Cloth Sculpt & Design

This class includes several unique video lectures and class notes- all accessible 24-7, plus example .ZTL files including a variety of complete costumes!!

This Master Class is now available on your schedule. You’ll have access to the entire class as soon as you sign up.

The ability to create believable cloth is an important part of any character artist’s training. From video games to 3D animation, a character’s clothing is often a large part of their design and appeal. This course will give you the foundation to interpret how cloth works, as well as specific sculpting techniques in ZBrush to help simplify the process.

You’ll also get hours of sculpt-over videos where Zack uses previous student’s models to showcase dozens of specific techniques and design principles. This is an amazing way to improve your own design and character creation skills.

  • Anatomy of a fold
  • Capturing the illusion of thickness
  • The importance of tension
  • Straights and curves
  • Defining the underlying form
  • Topology for animation
  • Designing costumes and accessories
  • Learn Zack’s sculpting techniques for developing form as you follow along
  • Sculpt-overs of previous student’s work

After purchase look for the “My Master Class Modules” button in the main navigation bar at the top of every page.

NOTE: There is no student or staff interaction with this class format.


  • Now Online –  videos, lectures, and downloadable assets. This Master Class contains unique new videos, lectures, notes, and downloadable assets. The information is presented via online videos and web posts that are available 24/7 allowing students to access and absorb the information at their own pace.
  • Modules – A module is a chapter of learning material. As soon as you purchase the class you’ll have access to ALL the modules.
  • Sculpt-overs of Previous Student’s Work- The class also includes hours of sculpt-overs where Zack gives feedback by sculpting directly over previous student’s models. This class includes a wide range of topics from sculpting specific types of folds, to fundamental costume design decisions.



Module 01– Examining the Seven Ways Cloth Folds

When cloth drapes over an underlying shape, or reacts to wind and gravity, it consistently forms a few basic shapes that showcase its structure. Understanding these basic shapes that are created when cloth reacts to outside influences can greatly improve your ability to recreate and design beautiful and believable cloth. Before we analyze the specific types of folds, it is important to remember that we are designing our cloth, not just trying to recreate reality. We want to make our cloth looks better than reality, and much like the other principles of character design we have talked about, basing it on reality is the best place to start.

Video & Class Notes: Creating and analyzing folds

  • The diaper fold
  • Pipe fold
  • Zig-Zag fold
  • Flag fold
  • Inert fold
  • Half Lock
  • Spiral
  • Tension folds based on underlying structure

Video: Blocking in your mesh

  • Single sided surfaces
  • Evaluating the volumes
  • Looking for design opportunities
  • Developing the costume and character together

Video: Sculpting Form

  • Techniques for developing your forms
  • Inflate and ClayTubes brushes
  • Tension
  • Straights and Curves

Self Guided Assignment: Students will be Designing and creating part of, or a full character costume based on their individual levels of experience. In this module we will begin by defining what type of design each student will be creating and blocking in our sculpts.


Module 02– Costume Design Overview

The Female Anatomy Sculpt .ZTL with full costume is included in the price of this Master Class.

A character’s costume design should directly reflect their back story, fit within the story’s world logic, and be identifiable within its specific design universe. We will start by examining these key principles and evaluate different examples of costume designs, showcasing successful, and non-successful examples.

Class Notes: Costume Design

  • Designing accessories and cloth
  • Age and weight of the materials
  • Form of the cloth

Video: Areas of Interest & Utilizing Reference

  • A common costume design mistake
  • The importance of reference
  • Video Games
  • Edward Scissor Hands

Video: Cloth- Straights and Curves in Cloth Design

  • Balancing straights and curves
  • Understanding this universal character design principle
  • Defining a surface hit

Video: The importance of Tension

  • Tension in cloth
  • Cloth compression
  • Choosing where and how to define the underlying forms

Self Guided Assignment: Using the design principles presented in this module, evaluate your design decisions and identify the areas of your character that don’t take advantage of these principles. Zack will also be giving video feedback of design choices and character progress.


Module 03– Developing Form & Class Sculpt-Overs

In this module we focus on evaluating specific ways to improve the straights and curves, gestures, and overall effectiveness of a given character’s costume design.

Video Topics: Sculpt Overs of student work

  • Avoid tangents and equal spacing of details
  • Proper fold layout
  • Structural accuracy
  • Global form
  • Form hits and tension of the sculpt

*This module includes several full sculpt-over videos.

Self Guided Assignment: Continue to refine the cloth global design of your sculpt, and begin to develop secondary levels of detail. Experiment with different cloth thickness and material types.


Module 04– Sculpting Structured Cloth and Adding Thickness

The Erasmus Character .ZTL with full costume is included in the price of this Master Class.

In this module we will be exploring specific tips and tricks to create clean, organized cloth meshes. We will also be examining how to retopologize your meshes in preparation for rigging and cloth simulation.

Video: Sculpting and Designing Structured Costumes

  • Techniques for developing your forms
  • Structure
  • Holding an edge
  • Built in corners *Hold a corner in ZBrush with more control.
  • Explore the rhythms created by the major muscle groups of the face
  • See how the muscle groups fill out the skull
  • Study the structure of the ears and nose as they are being sculpted in ZBrush
  • Learn Zack’s sculpting techniques for developing form as you follow along

Video: Cloth for Simulation

  • Straight lines for cloth
  • Penetration with body
  • Penetration with other cloth layers (similar density on each mesh when possible)
  • Density relative to body mesh
  • Avoid stars on edges

Video: Costume Accessories and Extras for Production Pipelines

  • Straps and accessories
  • Teeth, tongue and gums
  • Eyes, one or two concentric spheres
  • Hair proxy
  • Use cleanup mesh in Maya (or equivalent) to check for potential problems

Video: Retopologizing in ZBrush

  • Place a ZSphere on the canvas (ZBrush needs a ZSphere to start the retopo process)
  • Link the mesh you want to retopologize to the Zsphere
  • Click on your mesh to begin drawing your new topology

Self Guided Assignment: Use the techniques outlined in this module to create at least one element, or accessory, of a structured costume. Evaluate the layout and edge-flow of your mesh against the principles described above for rigging and cloth simulation. Utilizing the advanced topics covered in all our previous modules, take your character to completion- building upon the foundation of the rhythms and gestures, straights and curves, and the design principles we have discussed.


Work File included in class price: The Female Anatomy Sculpt .ZTL

Get more details on this model here.


Work File included in class price: Erasmus Design Sculpt .ZTL

Get more details on this model here.


For question about our Master Classes please email tiffany@zackpetroc.com.