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80 Level Digest: Great Resources for Sculpting Scales in ZBrush

For this week's 80 Level Digest, we collected some informative tutorials, educational materials, and useful resources that will help you set up high-detail creature scales in ZBrush.

Throughout the past couple of years, our weekly 80 Level Digest series has covered almost every aspect of 3D art, consisting of dozens of collections and compilations with hundreds of tutorials, breakdowns, and other educational materials to help aspiring creators get the grasp of basic techniques and learn more about the most popular 3D software used by industry professionals.

With the basics covered, we decided to go more in-depth and pay respect to more seasoned artists, who, for example, already know how ZBrush or Substance 3D Designer work but might need that little extra push to start creating something specific.

That's why for this week's 80 Level Digest, we collected some informative tutorials, educational materials, and useful resources that will help you set up high-detail creature scales in ZBrush for your lizards, dragons, frogs, snakes, and other digital reptiles and amphibians.

As per our tradition, we'll begin today's list with a tutorial shared by the software developers themselves, who always know their children better than anyone else. Released by Pixologic as part of their ZBrush Guides series, the comprehensive two-hours-long "How to Create a Scales in ZBrush for Creature Design" tutorial demonstrates how you can create a cute lizard sculpt, with the instructor Pablo Muñoz Gómez showing how to sculpt scales for the creature and how to save them to reuse later for different projects, as well as showcasing the entire working process from start to finish, sharing handy tips and tricks, and answering live questions from the audience.

Sculpting Scales in ZBrush by FlippedNormals

Up next, we've got a tutorial covering the process of creating highly-detailed scales for a dinosaur, available as a free chapter from FlippedNormals' Modeling & Texturing a Dinosaur for Production course. In this tutorial, Rowena Frenzel demonstrated the process of detailing the creature model, showing how to set up its scales and add variety to them. In case you are interested, the entire course is available here.

The next position on our list goes not to a tutorial but rather to a two-part speed sculpt video series released by DarkEdgeTV, a 3D Artist well-known for creating gorgeous digital reptiles. In the first part, the creator showcased the sculpting pipeline behind a Garden Snake project, showing how the creature was modeled in ZBrush Core and demonstrating how to set up smooth and uniform scales for it. The second part covers the texturing process, which you may also find useful.

If you are not a big fan of video tutorials and prefer written breakdowns instead, we also recommend checking out these 80 Level Interviews with different artists, who thoroughly discussed the topic in question and more:

Our next pick is the amazing tutorial shared by Victory3D, a team of course-makers who specialize in digital sculpting, character, environment, and asset creation, human anatomy, and concept art. Released as part of their Sculpting a Cyber Reptile Creature in ZBrush course, the tutorial shows how to create a custom Alpha Brush, which you can then use to sculpt incredible scales. The full course is available here.

Up next, we've got not only a tutorial but also an enormous brush pack released by the Artistic Squad team. Equipped with 250 brushes and 50 PSD Alphas, the pack contains tons of useful tools for detailing, sculpting, and painting all kinds of scales, with the tutorial serving as a demonstration of its capabilities. You can purchase the pack by clicking this link.

ZBrush Fish Scales by Diego Maricato

The next tutorial on our list also comes paired up with a great pack of Alphas, created by Creature, Character, and Concept Designer Diego Maricato. In the video, the creator showed an easy way to add details to a fish using UV in ZBrush and Scale Alpha. The pack itself contains 20 high-quality seamless Alphas for creating scales, skin, and other surfaces and can be accessed over here.

Live ZBrush Sculpting on Scolla series by Josh Foreman

And finally, we've got an entire series of lengthy guides shared by Game Artist and Designer Josh Foreman. In his Live ZBrush Sculpting on Scolla series, the creator showed an entire working process behind one of his characters in a live format, with several episodes being dedicated to sculpting scales and refining them. You can check out the full series by visiting the author's YouTube channel.

What tutorials did we miss? What videos helped you to master scale creation in ZBrush? What topics would you like for us to cover next? Tell us in the comments!

Also, don't forget to join our 80 Level Talent platformour Reddit page, and our Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.

Preview image by Francesco Furneri

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