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Master the Art of Hard Surface Helmet Sculpting: Unveiling the Secrets of ZBrush


🤖Learn how to sculpt a hard surface helmet using ZBrush.



🤖This tutorial focuses on modifying an anime head model, refining the shape, and adding details like separate parts and visors.



🤖Follow along to create a clean and precise design.






- Workflow

  • We’re going to use the anime preset head for today's class since it has the same shape as the helmet.

  • We’re going to remove the ears and all the facial features using the ClayBuild up brush and smoothing out and DynaMeshing the model as we work on making a flat face.

  • It’s better to work with symmetry so that all the changes we make on one side of the head get transferred to the opposite side.

  • We’re also going to turn off the Perspective view so that we can see our model in the Orthographic view.

  • Using smooth and ClayBuild up we’re going to add and take away from the face while smoothing and using DynaMesh.

  • Now that our face is completely flat we’re going to remove the neck using the knife tool.

  • We’ll fix up the leftover neck using ClayBuild up, DaynaMesh, and Smooth.

  • With the reference in the background, we can turn up the See-through slider so that we can fix up the shape of the helmet using the move brush.

  • With the DamStandard brush start making the lines on the helmet to separate the parts.

  • Make sure you check both front and side view while working to make sure everything is going well.

  • If there is a hole anywhere on your model you can freely fill it in using the ClayBuild up brush and smooth it out.

  • Continue adding in more lines with the DamStandard brush.

  • Don’t forget to also outline the middle of the visor where it splits into two.

  • This is how things should look so far.

  • With the StandardBrush we’re going to add some more clay on the bottom part of the visor so that we can extrude it forward a bit.

  • With the Pinch brush, we can pinch the lines we made with the DamStandard brush.

  • Using the Polish brush we can make the surface flatter and smoother on the helmet.

  • Do the same thing on the side of the helmet and other parts that need to have a smooth and flat surface.

  • We can use the ClayBuild up brush to add some clay on the bottom of the helmet, smoothing it after with the smooth brush and DynaMesh.

  • Continue fixing up the surface with the Polish Brush.

  • Don’t forget to adjust the form of the helmet every now and again.

  • Here we’re adding the line above the vizor with the Dam Standard.

  • If you want to make the lines more precise you can always activate the LazyMouse on the DamStandard brush.

  • Keep using the Polish Brush to flatten the helmet.

  • Mask the top part above the vizor, invert the mask, and with the gizmo move it up.

  • By holding down the Ctrl button and dragging the center square we can inflate the unmasked part as well.

  • Make sure after you make the change to adjust the helmet again to the reference.

  • With the knife tool cut the part we don't need from the helmet.

  • Use the Mechanical Part brush to add in the side details on the helmet.

  • When we add the side parts it will mask our entire helmet and leave the parts unmasked.

  • From here we can use the Gizmo tool to move and rotate them in place.

  • To split the sides from the helmet we need to make sure at least one of them is masked, doesn’t matter if it’s the helmet or the sides.

  • Once one of them is masked click Split Masked Parts in the Subtool options.

  • We want to separate each part of the helmet into its own subtool, to do that we need to mask each part separately and assign them their own polygroup.

  • You can use the masking laso tool or any other masking bruh you find more convenient.

  • Make sure you refine the masked edges so that we get a better separation.

  • After you make sure everything is masked as precisely as possible click Ctrl + W to add a polygroup to the masked area.

  • We’ll repeat this process on the other parts of the helmet.

  • You can always fix up the form even if you are masking, it can help you even to smooth out or move around parts of the helmet.

  • To mask some of the parts of the helmet better we can isolate the remainder of the first polygroup and mask the part that we want to be separated.

  • Once we mask the part we need we can add it to its own polygroup. Isolate the new part and mask the parts that are sticking out.

  • Make sure you mask most of them precisely and assign them their own polygroup.

  • With our newly assigned groups, we can more easily work on specific parts of the helmet without having to worry about the rest of the parts around it.

  • We’re going to Isolate the vizor by Ctrl + Shift + Click on the vizor polygroup.

  • We want to fix up the border of the vizor.

  • To do that we can go to the Masking Tab, make sure only the Border is turned on, and click Mask By Feature.

  • Now the borders of our vizor are all masked.

  • By Ctrl + Clicking on the side we can invert the masking so that the borders are exposed.

  • To smooth them out we’ll open up the Deformation Tab and increase the Polish by feature slider till the borders are smooth.

  • To split the vizor from the rest of the helmet, while it is isolated go into the Subtool menu and click Split Hidden.

  • Now everything else that wasn’t visible is separated.

  • Select the subtool with the vizor and ZRemesh it with Adapt turned on and the Target Poly Count set on 5.

  • We can see that the ZRemesh is working well and we can continue to half the topology.

  • Deselect the Adapt and only have Half turned on, start ZRemeshing to the lowest polygon count while still keeping the form of the vizor the same.

  • We don’t want to have imperfect edge loops like this one.

  • We can fix them using the move brush and move the vertices where they’ll create a better flow for the edge loop.

  • Once we fix up the edge loop select Same on the ZRemesh tool and re-mesh it again to fix up the topology.

  • Now we have a much better edge flow on our geometry.

  • To make the vizor of the helmet thicker we’ll use the ZModeler Brush to extrude the polygons.

  • Set your action to Qmesh and the Target on All Polygons.

  • Start to extrude it inward.

  • We do this so the vizor doesn’t stick out from the rest of the helmet and it is more convenient in this case to extrude it inside.

  • We can see that our vizor looks a bit off and we aren’t able to see the top face of the geometry.

  • Inside the Display Properties click the Flip button and it will flip the faces inside out.

  • We want the borders of the edge to be sharp when we add divisions.

  • We can use the crease tool but it will give us a mediocre result.

  • Instead, we can Bevel the edges in rows of four and increase the Edge Sharpness value.

  • Bevel the main edge loop that is the border of the vizor then continue to bevel the same edge above and below it to add some supportive edges to hold the form of the vizor.

  • Now when we add divisions by either clicking D and accepting the change or using the shortcut Ctrl + D.

  • We can see that the edges at the border are not only beveled but creased as well.

  • Use the Move Brush to fix the positioning of the vizor.

  • We can see that the ends of the vizor are too oval, we can fix this by using the Move Brush to move the form in place and bevel the edges to add some extra support on the ends.

  • Make sure you delete the rest of the divisions by going to the first one and clicking the Del Hidden button.

  • Once we fix the ends we need to adjust the helmet again using the move tool.

  • Here we’re adding some more clay on the part below the vizor using the ClayBuild and Standar brush.

  • We can also refine the lines using the DamStandar brush while having Lazy Mouse on.

  • Same as before, we’ll select the part by Ctrl + Shift + Clicking on it, and in the subtool use the Split Hidden button to split it away in its own subtool.

  • Once in its own subtool use the MaskByFeature tool with just the border turned on and in the Deformation Tab smooth out the edges using the Polish By Feature slider.

  • If some edges are still too rough you can always move them around and use the Polish By Feature slider again to get a better result.

  • Once the edges are polished we can go ahead and ZRemesh it.

  • We don’t want the edges to be this pinched to each other.

  • To fix them we need to move the end a bit with a Move Brush and remesh it again using the Same option turned on.

  • After the ZRemesh with the Move Brush adjust it to the form of the helmet.