Character Design: Loyd

This the second 3D character I modeled after I moved to Japan.

3D model of a Steampunk Archer Hunter done in ZBrush

3D model of a Steampunk Archer Hunter done in ZBrush, whom I named Loyd

I did it in ZBrush, during the summer of 2013.

I had already made an attempt of modeling a “realistic” male character in ZBrush in 2010, but it turned out to be a bit of a disaster.

This time, I was willing to spend as much time as necessary to get it right.


First, I noticed that my book of Anatomy Drawing School was not a good resource to learn how to model correct anatomy.

Don’t get me wrong, the book is perfect in so many ways… IF you already know a little bit of anatomy and you know what you are looking for.

But for beginners, this book can be very misleading (like you can see by looking at my first male character attempt here)

I browsed the web looking for alternative learning resources, and I came across the book Digital Sculpting Human Anatomy by Madeleine Scott-Spencer.

This book is FANTASTIC, and it helped me so much to understand how to make the male human form in ZBrush.


In her book Madeleine covers all the steps necessary to make a character in ZBrush from start to end.

Her book does not teach anatomy per se—so if you are trying to learn all about the muscles, etc… you should probably stick to the Anatomy Drawing School book.

But it has enough information to learn the most important stuff and get all the muscles looking right.


Modeling Male Human Anatomy

Human anatomy study in ZBrush for my character of Loyd the Archer Hunter

Human anatomy study in ZBrush for my character of Loyd the Archer Hunter

Following Madeleine Scott-Spencer’s teachings I could model this pretty decent body for my character, whom I named Loyd “The Archer Hunter”—LOLas well as paint these nice looking skin textures:

All the textures for the 3D character were drawn in ZBrush

All the textures for the 3D character were drawn in ZBrush

Preview of the skin textures applied in ZBrush for Loyd the Archer Hunter

Preview of the skin textures applied in ZBrush

But Maddie’s book doesn’t just cover how to make the anatomy and the skin; it also teaches the principles of modeling cloth for the character and very useful techniques to remesh the models for easier rigging.

I cannot stress enough how useful this book is! So if you are interested in working as a 3D artist, do yourself a favor and get a copy!

You will cherish it as much as I do! <3

In the gallery below, you can see images of some of the props that I modeled in ZBrush and Maya for Loyd to wear.

Render in ZBrush with Best Preview render

It took me around 5 months to finish this model—AARGGH!

Render of the Low Resolution mesh character in ZBrush with the Best Preview Render

Render of the low-res mesh in ZBrush with the Best Preview Render

To be fair I was working on it in my free time, so… I guess in hours it would have been somewhere around 80 hours total.

After all the hard work I felt that I needed to make a cool render to display what I’d done, but I had no idea where to start.

I purchased the ZBrush Character Sculpting Vol.1 magazine, where I learnt how to render character in ZBrush, manipulating the LightCaps, etc…

I followed the Armored Rhino tutorial for lighting and rendering the scene with the Best Preview Render, and to the left you can see what I got…

I like the ambient light and how the cloth looks… but there is something seriously corpse-like going on in the skin 🙁


Render in Blender with Cycles

After the Best Preview Render fiasco, I totally forgot about poor old Loyd for months…

Rigged character in Blender following Lee Salvemini's tutorials

Until a few weeks ago, when I decided to prepare the parts of the model that have good quality and make them available at my SHOP.

For that purpose, I rigged the character in Blender (following the wonderful rigging tutorials made by Lee Salvemini)

I tried to set it in a cool pose, and took a few renders to use for display using the Cycles renderer.

I admit I am still a rookie for making realistic shaders, so I had not idea how to begin with the skin material in Cycles.

I tried following a CGCookie tutorial, but my computer was working ULTRA.SLOW and I was not getting the same cool results because I was using HDRI illumination instead of lamps. —I know it’s not excuse, but… ahem!

So I ended up buying the MH Skin pre-made Skin Shader for Cycles (made by Matthew Heimlich).

This shader is supposed to be the bomb and look great. Even then, my skin result kind-of sucks.—My fault completely—

I will try to improve my settings some other time. For now, well… It will have to stay like this.

3D illustration of Steampunk Archer Hunter done in ZBrush and rendered in Blender Cycles

Loyd’s skin after applying the MH Skin 2 and rendering in Blender Cycles


Join the discussion

What do you think of my Loyd? And of the MH Skin 2 shader?

Do you have any tips you can share with me to improve?

Thank you for reading this post! If you liked the contents, don’t keep it to yourself… Tell your friends! Thanks to your support I can create amazing projects.

Check them out on my web/social media and tell me what you think!

See you there!

Sara Martull

I like helping people, making 3D illustrations, modeling and shading characters, and my wish is to become a good writer/illustrator some day

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