Log inBy CategoryBy Instructor

Sculpting Miniatures for Boardgames Using ZBrush

From 2D concept to 3D Miniature Sculpt Using ZBrush & KeyShot With Francesco Orru


Learn how to translate a 2D concept into a 3D miniature using ZBrush and KeyShot in this 4-hour workshop by Digital Sculptor Francesco Orru. This tutorial is intended for artists who already have some knowledge of digital sculpting in ZBrush and are ready to delve into the world of creating miniatures from concept art.

The workshop covers the entire process of sculpting for miniatures, from considering the initial scales to using DynaMesh, ZRemesher, Transpose Master, ZModeller, and lastly, KeyShot for rendering.

When resin printing miniatures, consideration needs to be given to the level of detail to be included in the model, which all depends on the scale, proportions, volumes, the interpretation of shapes — and you need to know which liberties you can take while sculpting.

As well as sharing his workflow, Francesco discusses how to optimize your work to save time when sculpting, and shares his tips for developing good communication with art directors in order to receive feedback early on during the process. He talks about how to work under certain limits including time and resources, and stresses why it’s important to be open to reworking models — and never falling in love with your first attempts.

By completing this workshop, you’ll have a solid understanding of the full pipeline when working from a 2D concept to create a 3D miniature using ZBrush. You’ll also discover how to present your work to an art director.

The final prototype featured in this workshop was printed by Valkyrx Gaming in the UK.

Provided as a downloadable resource with this workshop are the STL of the decimated high poly model, the ZTL of the T-pose with all the Subtools, plus the ZTL of the final posed model with Subtools.

Duration: 4h 12m

Format: HD 1920x1080

Francesco Orru

Freelance Digital Sculptor

Francesco Orru is a digital sculptor based in London, working in 3D printing, boardgame miniatures, collectibles, and games. He is currently working freelance for clients, including NECA, Valkyrx Gaming, and Draco Studios among many others. He graduated from Bologna University and completed an MA in Computer Animation at Kingston University part-time while working in 3D printing production, indie games, and wargame miniatures. 

Follow Francesco on Instagram @4theswarm and on Facebook @francesco.orru.77.

  • Francesco has been sculpting outstanding miniatures for several years for some of the best in the industry. Both his technical knowledge and creativity make him a desirable artist to work with as well as an excellent source to learn from!

    - James Cain
    Assistant Art Director at XM Studios

  • Francesco is an amazing 3D Artist & Sculptor. His attention to detail and his work ethic is of the highest caliber. His understanding of anatomy and how it translates from 2D concepts to 3D sculpture is simply magnificent. Those watching his Gnomon Workshop tutorial are in for a fantastic lesson!

    - JP Targete
    Freelance Concept Artist and Illustrator

  • I’ve worked with Francesco many times as both a concept artist and an art director, and his sculptures always make me smile with awe and admiration. Francesco is an Artist and Craftsman in the truest sense of the words. He understands that sculpting from a concept isn’t simply about a dutiful reproduction in three dimensions; it’s about understanding form, anatomy, weight distribution, the attitude and posture of the subject, and so much more. Francesco embraces these nuances through his skills, and the end results are nothing short of fantastic.

    - Thomas W. Babbey
    Art Director & Concept Artist