If you’re interested in becoming a 3D video game or character designer, the first thing you want to do is learn how to use the tools of the trade. One of those tools is ZBrush.
What is ZBrush?
ZBrush is a digital sculpting tool that lets artist paint, texture and model 3D computer objects.
ZBrush uses a proprietary “pixol” technology that captures all the information an artist needs to create character or object including color and lighting information.
How is ZBrush different from other 3D modeling tools? With ZBrush, users actually sculpt their objects like traditional artists might use clay or stone. Introduced in 1999 at SIGGRAPH by Pixologic Inc., today ZBrush is used by everyone from Electronic Arts to Disney to produce characters and objects for video games, movies and television.
Next-Gen Production Tools and Techniques
“I rely heavily on ZBrush to render anything organic in an environment,” Kevin Johnstone is a Senior Artist for Epic Games, the company behind the video game mega-hit Gears of War. “(ZBrush) give(s) most of my mechanical hard surface models a degree of weathering and damage so I can avoid making things look too manufactured or unused.” Learn how Epic Games used ZBrush to create Gears of War.
This advanced production tool is capable of producing anything from rocks to people and it does it with ease.
Learning how to use 3D modeling software like ZBrush starts by getting the right training – and those best practices are taught by DMA. It’s important to get the right start, why? Artist who pick up bad habits or workflow spend more time re-learning correct and industry standard methods.
Using Pixologic’s ZBrush and learning advanced digital painting and texture mapping with Photoshop® can help make you a professional digital artist. Knowing techniques for creating architecture, characters, creatures, vehicles and other objects are essential. Techniques for normal mapping, grunge-color maps and specularity maps are also important.
To create the incredible detail you see in the games, DMA teaches both fine art principals such as color theory, layout compositional design, form and structure, as well as other techniques to expand your understanding of the art of game design.
Student campers enrolled in Digital Media Academy’s 2013 teen summer tech camps will receive a free digital copy of Echo Hunt: The Ultimate Game, DMA announced today. The book is part of the teen literary series “Echo’s Revenge,” which blurs the lines between games and reality.
Echo’s Revenge: The Ultimate Game (Sean Austin, 296 pages, AAA Reality Games) follows the quest of two young brothers on a search to find their real father and escape a monster they thought lived only inside a game.
Author Hart Getzen (the writer behind Sean Austin) paints a believable coming-of-age tale for the Internet Generation.
The brothers Reggie (age 14) and Jeremy (10) face troubles at home while also battling a major threat to the human race. The book, which features action and intrigue on the highest level, is a unique treat for teens and pulls source material from everything from Internet memes to netspeak. The book creates some interesting digital tie-ins, too: the Echo Hunt website, for example, looks like the log-in for a hacker’s computer, offering a neat way for readers to interact with the book and help solve the puzzle. The next installment in the series, Echo’s Revenge: The Other Side, will pick up the action where Echo Hunt: The Ultimate Game leaves off and is expected to have the same digital tie-ins.
A Novel Approach to STEM
For techies of all ages who are into programming or coding, robotics or game design, this book delivers a unique and powerful experience. The themes that run through the series are both entertaining and educational, with Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM) functioning as the tentpoles that support the narrative. STEM (as it’s more commonly known) is also Digital Media Academy’s educational mission: At DMA we’re determined that every student who attends our tech camp also learns how to apply STEM skills to their analog lives.
The Hunt is On
If stories like “Echo Hunt” inspire you, this summer spend a week or two at Digital Media Academy. DMA has locations across the U.S. and Canada, each week-long and multiple-week camp is taught by industry professionals and tech educators. Learning Java™ programming or learning how to program using Python can be a great skill set to have if you ever want to get into the games business or become a software engineer.
Teens, take your tech skill sets to the next level by learning robotics programming and electrical engineering, while kids can learn about robotics using the LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT robotics kit.
“Digital Media Academy fulfilled my passion for creating video games.”
What do you want to be?
“Ever since I was seven years old, I’ve wanted to be a video game designer. When I grow up, I want to work for Blizzard Entertainment. It’s my favorite game-development company and I have wanted to work for them since I was very young.”
What did you learn at DMA?
“At DMA, I learned how to do 3D modeling using Autodesk® Maya®, and used that skill to make a model of a StarCraft II® Void Seeker. My model was very detailed and intricate, and took a lot of work to make it look good. One of the cool things I learned (and which was vital to completing my project) was that I could model only half of the spaceship and then use the mirror feature to finish the other half, which I could do because my model was symmetrical.”
What was your most memorable camp moment?
“I really enjoyed working in class and then getting to compare my work with my classmates. That allowed me to see what other designers did and share with them what I did, and maybe help them a little on part of their work or get an idea for something cool that I could use in mine.”
How did DMA inspire you?
“To become a game developer. (DMA) gave me an environment where I could get a head-start and learn the skills I needed.”
For gamers who want to go behind the scenes and learn how to design their very own video game, Digital Media Academy’s video game design camps can turn players into creators.
DMA offers a variety of cool locations on North America’s greatest college campuses and professional instruction from instructors who have actually worked in the video game industry. The world’s best tech camp by Worth.com in 2011, DMA delivers a world-class experience.
News from HQ by Philip Harding
What an amazing 3d video game design experience! Digital Media Academy offers creative 3d Video Game Design courses for adult professionals, teens, and kids. All 3d Game Design courses are taught using the latest software, applications and game engines currently being used in the video game industry. Autodesk Maya and 3ds Max are two of the most popular software programs available that allow students to create realistic, 3d character models and animation movies.
In the teen 3d game design course programs, students create a full 3d game level. An entire virtual world is created for their video game. The students then create a fully customizable 3d character model to enter and play with in their 3d world! Many teens who stay for the overnight camp experience get involved in network LAN party to play against all the other students’ 3d characters. This is more than just a summer camp experience. This is the full digital art and technology computer camp experience you can only find at Digital Media Academy. You can see an actual student’s experience in this video. Below is an outline of the 3d Game Design and Video Game Creation courses offered this summer…
3d Video Game Courses offered at DMA: