With this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a Skin Material in ZBrush for a single pass render with BPR.
This page contains the link to download the FREE eBook tutorial and the resources (below). It also has some bits of the process and renders tests of how I came up with the tutorial and the skin shader.
Below are some of the test images and a bit of the process on how I developed this ZBrush resource. I wanted to focus only on the shader and material, so I started with a very nice scan model: The INFINITE – REALITIES, 3D head scan by Lee Perry-Smith, and went straight into testing and rendered with Zbrush BPR in a single pass!
The idea was to create a resource material or reusable shader in ZBrush for skin (mainly human skin) with 3 main features:
So with that in mind, I set up a QuadShader where each shader (‘S#) was dedicated to a specific attribute of the material, for example, S1 = Base texture, S3 = Specular, etc. Once each shader was set up, it was just a matter of playing with the mixing of those shaders and tweak the contribution of each channel.
Once I was happy with the result of the single pass skin material, I tried it on a few models with polypaint to test how it translated to other sculpts and projects. The main restriction for ‘portability’ is that with different projects and scales, the SSS effect needs to be tweaked (which should be easy due to the way is set up).
Here is a test using the Sailor head with back and front lighting:
I also made a couple of quick creature sketches to test the skin shader with ‘non-human’ characters:
If you want to test your materials or something else with a creature, you can download the blue alien bust from the resource page.
Finally, for the tutorial itself, I build my own detailed head to test the material and check that I can get consisten materials regardless of the type of mesh.
The eBook tutorial covers the entire process of creating the material, explaining all the features and tools I used in ZBrush to create the shader as well as various rendering tricks to enhance the BPR pass.
The final shader I use is included in the resources (comes with the eBook download), but I’d encourage you to try to build a skin shader yourself. Going through the process of making your own skin material will expose you to a set of tools and process that you probably haven’t used yet and could give you ideas for something else.
Here is a screenshot of the final material being used in ZBrush with a single BPR pass and no compositing:
I Hope you find this resources useful. If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I’ll try to answer it as soon as possible.