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The Extra Mile

The step by step system to turn your ZBrush sculpture into a polished illustration for concept and character artists.

Take your design skills to the next level, improve your sculpting approach, advanced your texturing workflows, refine your lighting and rendering processes, and master compositing to create the artwork that you want to create.
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Hello, I’m Pablo Munoz and I’m going to be your instructor in The Extra Mile course. I’ve been working and teaching within the realm of 3D graphics for a long time and in the process, I have developed and refined a series of workflows that, consistently, give me great results.

I’ve created The Extra Mile course to share with you everything I know about sculpting, texturing, lighting, rendering and compositing. The purpose of this course is very straight forward: to help you go the extra mile with your work. So by the end of this course, you'll have a unique and polished composition of your own design and the tools to create many more striking portfolio images!

The methodology and all the steps in each module were designed to simplify the workflows, help you get things done fast, and achieve great results while developing your skills.

So what does going ‘The Extra Mile’ means?

Well, it could just be that 'little extra step that you were missing' or the 'additional 15 minutes' you didn’t even know you needed to complete the artwork. For instance, here are some scenarios:

  • You have a clear idea of what you want to create but once you reach a point in the process, the following steps are a bit confusing… like what’s next after sculpting in a ‘T-Pose’?
  • You are a confident sculptor in ZBrush but want to go the extra mile and texture your creations in Substance Painter - great! What would that process look like?
  • You know that presenting your work shouldn’t take hours but you’re not sure what to do to keep it simple yet effective…
  • You are quite comfortable with the texturing workflow in Substance Painter but struggle with rendering…
  • You are well versed in the different workflows but somehow feel that the end result doesn't have the impact you were hoping for...
  • You can easily sculpt, texture and render a bunch of passes but everything gets confusing when you need to put them together to create a composition of the image...

"Pablo is, without a doubt, the best learning experience that I've had in my career, his way of structure the classes and the organisation is perfect; clear, concise, and with the adequate tone and rhythm. From the beginning it's clear what you are going to learn and with every class, he shares a lot of tricks and little details helping you learn more than what you expected, he doesn't hold anything back and gives very good feedback. My process of creating characters is much better and easier now. To sum up, he has a gift for educating."

Javier Furquez Ezquivel
Creature and character Concept artist

The course in a nutshell...

The Extra Mile course is my systematic approach, following a series of simple steps, to take you from a ZBrush sculpture all the way to a polished render or illustration.

With The Extra Mile you’ll get:

  • Lifetime access
  • 8 Modules
  • 3 Bonuses including access to The Extra Mile closed community
  • Course resources (brushes, models, materials, lights, etc).
  • All updates to the course content are free
  • Q&A Live sessions
  • Open Student feedback sessions
  • Artwork breakdowns 
  • Login 24/7 (all digital)
  • 30-Day money-back guarantee

"I’ve been a fan of Pablo’s work and tutorials for some time now, originally I was drawn in by his strong presentation skills and amazing branding on all of his tutorials. All of his guides are thorough, clear, and very well packaged. After using his materials and render scenes for my own work, I’ve been anxiously looking forward to any and all new content coming out! Pablo is a wealth of ZBrush knowledge, and one of the main go-to sources in our community!"

Kurt Papstein
Principal Character Artist

Alright cool! But, what exactly is in the course?

The Extra Mile - From ZBrush sculpture to polished illustration is packed with 54 comprehensive lessons distributed across 8 modules. The videos are structured by workflows so that everything follows a logical sequence and the steps in the process are easily digestible.

Module 1 - Fundamentals
Essential Concepts and busting myths

The lessons in this module are all about setting a strong foundation and understand important concepts that will be put into practice through the following modules of the course.

These videos are not boring lectures of pure theory, instead, we are going to smash through some myths that can damage our confidence as artists, I’m going to give you practical tips to create powerful and expressive characters, I’ll show you how to leverage the principles and elements of design, we’ll talk about the value of composition and we’ll breakdown portrait lighting to a simple but effective set of tools.

Module 2 - Sculpting
Setting up your ZBrush Sculpt

This module is all about materializing your idea in ZBrush, not just about what buttons to press to get it done, but how to treat ZBrush as a powerful creative tool to explore your designs. We are going to talk about the different 3D sketching techniques and I’ll walk you through what I believe is the best approach to go from a ‘blocky’ arrangements of polygons to a refined and highly detailed sculpture. We are going to cover everything from Dynamesh, to retopology and geometry HD for high-frequency details.

Module 3 - Intro to Rendering
Improving presentation - it’s all in the details

The third module in the course is focusing on rendering for presentation or work in progress.

Following module two, you should have a good looking sculpture from ZBrush so the logical next step to present the sculpture, is to render it. In this module will cover BPR in ZBrush and all the other aspects like materials, lights and document to produce a high-res BPR render. We’ll also introduce a more sophisticated render with Keyshot and learn how to set up your scene in this powerful renderer.

Module 4 - Texturing 
Polypaint, prototyping and render passes

Module four, is a fun one as we get to play with different processes and techniques.

Through the lessons of this module, I’ll explain what Polypaint is and how to use it to create a high-quality texture within ZBrush. I'm also going to show you how to create your own painting brushes set. We’ll also go over a quick posing technique to make the character look more interesting and I’ll show you how to set up render passes in ZBrush, Keyshot and prototype the look of your scene with Marmoset Toolbag 3.

Module 5 - UVs and Maps
UV mapping and creating useful maps

This module is reserved for everything that is part of the process of creating UVs for your model. This process is sometimes viewed as a boring and quite technical. Following the steps and learning certain tools, will prove that it’s actually very simple and not so tedious ;)

I’m going to give you a brief and practical introduction to UV mapping and we’ll look at different ways to create UVs without diving too deep into the technicalities that go behind the process. With the basics out of the way, we are going to create UVs for our sculpture and I’ll show a simple process to create various maps from ZBrush like Normal, Displacement, Ambient Oclussion, etc.

Module 6 - Advanced texturing
Creating intricate textures maps in Substance painter

Substance Painter is a favorite software of mine as it’s an incredibly powerful tool for texturing. In this module, I’m going to demystify the texturing process and I’ll show you how to easily go between ZBrush and Substance Painter to texture your character.

 

In substance Painter, I’ll walk you, step by step, through the process of creating complex materials, setting up intricate masks, building reusable smart materials, adding further details to the sculpture with height maps, using procedural maps to create patterns and refine the general look/design of your character.

Module 7 - Advanced Rendering
Producing high-quality renders

In this module, we are going to have lots of fun producing a variety of renders. We’ll take the textures we created in module six with Substance Painter and set them up in Marmoset Toolbag 3, to create a striking real-time scene.

We’ll dive a little bit deeper into lighting and how to create an atmospheric scene. I’m also going to show you the way I set up a Keyshot scene to render a high-quality image using the same texture maps produced in substance painter.

Module 8 - Compositing
Compositing, the ultimate renderer!

The last module of the course! Here is where all the hard work that we put in during the previous seven modules, is going to finally pay off! We are going to fire up Photoshop and create the final images out of all the renders and passes we’ve been creating along the course.

In this module, I’m going to give you an introduction to compositing using the BPR passes and Keyshot render from the module three, and then we’ll get into more advanced techniques with the BPR passes with polypaint, as well as the Keyshot passes from the advanced rendering module. I’m also going to show you a series of steps I follow to further improve my compositions. I’ll use the Marmoset real-time render as an example, to illustrate the point that even a great looking render can be improved in compositing.

Anything else?

Sure! How about some cool bonuses?

When you enroll in The Extra Mile course, you’ll also get access to three awesome bonuses:

Bonus 1 - Extra Module
The 'art' of living as an artist

I contacted five of my friends that work in the industry and ‘locked them in a virtual interrogation room’. There, I asked them questions about what it takes to succeed as a digital artist.

In the first part of this module, we go over the invaluable insights that these amazing artists shared with me. In the second part of the module, I’m going to walk you through how I organise and balance my work with other aspects of my life and I’ll share my time-management techniques. I’ll also share with you the tools I use on a daily basis to get things done and show you how you can develop your own workflows.

Bonus 2 - Exclusive art community
The Extra Mile closed community of artists

This is an awesome bonus and my favorite one because it’s the one that lives on after you are finished with the course content! This bonus gives you instant access to The Extra Mile private community of artists (I’m in there too), where we can interact with other like-minded people and take a peek behind the scenes at their learning process as well.

You can share your work, do a bit of networking, ask for feedback and critiques, get support and help others with your own findings! Also, The Extra Mile community is a safe place where you can give and get honest feedback, constructive criticism and ultimately enrich everyone’s learning experience.

Still on the fence?

Here are some frequently asked question:

  • Lifetime access
  • 8 Modules with 54 videos lessons
  • 3 Bonuses including access to The Extra Mile closed community
  • Course resources (brushes, models, materials, lights, etc).
  • All updates to the course content are free
  • Q&A Live sessions
  • Open Student feedback sessions
  • Artwork breakdowns (from my portfolio pieces)
  • Login 24/7 (all digital)
  • 30-Day money-back guarantee

Straight away! Once you get the course, you are in! You can start immediately :)

Some basic prior knowledge of ZBrush (i.e. interface and navigation) and Photoshop (i.e. what layers are etc) is required, but for the rest, I take you from beginner to intermediate to advanced!

We've got you covered! with the course you also get access to The Extra Mile closed community and this is going to be the hub for finding answers to your questions, getting feedback and share your progress with other like-minded people!

You’ll have a login account where you can access your library of content at any time 24/7

The main software is ZBrush and Photoshop. With just these two, you can follow the BPR rendering and compositing workflow.  However, to take full advantage of The Extra Mile course you need Substance Painter which we’ll use for texturing, and Keyshot and/or Marmoset toolbag 3 for rendering.

There is other software that is mentioned as extras or in bonus lessons like Blender and Rizom UV, but they are not essential (just trying to provide you with alternatives).

Yes, all the videos are ready when you are. You can watch them and re-watch them and go through the entire course at your own pace.

There will be live sessions (like student feedback sessions or Q&As) that you can watch live and interact, but they will also be recorded in case you cannot make it.

Yes, a little bit. I go through every process in detail but having previous knowledge of the ZBrush interface and basic understanding of the tools are going to help you move faster.

Not exactly, I’d say ZBrush and Photoshop are the fundamentals. Part of the idea with The Extra Mile course is to give you a few different avenues to get to the same goal: a great looking image. This is also why I end up with various ‘final compositions’ from the different workflows.

For example, if you don’t have Substance Painter because you don’t want to use it, you can still follow the rest of the modules and produce the maps for Marmoset Toolbag 3 rendering module, straight from ZBrush as I explain in the UVs and baking module.

Also, since the Modules are also structured by workflows, if you decide to get Substance Painter later on (or any other software you currently don’t have) you can simply go back and revisit the module where we explore the specific software.

Nope, with the exception of ZBrush, which I assume you have used it before, I’ll cover a brief introduction to Substance Painter, Marmoset Toolbag 3, Keyshot and any other software we use, enough to get you started and ready to produce awesome art!

Most of the processes I explain in the course are not specific to the version number. If you have a version where a button or a tool I teach is not present, I’ll do my best to provide an alternative. For instance, with Keyshot, I use the version 8.2 pro and I know there are features that other versions don’t have like HDRI editor or Material Graphs. In these cases, I also explain how to achieve the same or similar result in a different way.

I’ll give you feedback on your work in a few different ways depending on what stage you are at with your project. The feedback could be painting over your image with suggestions (showing before and after), a sketch over your concept or sculpt, a reply to a post in the community with a list of possible changes/fixes and finally, when I find a piece of feedback that could also benefit others, I’ll do a more in-depth ‘open student feedback session’ that everyone will have access to.

Also, as part of The Extra Mile community, you can post your work in progress and get instant feedback from the community and other artists. Remember that the artist in the closed community are also doing the course or have gone through it already so you’ll get very relevant feedback. I’m also an active member of The Extra Mile community and I’ll try to provide as much honest feedback as I can.

Literally access for life! You’ll have access to the content (updates and new stuff added) for the course longevity!

Unfortunately no. The course was carefully planned to follow a linear structure while grouping lessons by the workflow. Going through a single module is only useful as a recap of the workflow once you have done the previous lessons.

I’m confident that the lessons in each module and the way I have structured the course, will help you develop your sculpting, texturing, lighting, rendering and compositing skills. Like with everything else, you’ll need to invest the time to practice, in order to improve. If you are not happy with the course, you can contact support within 30 days of your purchase and request a full refund.

How to get started?

The system I teach in The Extra Mile course, is a proven method that I have tested and refined over the years to turn your ZBrush sculpture into a polished illustration or high-quality render.

In the course I packed all the steps from every successful workflows that I’ve tested and know that works, so you don't waste time figuring the ‘right mix’, I don't hold anything back!. Throughout the modules, we are going to talk about character design, lighting, composition, sketching and sculpting in ZBrush, we’ll look into retopology, UVs, polypaint, texturing in substance painter and of course rendering, compositing and presentation.

With every step, I’ll show you HOW to efficiently and effectively get from point A to point B, but my goal is to also explain WHY things work the way they do, so that you can further explore the tools and make them work for you.

The Extra mile course is currently closed. Although this is a lifetime access, there is a limit to the number of students I can take.

Drop your name and email in the form below and be the first to know when The Extra Mile is open again!

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I'll send you an email as soon as The Extra Mile course opens again.

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