Modeling a Zombie from Nothing with V-Ray (Tutorial 2022)

Welcome to this new 3dsmax zombie modeling/creation tutorial. This is going to be a very effective tutorial, in the sense that I’m going to show you how to QUICKLY create a fully-textured 3d zombie for your games or renderings, complete with a biped rig.

3d zombie design

If you find this tutorial useful, I highly appreciate that your views on the comments section.

Anyways, let’s move on to this tutorial.

Getting the mesh

Notice how in the introduction to the tutorial I mentioned this was going to be an EFFECTIVE tutorial, meaning that in it I will show you the FASTEST way to create a cool zombie in 3d. Well, the FASTEST way to make a zombie is to find a FREE mesh on the internet for our model.

Since zombies are based on the Human body, we can easily download a “man” mesh from a free 3d meshes website and make changes we want to the model to make it look more zombie-like, and then make a texture for our mesh and apply it with 3dsmax’s UVW mapping tools.

In this tutorial, I’m going to take you by the hand and show you pretty much every step needed to model, texture, and rig our zombie.

Step 1 – Find a free mesh (easy)

1. Zip over to www.turbosquid.com, a free 3d meshes website, and use their Search Box to look for the word “man” in their 3d model collection.

You will get a list of resulting 3d meshes with thumbnails. Now, on the left column of their website, find the “PRICE” column, and click on “Set custom price range”. Fill in “0,0″ to find all FREE 3d models (that cost $0) on their website, then click the APPLY button.

2.  Scroll through the results, and find a model that looks the most like a zombie to you.

IMPORTANT:  The model must be in a T-Pose pose, meaning with his arms stretched out and feet slightly apart. This is for character rigging purposes later on, when we finish the model.

3.  A good example of a usable mesh I found on TurboSquid is this one: http://www.turbosquid.com/3d-models/human-base-obj-free/483277 .

This human model is free, is detailed enough, and will work for our purposes. Go ahead and download the model. You might have to create an account in TurboSquid, but go ahead and do it, since it’s free and easy.

4.  The model will be in OBJ file format (if you downloaded the one from step 3). Save it to your project’s directory.

5.  Boot up 3dsMax, start a new scene, then click on File > Import, select “Wavefront Object (*.OBJ)” as the file type, and select your zombie to mesh you just downloaded.

6.  You will get the following OBJ Import dialog, make sure you check “Single” and the other options shown in this screenshot. “Single” makes 3dsmax import the entire model as a single mesh, which is useful when you skin the model since your mesh won’t “rip” between body parts when you animate it. (it helps).

7.  Once you import the model, you will have something like this in your Perspective viewport :

8.  Now we have to check that the model has the correct size/scale. A zombie should be around 1.80 meters tall, or about 5′10″.

Before we can check his height. we’re going to change 3dsmax’s working units.

Go ahead and click on Customize > Units Setup.  Then select either “Metric” and Meters if you like to work in Meters, or select US Standard if you want to work with inches. Whatever makes you comfortable.

9.  Now that we have our working scale set, we have to check the actual size of the zombie.

To do this, in 3dsmax go to the utility tab (last tab on the Create /  Modify toolbar), then click the “Measure” utility. If you don’t see it as in the following screenshot, click the “More” button and find it in the list that pops up.

10.  The “Measure” utility shows you the real-world dimensions of the selected object. You can see the sizes of the object in all 3 dimensions, X Y and Z.

For this example, the Z dimension represents our zombie’s height, so this SHOULD be around 1.80 meters or 5′10. If it is not, move on to point 11.

11.  Adjust the zombie’s height. How do you say? Easy. Click on the UNIFORM SCALE TOOL, or press the R key on your keyboard to auto-select the tool. 

Now, click-drag on the zombie while watching the Measure utility’s Z value until the zombie is resized to its correct height (1.80 meters or 5′10″).

12.  Now that we’ve resized our zombie, let’s count its polygons. If our zombie model looks blocky and smooth enough, we can easily fix this.

Click on 3dsmax’s Modify tab, then click on the Modifier List, and select TurboSmooth modifier. Instantly, your zombie’s polygon count will be doubled and smoothed, with a nice, smooth result. :

Sculpting details into the zombie

1.  We might notice our zombie lacks something: He’s too skinny.

A zombie should have thick arms legs and chest, right? Let’s make it so! Go to the Modify Panel, and verify that our model is of Editable Polytype.

If he is not, then right-click his type and click “Editable Poly” from the list. This will convert him into an Editable Poly-type object, which makes it easier for us to work/sculpt on him.

2.  Now we’re going to add some bulge to his skinny arms. Expand the Editable Poly level in the modifiers, and select the Vertex sub-object mode, then click on the vertex in the center of his arm, as pictured :

Now move that vertex up in the Z direction, so as to make a bulge in the arm. This will make our zombie a bit more muscular.

3.  Proceed to make the change in the other arm of the zombie, legs, chest, and all other areas you would like to be more muscular/bulging.

4.  Once you’re done with the zombie’s polygonal detailing, it’s time to texture him… The fun part.