Fall of Spartacus: Pose and Environment
I decided to do the pose in Zbrush with the transpose tool, as it’s pretty easy to work with, and it saves me having to go back and forth between max and zbrush yet again.
For the pose, I wanted a strong pose, that shows tension and resistance. As I imagined it, Spartacus would be restrained by these arms reaching out of the dark and grabbing him, and he would be fighting it, trying to break loose. So the challenge would be to create that feeling of tension in the pose.
Thanks to my mockups, pose tests and concept work, I had a very good idea of what my pose would be before I started using the transpose tool on my character model in zbrush. So finding the basic pose was very quick, however finding the tension required quite some time of subtle tweaking. A small bend in the knees, change the angle of the arms and so on.
Once I was satisfied with the pose, I went back to sculpting and changed his facial expression, changed some of the muscles, so they would stretch or contract appropriately, as well as adding some skin wrinkles caused by bending joints.
After I finished the pose and sculpt of the Spartacus character, I created his weapons. I gave him a fairly simple gladius and shield with a snake motif. I also made a shield and some spears that would be displayed on the base.
After seeing many battles, the weapons are pretty beat up and scratched. For the skull and snake motiv on Spartacus’ shield, as well as the designs on the gladius guard, I used alpha masking in Zbrush with the inflate feature in the deformation rollout.
After finishing the weapons, I got started on the environment. I wanted to do it pretty simple, a pile base that would consist of the pile of skulls, and the arms reaching out of the base.
At first, I decided to try sculpting the skulls into the base manually, one by one. After getting pretty far into the process, I decided to scrap it, as it got kind of messy and required several retopology sessions to get the proper topology.
Instead, I decided to sculpt the base as a living creature rather than a pile of inanimate skulls, twisting and writhing, with outlines of skulls pressing against the skin from inside, trying to escape. In addition, I added some skulls and skeletal parts as separate meshes on top, where the character stands. This approach was much more manageable and time efficient. Had I gone with this from the beginning, I could have saved myself a bit of work.
I wanted the arms to be strong, big and powerful, yet decaying. So rather than going for skeletal arms, or thin tentacle type arms, I looked at some artwork of Venom from Spider-Man. Venom is large and muscular, but his body composition typically stretches and morphs as he moves. I wanted the arms to kind of do that.
Additionally, I wanted them to have a decaying look. I decided to sculpt in torn skin and open wounds with rotting flesh in the arms, to both achieve a more decaying look and make them look that much more grotesque.