girl and dog creation in zbrush

Girl and Dog Creation in Zbrush

In this tutorial, the creation of girl and dog starting with the concept, sculpting in ZBrush, modeling with Blender, retopology and UVs in Maya, and using Substance Painter to apply the textures. The lighting and the render was made in Blender, and finally post-production with Photoshop.

First of all select the concept. Select the image as reference.

Blockout & Camera

First in Blender, move the camera and set up the concept as a background image, adjust the resolution if necessary and then with basic shapes (using mainly primitives) start the block out. This part is very important because you need to organize volumes and place the objects in order to have the essence of the scene. Also in the camera options you have to adjust the focal length and the depth of field according to the concept.


Search for an object and characters that could help you with the shape, materials, and textures. It helps to give more clarity about how to adapt the concept to a credible and realistic scene. In this case references like the gun, the spaceship, and the hair shape are very important.

Modeling & sculpting

For this project, you can modeled the objects in Blender except for the Girl character which you can do in ZBrush. Create a clean topology and good loops because those could affect how the geometry looks, and will also facilitate your work later when starting with the Unwrap Process. In this step I would recommend always starting with a consistent silhouette, basic shapes, and making sure your proportions are correct before you start on the details.


One of the challenges for me in this scene was the hair. Review a lot of references from incredible 3D artists to understand how the hair works and how they made it. For this project you can use Blender’s particle system which has several options where you can adjust the size, the length, radius, the kink type, and other properties.


The best 3D software for modeling is Blender but in this particular part of the process you should chose Maya because its Modeling Toolkit Panel has excellent tools like “Quad Draw” that allows us to be more efficient, and so far it’s the easiest way. In this case, you can do the manual retopology only for the Girl and dog character.

Texel Density & UVs

Just like the previous step you can again use Maya to create UVs. Before starting to unwrap the meshes I recommend applying the Checker Map (you can find it in the top of UV Editor) to be sure that UVs are correct and have the same orientation for the textures. Next, in the UV Toolkit Panel, use the Texel Density Property to apply the same density to three different groups of meshes.

UDIMs & Textures with Substance Painter

You can also work with UDIMs to have a higher and better quality in the final render with 4K tilesets. This project was divided into three parts for the texturing process: The Girl, the dog, and the rest of assets, to avoid any lag (it also depends on your graphic card) and to raise the performance. Be sure to use PBR – Metallic Roughness template and OpenGL when you import the mesh. The first step is baking the textures and checking 4096 for the resolution according to the tileset. It’s important to spend as much time as you need to create a good group of textures, always following your references.


Try to create a HDRI node connection for the general atmosphere, and then add the Key light, Fill light, and a Rim light focusing the character. For those lights, apply temperature using BlackBody Node looking for the best option that matches the result I had in mind.

Render & post-production

For the final render, use the Cycles Render using 1000 samples, 300% of resolution, Adaptive Sampling, and rendered separate layers for each object group with the transparent option checked on the Render Properties, then compose everything in Photoshop. You can make a colour correction and added the cigarette smoke.

Now It’s Your Turn

You must respect your process and avoid comparing yourself to others in order to maintain improving on each project while acknowledging your limitations and strengthening your areas of weakness.

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