3D Workshop: Digital Anatomy Sculpture 1! The human hand - With Simon Roth


Digital Anatomy Sculpture 1! The human hand - With Simon Roth

Starting Tuesday 25th : Ending Tuesday 9th of May

Hi Guys,

I think its about time we started getting some Z-brush anatomy lessons on the go. This workshop will be open to everyone, from Newbies, to seasoned pros, to learn, practice and perfect their skills and understanding.

The aim of the workshop is to explore the anatomy of the hand and lower arm, looking at the skeletal structure, the muscles and the full hand.

We will focus on modelling the hand in 3d sculpture applications such as Z-brush (or conventional packages), however we welcome all valuable inputs such as annotated sketches and photos.

For those of us who are lacking, or have misplaced their hands. I have provided some high Res photography of my own to help you on your way.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

I have also produced a low Res base mesh to work from for people who can’t model their own, or are having difficulties attaining reasonable proportions


.ZTL - For the demo users!

For high skilled modellers, I expect you to make your own. If your feel your base mesh is an improvement on mine feel free to contribute it to the thread.

For people who have never used z-brush or do not own a copy a free 30-day trial is available from their site. here

How to navigate the interface

[font=Arial Black]Rules[/font]

  1. Although I will be giving comments and critique throughout the thread and helping with technical issues, the thread is about a community input to help each other develop our skills in a constructive group critique and interaction. Flaming is not allowed.

  2. This thread is about sculpture. We are not looking at your mesh flow, etc. Keep it focused on the anatomy and not the technical aspects of creating a 3d mesh.

  3. Please limit the SIZE of your POSTS to 800 pixels WIDTH x Appropriate pixel LENGTH. No huge images, please!

  4. You can create as many different models as possible, but avoid flooding the thread, just post your best work. Everyone should at least try a complete hand (with skin), then we can start experimenting with modelling what lays beneath the skin.

Begginners aims - To create a basic hand in a relaxed pose with correct proportion.
Pro aims - To produce realistic detailing, weight and posing.

  1. Lets make this fun!

Lets get started!


Great to see this Simo! Shall I advertise this, or shall you? :slight_smile: Personally, I think it might be better if you posted to a few of the different forums an ad for your Workshop ~ perhaps on the ZBrush and some of the 3D forums, as well as General Discussion and Modeling.

Looking forward to watching this develop! :thumbsup:




Edit: Start posting people! :slight_smile: I want to know whos onboard!


Ok, done! :thumbsup:




I’m in, definately. I need to improve my Zbrushing.

Oh, just to those using the DEMO version of Zbrush: You cannot import meshes or your own textures into the trial edition. The .ztl base mesh that Simon has provided should work however.


Cool man. This should be really fun! This and the Sp thread might kill me… lol. ah well.

Good point on the ztl file, I should point that out above! :slight_smile:


Oh man, any chance to learn a little Z-Brush. Sold.


Whee, I’m in! :slight_smile:


Just found out about this today…count me in.



Thanks guys! Be sure to spread the word, as the more people we get the better. I’m going have a go using my base mesh tonight and see what I can come up with. I’m also going to produce some diagrams of the muscle structure in the hand.

If anyone needs help with z-brush specifics I’ll be happy to help. Again if you’ve got any questions just ask. :slight_smile:


Count me in:bounce: I have recently finished Figuratively speaking workshop with Rebecca and this would be a great add on to apply all the gained knowledge in zbrush…i just know basics of it and would like to learn some more…


Yea, i’m interested in this. Definately could do with brushing up on ZBrush and at the same time learning about some human anatomy.

Nice one. Would love to see any of your ZBrush models Simon. Got any links?




Is this the thread where the work will be posted, just want to make sure that I am in the
right place…new to Z BRUSH…just renewed my demo version…don’t want to miss the
beginning of this class. should I make a hand in two and a half D and go from there,…I think I might be able to get that far, I have only done a few faces so far using Z BRUSH …posted them on the last three or four pages of my anatomy thread… or is there
a set procedure that you have planned…step by step kind of thing…just curious…
THANKS for doing this work shop by the way…am really looking forward to learning Z BBUSH…


Glen: Best we keep it all in this thread just post your Wips in here once you’ve made some progress, or hit a problem. This thread is my first workshop, and I don’t want to limit us to any set format, so just get posting your stuff and if I feel we need more direction I’ll jump in and take the reigns!

Ali: At the NCCA! I’ve been accepted for a place on the animation course, hehe my z-brush stuff impressed them enough, I guess. :slight_smile: (the selection was pretty harsh though). I’ll try and find some z-brush stuff that isnt under NDA to post. All the models on my site probably have z-brush in there. such as the bunker etc… But that stuffs all pretty old now.

CgIcecube: Hey welcome to the workshop!

Is there anything specific that anyone wants me to cover?

I’m going to start modelling the hand now. :slight_smile:

Lets get going!


Ok lets start on the anterior view of the hand. Heres a quick 20 mins.

Start by looking at where the bones fall within the hand and adding the creases. Think of it as a collection of cylinders.

Start low res to get the proportion right and then slowly work up. The above image is still at very low res.

Your best friend and worst enemy is the smooth (shift) tool. You want be careful, to avoid the z-brush blobbyness that starts to creep in, and to keep the form.

SHIFT-Ctrl drag is also very useful to hide what your not working on (like the rest of the arm… or the other fingers)

Use the set pivot point to centralise the pivot to where your working otherwise rotation will be a pain.




Perhaps you could show some step by step screen shots and explanation of how you got to this point, and maybe some tool pointers for beginners. :slight_smile:




I’m just uploading a flash video tutorial of how I got to that point. :wink:


Awesome! Thanks! :slight_smile:


Hey Simon,

Cool you got into the NCCA. :thumbsup: They are currently building all brand spanking new labs for our course next year with swish new little bars and cafes. Unfortunately, am in my final year so will be missing out on that :sad:

Anyway… back to the workshop.

Have you made the base mesh in Maya first or did you build it from scratch in zBrush?

I’m no expert on anatomy but the proportions of the hand look to be a bit off. Most noticeably the thumb is too high up, which kind of makes it look a bit like a monkeys foot. If you look at the distance between the start of the forefinger and the start of the thumb, its generally a lot longer than in your model.

The palm is quite bloated at the bottom, while there is more muscle mass there, it doesnt come so far in the middle bit of the bottom (if that makes sense). The little finger seems like it could be a touch too long, normally it will end about the second crease of the ring finger is. I think it looks worse than it is because of the large distance between the two creases in the little finger.

I know you’ve just started so there’s no point being too nitpicky, but the last thing i’ve noticed is that the fingers seem pretty fat at the bottom -there is adefined crease between the fingers and palm, but on a hand with the fingers straight up there is barely any crease at all.

Just my thoughts from looking at my own hand :shrug: Very busy with project work at the mo but really want to try out modelling my own hand and get some zBrush practice at some point. Will be good to learn some useful tips from this thread before i start my own. :slight_smile:

[size=2] [/size]


Hey Ali

Thanks for those crits,

The hand is (or was meant to be) slightly tensed (clawed, like you are holding something), but the screenshot has no shadow so it impossible to really see the curves in the fingers which perhaps need to be reinforced (as they appear too straight). The little finger is bad and just goes to show what happens if you rush… :smiley: . It isnt as curved as it should be and as you said the creases are way too far apart.

Thanks for the input. When these uploads stop failing I’ll build one a bit slower and get it right this time!