Simple play icon Course
Skills Expanded

Game Character Sculpting in ZBrush

by Justin Marshall

Creating a high-resolution sculpted mesh is often the first step in building a character model to be used in a game. In this course, you’ll learn to use ZBrush to create these detailed character sculpts.

What you'll learn

Once a character design has been settled on, the first step in getting that character into your Unity game is often sculpting the model. Probably the best tool around for creating these highly detailed sculpts is ZBrush.

In this course, Game Character Sculpting in ZBrush, you’ll learn to use ZBrush to create the hero character from the Unity game, Swords and Shovels.

Working from the ground up, you’ll start by creating the initial armature using a very flexible tool called ZSpheres.
From there, you’ll learn to use several of ZBrush’s powerful sculpting brushes to edit the geometry at its base and to begin sculpting in all the character’s musculature and detail.
Next, you’ll also learn to stylize your model and to create things like clothing and accessories by extracting geometry from existing shapes.

When you're finished with this ZBrush course, you’ll have learned the process of creating a sculpted character from start to finish. But even though we’re building a dwarf, you’re not just learning to build one character. So sprinkled in along the way, you’ll get challenges that will allow you to see that what you’ve learned can apply to many different kinds of characters.

Let’s start with the first module by looking at our artwork, creating a plan, and creating our ZSphere armature.

Software required: Zbrush.

Course FAQ

What is ZBrush?

ZBrush is a software that enables you to create high-resolution, detailed sculpts and models in a digital environment. It uses "pixol" technology to digitally store information of the physical properties of all objects on screen.

Is ZBrush easy to learn?

To truly master Zbrush, or any 3d tool, requires a lot of time and practice. You just need the desire to learn and to jump right in and start sculpting. This course is an excellent step along the path to mastering ZBrush.

What will I learn in this course?

This course will teach you how to use ZBrush to create detailed character sculpts. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Creating a base mesh
  • Blocking out the body with ZSpheres
  • Modifying topology with ZModeler
  • Facial sculpting - ears, torso, arms, hands, etc.
  • Detailing and stylizing
  • Sculpting the clothing
  • Adding accessories and final details
  • Much more
Who should take this course?

This ZBrush tutorial is perfect for anyone who wants to learn ZBrush and how to do digital sculpting. Especially useful to anyone designing characters for games.

What software do I need to take this course?

In order to follow along and apply the principles in this ZBrush tutorial you will need to have the ZBrush software installed on your device. If you don't own the software you should be able to use a free trial version of it before deciding to purchase it or not.

About the author

Justin thrives as a lead modeling author at Pluralsight. Growing up, Justin found a deep interest for the computer graphics industry after watching movies like Jurassic Park, Toy Story, and The Abyss. His ambition would lead him to work at Sony Imageworks in Los Angeles on movies like Monster House and Surf's Up. Justin has also had numerous articles, tutorials, and images published in 3D World and 3D Artist. As an author, Justin enjoys collaborating with fellow authors, especially on project... more

Ready to upskill? Get started