Just a brief walk-through on how I created this Freddy Krueger render. Using 3ds Max, ZBrush and Photoshop. The character is based on the original ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ movie.
Step 1: Modeling
After scouring the internet for image reference of Freddy Krueger, and images of Robert Englund, the actor that played him, I modeled the basic components in 3ds Max. It’s possible to model everything in Zbrush, but I like the added control/precision I have when using 3ds Max.
I also like to define where I want my UV seams in 3ds Max. So I do a very quick and rough unwrap, before bringing the models into ZBrush.
Modeling the head, in almost entirely done with Zbrush using a set of very simple tools.
Move tool to get a general shape, starting to match the overall shape to Freddy and Robert’s likeness.
Then slowly start to add the scarring using ClayTubes tool and Smooth tool.
And finally adding detail using the Dam_Standard tool and various alpha maps with the Standard tool to get the fine details.
Step 2: Texturing
Before I start texturing I make sure my UV coordinates are good. Since I already defined the seams in 3ds Max, I just use UV Master plugin for Zbrush to unwrap based on existing seams. Again, it’s entirely possible to do it all in Zbrush, but it’s a little harder to control where you want the seams. To get the UV’s perfect, I will also use GoZ plugin to bring the model back into 3ds Max and make sure the UV’s have the orientation I like.
Once I have all the UV’s done, I start to Polypaint the basic colors in Zbrush.
From Zbrush I export a series of maps using Multi Map Exporter plugin to create my final texture.
By combining these maps I create the final textures in Photoshop, adding dirt and details as I see fit. Diffuse texture to control the overall color, a scattermap to help control the Subsurface Scattering in the skin shader, a bump map for added skin details and pores, and lastly a Specular map to handle the highlights and reflections in the skin.
Step 3: Rendering
When I’m happy with the model in ZBrush and have the pose I want, I import the models into 3ds Max. I use the Decimation Master plugin to reduce the polygon count to something 3ds Max can handle.
In 3ds Max I create a simple 3 light setup using Photometic lights to use with the Mental Ray renderer. (Note: For more details on how to use Mental Ray and rendering, read my Mental Ray tutorial here.)
Creating the materials is probably where I spent most of my time… getting just the right look is time consuming, tweaking the values and doing hundreds of test renders before getting the right result.
For the skin I used a simple Subsurface Scattering Material, I decided to match the look of the Freddy mask from the movies rather than realistic skin. The Freddy mask changed a bit from movie to movie but I tried to match something in between them all.
The Metal parts was done using Arch & Design shader.
For added realism I use an HDRI enviroment setup to create an illusion of an enviroment, this adds greatly to the reflections in the eyes and metal parts of the glove.
For final render I rendered out 3 passes, the Diffuse pass, an Ambient Occlusion pass and a ZDepth pass. The Ambient Occlusion pass I use to get a little more contrast and realistic shadows in there, and I like to have full control over how much and where in Photoshop. (Note: Find a tutorial on how to make the Ambient Occlusion layer here.) The ZDepth pass I use in Photoshop to create some Depth of Field using the Lens Blur filter.
In Photoshop I also did a little color correction and added Chromatic Aberration and some film grain.
And the final result: (go here for high resolution)
While I describe the process in chronological steps, in reality I go back and forth between the steps quite a lot. I would model the model to about 90% and then start to do test renders. For me it’s important to see the effect of the shader on the model to really get a feel for the look, then based on that result add in the final detail.
Thanks for reading.