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Zbrush base mesh
show user profile  digital3ds

I have about 6 characters I need to make for an animation, all male and 1 female (which will be a different mesh)

The males ages will range from 8yrs to 60yrs, so I figured this would be a good point to get into Zbrush. I'm imagining Ill be able to use one base mesh to sculpt all the different male characters, then just re-topo and all that jaz aftewards (correct me if Im wrong) ((there will be 3 different males, and 1 as a boy, teen, and adult))

Any pointers would be great
- Mike Sawicki

read 1780 times
7/3/2012 10:21:27 AM (last edit: 7/3/2012 10:21:27 AM)
show user profile  herfst1
If you're going to use zbrush I'd say it might be easier in the long run to sculpt a sphere or z-sphere using dynamesh and retopologise. Then when you've created one head you can adjust it to create another head and so forth. You could even potentially make the female head from a male head.

I've highlighted some areas that might need work (though I wouldn't stress about it now, you can fix all this when/if you retopologise)

To explain:
The dot at the edge of the mouth - (sorry if I'm mistaken) it looks like you've got your poly's leading to a point which isn't great for animation. Instead the edge of the mouth should have a vertical poly. MDB has a great tutorial for sculpting the mouth all found on the left of MF page... or here:

The line from the nose to the chin - the poly's should flow the way drawn (for animation) because when the mouth opens the nose slightly dips.

The line on the brow - again, for the sake of animation you might want more poly's to play with, to crease the brow better.

The radial lines around the ear - no specific reason to make them radial that I can think of (for animation purposes), they just look so much neater fanning out; plus you can evenly distribute the poly's over the back of the head better, which is important for zbrushing.
read 1775 times
7/3/2012 10:55:19 AM (last edit: 7/3/2012 10:55:19 AM)
show user profile  digital3ds
Thank for that link, I tried lookin at his stuff earlier (over there <----- ) but I think he deleted the vids.


Adjusted the mouth and mapped the head. What's the deal with Zbrush and uv's? I hear ppl saying Zbrush is really good at laying out uv's. I'm so used to unwrapping everything I model.. Should I not bother with unwrapping stuff if its going into Zbrush? That doesn't feel right.
- Mike Sawicki

read 1753 times
7/3/2012 1:11:10 PM (last edit: 7/3/2012 1:11:10 PM)
show user profile  herfst1
Zbrush has a uv master that does it all in a couple of clicks... but don't use it as you can't layout a nice uv map like you can in max.

The workflow I was told is to:
1. sculpt in zbrush.
2. retopologise and goz to max
3. uvw unwrap in max and goz to zbrush
4. project the high poly details onto the retopologised mesh
5. paint some textures and export a diffuse map.
6. create a displacement map
7. (just found out it might be better not to do this step in zbrush) create a normal map.
7.1 instead of previous step, export a high poly and low poly mesh as obj, switch to max and use a projection to create a normal map using RTT tools (check my sphinx thread to see the advice that was given to me). You can also render out other maps at the same time, like specular.
read 1746 times
7/3/2012 1:32:21 PM (last edit: 7/3/2012 1:33:53 PM)
show user profile  LionDebt
for comparison sake, I do this:

1. concept sculpt/block out theories/ideas in zBrush
2. sculpt medium level detail model from stage 1 in zBrush
3. create base-mesh Lo Poly in Topogun based on medium detail model
4. UVW Unwrap in 3DS Max
5. sculpt medium detail into really fine detail final sculpt
6. decimation master and import Hi Poly into max (thanks Ian)
7. adjust base-mesh cage, project and bake normal maps.
read 1736 times
7/3/2012 2:50:58 PM (last edit: 7/3/2012 2:51:43 PM)
show user profile  K-tonne
mine is more like this- sometimes i sculpt first then create the low poly over a highish version
but it's easier if you have the concept nailed down beforehand:

1. create low poly base with good topology and uv mapped (able to be animated, any extreme moves catered for etc)
2. sculpt and polypaint required details- export dif and tart up in ps
3. export low poly and decimated high poly and extract normal/ disp/ height/ in w/e and tart up in ps (create spec, sub-dermals etc)

if not a personal project these extra steps are usually involved:

4. go back and change it beacuse the client changed his mind
5. go back and change it beacuse the client changed his mind again
6. go back and change it beacuse the client changed his mind once again
7. go back and change it beacuse the client changed his mind again, you take down personal details and vow to go slap him

[edit] my advice is to always use reference- photo reference is usually better- depending on subject of course

Website and Portfolio

read 1724 times
7/3/2012 3:56:29 PM (last edit: 7/3/2012 3:58:59 PM)
show user profile  scotch_again
Here's my workflow:

1) Sculpt, starting with whatever.
2) Poly paint.
3) Export all subtools with polypaint, and also a 200k-ish-poly decimated version.
4) Import the decimated mesh into Max, Retop and Unwrap, and export.
5) Bake normals, AO, cavity and polypaint in XNormal.

At least that's it in its simplest form, though I do deviate quite often, for example if a quick base mesh will make my life easier or I want straightened UVs on my Ztool for use with Noisemaker.
read 1705 times
7/3/2012 7:42:52 PM (last edit: 7/3/2012 7:46:11 PM)
show user profile  scotch_again
Regarding the base mesh; there's really 3 things you want out of a zb base mesh:

1) as regular a mesh as possible, ideally all quads and no poles.
2) as even a distribution of polies as possible
3) your edges flowing in the right direction on the surface

Those three are mutually contradictory to some extent, so it's about finding the best balance.

Looking at your mesh, I'd say you've achieved 1) reasonably well, 3) is doable, but you're falling way short on 2). The difference between your biggest polies and your smallest is huge, and if you want to sculpt any fine stuff onto the forehead you're going to find yourself running out of detail and unable to add any more subdivs because you've blown millions of polies around the eyes, ears and mouth.

/edit: fucking autocorrect
read 1688 times
7/3/2012 8:56:16 PM (last edit: 7/3/2012 9:02:44 PM)
show user profile  digital3ds
This took way too long to do... just couldn't get into it today. BUT - I tried to re-topo the face. It was way to high poly for what I wanted anyway. Still not picture perfect but I think it'll work.. If anyone shared some high res / good quality t-pose's Id be eternally grateful


Correct me if im wrong as I've never done this before, but I need to have my face uv's in 1 map channel, and the body uv's in another (on the same mesh)

So do I just apply an unwrap uvw mod for the face, set as map channel 1 -- then apply another unwrap uvw mod on top of the first as map channel 2, then move the uv's off to the side of 0 1? I heard that sometimes Zbrush will overlap uv's if you do something wrong

*** According to the help files I need to assign 2+ materials to the 1 object, change the map channel in each to correspond to the uvw mods? Gonna mess with it
- Mike Sawicki

read 1666 times
7/4/2012 7:35:46 AM (last edit: 7/4/2012 8:00:58 AM)
show user profile  herfst1
No, you need to uvw all in channel 1. For your first model I wouldn't worry about mirrored limbs, just unwrap them all. It might be a good idea to cap off the eye sockets, mouth, nostrils etc first, it makes unwrapping easier and zbrush doesn't like open edges.
read 1657 times
7/4/2012 8:05:34 AM (last edit: 7/4/2012 8:05:34 AM)
show user profile  digital3ds
Thanks for the heads up. So, if I want my face uvs to be a 4096 x 4096 and the body @ 1024, I should just wait until after all the sculpting is done?
- Mike Sawicki

read 1655 times
7/4/2012 8:17:15 AM (last edit: 7/4/2012 8:17:15 AM)
show user profile  herfst1
Um, just make everything 4096x4096. What you can do is to make the uv's for the head take up 1/4 or 1/2 the uv space. That'll be pretty much the same as what you suggested.
read 1644 times
7/4/2012 10:45:56 AM (last edit: 7/4/2012 10:45:56 AM)
show user profile  LionDebt
You've still got a large size difference between your polygoons!

Each time you subdiv in zBrush it will add 4 polygons into each current polygon. Meaning, to sculpt a wrinkle on this chaps forehead will need about 5 or 6 subdivs, whereas, giving his lips or eyesockets some sculpting love might only need 2 or 3 subdivs.

If I understand correctly this is just a base-mesh for sculpting in zBrush? You're going to retopologise (re-build) a working mesh after it's been sculpted?
read 1635 times
7/4/2012 2:04:30 PM (last edit: 7/4/2012 2:05:10 PM)
show user profile  K-tonne
i see a problem with your eyes
they have 8 edges around the eyeball (which is perfectly fine) but they're not evenly spaced- looks like one at the top, two at the bottom and a couple for the tear duct and the other side
coupled with the amount of loops there you'll get very long, thin polys which isn't ideal
i'm glad you fixed the flow on the jaw- looks way better
ears are a little low
proportions on the body look ok as far as i can see- hands have quick the dip in the palm though- and the knees look like someone's been at them with a sledgehammer- feet are turned inwards (doesn't really matter but i think it all adds to the 'personality' of the character and feet turned in towards each other is a sign of shyness or retardation- or something negative lol)

not two map channels but two material id's maybe you were thinking of?
if you're going to map it at this stage make sure every bit is in it's own space in 0,0- no overlaps or inverted chunks (test with poly mode in the uv edit window select> select inverted faces/ select overlapping faces or something along those lines)

with the hands in that position it's way easier to work out where the muscles of the arms are and how they interact- but the downside is that it's not the best position to try to rig from- but you can turn them in zb if you want

Website and Portfolio

read 1631 times
7/4/2012 4:36:43 PM (last edit: 7/4/2012 4:36:43 PM)
show user profile  digital3ds

Thanks for all the help guys.

Ok, moved the ears up tried to even out some polys along the body and face, but I don't think I'll be able to have them all 100 percent uniform.. I want enough detail in the ears for example, where I won't have to go through and sculpt them out for each character.

K-tonne, I'm not sure what you meant with the eyes. I went through and was able to remove 2 edge loops, which freed up some space. And yea, LionDebt - I just started using zBrush so I want a mesh I can work with. Something with all the pieces in the right spots

I put everything in one uvw mod, but I've changed the mesh so many times I'm gonna wait to go any further with uvs..

Oh, and yes - I'm really trying to think about how my rig is going to work, now, so I changed the pose (that's why he has retard foot, no offense to the retard feet out there)

The mesh inside zBrush is over 8mil and I didn't get any errors or anything on import (unlike I'm sure would have happened with mudbox) -- except when I exported the obj from max I got a warning saying something about a rats nest?

** it looks so much better in the zBrush viewport than max's. weird
- Mike Sawicki

read 1603 times
7/5/2012 4:48:58 AM (last edit: 7/5/2012 4:53:17 AM)
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