 PM
ok dont nail me on the quality of the drawing I just threw some geometry on for an idea I had and to get some response to the redirection I am thinking.

I didnt want to add horns but thought would be cool to put a couple tree stumps in place of horns. then use the main roots across the head and face with small feeder roots shooting off. I didnt add all the big roots just slapped 1 down with a few oversized feeder roots just to have something to show and get feedback on. would then give it a bark type texture etc.


08 August 2010, 05:29 PM
I took a little time to do a little more detailed version to see how it will blend in. the stumps are symetrically placed everything else ie the roots are non symetrical. I just did one side for now and still have to texture etc but I think this will work after adding other facial stuff folds, creases, wrinkles etc.


08 August 2010, 11:37 PM
Its much better, but look at human veins for ref, also try dreadlocks or something similar.
I would spend the time getting the humans looking more real, right now they look like they are make out of melted butter, there are no details on them. Humans don't look this way.

08 August 2010, 04:55 AM
ok thanks. yea I just been trying to get some kind of format for the weird creature type thing then was going to do all the details etc once I come up with something believeable. maybe if I did the human features first then once I add the forest creature features it would look better. I am still new to this cgi stuff so I probably need to figure out an order to do things like get the human part finished first then try to design the alien parts.

I will work on the human part first and get that finished this weekend then can try some of my design ideas.

08 August 2010, 09:28 AM
What I would recommend doing is sitting down and doing a few sketches to get all your ideas flushed out. Figure out what you really want your characters to look like and have a strong idea of where you want to go. This sketches dont have to take you long but its good to visually plan out what you want. This idea can change as you go but its always helpful to have a goal.

The next thing I would do is to focus on the anatomy of your characters and dont even worry about details. Stay in a lower subdivision level when sculpting here. This is the biggest mistake people make when new to zbrush. Resist the urge and focus on major forms then move up when you are ready. It seems like you have a really nice foundation with your characters especially the male character but it can all be pushed further. Really get in there with your tablet! Be sure to vary your brush size when needed and make use of all the brushes you have available.

The last thing would be doing your detailing and texturing. This is my favorite part. Make good use of the alphas and be sure you know how to use layers in zbrush. I would also encourage you to make a few alphas of your own. One key thing to detailing and texturing is that you want to turn Symmetry off. It will make you do twice as much work but the results are always worth it. It is fairly obvious when people have turned symmetry on and everything is exactly the same on both sides. There is not a creature alive that is exactly the same symmetrically and its good to take advantage of this. The last tip I have is to vary your rgb intensity when texturing to build up layers. That way you can create textures with tons of depth and variation. You really want to push the colors and make good use of alphas here. Also stay away from the color spray brush. Its great for somethings but it uses random variations of color. I like to control all my colors.

I know I typed a novel here but I hope it helps. You have a strong idea and a nice start. Be sure to follow what everyone else has said as well. They are right on the money.

good luck


(my name as well)

08 August 2010, 04:36 PM
thanks joe that novel is one of the best tips I could have gotten. I am a draftsman used to working in solidworks and solid edge drawing aircraft plans for museums etc from old WWI factory drawings or where the drawings arent around any more.

I am not an artist just an old 48 yr old man that always dreamed of drawing and until the computer age was hard for me. so I am making a lot of newbie mistakes but listen to others and its really getting me up to speed. I appreciate all criticisms and suggestions as it will only make me a better artist. thats why this weekend I started working on the characters form and not worrying abt the details.

as far as idea sketches , basically thats what all the above is but since im no artist what I think may look cool may look unnatural to others and thats why I posted here and asked for harsh criticisms so that I could see where i was making mistakes and how so I could fix them. I then have sketched new ideas based on previous remarks in an effort to tweak my original vision into somethng believeable thats why i havent done it on a fleshed out character as I was trying to get the final look details worked out into something believeable then was going to detail the character and add the other stuff.

What I been finding out it seems is that I need to flesh my character out first then sketch various types of final details on them so I can get a better idea of what the final outcome will be like.

I do use aplhas a lot and have even made a bark alpha though it doesnt seem to be turning out very good when I try to use it. I also use layers a lot. I have several digital tutors zbrush tutorials and a couple others teaching the basics and how to use all the tools. I just need to learn to draw in the proper sequence now and to train my eye what to look for.

again I appreciate all the comments from everyone on this forum.


08 August 2010, 09:48 PM
well i took everyone's advice and started working on the anatomy instead of the details. seems like while doing the anatomy detail features kinda just started working their way into the facial anatomy by itself.

I started by adding a little more definition to the bodies muscle groups, but not too much as I want him to look athletic but not muscleman so I kept them subtle.

I then started working on the head. I moved and tweaked a few things and gave him a damaged nose look as you can see from the underside up look where the right side nostril and nose ids slightly deformed. I then gave him kinda like a roll of skin nose and some cheek flabs but subtly.

I started finding small artifacts all over the body when editing and tried covering them up which like in the nose made the flaps of skin too prominent instead of subtle. then as I tried to give him a jawbone look more appeared. so I took the mesh back into studio max and found out I had a bunch of stray polys floating throughout the body i must not have cleaned up. so now will start over.

that being said I kinda like the way the look was working itself out

08 August 2010, 09:53 PM
and here are closeups of the head

08 August 2010, 01:56 AM
- I'm not really seeing athletic here. He still looks heavy and beefy, especially with that face.
- I get the face even less now. The flaps tell even less of a story about what his purpose is, what he's made of, where they come from and what they do than the lines you had through the first character. The tree stump horns had a story. One could relate to them through something real (a tree trunk!). I don't know what flaps on a nose do though!
- if you intended the flaps to be, say, an armored overlay of plates like an armadillo then you need to show that concept thoroughly and throughout or you'll have pedants like me ripping it apart. Never show a half baked concept. It makes sense in your head but nobody else can read your mind.
- if you're after a noble, gentle giant type of character, don't give him a broken or swollen nose. It has associations with boxers and brain concussion or bouncers, violence and stupidity. Cliches, I know.
- your anatomy looks pretty sound as a base. Stop working on it, concentrate more on the actual concept. All we see now is a run of the mill muscular man with lines in his face. You need to stop being so subtle for this kind of fantasy character. Go crazy, overdo stuff, put a giant penis on his forehead if you need to, then go back. You'll never see the limits if you keep on just adding a few lines here and there.


08 August 2010, 03:20 AM
thanks wiro i noticed the face looked like you said the more I thought about it. I fixed up the geometry and detailed the muscles just a little more and am concentrating on the head now. once I get the head going the rest will fall into place. I liked the tree stump bit also but by bringing it out a little more in zbrush it skewed the polys so I couldnt get a clean looking texture. I might see about making some cylinders and trying that route again once I finish his facial anatomoy. I been actually on a roll tonight working creases and wrinkles and bone structure


08 August 2010, 07:02 PM
ok guys I have an idea based on all your constructive advice and I think it will make ya all happy. the problem i had was to do what I wanted i had to go back to lowest sub d and export to do some work in max. since I lost all my detail before i get to the body portion after I finish the head I would like some clarity on something.

Now I think my latest creation is athletic. to me athetic has some nice muscle definition and low body fat. next stage with really prominent muscles would to me be body builder style and from there heroic.

now my question Wiro is how can you not see atheltic in that and what brings you the conclusion of BULKY to the body? to me bulky meanys fatty where as my character is lean and slight but not overly outrageous muscles which is athletic to me. I only ask because I am curious if I am missing something here.

Also of a creature of the forest and protector shouldnt he be a little on the muscular side and not average?



08 August 2010, 08:15 PM
ok I got my base back to normal and started detailing I got some anatomical features in place but have more to do.

I added a stump in the middle of his head and blended it with . I also got a nice tangle of roots heading from it. I held off on some facial details so that as I put the bark texture on the stump and roots I could smooth out and clean up in between them. whereas if I detailed the head and face then done it I would erase details as I smoothed things.

I started his hair from ZSpheres which will be weeping willow tree branches with leaves. I thought he would look cool with a pony tail made from a stump and hair of weeping willows.

I want to give him some kind of beard possibly made from Old Man's Beard if I can figure out how to model it right.

I then have to add more head detail and some cracks and wrinkles in his skin and age him slightly so he looks young still but looks also like a wisened old forest tender.

I will add vines with leaves etc later to his body made from zspheres as I am kinda using the Swamp Thing as a rough base to go on with out getting him too cluttered with leaves etc.


08 August 2010, 02:49 AM
I recognize I know nothing about your workflow, but right now I feel like you should go back to pencil and take your concept to the next step. It looks like you don't really have a solid look you're going after and that's what has you tweaking around, adding some shapes here and there and never getting to a solid or innovative concept that I can read from the images alone. That is of course my very own personal opinion, maybe you happy with the direction it's taking.

The sculpts looks really good, anatomy, volume wise. It could be good to do some tweaking, some lines to defines some shapes but if they are just the base you're working on, then focus on where you're going and only then grab zbrush and make it happen.

Again, maybe you do have it in your head and you're right on your way, but I have the (humble) impession that this might not be the case. Going back to do some sketches could enable some ideas and unleash some more great sculpting.

Keep working at it, it seems worthy to me!

08 August 2010, 04:58 AM
thanks I have always had the vision of what I want in my head but been taking the criticisms from others and changing things around. I am not an artist so what was looking good to me wasn't to others. right now I am going to stick with the flow I have going now as IMO I took everyone's ideas and comments and wrapped them into my vision.

I think part of it is also the fact that I was showing part of an idea and people not being able to read my mind saw one thing and i saw another.

That is why now that I have several good comments I have a path I am proceeding on that fixes what was wrong and flows with what I was critiqued on. I just posted these tonight to show those that have been gladly helping me with this, that I took what they were commenting on and adjusted to something along those lines. ie by making him look like he is part of the forest he is keeper of, and making it all flow together into something believable. Right now even I agree he doesn't look believable but I have a lot to add and think the weeping willow hair and the vines etc will look cool especially once poly painted.

One thing I don't want to do is overload him like swamp thing was with leaves and clutter etc I want him to have some kind of humanoid physique, but I do now have the flow going and am staying on this path and once I get more to him I think everyone will see what i have envisioned more as it progresses.

I want to eventually do the whole family and some animals which I already have fully figured out what I want and do a nice scene.

my problem is it is very easy just to slap a monster together, however when I started by trying to create a creature with a purpose and in a certain environment it became hard for me to find the right neutrality i guess would be the word. like I said I could always plop any weird strange critter into any environment easily, but making it look like it belongs there and is a part of the environment is really tough.


08 August 2010, 02:17 PM
I didn´t read the other replys where you explain what your background is and all. I think my "critics" which I hope they help, otherwise dismiss absolutely, still stand regardless. No one care if you´re an artist or not (who´s to say who is and who isn´t anyways?) what matters is that your sculpts look very good.

For what I can read from your last answer, I think some elaboration and work is still to come for your full concept to show up in your models. I´ll keep an eye on them to see what you come up with and give you a crit or two if I have any.


08 August 2010, 07:20 AM
Ok guys the hard part has been people not being able to read my mind so I went and posed the entire scene I had in my head minus landscaping and a few small details. after I got it all posed out i really liked the way it was looking without alien creature type humanoids.

So since i have only been doing this a couple months , and because I know when I was in over my head til I get the basics down, I decided to not do tree people and use regular humanoid types for people and go with my strong point which is composition right now.

I went back through all the comments and they seemed to be pointing me in this direction as in keeping the work-flow natural looking and not just something added to my creatures. that said I can still figure out an abnormal, nature type coloring for their skins.

Since I posed them I have some cleaning up of deformations to do, then start detailing everything.

the boy playing with his puppy will have something in his other hand not sure if I want a bone or a stick of some sort in it. the man will have a container or tray with bowls of ingredients for his wife who is attending a sick lion (maybe battle damaged from fighting with some beast) and the little girl has her fathers arm asking if the lion will be ok.

I haven't decided on what type of clothing for them yet. I don't know whether to go with animal pelts, some type of cloth, or some type of plant type stuff woven together. I thought about the leather theory with them being tenders of the forest and all, and what I came up with is that not every animal is good etc that there are also monster type beasts out there that they hunt in order to keep them from harming the animals and people of the forest. so naturally they wont let the kill go to waste but use it for clothing and other stuff.

for the landscape I am thinking they are just outside their village by a little pond in the forest. where the lion was maybe getting a drink and relaxing by the watering hole when he was attacked.

anyways I hope you enjoy my composition. it has been in my head since the start and figured if I don't show you the inside of my head everything is basically just guessing on your part trying to criticize my work. I am slowly learning what people need to be able to help out and sorry about being such a noob at this help thread stuff.


08 August 2010, 01:33 AM
Well I have never made clothes before so took me abt 4 hrs just to make the base for the top and panties and they are ok but not as good as I wished they were. I figure they will be made of rabbit fur since they prob eat bunnies to keep the population down. and unlike regular leather the rabbit fur will be soft and flexible so will have more folds than regular leather would when I get that far. right now will take a break and work on the next part of the scene so that I don't rush things and ruin stuff. so I am going to detail the lion next.

08 August 2010, 04:05 PM
the mesh on the lion was really crappy and so I decided to make my own and get a better mesh. now this will be a challenge for me not because of the basic base, but to get the mane right which will be a bugger.

08 August 2010, 04:12 PM
well another day another nightmare lol today I am gonna try to get the mane going. what I did was masked off the area in zbrush and then inflated it to give it some volume. I will then smooth the edges so I don't get any prbs with the mesh and start sculpting on it. I am making this a younger male as I didn't want to try and do hair all down his belly etc like the great granddaddy lions have. I will therefore just use the KISS method on the mane

08 August 2010, 04:38 PM
I got the mane all cleaned up and ready to start sculpting. this is at sub D level 3 the base mesh is just a hair over 7k

08 August 2010, 04:37 AM
Ok I got my mane going pretty good and am happy with how it is coming out. what I need to do now is have a bunch of fine scratch grooves cut into it to simulate the fine hairs.

I need to figure out what brush people use to create really fine recessed lines to simulate hair. I cant seem to find any good alphas for it in zbrush so for now I will work on the muscles and double check my reference for where the mane exactly sits on the face.


08 August 2010, 06:43 PM
well I got my lion back into max and reposed it then reset up my scene now back to doing some detailing again

CGTalk Moderation
08 August 2010, 06:43 PM
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.