So I completed the my first Zbrush project and even though I did not expect to create a polished render at the end of this learning exercise I'm really happy with the outcome. I learnt a great deal about sculpting, poly painting and even post processing in photoshop.

Here is a run down on the workflow I went through to get to the final render

1. zSketch Concept

Using zSpheres and zSketch I drew out the basic module I was looking for. It was originally going to be a Chinese dragon, but it evolved into a snake.

2. Sculpting Phase

From here I created a skin for the zSketch and began sculpting. I mainly used the brushes Move, Dam Standard, Smooth and Standard. I also used the insert mesh and dyna-mesh feature to allow me to add the teeth and tongue, which I sculpted separately.

3. Adding Details

Next I continued to add more details and created a scales brush to add the scale details, I also used appended two subtools for the eyes. You can see below a couple of different scale patterns I tested on the snake,

4. Poly-Painting and Rendering

Next I began to paint the model, firstly but creating base layers then adding more colours and details as I progressed. I then output a couple of test renders at various stages to see some lighting effects and how the colours would look. It was here that I decided to run with the fire snake theme.

4. Post Production

The final step was to do some post production working photoshop. I had never done any extensive post production work before so this was a great learning experience. In zBrush you can render out various passes, when is great for then importing into photoshop. Below you can see a specular pass. I also added the fire and heat effects in photoshop. The final render is shown below.

I've slowing been churning through the 'Intro to Zbrush' book, which I am getting a lot out of. I found a lot of good information on the creation of brushes and alphas and I subsquently spent ALOT of time mucking around with scales for my snake sculpt, which has now become my main project for learning the techniques in the book.
I now consider the sculpting part of the model complete and I will be moving onto poly painting and materials in the final chapters of the book.
Hopefully in the end I should have a fairly decent render of my snake!

Here are some WIP shots, i'm running with the 2nd scales version!

Making Scales Alpha 

Snake with scales version 1

 Snake with scales version 2

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