For the Wonder Festival 2017 Summer in Japan, I wanted to work on 2B, from the video game NieR:Automata. I really love this game and I really fall in love with it and the main character. I was also looking for a subject to start my own sessions at ZBrushLive, the live stream platform for ZBrush artists.
While searching for references and ideas, I found the illustration below from Tim Löchner. I really love his work, please visit his Art Station page!
Then it was the time to start the sculpting. To be honest, doing the process of creation while doing a live stream and in English wasn't an easy task... but I really enjoyed doing that. You can watch online all my streams, which cover the full process of this model, from scratch to the end, including 3D printing preparation and some post process. I skipped some parts as it was very repetitive, like the hairs and some 3D printing process. The videos are available at the end of this article.
Here is the final result in ZBrush:
The process has been a classic for me: ZSpheres, DynaMesh <> retopology <> subdivision levels with ZBrush. Of course, since it's based on an existing character, I used some official references found on Internet. Then I spent quite some time on the body itself, that I refined it all along the model creation. You can see the whole sculpting in action in the video below in this article.
Because the character has an eye band, it made the face creation easier 😉 The hair part has been time-consuming, as usual, while it was not really a complex process.
For the clothes, it has been a mix of multiple techniques, like manual retopology, topology brush, sculpted primitives and / or mesh extract. The shoes have been modeled mainly within the ZModeler.
I also had to consider one thing: (center of) gravity: since the model was "flying" and connected to the ground by a glass rod, I had to build a quite large base and more important, adding some weight to it, to compensate the position of the character which is far ahead the base. Then I built the ground and robots in the mud which have been hallowed and I put in it some lead balls that I glued.
Below, the gravity line: as you can see, no way to have it supporting the weight of the figurine, pod and accessories. Then these robots come handy as I can use them to hide the lead.
During the creation, I did several test prints with the Form1+ and after the Form2. The robot (pod) has been fully created within the ZModeler. In fact, legs and little arms are partially articulated. I would love to spend some time to articulate everything.
Here is the test pod with all its part. The final model has more parts:
I did a print of the full body to check the proportions and overall shape. It is something that I do on a regular basis. No specific optimization for printing the model I only wanted to do a quick check. Then I used a 100 microns resolution and it took 4.5 hours to print.
Above, the hips and panties with a FDM (Ultimaker 2+) and SLA test prints. Of course, it's way better with the SLA... But the panties thickness was not enough...
And then I redid a test print with some adjustments on the panties and applied quickly some primer painting to have a better visual result.
And the arms/shoulder parts of the character. Notice the "rose" model which is 5 mm width. This is where 3D printing make things easier than traditional modeling.
Then with the model done, I started the final process of 3D printing preparation. ZBrush 4R8 and its new Live boolean has been a game changer for me, where I was able to visualize the results of my cutting, joins and thickness in real-time. here is an animation on how I use these booleans to check the way it will be sliced by the printer, where are the openings and of course, controlling the thickness itself.
Then I started the long printing process. Below is the model out of the printer, still full of liquid resin which is waiting to be cleaned up.
Another part is the massive base. It is, in fact, bigger than the building volume of the printer, but by playing with the angle of the print, you can make it fit the max size of the printer. The diameter is 180 mm while the width and depth of the printer is only 145mm... As you can see as well this foam which is nothing important, just the constant mixing of the resin during multiple hours of print.
The parts in the IPA alcohol. It already looks very clean now. Note: buy your alcohol in bulk (15L minimum for me).
After drying, here is the result of several parts, before removing the supports. As you can see, it's already 14 differents parts. It is very important to split to control the location of the supports. Notice how clean are the surfaces, layers are almost non-visible (25 microns print).
Then comes the fun part: removing the support in a clean way. You need to be careful as going too fast can leave bad marks/spots on the model, requiring you to add some extra putty and sanding even more. Most of my tools come from Japan 🙂 At the end, you have quite some supports to trash. That's a lot of lost resin...
It's now the time to do some assembly test. This is the part I hate the most because you see only at this stage if you screw up or not on the boolean operations. Fortunately, everything has been fine!
All the parts of the model (one is missing) with only a primer applied (Tamiya gray L super fin)
Then it's time to start the painting process. Ooooh boy, so much fun! As you can see, it's a mess on the table. You must use a painting cabin if you don't want to die from the smell... It will save also on the paint itself if you use only paint cans outside (the wind will make you losing quite some paint...)
For the parts, I used my airbrush and or paint cans. I had to put some masking tape to protect from the color the parts. I like doing that, but it's time consuming... Next time I'll use this liquid gum as masking tool.
Here is the final result. I only did 4 shades of gray because I was really limited in time and my painting skills are limited. Of course, I'll try to do better and nicer in the future.
During my trip to Japan, I did, of course, the presentation of ZBrush 4R8 and this work, especially at the Wonder Festival which is THE best tradeshow in the world when it comes to figurines (55 000 visitors in a single day, twice a year). It was packed 🙂
A week after, it was our first ZBrush Merge 2017 event, where we had multiple studios coming for ZBrush presentation. And one of them was Platinum Games, where Jin Matsudaira presented his work on the game and 2B. He is the guy who sculpted her.
He told me later that day that he watched my live stream! To be honest I was super proud! Here is a photo at the restaurant where he held a part of the figurine.
Below are the 12 videos covering 95% of the creation of 2B. My comments are in English except for the first video where I speak a little bit in French:
And finally, a gallery of photos of the model. The final one is 50cm height, from the base to the top part of the pod. A glass rod is used to make the model "floating" in the hair.