ZBrush | Fertilization Triptych

Sperm Process

1. Use zspheres to create basic form
3. Create several variation using both rigging and deformation tools (within ZBrush)
4. Export sperm individually to Blender and use particles systems to composite the swarm around the ovum
5. Import back to ZBrush and finesse and apply material

Basic model variations (left) and arranged in Blender (right)

sperm variations in zbrush
blender swarm

BPR Renders from ZBrush

Scenes were lit with custom lightcaps and rendered with ZBrush.

Ovum Process:
1. Establish basic form with PM3D sphere
2. Subdivide and add detail/sculpt, both with different custom alpha brushes and ‘manual’ detail work to finesse
3. Apply/edit material and add polypaint

Corona Radiata Process:
1. Create basic form from PM3D sphere
3. Composite CR cells around ovum using zspheres (using “Insert Local Mesh” with Classic Skinning)
note: though this method was work intensive, a benefit was that each cell was automatically assigned its own polygroup. The cumulus oophorous was arranged with a Blender particle system.
4. Add surface variation, surface noise, material

basic bpr zbrush sperm+egg render
cumulus oophorous + corona radiate basic BPR zbrush render


Render passes were composited and edited in Photoshop (and color variations/styles explored). Design elements/layering/typography was also added in Photoshop.

A subtle graysclae variation (left) and vibrant ‘moody’ variation (right). The look of both is lovely, but the grayscale was too calm for purposes of this project, and the darker variation ended up being a little too moody.

fertilization ambient occlusion illustration by michelle davis

michelle davis glowing sperm fertilization illustration

Full Illustration

fertilization triptych illustration by michelle davis

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