Powered by Modular Merchant Shopping Cart Software
View Large Image

Character Modeling in Maya and ZBrush

The Making of Jester, Volume One

Sample Clip

This making of demonstration and lecture began with the decision to take a personal sketch, develop it in 3D and produce a life-size print. This would require the development of high-resolution detail and textures that could hold up to a 4000x6000 pixel render, effectively making Jester a film-res character. Observe and listen as Alex shares his workflow, thought process and techniques. Volume One covers the character modeling process using Maya and ZBrush, as well as some lighting, composition and texture exploration. Alex begins by creating an organized base mesh in Maya that accurately follows the 2D design. Using UVlayout, he flattens the UVs of the multiple basemesh components. Jester is then imported into ZBrush for sculpting and detailing. We give some thought as to the resolution for each subtool that should be sent to Maya and export them with normal maps generated in Zmapper. Once in Maya, the shader networks are blocked-out so that Jester renders in Maya with the same level of detail that he had in ZBrush. The final step prior to texturing is to then create a Photoshop¬ color study that will guide our further progress on the character.

  • Base Mesh Creation
  • Photoshop® Color Study
  • Composition/Lighting
  • Zbrush/Zmapper
  • Maya Shader Setup
  • UV Layout
    Chapters: Disk One
  1. Overview
  2. Base Mesh, Part 1
  3. Base Mesh,Part 2
  4. Base Mesh, Part 3
  5. Base Mesh, Part 4
  6. UV Layout, Part 1
  7. UV Layout, Part 2
  8. UV Layout, Part 3
    Chapters: Disk Two
  1. Composition/Lighting
  2. Sculpting in ZBrush, Part 1
  3. Sculpting in ZBrush, Part 2
  4. Sculpting in ZBrush, Part 3
  5. Maya Shader Set-up
  6. Photoshop Color Study
  • Product Code: AAL03
  • ISBN: 1-59762-882-4
  • UPC: 805366016821
  • Duration: 540 minutes
  • Formats: DVD-ROM

DVD-ROM Requirements:

  • 1GHz or faster processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 64 MB Video RAM
  • DVD-ROM Drive
  • 5 GB of hard disk space
  • 1280 x 1024 display

DVD-ROM and Digital Download Requirements:

Minimum Operating System:

  • Microsoft® Windows® Vista®
  • Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
  • Apple® Mac® OS X 10.2


  • QuickTime Movie Player (Version 7.0 or higher)
  • Acrobat Reader (Version 5.0 or higher)

For more information on DVD and Digital Download policies click here here.

  • Software Used:

  • Autodesk

  • Pixologic

Alex Alvarez

Founder, Director The Gnomon Workshop
Gnomon School of Visual Effects

Alex Alvarez is the founder and president of the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood, the Gnomon Workshop, Gnomon Gallery, SketchTheatre and Gnomon Studios. Having dedicated the past fifteen years to educating students and professionals around the world, Alex has helped change the face of computer graphics and design education. He has been published in industry magazines, websites and books, plus he has taught workshops at several major trade conferences. He continues to work on personal and professional projects, recently as a creature development artist on Avatar, Star Trek, Green Lantern and Prometheus. Prior to Gnomon, Alex worked for Alias|Wavefront as a consultant and trainer for studios in the Los Angeles area. Alex is an alumnus of the Art Center College of Design and the University of Pennsylvania.

Watch this tutorial now with an Online Training Subscription.

"Whenever I need to breathe life into my characters, Alex Alvarez is where I go. Whether it be to collaborate on concepts with him directly or to watch his DVDs, I am always confident in accessibility to great information. Not only has his technical prowess pulled me out of many holes, but his character sense has given rise to some wonderful moments on some major motion pictures (Avatar and Star Trek). These new DVD's encapsulate what I gush about. Crazy and creative character design coupled with empowering technical know how."

- Neville Page
Character/Concept Designer

Lecture Stills Gallery