Category Archives: zbrush

The golden ward painted

Masks of Nyarlathotep – The Golden Ward prop

The following post is about making a small prop of the Golden Ward for the the Masks of Nyarlathotep Peru chapter so contains minor spoilers.

Spoilers ahead

As part of the first session, the investigators stumbled onto a mysterious golden item in the basement storage area of a university they visited. I wanted to make a prop for them of this to have as props are a great part of any game and it adds to the flavour of the evening. I have bought the excellent HPLHS prop set for the Masks campaign but there isn’t a prop for the Ward, most likely because its supposed to be 2 feet long. A bit too big to ship cheaply.

The Golden Ward is a basic shape so thought I could create a model myself. I sat down a few weeks ago to try and sculpt it but didn’t get far and so it ended up on the back burner. With only a few days to go until the next session, I suddenly remembered it wasn’t done. So I fired up Cinema 4D and made the basic shape by chopping and shifting some points around until I had the form right.

Cinema 4d wireframe

Cinema 4d wireframe

It looked right and with a little bit of roughing up, I had enough to export from C4D into Zbrush.

test render

test render

In zbrush I divided it a few times and then roughly carved symbols into the mesh. I don’t have any in progress shots but I did most of the work with the clay tubes brush and hpolish. I did dip into a few other brushes but I was flying so fast I didn’t keep track of what I was using. What I was aiming for was a roughly carved and damaged look, the Ward has been well traveled and isn’t in the greatest of shapes, so needed to look damaged.

I kept shifting between the red wax texture and the gold texture to see how it was looking in zbrush. Once I was happy with it, I hit it with decimation master, going from 11 million polys, down to 478,085, a pretty big drop. I could try to get it down further but didn’t want to ruin the mesh.

The golden ward, in gold.

The golden ward, in gold.

I then exported the obj file to print on my iiip 3d printer. My first thought was to print it at 45 degrees across the bed to print it as big as possible. I ended up with a print time of about 6 hours this way plus I wasn’t sure if I had enough filament, so settled for a smaller size.

golden ward in cura

golden ward in cura

My printer doesn’t have the greatest of resolutions but it came out ok in a couple of hours. I sanded it to remove the print lines and gave it a coat of thinned out Liquid Green stuff to help with any parts I’d missed. I then painted it with some Games workshop paints and its done, ready for the game.

The golden ward painted

The golden ward painted

You can read all about the jolly hi-jinx of the team in my session write ups and the file for this is available on thingiverse.


I spent two hours last night pushing 14 year old super sculpey through a pasta machine. I not only seem to have broken the widest setting on it I also seem to have a dull ache in my arm. Yes, all this means I have a new idea for a sculpture and tonight I started on the armature by milliputing a bit of metal to another bit of metal. Oh the excitement.

While its setting, I’ve been going back to zbrush to try and get into the texture process and managed to finish this chaps hood off. The head is finish (teeth, eyes and skin) I just need to tackle the bone. FNARRRRRRRRRR.

Days cycled to work: 45
Days walked to work through snow and ice: 2
Days driven: 0

Happy St Davids day

Feck me i’m somewhat thrown there. I installed a plugin which managed to crash the site, fortunately everything seems ok now after I ripped the offending plugin out via FTP. What I was trying to do was post up a picture of the three books I got today via Amazon but arrived on World Book day and St Davids. Sadly none of them are Welsh but they are books so one out of two isn’t bad.

The first book is The ballard of Rango. Yeah i’m bandwagoning here but it was such a good film. The book is a nice big chunky hardback with stunning photos of the design work and i’m pleased to see some photos of actual sculptures in the design process.

Book two was described as Mecha porn and its not far off the truth. Abakan 2288 is page after page of sketches, paintings, sculpting, kit bashing and general robotic love. There are some nice designs in there and even though I’m not big on mecha (it all tends to blend into one after a while) this is an interesting enough book to get me over the ‘giant robot’ness of it.

Last up was a copy of The Arcanum. This sounds like a serious mashup of Necronauts and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, it features Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, H. P. Lovecraft, and Marie Laveau as a team of investigators who erm… investigate. Look, i’ve only just got it ok? I can’t say what its like because i’ve not read it. I’ll let you know.

While on the subject of Lovecraft, I downloaded Call of Cthulhu: Wasted Land the other week. Its a turn based, squad controlling, horror infested RPG based on the RPG by Chaosium which is based around the Cthulhu Mythos by HP Lovecraft. I’m only a few levels in as its quite tricky to play for long times at the moment but its great fun with loads of nice touches which really help set the mood of a WW1 infested with horrors ripped from the pages of the Lovecrafts work. As I’ve been a fan for years its nice to see that this has been put together by people with a love of the subject matter and not just by people who are cashing in on a popular subject.

In all my attempts to understand the bizarre nature of zbrush, I’ve never really managed to stick to it. Tonight I’ve had something of a turning point which seems to have come about from drinking and banging my fist against my wacom.
While pig ugly, this represents by first solid breakthrough in both detailing an object imported from c4d and adding some form of colour to it. While the frogbear was a step in this direction that was over the course of several weeks and was years ago. All that knowledge has seeped from my mind like a bit of rotten fruit from a broken fridge.

Days cycled to work: 42
Days walked to work through snow and ice: 2
Days driven: 0

Final tentacle render

tentacle render

Thank buggery thats done. Its taken a couple of long nights and hurried restarts but i finally finished this months 3dworldmag contest to model an underwater ruin. My initial concept was for an underwater church with Deep Ones in praying to an idol of Cthulhu but sadly I had to scrap it as somewhat overly ambitious. Taking a small amount of Cthulhu inspiration and adding some more aquatic themes i ended up with the render above. Overall i’m really happy with it. Its gloomy but its clear enough to see the scene and feel a sinister mood. I don’t know why the pillars came out with a reddish tint but its adds some colour to the scene so its not overly dominating. I tried to make the viewers eye follow the line of the tentacles from the bright spot down to the eye peering through the broken window.

The whole scene is rendered in c4d, the tentacles and head are zbrush zspheres which are textured in zbrush and imported into c4d. The altar is a c4d model exported to zbrush then brought back to c4d. The pillars and walls/floor are 100% c4d and the textures on the walls are taken from photos I took while in Aldeburgh at the weekend and painted on in c4d/bodypaint.

Things I could have added. More rubble, broken glass, vegetation, some more furniture in the church like pews or the priests lecturn.

More renders are on my picasa album

more zbrush gubbins

I’ve not been able to do much in the way of 3d of late due to a load of 2d stuff being more interesting/important. That and cracking on with Fable 2 but i’ve managed to catch an hour on zbrush tonight and added some teeth to the frogbear.

I will try and refine the body next then onto texturing.

I have a vision of a small mass of these hopping around the pond in Christchurch park. Only a foot or two high they could explain the lack of ducks lately. Look for feathers.

zbrush tomfoolery pt2

Didn’t get a chance to work on this yesterday and as i’m limited to time in the evening this is slow going but this is an update on the frogbear from
I’m kicking myself for not including the teeth as part of the base model. I’ve just read part of a tutorial about how to mask of the mesh and sculpt the teeth but ya lives and lyrnes.