Holy Man

Holy Man

Franziska Milius
by Franziska on 13 May 2021

Hi everyone, this character is the first project I created as part of my Demo Reel. Sculpted and textured in ZBrush and rendered with Arnold.

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1. Holy Man

Working on this character was really exciting and fun but also quite challenging because it was the first time I created a full character from sculpting to texturing, shading, grooming and lookdev.

The inspiration for this first project was a photo that I found online and was immediately captivated by its atmosphere and personality. I then started collecting similar references of faces from different angles, similar hairstyles, body types and hands.

Here is a small collection of my references:

Before I start sculpting, I usually spend a day collecting references so I have a variety of photos from different angles and a good idea of what I want my model to look like.

I would like to show you a bit of my work process in Zbrush now.


As I easily get lost in small details, I firstly focused on getting the proportions, anatomy and secondary forms right before looking at smaller face details such as wrinkles and pores.

My goal for this project was to hand sculpt the whole character in Zbrush, without using any scans and I learned amazing tricks from some great artists out there.

The biggest challenge was probably the time factor as I didn’t realise how time consuming it would be to sculpt every single pore and wrinkle by hand, but it was also a very creative and valuable process where I learned a lot more about skin texture and appearance.


After creating the primary and secondary forms I imported my model into Maya for retopologizing and UVs.

After bringing it back into Zbrush I started sculpting more detail around the eyes and the forehead.

Then I switched to HD geometry to sculpt finer wrinkles, pores and other little imperfections. I didn't focus too much on the chin area because I knew that this area was going to be covered by a beard.

I used 4K maps; the Albedo map, as well as the Spec and Roughness map, were painted in Zbrush, mainly using the standard brush with different alphas.


I created the hair with Xgen Interactive Grooming which I think is a very intuitive tool and using guides gives you a lot of control over the hair direction.

For each part (head, eyebrows, lashes, peach fuzz, nose hair, arms and hands) I created a separate description, and for the hair line and eyebrows I also used density maps for a better transition.

For the shader I used aiStandardHair and I rendered everything with Arnold.


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