When I started to model the tree and its magical house for the upcoming digital conversion of Magic Tree House: Space Mission, I did some research on the internets and found that some of the best-looking trees where going through the ZBrush pipeline. ZBrush is a powerful sculpting program which works well for organic objects; I’ve seen many great things come out of ZBrush with a level of artistic detail that isn’t so easily or efficiently achieved in Maya.
So this knobbly worm tree thing is modeled using zspheres – add a dusting of technical magic and presto-change-o, you can then start sculpting.
This is where the fun really begins; it’s basically digital clay and you can assault it with your sculpting tools just like at summer camp when you were making a vase for mom. To the right is a work in progress render of the sculpted tree imported back into the scene.
This project has been a great opportunity to learn a new program that I’ve been eyeing for a few years, and this type of model proved to be a good first exercise in organic modeling and digital sculpting.