View Full Version : best workflow for normal mapping in maya

08 August 2005, 07:20 PM
I just wanted to know if any of you guys could give advice on the best workflow that you have found to do normal maps from zbrush and implement them in maya? I've seen a bunch of different ways of doing things, from doing a really low "base" in maya, zbrushing it, then taking it back into maya to do a low poly and other ways as well. Here's what I'm planning: I'm modeling the Norris spider creature from The Thing using the Mcfarlane character as reference. I was originally going to build a mesh in maya, modeling what I could minus alot of the organ details you see on the bottom and the skin details for more of higher poly next gen model (10k or so). Then take it into zbrush to add the smaller details to generate a normal map. However I've been told that this isn't the best way to do it. So any advace or help would be greatly appreciated. I'll also post screen shots of the beginning torso base that the creature comes out of in a bit.

Thanks alot.

08 August 2005, 08:21 AM
I have this very informative DVD from gnomon training that is specifically on maya and Z Brush workflow. You should check it out! You have the basics down though. Model and UV your character in Maya, then import as OBJ into Z Brush and do your sculpting there. Export map and such from z brush. Pretty simple right?

08 August 2005, 12:56 PM
Yeah I actually have 2 dvds from Gnomon that are intros to zbrush, but are these different from the ones you were talking about? When I construct the base mesh, should it only be very basic (1k polys) or should I get all the areas in and make a 10k base to bring into zbrush? Alot of other people were talking about making a really basic mesh in maya, then zbrushing that to totally change it, then once it's in maya remodel a base off of the zbrush model. I thought that workflow was a bit backwards, so that's why I was confused. Plus I didn't know if I had to have the model uved before bringing it into zbrush.

Here's the start of the torso area the creature comes out of. Crits and comments are more than welcome. Right now smoothed I'm looking at 3500 tris which is alot for a game model especially since I'm doing an in game model. The unsmoothed version however is something like 975 tris.

08 August 2005, 07:44 PM
look here:

and some tuts:


08 August 2005, 09:06 PM
Thank you so much XanderFX for the links. They are extremely useful for what I wanted to do. I'm hoping all goes well in the upcoming months as I start to get this model rolling for my class at SCAD.

Thanks again

08 August 2005, 03:05 PM
Ok so here's just something else I thought and wanted to get cleared up. After looking at all the links I was sent I still am a bit confused on one part. I build my base in maya (which would be the low poly in-game version), zbrush it, and bring it back into maya to use the transfer surface information tool to generate the normal map. However if I look at the zbrushed version and notice some changes to the outer edges or silhouette can I tweek the base to account for these changes? I know from reading that the base would already have to be uved before zbrushing it. So how do you zbrush, and then alter your base or even create a new base to account for the silhouette changes if it has to have the same uvs as the high poly model?

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08 August 2005, 03:05 PM
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