Stylized Armor: Shoulder Plates

Ben Courtenay
Art Heroes Contributor

Creating armor in Zbrush is unbelievably fun and creative way of bringing a story, life and action to your characters.

In this tutorial we're going to start with modeling and sculpting a stylized shoulder armor/plate. We'll break down the steps and provide a useful workflow as well as some cool techniques that you may not be familiar with.

By the end of it, you'll have all the tools you need to explore, create and refine your own shoulder armor!

Getting Started!

Like every sculpt, you first block out the shoulder plate using primitive forms.

In Zbrush there are a number of ways to get the same result. In this example, Dynamic Subdivision's thickness is used to create new polys, but this can also be done using Zmodeler.

I'd also suggest breaking the mesh down into separate pieces (for example, the frame and the body of the shoulder plate). I find this speeds up my workflow and I can make dramatic changes at any given point.

Refining, Detailing and more!

Taking your design further, we can start adding secondary forms and volumes. Much like creating a character using silhouettes, imagine the shoulder plate as a character.

You can also recycle older sculpts, like the bird skull on this shoulder plate. By clipping the backside, I've turned it into an IMM brush (with projection strength set to 100).

Shoulder Design Exploration

By duplicating and deflating the shoulder plate base, you'll get more control and the freedom to explore ideas and different iterations. Play around and enjoy the process!

We'll be continuing the medieval theme in upcoming articles, breaking down other items of clothing such as chainmail, padding, and more armor plating. If there's anything specifically you'd like to see, let us know!

Hope this article was helpful!

Ben Courtenay,
Art Heroes Contributor

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