Demonic Evocation Tutorial,
or how to use ZBrush for your Sketch instead of a pencil…

Hi everyone,

This tutorial is not about how to sculpt in ZBrush or how to paint in general. I just want to show you how I used ZBrush’s awesome sculpting function for an illustration that looks in the end the same as my other illustrations.
The whole difference between my “Demonic Evocation” picture to my other pictures is that I didn’t sketch the characters, I sculpted them. May all sound a little wired and strange at first but that’s how I did this piece, and it’s not really as complicated as it may sound.

I will show you some basic steps in this tutorial illustrated with some screenshots I took to make you see how the whole thing works.

To try something like this yourself you will need the following software:


As for the hardware, a pressure sensitive graphic tablet is highly recommended, for ZBrush as well as for Painter and Photoshop!

1 - Head sculpt in ZBrush

the first thing I did was to sculpt a head in ZBrush, I don’t explain how to sculpt in ZBrush as this would go to far, so to use this tutorial you already should be able to sculpt in 3d applications. If you never tried to sculpt anything cause you thought it would be to difficult, get yourself ZBrush and give it a try. You will be amazed how easy it is to sculpt something like a head with this application, it is like working with clay.

However here is the “Demon” head I sculpted for this illustration. It doesn’t have to be completely worked out in ZBrush as it will only be used as a “underpainting” later on. You don’t even need a very high resolution render. Just pose the head the way you want it later in your artwork, place the light the way you want and render it.
You don’t need to texture or color the head in ZBrush, a rough grayscale will do the trick. As said we just need it as a kind of underpainting for our illustration.

The advantage of sculpting than sketching is simply that you can use the once created head from another perspective in another illustration, you can pose the head the way you want till you think it fits. A sketch is a pretty stiff thing compared to a 3d object.
AND most important, it is very much fun to sculpt :-)!

2 - Basic coloring in Photoshop and final painting in Painter

Ok, now we have a sculpted head as a grayscale image, so what to do now.

Bring the head into Photoshop and start to add the basic colors. To do this ad a layer over the head layer and set it to color.

Slowly build up the color the way you want.

When I like the color I add some noise to the piece using Photoshop’s noise filter. This helps to get a little rid of the “plastic” look. Well than I’m done with Photoshop and I change to Painter. You can use Photoshop for the further painting process as well, but I prefer Painter, but that’s just me.

Well after adding the basic colors and stuff I have a great ground painting to go from. The rest is just painting, adding color and texture here and there. I won’t go deeper into the painting process itself as I already did some tutorials about the general painting process. Here I just wanted to show how I used ZBrush for this picture.

3 - Creating the Witch

Now I want a witch at the bottom of the picture and as I already started the demon head in 3d I want to do the same with the witch.

Now the problem is you can do fabulous sculpting in ZBrush, but you can’t pose them. At least not yet, ZBrush 3 will solve this problem and you can directly pose your figures in ZBrush. But currently you can’t.

So I need a program where I can pose my figures, one I can EASY pose my figures, here Poser comes into play.
Poser is a fabulous program to pose 3d figures, well Poser is for posing figures ;-).

Now my problem is I hate to use existing Poser figures as the figure won’t be unique. I want my OWN Poser figure! So what to do now.

As I don’t want to spend too much time creating a completely new figure in ZBrush adding the bones, rigging and all that stuff I decide to use a existing Poser figure and morph and change it till it fits my own needs.

So what to do.
Open poser and open a poser figure of your choice. In my case I choose Victoria 3 available at DAZ. Save the figure as obj. file.
Open the file in ZBrush.
Now sculpt and morph the figure the way you want it to look like. You are absolutely free and can make the figure look whatever you want. Just don’t change the policount. To bring the figure back into Poser as a morphtarget you can’t divide the mesh in ZBrush, you need exact the same polycount as you opened the file.

Once you are done with sculpting your new model in ZBrush, save it again as a obj. file.

Now things get a little complicated, now you need to bring your new created model back into Poser. Therefore it is the best you download a free program called “Posers little Helper”. Well to be honest this program written by Stale Loseth is not a little helper it is just an amazing software and a huge help. Just google for this application and try to find a downloadlink, I think a little tutorial how to use the software is included. I downloaded the software here:

Once you know how it works I promise you Poser will be far more than only a program to pose existing Poser models.

However back in Poser you just need to apply the morph and voila your witch is ready for posing. It retains the ability to pose and morph your figure after importing from ZBrush since the figures bone and joint structure is completely retained. So every morph that worked before will work with your newly created figure as well, you can add expression to the face and pose it the way you want. And best, no one else will have the same figure, so you are able to create a unique artwork and you have your very own private reverence model when ever you need it ;-).

Back to my painting, now I have my witch created in 3d and not only as a 2dimension sketch
4 - Posing and applying the witch to the illustration

Well, now all you have top do is to pose your witch the way you want it in Poser, render it and bring it into Photoshop.

Once in Photoshop I worked the same way as I already did with the demon head.

First I have the grayscale, than I post worked it a little and added the drapery, still in grayscale. Next is to apply a base color to the witch, add the witch to the complete picture, open it in Painter and paint till it looks right :-).

That’s in general how I created this picture, hope you like the little tutorial.
Some close ups…

The finished piece:

Any feedback is much appreciated, so don’t hesitate to drop me a mail.

Best whishes and happy painting