Zbrush sculpting for volcanic rock

I’m trying to create a volcanic rock scene with lava glowing (but not showing) through the cracks. Here is what I’m using for reference (the upper left hand image):

I tried using the new dynamic topical sculpting brushes in 2.66 and came up with this, which is horrid.

An earlier version (with more detail) basically would not even render in cycles (too high poly count). So I wonder how should I approach this project to get the same look as the reference? Is sculpting the way to go? What about textures? And the glowing lava effect? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I don’t know what brushes or brush settings you used in sculpting, so I can’t tell you what to do differently, but it doesn’t look like you had their strength up very high. You need to make some deep creases to get those sharp lines. This looks like it’s still almost a flat plane.

1 plane add a multires modifier,you can use stencil in sculpt mode, crop one of those grayscale images blur it 1 or 2 pixels, load it as brush texture, set brush mapping to stencil , set stroke method to anchored ,brush strength low otherwise you’ll make mountains :slight_smile: start dragging from the center then you can detai it more to get the look you want.

Thanks for the replies. You’re right, the brush strength was low. I had a much more detailed one but it wouldn’t render.

ramboblender, I’ll try your suggestions and see what I can come up with.

Thanks, guys.

Increasing strength won’t necessarily increase the complexity, it’ll just increase the depth of the brush’s effect. ramboblender’s suggestion of using the reference image as a brush is right on. Go for somewhat high contrast in the greyscale.

What about using Cell Fracture or some textures to get there?

eppo, thanks for the links to pasteall. I’d never seen that site before. Definitely a possibility.

I hope to get some new renders posted soon showing what I can come up with based on the advice I’ve gotten so far.

Good to be of any use then.
Heh, for some reason i feel you have seen this site earlier…
Still, you don’t say if anything of that could be of any use for your project or is it a totally crap suggestion concerning raw product shown. I was a bit concerned that you’re still willing to use sculpt, which i’m not any good at, to be frank, and not willing to spam around your thread with a bunch of pixel mess.

Are you ok with normalmap creation, do you have lava field up to the horizon, all this would be good to know, so when you’re done with bookmarking of aforementioned site, please, share some more.

Cell fracture does not exclude some sculpting on top and could be quite easily created based on particle system or, for the greater creativity, grease pencil marks would do too; not the textures, there you’re probably limited with some lava island repeated over and over, leaving one nicely done for the closeups.
Files i still have around do not include exact steps how to do normalmaps from plain image (i used one provided by you, btw) and separate glow mask (only Gimp used for all), nor does it show how to use cell fracture addon. All there is in other is cycles yellow emission plane with musgrave texture to get some glow color variation and simple noise used to bump mesh a bit (that’s for the cell fractured mesh). Since both turn out quite an upload (one having all textures in it and other, smaller, some fractured mesh) and i’m using ADSL inet connection where A stands for Asymmetric limiting my upload speeds for some crawl, you have what you have behind these urls now. And that was a question, btw.
Sorry 'bout that.

Sorry, got sidetracked and haven’t been able to work on this but I’m coming back to it now.

@eppo, I think I’d prefer to try sculpting first so I’ll put the cell fracture idea on hold for now. I’ll let you know if I come back to it.

@ramboblender, I started in on the brush texture idea and realized I have no idea how to load a brush texture. All the google results point to methods used in 2.5 which apparently have changed for 2.66. Could you elaborate a bit more on how to go through the brush loading, stencil mapping, and anchoring steps? I would greatly appreciate it.

You will need a recent build of blender for this to work , get it here http://builder.blender.org/download/
Add multires modifier to the mesh and see this image for the next steps http://www.pasteall.org/pic/49885

Oh, I’m so close now. The step by step was great. For some reason I’m stuck on #5 though. I get this wierd ghost-like image on my screen of the texture and it doesn’t affect the mesh unless I move the viewport so that the ghost intersects with the mesh. Of course this makes it impossible to use because I’m not even getting the full texture in the ghost preview thing that floats over the screen. The ghost image only shows up when I mouse over the viewport by the way. Here’s a screenshot.

That is part of Psy-Fi refactoring of the brush system that is now common to every blender modes, the stencil awesome new function in your screenshot.
Read more about it there and the commands to use it :

it doesn’t affect the mesh unless I move the viewport so that the ghost intersects with the mesh.

It’s ok the stencils are working this way in many sculpting apps.

I get this wierd ghost-like image on my screen of the texture and it doesn’t affect the mesh unless I move the viewport so that the ghost intersects with the mesh.

Probably you can move the stencil image to the place where you need it to project details onto your mesh, rather than triying to move the model under the stencil. Have you tried to play with those offset and scale values in the tool shelf?

Spot on. Somehow I could never find that documentation when I looked before. I just used Right Mouse Button to drag it onto the model.

I’m still playing around with it but I’ll post what I come up with. It’s already looking quite good though. Thanks!

That ghost image :slight_smile: is your texture which allows you to sculpt ,RMB to move it in front of the mesh.

Good you figure it out.

Alright, here’s my first render with a basic texture. Since my image is rectangular and the stencil was square, it repeats which doesn’t look all that great.

Now, I need to figure out the lava glow. The image is quite large so I think the fluid simulator would probably kill my machine, but the mesh is too detailed to pick out the cracks and add in a new material, I think.

Any suggestions on this how to get that nice lava glow in there?

Hi there… I just recieved great support with Zbrush, and some of the stuff is easy to make lava glow with…

You can see the thread here: http://www.zbrushcentral.com/showthread.php?179619-Inner-Light

Hi I just recieved great support in Zbrush forum, with glow material. Some of the stuff is easy to implement when making lava. you can see the thread here: http://www.zbrushcentral.com/showthread.php?179619-Inner-Light

Thanks :slight_smile:

That is really cool! I ended up finishing this piece and it turned out pretty good (I’ll try to post it sometime), but I’ll definitely check out the link for in the future.