KeyShot Advice from Character Artist Josh Herman

by | Aug 12, 2014 | 0 comments

Josh Herman was one of the many amazing artist at the inaugural ZBrush Summit and Gnomon Master Classes 2014. He has a long list of character work in major motion films, known as the creator of Iron Man’s power suit and most recently, the magnificent Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. In his interview with CG Channel, he explains his character sculpting workflow and provides advice in working with ZBrush, KeyShot and Photoshop.


It’s a process that may seem familiar to many, but it’s a combo that allows Josh to quickly develop the look and lighting he needs.

In the Master Class, Josh sets out a workflow typical of his real production jobs, sculpting the base model in ZBrush, doing test renders in KeyShot and painting over them in Photoshop to quickly nail the correct look for the character, then repeating the process as necessary, before exporting the finished sculpt to Maya for retopology.

There are a lot of reasons we hear for why artists choose KeyShot. Some choose it for the material presets and lighting they can start with and quickly change, but most often it comes down to the speed and ease at which they’re able to create visuals.

“I was originally going to use V-Ray for the Silver Surfer, but I was struggling to recreate the look of my earlier test renders,” Josh says. “Since I was up against a deadline [the character model was originally created for GameArtisans.org’s Comic-Con Challenge], it was quicker and easier just to do the final render in KeyShot.”

Advance users know the possibilities within KeyShot to adjust materials and lighting to take it beyond the presets. Physical lights can be added or, as Josh explains, using the HDR Editor to add highlights makes it easy to change lighting.

“KeyShot is a product renderer, so it’s really made for beauty lighting,” he explains. “Sometimes that’s fine for concept work, but sometimes you want to push the lighting and make it more dramatic. Using the Edit feature, you can add Pins to the HRDI to create new light sources. By doing this and lowering the intensity of the original HDRI, you can easily customise and art direct your light and shadows.”

You can see more of Josh’s work below, on his Facebook page, or on his website, DroidsForSale.com.

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