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Vehicle modeling in z-brush : car speed modeling.



Even if Zbrush is more useful in organic sculpting, it can still be helpful when

a semi-organic modeling is required in short time.

For this exercise, the aim Is to build a Ford Probe (chosen for its smooth shapes),

the most realistic possible, keeping in mind that a NURBS precision is not compatible

with this technique. The final object can be used for 2D illustrations, cinematic props,

real-time normal mapped props.



Before starting, grab as many references of the vehicle you can find.

Study them and try to make a precise idea of how volumes are structured.



Lets start with the wheels. Its composed by a cylinder of 8 sections.

You can hide inner polygons for a better idea of the global shape.


Hide the middle polygon band then make a CREASE on the remaining polygons.

Subdivide you mesh 2 time then un crease all faces, then re subdivide.

This way the wheel has precise outlines, but not too sharp.



After enabling radial symmetry on your brush, sculpt the tire to add few volumes,

to make it a bit rounder and filled of air.


Subdivide your mesh to its maximum. Set the symmetrical radius to 50.

Use the layer brush to draw the tires prints precisely.

Use the smart resym function to copy the left part to the right one.



Lower the symmetrical radial count to 25, and play with the layer brush intensity

to sculpt the tire patterns at different intensity.


You can now unhide the inner polygons, to build the hubcap.



As new tool, select a plane primitive at lowest subdivision level.

Use a radial symmetry of 3 and draw with the layer brush the spiral pattern.

Launch PROJECTION MASTER and place 3 rings to build the outline.

Apply the projection with normalized and falloff disabled.

Before leaving your tool, from side, hide the plan faces to keep only the hubcap visible.


Re-select the tire tool, and in projection master, stamp you hubcap on the wheel,

with normalized and falloff disabled. The tire is done!


Its time to build the car body. You can use zbrush edge loop or an external program,

to your convenience. In this case, to do renders in zbrush, I choose to build the wheels

in the mesh, but for external render, you could leave the tires separated from the main body.

Donít forget to set your UVís. Keep as many quads as possible and keep an regular repartition.


Make some poly groups for the roof, the wheels, the glasses and do some creases

to preserve shapes and sharp angles and those areas when subdividing.




Les start sculpting. Offset the roof and glasses to make a separation from the main body.

Paint select the glasses shapes (donít forget to save this mask, you can reuse it often),

then inflate them (negative). With the simple brush, draw the glass joints.


To build wheels holes, turn the car 90į by side. In PROJECTION MASTER,

place a ring (with 4 sides) at the good position, in subtract mode. It will operate a Boolean like effect.



Select you tire tool, position it, rotate it at 90į and scale it, in order to fit the remaining

area left by the previous step.

Be sure you apply the projection without normalize and falloff enable,

BUT in double side to affect both sides in same time.


Use projection master as often as you can, in double side, to draw doors frames.

Use a very blurred alpha for flanks reliefís. For the bumper, BE SURE you enable NORMALISE,

so deformation will spread among the surface normals, and polygons will be pushed in every

direction and not only by side.


Proceed the same from front bumper. Mix add and sub mode, with a blurred circular alpha.


Use the line tool to build the lens and its container. The car plate is a simple box, non uniformed scaled,

smoothed. Air intake is realized with a deformed ball stamped in subtractive mode.

All those deformation must be realized from front. You can do half of the car, and resym

it for faster work.


From top, use the simple layer brush with line stroke, to draw the hiding lens.


Proceed the same way for the back bumper. The rear-view mirror is a simple deformed box, projected by side.


Hereís the final car, read to be textured.


In order to accelerate the process, I choosed to paint colors and materials in same time.

Identify how many material you will need. Here I used 4 : a noisy grey metal for the hubcap

(in zbrush Bumpy metal), a high reflecting one for the glass (based on reflected map),

the same, but less reflecting for the paint, and a mat one for the tires.



Hereís a preview of the texture (without materials). Its very simple, and most is done

in projection master for more fluidity.

The same texture with the materials applied.


For the final rendering, I enabled shadows and perspective for more realistic distortions.


sébastien Legrain


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