View Full Version : Sea Monster man

11 November 2005, 06:11 PM (

Here is an update of my lo poly sea monster man (dubbed Mangler as it is half man half angler fish).
Current tri count is 2600 and i aim to take him into zbrush and attempt a normal map.
If anyone could help with the following:-
1. 2600 tri's is this low enough to be exported to zbrush
2.The fins are just single edge extrusions that from left are visible from right they are not,without doubling the poly count how do i get it to be visible from both sides,also these will have alpha map applied to recreate fin look.
3. I have have a few (not many) tri's and 5 point polys in the model,i have read that zbrush prefers quads,am i ok to export still?
4.This is going to be my first 1st time using zbrush(gonna learn interface,do couple of tuts before i start on him).Do i unwrap my model in max before exporting to zbrush
5,behind the eyeball the socket is not closed am i right in thinking that zbrush handles model better if it is one continous closed mesh

Thanks,as usual c+c welcome

11 November 2005, 07:01 PM
First of all If you want zbrush to generate the normalmap then unwrap it, but before it make sure your happy with the model and its final then export.

The other one is to minimise triangles and ngons on your mesh, you will get a horrible pinching effect on those parts in zbrush

Yeah the open eyeball socket close it, should help.

11 November 2005, 07:12 PM
I love the concept.. very 'Creature From the Black Lagoon'ish

Ill be followin it..

*agrees with comments made about ngons and tris to ZBrush*

Brain Trepaning
11 November 2005, 12:29 AM
2600 is fine for ZBrush.

I model Low-Poly in Max, bring that to ZBrush as OBJ, adjust Low-Poly, create High-Poly, export both out of ZBrush as OBJ, then Unwrap and do the normalmap in Max.

Double the polycount for the fins, both sides need a face or the texture will only show on one side in game, unless you make the WHOLE texture 2 sided, which would be stupid.

11 November 2005, 06:32 PM
thanx for feedback
i have a couple more questions if i may
1.I have doubled the polycount of the fins now do i weld the vertices of each part of finor just snap them together? i unwrap model before exporting? i delete all symmetrical parts of model,before unwrap and to export over to zbrush.
4.Do i leave the eyes behind in max when exporting to zbrush they are attached to object but little work will be done in zbrush on them
I have a rough idea of the max/zbrush normal mapping process but if anyone could outline it for me i would be grateful

Brain Trepaning
11 November 2005, 08:01 PM
Collapse the verts that are away from the leg, leave the verts on the leg as they are, effectively making the fin an A-frame if you looked down it along its length.

There is no need to unwrap prior to exporting from Max and importing into ZBrush IF you plan to use Max for the normalsmap afterwards. You can unwrap once you have both the hi and lo poly versions exported from ZBrush and in Max.

Leave the eyes behind.

Make the meshes, export hi and lo OBJ from ZBrush, then we'll deal with the normalsmap creation, which is very easy.

11 November 2005, 01:31 PM
thanx 4 feedback,advice taken on board(esp Brain)
will post updates,gonna get started with zbrush2 now

slightly off-topic
I have an interview with EA Games as a software tester next week (foot in the door hopefully leading to an entry level 3d artist role)
I have to attend an assessment center could anyone shed some light on what i am to expect

11 November 2005, 02:48 PM
thanx 4 feedback,advice taken on board(esp Brain)
will post updates,gonna get started with zbrush2 now

slightly off-topic
I have an interview with EA Games as a software tester next week (foot in the door hopefully leading to an entry level 3d artist role)
I have to attend an assessment center could anyone shed some light on what i am to expect

im afraid i cant shed any light on want to expect, but i can say, congrats and good luck! :thumbsup:

12 December 2005, 01:37 PM
didnt get EA tester job.Very Corporate would not have enjoyed working there.My intention was to go in as qa and meet artists to pickup some pointers.But,qa are on different floor and would never have met them.Only qa team leader would deal with art dept.Got 22 out of 27 in assessment test lost points on watching game footage.I was looking for bugs but questions were like"how many times did player die in clip and what was the time limit in the game?" well excuse me but these(in my opinion)are not errors but gameplay settings, i mean id i was to write down on bug sheet i died 30 times in an hour playing this game then i would be out on my ear! Hours wee monday-sunday,5.50 plus overtime(unpaid!)you sign a contract waving your overtime at start.Ho-Hum

Anyways i want to concentrate on my mangler.Here is my wip of him in zbrush.Very early days (1st time with zbrush)basically just working on chest abs area.Following practical manual i am just shaping the model in level 2 then going up to level 5 to see how it looks.Please note that so far i am not concentrating on detail but shape.I am following Brain's lead and have not unwrapped and uvmap prior to exporting.I am hoping you will hold my hand when i get to the normal mapping part.PS- ignore left hand missing that is where back image overlapped in photoshop
As usual c+c welcome. (

12 December 2005, 05:28 PM
well sorry to hear you didn't get the job....even though your not to upset about it..heh thats ea for you.

anyway the basic shapes are coming nicely, i guess the only crit i can give is that maybe the back muscles could be a littl more defined. but other than that i got nothing

Brain Trepaning
12 December 2005, 05:48 PM
Before going too far with dividing the mesh in ZBrush, Export an OBJ of the Hi-poly and Import it into Max as a single item, just to see Max can do it on your system. I have had issues with importing meshes that are too dense, but then I have also suceeded in importing meshes I figured would never have worked, so check it before spending too much time detailing at a ZBrush level Max can't use. A large OBJ may take a few minutes to import into Max.

12 December 2005, 01:39 PM
thanks for feedback.
Brain- i have gone with your advice and tried to import model to max 7.
When i click import i am presented with a window(OBJ importer).Uner select objects to import i have 2 1-default and the other sea monster.Under geometry options i have checked rotate model and texture co ordinates.I have tried import options single and multiple and tried selecting both(default and sea monster) and each individually but all that appears is the original lo poly model.As you know this is a 1st for me and advice on what i am doing wrong would be great.Just want to be sure max will accept hi poly from zbrush before i go to town on the detailing.

12 December 2005, 02:05 PM
Ok.I figured that i went wrong in zbrush.I was using save as tnen in max selecting import.Itried export in zbrush (renamed it just in case).Loaded max and choose import,selected new OBJ.OBJ Importer window opens with these settings already-
Import options-Single both default and zbrush polymesh 3d selected
Geometry options-rotate model selected
clicked OK
Object import statistics window appears
under commands- unknown and unsupported commands 0
identical vertex index in face 0
identical points in face 2

Model appears after 10 sec with Face count for model 691584 double that of when it ws in zbrush(can anyone explain?)
Also as render shows the teeth and webbing between fingers is wrong.It appears reversed any ideas.
All advice will be gobbled up like a fat kid addicted to cake! (

12 December 2005, 11:07 PM
arent there 2 faces per poly? would that be why the count is doubled? i dont really know buts thats the only think i can think of.

as for the reversed normals i have no idea other than to select them then add the normal modifier to flip, or what ever process you choose to flip normals, there are a couple i believe.

Brain Trepaning
12 December 2005, 11:49 PM
ZBrush models in Quads and your Max version may in in Tris. So long as the model is the shape you want and Max can open it, the numbers are irrelevant. Why the webbing and teeth only show on one side, and not the side you want, doesn't matter either, because you want them to show on both sides for a game model, so Cap those Planes (like the fins on the legs)!

12 December 2005, 10:08 PM
redemption/brain thanks for feedback.Have not been able to get online today(server playing up).
My concern with the teeth and webbing is that with the hi poly model i have been working all day on zbrush(figured that since in could export to max i would be safe to carry on).I do not want to start over and remedy the lo poly model.My intial trail of thought was to use an opacity map for the teeth and webbing of hands.I am worried that i might have messed up.
Is there any way that i can get around this problem?
Will post latest wip tomorrow.Thanks again.

12 December 2005, 10:30 AM
he is about 50/60% complete (

Brain-this is a post i got from a lead artist at Buzz monkey-
One question I have for you is why you are concerned about importing your high poly mesh into max? Why not just leave it in zbursh and create your normal map with zmapper inside zbrush and export that normal map and use that on your low poly model in max?

This way you can crank up your polys in zbrush even further and not have to worry about max crashing when you try to import over 1 million polys
What do you think bear in mind that i did not unwrapped/uvw mapped lo poly in max before exporting to max.
Answer post previous post and feedback welcome

12 December 2005, 11:20 PM
Still a ways to go about to go to PM mode and add details(scales etc)
One question.
The teeth? as you can see the diff between level 1 and 5 >am i likely to experience problems when creating the normal map?I am new to zbrush and normal mapping
c+c welcome +some answers to previous posts would be cool (

Brain Trepaning
12 December 2005, 12:04 AM
Entirely unsubstantiated because I have never tried, but I heard NormalMaps from ZBrush suck, so I never bothered to learn, being I know how to use 3ds Max to make them. That is 100% exclusively why I use the workflow I do. If anyone shows me otherwise, and puts that alongside a tutorial on NormalMaps from ZBrush, I will change my wicked ways.

The teeth are gonna be a problem. Just make them with an alpha and skip the modeling idea for the teeth, or pull points in the low poly version to match. Maybe the NormalMap with an alpha would work...

With the extra work performed in ZBrush, export the ZBrush lo-poly version to Max, Unwrap it, then re-import that to ZBrush to create the NormalMap. Working the hi-poly mesh will inevitably reorient a poly or two in the lo-poly version.

12 December 2005, 07:30 PM
Here is my final for the hi poly normal map.I have gone for a 50's Bmovie creature(half man half angler fish)
I have left the teeth and will go with an alpha.I F**cked up with feet.What had was i had on symmetry painting and hid all but one foot and modelled away only to my horror when i unhid rest of model and other foot was not changed,Still a mistake i wont repeat in the future.What about the eyes i left behind do they get attached or leave as seperate object(pref to get mesh bitmap down to one sheet for diff,spec and one for normal)
Brain-thanks for your help(appreciated).I am gonna need the steps for the workflow of creating normal map.This is a first for me using zbrush and creating a normal map.So far i have really enjoyed zbrush and would recommend it.
For now,I am going to drop level down to 1,save as diff file, load up in max and unwrap(right?)
Could you give the steps on what to do next to get the normal map and put it on lopoly,
In know therev are diff ways of doing this but if you can spare the time i would like to go with your workflow (

12 December 2005, 05:55 PM
whoa, this has certainly come a long way since the last time I checked on it. Very nice detailing, looks like I should check out zbrush! Anyway, his head seems a little big for the rest of his body, maybe make his hands/claws a little bigger to compensate? Can't wait to see the lowres mesh normalmapped with this, keep up the good work.

12 December 2005, 07:31 PM
thanx jfalconer c+c always welcome,definetly rec zbrush this was my 1st time and once i got to grips with interface i really enjoyed it.Get an art pad if you haven't already.

As posted earlier here is where i need help in creating the normal map.
I have deleted all levels so i have just level 1 model,saved it under different name and exported to max.
I have just finished id'ing all faces.
Hope brain gets back to me as his advice has been invaluable.(using zbrush and creating normal map is a first for me and want to get the workflow nailed)
couple of questions that are bugging me
1when importing lo poly into max am i right in deleting all but level 1 of sub divisions?
2when mapping/unwrapping lo poly can i delete symmetrical parts(arms,legs,etc) to save space on mesh bitmap and just mirror parts over when complete?Bear in mind hi poly is not.
3what about the eyes that i left behind/do i attach them to model and inc them in mesh bitmap?


Brain Trepaning
12 December 2005, 08:46 PM
That looks awesome.

Pick whatever level lo-poly version from ZBrush you want as the lo-poly for Max. Just make sure the polycount is okay for what you will be using the model for.

Do not mirror UVW's, that does not work with NormalMaps, that I am aware of.

I know the Doom 3 engine best and, yes, you would just have to ATTACH the eyes in Max and they become part of the mesh, with a seperate material ID channel.

12 December 2005, 09:13 PM
here is lo poly exported back to max with uvw mapping done i attached the eyes and assigned it a different material id and it shows on my layout when i go to edit in unwrapUVW.I have not scaled each piece yet to fit in texture.This part is where i need to hold someones hand as i dont know the workflow for creating normal map(following brain's lead).
A couple of points
1- when imported to max the webbing on his hand and his teeth are reversed(post about this earlier)i just flipped them back i know that i should have capped but i can learn from this mistake and hopefully notb comprimise to model to much.Will this be a problem when getting the normal?
2-What parts of model should i concentrate on scaling so to get more detail or is it just important even it across whole model has checks are all same size?

Brain, if you dont mind giving me a quick step by step on creating normal map from here on or if you have a link for the workflow you use.
This side of xmas or after whenever you get the time.

Merry Xmas to all those who post feedback,help and their work.It really inspires me!

12 December 2005, 03:30 AM
What you're seeing now is stretching. When you paint your texture, it will do the same thing you see there. For example, around the neck the details you paint in will be mostly lost.

As a general rule of thumb, before you start texturing it's good to make sure that all of the checkers are squares and are all nearly the same size.

If you'd like to see the effect of painting with a UV Map like that, just throw on a temporary texture and quickly paint in the areas of doubt.

12 December 2005, 04:57 AM
hey man looking good, keep it up!

01 January 2006, 09:18 PM
Happy New year!
I have recently completed the lo poly uvw mapping/unwrapping.
nibbuls- your right the early render was just to show where i was at.It is now sorted.
Brain Trepanning- If your happy to, i would like for you to hold my hand with the normal mapping workflow(1st time with this,really Excited).
I have Max 7 btw

01 January 2006, 02:00 AM
I love this character can't wait to see the normalmapped version, waits in anticipation..............

01 January 2006, 05:54 PM
Can anyone help with the normal mapping?
I was waiting on Brain but i am clucking to get started.
So far i have hi poly model in zbrush.I collapsed all levels down to level 1,saved under different name and exported to max.I have attached eyes(which Brain said to leave behind in max) and uvw mapped/unwrapped.Now i dont know what to do.I have browsed this site and zbrushcentral and i am confused.Because i am new to this (zbrush/normal mapping)I have been following Brains advice,If anyone can pick up the reigns and guide me through this i will be grateful.

Brain Trepaning
01 January 2006, 06:26 PM
try here very informative and I don't have to hold anyone's hand.

Post problems.

01 January 2006, 06:39 PM
Thanks brain, dont want to come off pushy just really want to crack on.Off to gym now and spending the night with Mrs, but will be on this tomorrow.Will no doubt post again.

01 January 2006, 07:43 PM
just before i go for today i got weird results when i imported model from zbrush to max.
I flipped faces in max (as pic shows) but cannot understand why head has gone weird.Earlier in creation i imported and everything was fine aside from webbing that was reversed,but i figured that once imported to max i could select these faces and flip them. (

01 January 2006, 01:36 AM
Try zmapper, gives better results and more control over normalmap creation,

get the video tutorial, will need latest vesion of quicktime to play.

did you unwrap before or after zbrushing, if you did it after then you'll have to use the projected method in zmapper.

Make sure the uv's are unique, no mirroring parts.

01 January 2006, 01:53 PM
thanks tintin.
gonna go with Brains advice on this one but will definetly look into zmapper.
Solved earlier problem had to unify normals(albeit a couple of holes,which will flip manually)

01 January 2006, 03:37 AM
wow man good so see youre still working on this, thought you had given up. sadly at this stage i cant really help as ive never done anything normal map related. heck i can barely model and cant texture so your way ahead of me.

good luck man!

01 January 2006, 07:41 PM
I agree with Ancientpig, nice job. It does make me think of those old "horror" movies with those Sea Creatures.

01 January 2006, 07:41 PM
Here is lo poly with normal map.Some issues that i hope you guys can help with.(no eyes yet)
Followed tut that Brain supplied.Thanks.
Some help need with these questions-
1.Had to flip channel direction flip red x and flip green y because when i rendered the normal was inverted
2.As pic shows why when rendered using default lighting with 1 light i get image like so yet when i choose default lights 2 it shows up ok.
3.why does the feet/stem(on head)fins and left hand look wrong?none of the model pieces was detached this is a single object and the normal map size is 1024x1024
4.In viewport the model appears see through
5.Off topic but when i rotate the model the mesh disappears and turns into a wire frame box until i release then model is back,forgot how to resolve this if anyone can help

Appreciate all feedback, want to get on and texture him but really want to get this as best as i can before i start. (

01 January 2006, 10:33 PM
Normal map
Here is normal map (is this right) created using tut link from Brain.As posted just before i have issues with Question 3. And on Normal map these are different colours to the rest.I know there are a couple of red bits on eyes(not concerned as they are to be dealt with in diffuse map.Did not create eyes for hi poly.
Await your help(also answers to previous post)
Thanks (

01 January 2006, 10:59 PM
man, dont use the cage, it sucks!
scale the offset to about 15 and try to render

thos should give you a correct uvmap

and uncheck the display error option or something

01 January 2006, 11:49 PM
Dude the the normalmap looks weird, theres a mixture of tangent space and object space normalmap, thats why some parts look inverted.

the whole map should render in tangent space only, a blue purplish color like the ones on the fins, not the green colored ones. object space normals can't deform so its not ideal for characters. If you followed the tutorial, then i guess max has done something wrong, just check that you have selected tangent space and render again, if done right max should display the normalmap correctly in the viewport.

You can use the cage or offset method but I find the cage mode makes the least errors.

Hope it helps

01 January 2006, 07:10 PM
Following Tintin's advice i went back and redid the tut that Brain posted.
Still came out as before,why?i had followed the tut word for word.In hope i went to the Unwrap and flipped all bar the blue id's and went ahead with tut again.
Render shows model with default 1 lighting (before i could only see it with 2 lights and issues with fins,hand and feet).Glancing at the model all appears fine.Sure i made a couple of mistakes along the way(with actual model and 1st time using zbrush),but i will learn from these.
A couple more questions-
1.Still cannot see the model with normal in viewport.I checked DX display of standard material and clicked show map in viewport.Not fussed really as fine when rendered.
2.Meshbitmap size i went with 1024 is this the best setting (bearing in my mind he is supposed to be a game character
3.Found tut that brain suppplied straight forward is it best to stick with this or get zmapper and learn that(ideally want to follow videogame artists workflow as i aspire to get a career in the games industry one day)
4.I intend to create diffuse,spec and alpha(to add to teeth,fins and hand webbing).I just create and place in max as usual right?These will also be 1024 ok?

Finally a massive thank you to all those that helped especially Tintin and Brain- appreciated.
Thank god for web none of my friends do this kind of thing.
Will post(hopefully final)pic of creature when finished (

01 January 2006, 06:15 PM
Hey, its looking great, thats how the normalmap should look like. glad to see you got it right in the end.

To display normals in viewport should work, what gfx are you using.

I think zmapper is great but still lacks option to bake lightmaps which render to texture has, learning both should help you, they are easy enough learn anyway.

I'm waiting to see the finished version.

anyway keep up the good work.

01 January 2006, 10:01 PM
Lookin good, this should be a great help to others doing normal mapping. Anyway, lets see him with some color!

Brain Trepaning
01 January 2006, 01:37 AM
Very nice, and glad I could offer a bit of help. I look forward to seeing a textured version. What are you going to do with the model?

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