Koi Fish in Zbrush

Recently finished a koi fish study in ZBrush — below are in progress shots and some final renders in a few different styles!

Rough sculpt with dynamesh:

koi fish 1 - dynamesh

Retopologized model — no tri’s! This retopology was done entirely in ZBrush.  I’m curious to explore other methods in the future.
koi fish 2 - remeshed

Adding detail.  The scales took a bit of playing to get right.  This was the first go at them, purely with alpha brush patterns.

koi 3 - detail in progress

Here all the details are added.  The scales were done with alpha and roll brushes, as well as general finessing.

koi shot 4 - final detail

Finally the fish was actually posed to give it some liveliness. Koi ‘poses’ were researched online (as well as the rest of their anatomy).

koi fish posed

Final renders (with compositing in photoshop), in a few different styles are below. Though this study was meant to focus on texture, modeling, lighting, etc. and not painting, I’m sure I’ll come back to this at some point and add some flamboyant koi patterning/spots.

Koi anatomy was carefully researched throughout this project, but that said, if any koi experts out there notice something anatomically amiss, don’t be afraid to point it out. This was designed to be an average koi, and not one specific variety.

High key saturated renders. The high saturation works well to play up the usual flare that koi patterning gives the fish – these are fun and decorative fish!:

saturated koi render 1 by michelle davis

bottom view of saturated koi render by michelle davis

Contrasting with the saturation above, below are some porcelain style renders, which I like because they reference the elusive and meditative nature of koi as they swim about and are observed by us.  Just imagine an installation of hanging porcelain koi!

top render in porcelain style of koi by michelle davis front view of porcelain koi render by michelle davis


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