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New Gnomon DVD shows how this 3D World cover was made

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 | Posted by Jim Thacker

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The Gnomon Workshop has released a new DVD in which studio founder Alex Alvarez explains how he created Totem, a 3D illustration commissioned for the cover of issue 176 of 3D World magazine.

Instruction in ZBrush, Maya, SpeedTree and Photoshop
Over six hours of video training, The Making of ‘Totem’ explores how the initial design brief of a ‘stone head in a jungle’ was translated into a detailed CG illustration.

The head itself was sculpted in ZBrush, as was the underlying terrain, with layout and camera setup done in Maya.

Scene lighting was blocked out using mental ray’s physical sun/sky system, with a library of trees created with Onyx used to design areas of illumination and shadow.

Plants and trees were created using SpeedTree, including custom assets such as hanging vines and ground ivy, while moss was creating interactively in Maya with custom Paint Effects brushes.

The video also discusses how the scene was textured using Quixel‘s nDo and upcoming Megascans service, shaders, the spPaint3d script, Z-depth, volume fog, and the final compositing work in Photoshop.

About the author
Alex Alvarez is the founder and president of Hollywood’s Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood, and worked as a creature development artist on Avatar, Star Trek, Green Lantern and Prometheus.

The Making of ‘Totem’ is available now on The Gnomon Workshop’s online store as a digital download, price $69. The tutorial will shortly be released on DVD.

Buy The Making of ‘Totem’ from The Gnomon Workshop online store

Full disclosure: CG Channel is owned by the Gnomon School of Visual Effects.

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