View Full Version : Help with ornamental modeling

03 March 2007, 03:18 AM
Hi guys, I'm working on a type of archviz project that will require some serious ornamental modeling. It will be something very similar to the gold detail you see in the image in the link below.

My questions is, what's the easiest way to go about getting this level of detail in a mesh without too much hassle? I know that using zbrush or mudbox I can sculpt a higher polycount mesh and then make a normal and displacement map which will then give a lower polycount mesh this level of detail. But I would have to spend a lot time modeling the lower polycount mesh then unwraping it all making sure all UV's are correct, then start the zbrush/mudbox workflow. Isn't there an easier way? I'm using 3dsMax and have tried drawing the outlines of the ornamentation in splines and then extruding a capping the splines, then turning it into polys. But it always triangulates it (instead of quads) which is bad for Mudbox and zbrush. When you subdivide it you get a not so clean mesh.

I am open to any and all suggestions and will greatly appreciate all comments.


03 March 2007, 04:55 AM
woah! wow, slow down guys! Don't everyone answer at once....

03 March 2007, 08:24 PM
Unless you're going to be seeing these details very close-up (ie. as close as that shot or closer the whole time), then I would save yourself a lot of time and headaches and just do it with a plane, an alpha map, and a bump map to give it some depth. If you wanted more detail and didn't mind the hit at render time, you could try using a highly subdiv-ed plane and a displacement map for close-ups.

03 March 2007, 11:47 AM
I'm with glib here. How close are you going to be going to these pieces of detail? As long as you're not too close image maps would do and would render a lot faster. If they have to be modelled I might be tempted to use SubDs and extrude out most of the shapes. If you know what you're doing it probably wouldn't take too long, and if you have access to MudBox or ZBrush you could use them to further refine the mesh using their sculpting tools (if you don't add more detail from the base mesh there's no need for UVs).

03 March 2007, 05:09 AM
Thanks for your comments guys. These details will be rendered at a pretty high resolution to be printed on to a 34" poster or so. I really like the idea of doing a plane with aphla and bump map, but at that resolution I think it may not have the appearance of having enough substance to it.

Kirigoi, I'm interested in what you said about refining the mesh using zbrush. I have always thought that in order to use zbrush/mudbox in the work flow I would have to unwrap all my pieces and make sure that all the UV's were in good shape before I turned the high res mesh in zbrush/mudbox into a diplacement map. Because of this extra time it would take me to do this the zbrush method was looking less and less appealing to me. You say that if I don't add any detail to the base mesh I don't need to worry about UV's. Is that assuming that I have already correcly unwraped the UV's on the base mesh before taking it into zbrush?

03 March 2007, 02:24 PM
Nope ;)

You only need to worry about UVs if you're going to use normal or displacement maps as you can export a model from ZBrush (or mudbox) at the subdivision level you're working at. ZBrush is quite capable of operating as a sculpting tool to refine the shape of an existing model, although the problem then is that you can't add too much detail otherwise the mesh will get too heavy (best to only use level 0 or 1 subdivision of your original model).

You could ask what's the point of using ZBrush as you wouldn't be using its capabilities to create a ridiculously detailed mesh with millions of polygons, but those ornaments don't look like they need it. If you've got the basic shape already modelled in another package, ZBrush is a fairly intuitive tool for making sure the shape and form is right, just make sure you've modelled it reasonably well before you start (and you may need to retopologise afterwards). Personally I'd probably just model it all in my existing package, but if you've got access to ZBrush anyway you might find it useful.

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