Translating from the 2D Design to 3D is always a challenge for some designers. Especially for extreme organic designs.
In the past, concept artist will design on paper. The design is then passed down to the modeling department. The modeling department will then model base on the design given by extruding and cutting the polygons, ensuring the topology runs properly. It is a very tedious process.
New concept artist always has this problem. Their front and side views of the design don't match each other. This results in giving the modeler a hard time visualizing how it looks in a 3D space, after the Art Director sees it. Only then he realises how it looks like in 3D. It might ended up not being what he expected when he approves the design in 2D. Hence, he will probably have to go back to the Concept Designer to make changes. Then the process repeats itself. Going back and forth. Extruding and cutting the polygons, ensuring the topology is right etc. Very tedious.
For studio with bigger budget, some has the budget to hire a physical sculptor. Their job is to sculpt a maquette base on the design to help translate the 2D design to 3D with the maquette. This helps the modeler to visualise better. So that he/she can model in 3D. However, not everyone has the budget.
As you can see, in the above pipeline, it can get quite tedious and frustrating. With Z brush getting more and more powerful these days, the pipeline has changed. Now the designer can do a rough sketch on paper. Focus on the form. He will then bring the design process into Zbrush. This replaces the physical maquette process. In Z brush these days, you can not only model organic objects but also hard surface object as well. You can easily add skin shader, fur, light etc to help the Art Director better visualise in 3D. This becomes a more effective pipeline, minimizing the going back and forth between the art and modeling department. Once all these are done, the Zbrush model will be passed over to the modeling department to re-construct the topology. In this way, it increases the productivity.
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