Making of Ana de Armas Portrait - EN

Hello everyone! My name is Tomoki Shimizu.

I have been working in the game and video industry in Japan for many years. I am very interested in creating photorealistic people. However, in Japan, there are not many opportunities to create photorealistic people in my work because most projects are in Japanese animation style, so I have been creating my own work through self-study and research.

Now, TexturingXYZ has become indispensable for creating photorealistic human characters. XYZ is used in many of the stunning digital humans created by the world's greatest artists that you have probably seen.


The first step in creating a portrait of a real person is to find a reference image.

So what kind of image should you look for?

Here's one from the blog page : "21 tips on capturing a human likeness" on the blog page of this site is very helpful. 

Basically, look for images that are close to the front and side orthographic projections.

Zbrush SpotLight

We will create the face in Zbrush by referring to the references we have collected.

We will use Zbrush's Spotlight function to create the face, but this time we will use the Zbrush plugin "Ref Switcher" created by Nick Barre.

In my case, I use a base mesh that I created myself for sculpting when I create a human model like this one.

I regularly improve the topology, UVs, etc. of the basemesh.

While sculpting the universal elements such as the skull and facial muscles, you can adjust the silhouette and the position of the eyes, mouth, and other parts to match the image displayed in Spotlight, and sculpt the unique features of the person.


As I will explain later, in this example, I will not import the XYZ displacement map into Zbrush, but directly into Maya.

For this reason, we will not be doing the fine pore displacement in Zbrush.

The reason for this is that it does not depend on the number of polygons in Zbrush, so we can directly utilize the high-quality map of XYZ and reduce the process in Zbrush.

Once you are satisfied with the sculpting, you are ready to transfer the Multichannel Face image to the face model you created.

This time, I used Female 20s Multichannel Face #45.

The first step is to create a closed eye using Zbrush's layer function.

Next, prepare a polygon plane that matches the ratio of height and width of the XYZ image to be used. This time, we will use a slightly larger number of polygons. At this time, divide the polygons so that they are as square as possible.

Import the created polygon plane into Zbrush and map the Female 20s Multichannel Face #45 image as a texture. Then use R3DS ZWrap to wrap the face model.

Export the sculpted face model and the model wrapped with ZWrap and import it into Mari to prepare for transfer.

MARI Transfer

Before transferring the XYZ image, we need to set the color space for Mari.

Create a project and set it in the Project Settings panel.

Set the viewport's ColorSpace to Raw, and use Utility-Raw when importing images.

Then transfer the Multichannel Face image from the wrapped polygon plane.

The displacement map and utility map are transferred in the same way.

Once the transfer is complete, you can clean up the texture, draw makeup and unique moles, and adjust the color.

Clean up the displacement map and utility map as well as the Albedo map.

After the cleanup, use the color picker to extract the appropriate part of the displacement map, and make sure that the H value is around 50.

If the average value is much higher or lower than 50, you can adjust it by using Mari's copy channel to check and adjust each RGB channel.

Displacement Map

Use the Maya Displacement Wizard created by Richard Trouve.

When exporting a displacement map from Mari, it should be exported as a single integrated RGB image, not per RGB channel.

Maya Displacement Wizard to connect them.

After setting each item, click the Set it up button and the map will be applied automatically.

Since I will be using V-ray for rendering, I will be using V-ray Displacement instead of Maya's standard displacement.

Connect the final output of the Maya Displacement Wizard to the V-ray Displacement.

This tool will decompose the XYZ displacement map into R, G, and B segments.

Use the blender slider in the blendColors node to adjust the displacement map strength for each channel.

This tool allows you to blend the RGB displacements of each channel with the Zbrush displacements.


I use Ornatrix for hair. Xgen is fine, of course, but since I am a former 3dsmax user and Ornatrix user, I use Ornatrix because I am familiar with it.

Create a separate Ornatrix object for each part and brush it up.

If you group the guides by any of the StrandGroups in the EditGuides attribute, you can apply a different Clump, Frizz, etc. setting to each bloop.

V-ray Material

This is just one example of mine, but my material setup is very simple. I use VRayAlSurface.

When you are ready, do the lighting and render.

This time, I used V-ray5 to render. At that time, I tried to adjust the lights using the LightMix function.

LightMix is a function that allows you to adjust the color and strength of each light individually on and off after rendering.

It can be used by adding LightMix in the render element.

This is just one example of the process I went through, and I hope you will try it for yourself.

Thank you for reading!

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