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Djinn Breaking Free (Breakdown)

I had the pleasure of attending a Zbrush masterclass from Maarten Verhoeven. Although I wasn’ t completely new to Zbrush having made a creature before, this time I tried to do something humanoid, trying to get the anatomy correct and adding my own twist to it. I decided to make a Jinn, a mythical creature from Islamic lore. I was quite happy with my sculpt but I felt like it wasn’ t completely finished, I wanted to add more detail to the sculpt. The only problem was that the sculpt was high poly and I didn’ t have any time after the project to manually UV it and do all the hassle of baking all those objects from highres to lowres.


Eventually I left the sculpt to work on other stuff and kinda forgot about it, until I started getting interested in high poly to low poly workflows in Houdini for games. I had the perfect model to test it out. Now I did cheat a bit because I just took the low poly model from the Zbrush Project. But still I had a lot of work to do to output the picture I had imagined for this sculpt.


UV’ing was fairly easy, I used the Game Developer’ s Toolkit in Houdini. The UV’s may not be perfect but it’ s good for what I wanted to achieve. Next up baking, which was also easy with the baking node. It was very easy to bake all the details onto my low poly model, so the next step was to add more detail by taking the model to substance painter. I divided the whole sculpt into multiple UDIM texture sets which took a while and some crashes, but eventually I got it into substance without too much trouble. Now I could add some details I couldn’ t before. I added some Arabic texts and skin details and some other basic details. I uploaded the model to sketchfab to get an interactive version of the model.



Somehow I managed to break substance while loading it in.

But it worked out, you can check out the model here.


After that I took the model back to Houdini to add some dynamic effects, like the sand blowing from the force, magic particles to make it more magical, some sand particles and I took the base cloud and turned it into a volumetric cloud with spinning forces making it look like a tornado effect. Eventually I made some still renders of the whole thing and it looks pretty nice.



I made some closeups as well, but this is the still in its full glory.


But I still didn’t have something to put in my reel because they were stills, so I quickly put it in a volumetric box to have some cool fog and rendered the whole thing with a sweet camera move.





I would love to show more of the process, but halfway through the project my save file got corrupted and half my nodes were missing, thank god I had cached the simulations or else I would've had to do the whole thing again. But my next post will be more in depth I promise.

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