The Mummy Piper

Hey everyone,

Here’s my initial mood board for the idea I’ve had, an ancient Egyptian take on the Pied Piper of Hamelin. I’m imagining my character to be some spirit roaming the land to either rid humans of plagues or punish them.
My main inspirations here are ancient Egyptian visuals (black and gold, mummy bandages etc.) and the cat goddess Bastet, contrasting with the rat or mouse theme of the original Piper.
I’m looking forward to see what everyone’s coming up with! Next, I’ll be doing some quick sketches to get a clearer idea of the story and silhouette.


After quite a bit of back and forth, some very rough sketches in my sketchbook and collecting more references, I eventually sat down to do some concept sketches. I decided to step away from the cat or Bastet theme, otherwise she’d end up looking too cutesy. I’d like to keep her leaning towards a soft kind of “fairy tale horror” with her long nails, glowing eyes and decaying skin.
I haven’t figured out some details yet, but I’ll do that once I start sculpting and will just go with my gut :slight_smile:

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I’ve started my blockout in Zbrush, still a lot of work to do and stuff to figure out :sweat_smile:

I’m going for a realistic look with this project which is pretty much the opposite of what I usually do in my personal time. I haven’t sculpted a realistic face in ages so I’m collecting a heap of references, staring at my anatomy books and trying to get her to look appealing but stern.
I’m also using the chance to get into Marvelous Designer and have been playing around with it for a few hours yesterday.
Apart from that, I’m still brainstorming on how to reinforce my story telling, so e.g. I’ve added a money pouch to her belt. In the fairy tale, the piper ends up punishing the citizens for not keeping their word. So in my case, her pouch is filled with coins, for the time being and she poses no threat. I imagine that over time, humans commit more and more bad deeds (lying, cheating, killing) and her pouch depletes. Once it’s empty, time has come for her to once more put humankind in their spot.

It’s quite fun to be free and play around with different shapes, e.g. for the floating artefact behind her back. That’s why I’m also taking my time developing my shape language and trying various designs. The most important thing for me is to make the shapes feel coherent, adding to her overall elegant and regal appeal.

My progress has slowed down a bit cause of work but I’ll definitely try my best to push her along the best I can.

I’ve been studying a heap of anatomical references and portraits of women where I can clearly see their facial structure, skin pores etc. So the face changed quite a bit and I removed the face paint for now so I can see the shapes better.
I’m also trying to add to her silhouette and increase her aura of regal mystery, incorporating more delicate details and shapes.


Some sculpting progress I made on Sunday which I spent focusing on her hands. I’m not sure yet if I will keep her natural nails or rather create some nails she would wear as jewellery.

Apart from this, I’ve been struggling with Marvellous Designer these past 2 days, trying to get her ceremonial belt to work but it just won’t do what I want :upside_down_face: Let’s see if I can make it work or will be forced to switch to Zbrush to finish it.

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looking really good so far, for texture have you thought about adding some makeup/face paint? also for the hands or maybe some jewelry claw? for the finger tips? anyways keep it up!

Thanks a lot for your comment, Samuel! Yeah, I’d definitely want some face paint, but I’m still trying a few options in Zbrush to see what would work best. I guess I’ll try the jewellery claw if you also reckon that would make for a better look :relaxed:

After I’ve spent the past 3 days figuring out how to better use Marvellous Designer, I finally got some blockouts for the piper’s cloak, dress and hood in Zbrush. I watched I don’t know how many tutorials, e.g. also a really helpful Flipped Normals one that explains how to get clean topology.
I also blocked out a first draft of the pose, so please ignore the hands, they’re just placeholders :sweat_smile: This project will be a first in many ways, e.g. I will also create some IMMs to add some detail to her jewellery.


After a busy week, I could finally get back to working on my piper this weekend. I posed her hands, started sculpting her feet, polished the clothing, adding bandages on arms, neck and feet, blocking in hair… I also spent some time watching a heap of tutorials on how to work with a Marvelous Designer export in Zbrush. There is so much to learn and consider :upside_down_face:

As you see, her mouth is open now, so she can actually play her flute :smiley:


Quick update! I’m working on the jewellery now, using a mix of sculpting and modelling to get some ornamental detail in.

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Long time no update! I had a lot of personal and professional stuff going on so I’m a bit behind with my character. But I hope I can still finish her somehow until the deadline, even if I have to rush it now.
I’m pretty much done with her retopo and had to be quite quick about it. I have to start on the uvs next, wish me luck :stuck_out_tongue: