Hi there! My name is Chase Morello and I’m a 21 year old 3D artist from Wildwood, New Jersey. I’m currently a student going into my senior year at Fairleigh Dickinson University located in New Jersey, with a major in video game animation and a minor in digital marketing. I’m currently working as a freelance artist and an animator for the digital marketing team at Morey’s Piers in Wildwood, New Jersey.
I’ve always had a strong passion for creating ever since I was a child, but really delved into the professional art field back in my sophomore year in high school. I worked as a freelance artist using an iPad, focusing completely on making 2D digital art for Youtubers.
After about 3 years of working my way up and developing my skills in the 2D field, I thought that it was time to give the 3D field a shot in college, and I’ve loved it ever since. I really love to challenge myself on my projects, and try to learn as much as possible in and out of class with video tutorials.
Why this Project
I’ve always had a strong love for everything superheroes. My house was always full of comic books, as well as Sideshow Collectibles statues (extremely lifelike statues of characters from popular media) that were littered all over my house depicting heroes and villains such as SpiderMan, the Hulk, Superman, etc. Needless to say, these statues were a huge inspiration for me in creating this project, since Venom is one of my favorite all time Marvel villains.
We never had a statue for Venom, so I knew that it had to be done from the start and would prove to be a great way to challenge myself to learn the program since I was fairly new to it. This was actually my first full body sculpt of a character ever, and my second project in Zbrush overall. It was the final for my class, so I definitely wanted to try giving it my all!
Basemesh Character Sculpting
In order to create the basemesh for the character I started out with several cylinders in Zbrush, which I continually dynameshed into the arms, legs, fingers, etc to block out the overall shape of the character. This would give me an overall starting point before I started adding details and such.
I’ve never sculpted/modeled anything this realistic before, so getting the base anatomy down was quite the challenge!
From here I went onto the major detailing phase, which probably took the longest to do. I fixed a lot of the overall anatomy in this phase, and tried adding as much detail as possible to the character to make him look as menacing as possible.
I mainly used the dam standard brush for creating the indents and veins, along with the noise brush for creating the subtle bumpy skin texture.
After the major detailing on the body itself was completed I modeled up the teeth and tongue in 3DS Max. The teeth were created from several small reshaped boxes and the tongue was created with a spline. I then imported them back over into Zbrush and made some minor detailing to the tongue to make it more bumpy.
The Polypainting phase didn’t actually take as long as I originally thought it would, since Venom is a relatively straightforward character palette-wise. The only hard part was navigating carefully around the chest symbol and eyes for the white, since those parts were not fully symmetrical. I had to zoom in quite a bit and carefully paint within the line to make sure the eyes and symbol looked accurate, but other than that it was relatively quick. I also tried adding some blood stains and a unique coloration to the tongue.
Zbrush Rigging, Positioning, and Props
Instead of rigging the model in 3DS Max we were instructed to use the Zsphere tool in Zbrush to create a frame inside of our character. I would typically import the mesh as a t-pose into 3DS Max first and then rig it using the CAT system, but the professor of our class specifically told us to rig our characters in Zbrush. I enjoyed learning the Zbrush rigging tool, so this wasn’t a huge problem. The frame typically starts in a t-pose, which can then bind to the mesh itself in order to move the character into any position necessary. For this position in particular I decided to go for a fierce, lunging attack.
The last step was to create a platform for Venom to stand on, as well as several props and debris scattered around to make it look more like a statue. The pipes were created in 3DS Max using splines, and the rocks were created with a script in order to get them to look realistic.
The most challenging prop(s) to add would have to be the black slime trails going all over his body and on the ground. They were created by inserting small sphere meshes around the places where I wanted the trails to come out of, which were then continually stretched with the snakehook brush and dynameshed until I got them looking the way I wanted.
Retopology and Texture Baking
Nearly all of the retopology was done in Zbrush, with its dynamesh and ZRemesher capabilities being very useful for this sort of thing. After dynameshing, ZRemeshing, unwrapping and exporting all of my props and character as OBJ files, they were then brought into 3DS Max for texturing. I then imported the high poly sculpts into 3DS Max for projection map baking, and applied the baked textures to my model.
For the integration into Sketchfab I used the downloadable plugin for 3DS Max, providing a quick and easy import with my textures already set up. I then configured the texture specular and glossiness levels a bit to give Venom a slimy looking coat in order to boost the realism.
I then used several post processing filters which included sharpness, ambient occlusion, depth of field, vignette, and color balance.
Finally, I’d like to give a big thank you to the entire Sketchfab team for this amazing website and tool that gives artist the opportunity to show our 3D work in such an easy and unique way. I’d also like to give a big thank you for allowing me to participate with this art spotlight, and I hope you all enjoyed!