Self Portrait

Software/Medium: ZBrush, Maya, XGen, Arnold
Reference/Source: My face
Project Type: Independent (solo)

This was my first character sculpt that I’ve been working on on-and-off for nearly a year, picking up a slew of new skills.

Everything was created entirely from scratch without scans or base meshes – I sculpted the face (originally a sphere) and did all of the detailing and texturing in ZBrush. The eyes consist of two layers (painted base and transparent cornea). The glasses were a fairly simple hard-surface project, split into sections so I could apply different shaders to the laminated layers. The hair was the most extensive part of this project – it was my first time using Maya (full stop) to create an XGen groom, consisting of 11 different collections of guides (twists, baby hairs, peach fuzz, etc.) with customized modifiers. Finally, I took a deep dive into Arnold shader setup to create various materials, some including alpha maps; I particularly struggled with transparency and reflectivity, hence why I added so many examples (eye overlay, glasses lenses, frames, lip gloss) when I finally figured it out.

There are still more things I’d like to tweak on this project if I get more time: the neck is unfinished because I’m a little overwhelmed from learning face/skull anatomy and not quite ready to tackle it. I also think I didn’t go hard enough on the micro skin details and discoloration, nor on the asymmetry. I would also ultimately like to play with more dynamic lighting for renders in order to show it off better.

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