Busted Demon

Some half a year ago, I was asked to create a demon bust for a local fella who is making dubstep. He wanted a model that he could animate with motion capture, AR style. He sent me some pictures of demon zBrush sculptures, mainly from Speak of the Devil and Tome of Demons. So I made preliminary sculpture from Demo Head, a model that comes with zBrush, saved it with file name that only had one ‘n’ inserted. So this is what I came up with:

Turns out the guy wanted nothing of the sort of demons he sent me in his first email, but someone that looks kind of like Justin Bieber, Harry Styles and Timothee Chalamet combined, in his late 20s with a boyish look about him. If he immediately told me “I want Justin Beiber with horns”, all I would have to clarify was if he wanted it before or after Justin’s face paralysis. I’m really not into monsters and demons, even though I had to make a few orcs, dragons and strange creatures in my career, so I don’t have a wide variety of visual reference on the back of my mind, so trying to guess in 3D what he had imagined wasn’t as straight forward as I’d hoped.

Since I wasn’t quite up to date with latest developments in CG, and feeling like he doesn’t quite know what he needs in terms of specifications (he said he’d animate it and render it in Blender or Unreal), I felt like I had to dig in and figure out what he needs first, so I went on searching for what’s out there. I installed Unreal 5 (which made my 5 year old PC really slow), and saw that Epic is now showcasing MetaHuman (created by Serbian company 3Lateral, my friend Ana used to work for them); it’s a customizable character generator that will create highly realistic characters with 4k facial normal maps, fully rigged models that can be animated with MoCap solutions such as the one called FaceWare studio. Unreal and MetaHuman are all free, but FaceWare would require a $15 a month subscription, which seemed pretty reasonable. So I spent couple of days looking into all this tech and wrote my opinion what would be the best option. But this guy seemed to not want to go that route and instead stick with Blender, which he’s familiar with. I was not looking forward to creating a high res sculpt that would have enough details for 4K displacement/normal/bump map for a 4k video, because I didn’t even know what kind of texture this guy had in mind, since he only showed me a goat innards materials that come in Quixel, a material, texture and 3D model repository for Unreal engine.

To cut the long story short, the guy was very happy with the model and grateful for it. I finalized the sculpt, which had no details, but I was hoping he could apply the texture himself so I wouldn’t have to do several preliminary versions trying to guess how he’d want it, and then I’d be happy to add details on the sculpt to match the texture. For this reason, I resurfaced the model to get more even edgeflow and poly distribution, and I’ve also created UVs and projected details from original sculpt to the model with new topology. This way, when I get the texture I can just simply apply it in zBrush and detail it. So this is what the final high and low poly models looked like:

And UVed low poly with texture stretch map and UVs:

I uploaded the model and the textures to Mega cloud and gave him link over three months ago, and I’ve never heard from him again. I said he can pay me whatever he wants, but that went unanswered as well. I have no idea if this model will even be used for what it’s made for. I hope the guy’s okay, though – at least I can rule out sudden death, due to his steady red pill diet. So there’s that. Luckily, I’ve recently seen this shared on Telegram:

🤡 (palm-face) 🤡
So all I gotta do is dial in the likeness of the puppet prez. I don’t think I even need to remove the horns, in fact they’ll be appreciated, and I’ll be all good to go with taxpayer cash in my hands for my effort. All that has to be done is finding somebody with one of those fancy printers that will 3D print metal. Heh, of course I’m just kidding, I have no intention to ever work for .gov.

Anyway, I’m making this model free for all, so download the zBrush file and low poly model, have fun with it, resculpt it, 3D print it, or do whatever the heck you want with it: https://mega.nz/folder/sXAR3bwS#jbYfnrj1k-ozG2MPy-Jh0w I hope you do, because otherwise this would’ve been a nearly total waste of my time.

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