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View Full Version : So Mudbox is out now - but how to incorporate it into animation-centric workflow?


usernamelolorz
12-20-2006, 02:00 PM
Same question goes for Zbrush too, really - they seem really neat, but I don't get how you could do any substantial detailing without completely screwing-up your topology? Wouldn't it turn deformations of musculature all wonky - wouldn't it alter utterly everything you'd done before, since it's changing the geometry? I want to use these tools - but I just don't see how to get away with it?

Thanks!

Cronholio
12-20-2006, 02:18 PM
You build your mesh, the one you will bind to the rig and use for rendering. You apply UVs to it. You make a lighter proxy version of it for the animators to work with if necessary, and bind it to the animation rig. You take your base mesh into Z-Brush or Mudbox, sculpt away, and use this new high res mesh to generate a displacement and/or normal map. You apply the map(s) to your base mesh with a shader, and render it as a sub division surface. If your renderer can render parametric surfaces and do subpixel displacements, your final render will look just like the high resolution mesh though you are using a much lighter piece of geometry.

usernamelolorz
12-21-2006, 05:37 AM
So building something I wanted to deform through animation - like the bulges of a muscle or of skin - should NOT be done with Mudbox or Zbrush, since what they do is just lay "extra" geometry down upon the final render?

gjpetch
12-21-2006, 06:01 AM
So building something I wanted to deform through animation - like the bulges of a muscle or of skin - should NOT be done with Mudbox or Zbrush, since what they do is just lay "extra" geometry down upon the final render?
I don't see why that would be the case, take a look at this thread, might elucidate things for you:
http://206.145.80.239/zbc/showthread.php?t=022300

siouxfire
12-21-2006, 07:19 AM
So building something I wanted to deform through animation - like the bulges of a muscle or of skin - should NOT be done with Mudbox or Zbrush, since what they do is just lay "extra" geometry down upon the final render?
If you're creating a realistic character you're going to use in a wide variety of circumstances/animating, I think you're better off fully rigging the character with influence objects as muscles. You'll have a low res proxy(your original low res topology) anyhow with your high resolution Mudbox detailed model bound to it or projected onto it.

Actually, which software are you using?

usernamelolorz
12-21-2006, 08:08 AM
I guess what I'm driving at is - let's say I start off with a very, very simple model, then bring it into Zbrush or Mudbox to turn it from basic shapes/proportions into an organic form - or let's say I just start in Mudbox from the very beginning. How am I going to end-up with animatable topology? Like let's say I want a character who's got all sorts of wrinkles up on his forehead and they're supposed to compressed when he lifts his brows or something like that - what role should Mudbox play in that kind of look, when do I bring it in and what should I have before-hand and how do I get its results to be animatable (i.e., the bunching-up of wrinkles on a forehead when brows are lifted).

I'm using Maya 8 Unlimited, Silo and Wings3D, but I'm open to getting another package if someone makes a good case for it.

siouxfire
12-21-2006, 08:20 AM
I guess what I'm driving at is - let's say I start off with a very, very simple model, then bring it into Zbrush or Mudbox to turn it from basic shapes/proportions into an organic form - or let's say I just start in Mudbox from the very beginning. How am I going to end-up with animatable topology? Like let's say I want a character who's got all sorts of wrinkles up on his forehead and they're supposed to compressed when he lifts his brows or something like that - what role should Mudbox play in that kind of look, when do I bring it in and what should I have before-hand and how do I get its results to be animatable (i.e., the bunching-up of wrinkles on a forehead when brows are lifted).

I'm using Maya 8 Unlimited, Silo and Wings3D, but I'm open to getting another package if someone makes a good case for it.
If you have Maya 8 Unlimited that's more than enough. Really, it sounds like you need to ground yourself in some of the basics of Maya before trying anything like this. I pretty much answered your question in my previous post.

EDIT: Anyhow, looking over all your postings...

1. You CAN'T screw up the topology by using Zbrush or Mudbox - it's an entirely different mesh.
2. The base mesh you create in Maya shouldn't be too simple - this mesh should roughly approximate the shape of your final figure. (If Mudbox is like Zbrush, you'll want an all quad mesh)
3. Check Pixologic's website for information on the workflow with Maya - there are numerous step-by-step tutorials on the internet as well - Mudbox will be similar

...and more obviously, you can achieve wrinkles in Maya without a separate application.

Ozoka
12-21-2006, 08:37 AM
honnestly with all of this new modleing tools Silo 2 seems to be very interesting to me. I have the beta and its like modo and mudbox. So with Zbrush 2.5 , Mudbox, Silo 2, Hexagon it comes down to workflow and cost. and Silo right now is $109 and im a student so im always broke. But if i was balling I would most likely try to get Zbrush 2.5 if it ever comes out

akeissami
12-28-2006, 08:14 AM
I've noticed that ZBrush and/or Mudbox have been integrated into pipelines in a multitude of ways. I'll give you two examples of how they are used perhaps most.

Example 1:
You start by creating a base mesh using a "traditional" polygon modeler like Maya or something equivalent and use that to create a model with proper polygon topology (good edge loops and thus "animation friendly"). Next, you can take this mesh into Zbrush or Mudbox for detail work. After that, you will generate a normal or displacement map to be reapplied to the original mesh and rendered in realtime with normal maps or in software with displacement maps. So ultimately you're left with the original mesh and an image map that will be used at render time to recreate the details you made in Zbrush or Mudbox.

Example 2:
A new and separate method has also been adopted. This involves starting the model from scratch in Mudbox or Zbrush using basic primitives or z spheres. Essentially using Mudbox or Zbrush as a 3d sketching tool. This method lets artists focus on the shape and forms of their models as well as details without having to consider the mesh's topological flow. A lot of the amazing work that I'm sure you've seen has been created from start to finish completely in mudbox or zbrush. These are essentially digital sculpts. They are not meant to be animated and so they do not need to have "clean" geometric topology. Now having said that, some artists prefer to "sketch" their characters in 3d using this method but will eventually need to have the character or whatever animated. In order to do that, you will have to sort of work your way backwards by recreating a "clean" mesh on top of the digital sculpt. After you're done recreating the clean mesh from the sculpt, you can then generate normal or displacement maps just as you would be able to in the first example I gave.

Some artists simply feel more creative in Zbrush and Mudbox and they don't initially want to have to consider the mesh's topology when initially fleshing out a new creation (especially if they are not working off of reference images, hence why it is sometimes referred to as a 3d sketch). The second example I outlined is really a testament to the true power of the zbrush and mudbox modeling paradigm. It's not just the fact that they push around tons of polygons, more than that, they offer perhaps a more creative way of starting an artistic creation in 3d. One other major benefit to the second example is that you are free to deform the shape of your mesh as drastically as you like because you're not just doing simple detail work.

The biggest hurdle with the second example is the laborious process of having to recreate your mesh on top of your digital sculpt. That doesn't mean it takes longer to do overall compared to the first example (in fact I've noticed it to be a lot faster), it's just that it's currently not very fun or super easy to do.

Luckily, there are some tools currently available and/or are being developed that help with that. In fact, (warning: shameless plug) we're developing a plugin that assists with resurfacing meshes in Maya.
Feel free to take a look at the video, it should help with explaining things further.

Here is the download link (63 MB):
NEX-Alpha-QuadDraw.mov (http://draster.com/videos/downloadable/NEX-Alpha-QuadDraw.mov)

Ozoka
12-28-2006, 11:45 AM
that is a great tool! when is it coming out for the public?

akeissami
12-28-2006, 04:07 PM
that is a great tool! when is it coming out for the public?Thank you, we're hoping to have it available very soon. Hopefully within a day or two with futher feature updates in the next year.

Adding to my previous post with the second example I gave, it should also be noted that this method is also more analogous to how a lot of digital art is created in feature films by starting with real sculptures and then using digital scanners to create a 3d mesh. Actually, some video games companies have adopting this method too. For instance, EA scans real athlete's heads for use in their sports games.

glenn23
12-28-2006, 04:23 PM
Luckily, there are some tools currently available and/or are being developed that help with that. In fact, (warning: shameless plug) we're developing a plugin that assists with resurfacing meshes in Maya.
Feel free to take a look at the video, it should help with explaining things further.

Here is the download link (63 MB):
NEX-Alpha-QuadDraw.mov (http://draster.com/videos/downloadable/NEX-Alpha-QuadDraw.mov)

Yes, Very impressive tool! Definitely one of those "why didn't someone come up with this sooner" kind of breakthroughs.

grrinc
12-28-2006, 04:26 PM
Bloody hell, my pants are - quite literally - wet. I have tried most 'retopologizing' tools and methods, but that 'slashes' on them all. Modo was turning my head a bit, but it can take a hike now. I'm in ( like flint ), and will most definately look forward to its inclusion into the alpha demo.

akeissami
12-28-2006, 04:28 PM
Yes, Very impressive tool! Definitely one of those "why didn't someone come up with this sooner" kind of breakthroughs.Thank you. To be fair, I should mention that Quad Draw was partially inspired by the wonderful PolyBoost tool. Quad Draw goes a bit further with Live-Previews, full support for undo/redo, as well as including a host of many sub-tools all in one mode (polygon create/delete, target weld, interactive polygon strips, and multi-component tweaking with highlights). We're working on adding more features as we get feedback from artists using it in production or from offering suggestions after watching the video.

ambient-whisper
12-28-2006, 09:50 PM
I've noticed that ZBrush and/or Mudbox have been integrated into pipelines in a multitude of ways. I'll give you two examples of how they are used perhaps most.

Example 1:
You start by creating a base mesh using a "traditional" polygon modeler like Maya or something equivalent and use that to create a model with proper polygon topology (good edge loops and thus "animation friendly"). Next, you can take this mesh into Zbrush or Mudbox for detail work. After that, you will generate a normal or displacement map to be reapplied to the original mesh and rendered in realtime with normal maps or in software with displacement maps. So ultimately you're left with the original mesh and an image map that will be used at render time to recreate the details you made in Zbrush or Mudbox.

Here is the download link (63 MB):
NEX-Alpha-QuadDraw.mov (http://draster.com/videos/downloadable/NEX-Alpha-QuadDraw.mov)

i love how complete, and innovative your tool seems to be ( workflow wise ). thats awesome!. dont give up on it.

akeissami
01-02-2007, 07:28 PM
that is a great tool! when is it coming out for the public?I just wanted to follow up to let you guys know that we released a version of NEX that includes Quad Draw. You can download it and learn more about it here:

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?p=4101846#post4101846 (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?p=4101846#post4101846)

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