Horror Challenge - ressurected soldier

Hello everyone,

This is my first FlippedNormals challenge.
I wanted to use this challenge to practice my anatomy therefore I decided to create a medieval zombie with chainmail armour. I wanted to create a scene in the crypts.

I gathered my references and started in zbrush with dynamesh and created a skull.

I duplicated the skull and used it to model skin around the skull. I went a bit to detailed on the head so I created a second mesh for the body and.

I also created some meshes for the hands and found some anatomy basemeshes in the Zfiles which I used as reference for the proportions.

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To save time on retoplogising I decided to project the humanBaseMesh that comes with Zbrush onto the model.

I then started finding the shapes. I tried seperating the primary secondary and tertiary details into seperate layers. I also seperated the symmetrical and asymmetrical changes into layers. I am new to using layers so I’m still figuring out what to seperate on different layers.

I wanted to make him look more decayed so I pushed the nose in which brought the skull shape out more.
I also started on the secondary details for the teeth and the hands. For the hands I struggled with making them look malnourished. So I decided to first make them look normal and then bring shrink them.

I struggled with the shapes for the face so I decided to test out my idea for chainmail first.
I downloaded A mixamo model with animation for testing.
I created a simple shirt with alot of polygons and then instance some rings onto them to create chainmail.

I then used Cloth simulations to make the chainmail move naturally.

To help finding the shapes I decided to export the model to Blender and see what it looked like when lit. This gave me a better feeling for the shapes and I made alot of progress.

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I started refining the skin structure of the head.

I then decided to reshape the chest a bit and also work on creating some break-up in the skin structure there.

for the smaller details I will be using textures to keep the Zbrush polycount managable for my computer.

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I started texturing in Substance. I like using as much of a procedural workflow as possible. I started with a flesh layer and then added a skin layer ontop of it. I used the displacement maps to darken the skin in the dents in the mesh and some noise textures to let the flesh shine through a bit. I then added some black blood to make it look more dirty.

In blender I added the chainmail and tried using the particle system to create some hair. I didn’t like how this looks so I decide to use the new hair system later on.

I also wanted to test out what he would look like with a hood but this covered up too mutch of the model so I removed it again.


I made some final tweaks to the textures.

I also created some masks for the face regions to tweak the roughness and subsurface in blender.

I also went back into Zbrush to finalise the details and put him in a pose.

In I played around with the new hair system, this immediately looked alot better but it still felt like a puppet. I noticed the reflection above the eyes made it look like the Iris was never hidden behind the eyelid, so I decided to change the lighting. I also wasn’t a big fan of the camera angle. The original Idea was for him to reach for the camera but this didn’t feel right. So I also played around a bit with the camera.

The original Idea was for the Zombie to be woken up inside a medieval crypte so I found a HDRI of the inside of a cave on Polyhaven. I also moved the camera to the side and this made a massive difference. I’m was alot happier with where it was going.

I was inspired to make some more dramatic lights. I made the background black and added a spot.

I really liked how this turned out. It made me think of caravaggio.
I wanted to give it a bit more atmosphere so I added a very thin volumetric fog to the scene.
I also made the field of view of the Spot light a bit tighter and added an object in front of it to break up the light.

This gave the image some light rays and added some variation in the light intensity, adding to the feeling that it is underground.

I really like how the final image turned out. I usually make a model to use in every scenario so working towards one image was a really nice change. I do want to continue on the model. I would like to rig it and use it in a shot for my showreel.

Thank you to FlippedNormals for inspiring me to do something different and good luck to all the other contestants.


If you haven’t already done it, remember to post your result in the final submissions thread today so your work can be considered for one of the prizes :slight_smile: Only a few hours left to go now! Countdown Timer – Countdown to Nov 23, 2023 in London, England