08 August 2009, 09:06 PM
1.) If one were to sculpt a head from within mudbox, rather than create a normal map for a low poly mesh, could a low poly mesh be generated from the high poly geometry?
Well this one's not so clear a question. I'm not sure how you intend your workflow to go, but in mine I always start with a low or mid-poly object from Maya and then subdivide it a few times in Mudbox. You can quickly go up and down your subdivision levels, so in a word: yes. You can't NOT generate a low-poly mesh from the high-poly geometry.
I don't use normal maps or displacement maps much in my workflow; they're just workarounds for old-school computers or for realtime (gaming) details mostly. I generally just use my high poly mesh and render that in Maya. This wouldn't hold true with an animation generally, but for arch/viz stills it's just fine to use the high-poly.
2.) What can be done with a mesh sculpted entirely from within mudbox, could it be animated, is it usable in a real-time 3D engine (rather than a pre-rendered visualisation)?
You can sculpt a mesh entirely in Mudbox, but you wouldn't want to except maybe for practice. But if you want to animate a character the workflow generally goes:
1. Low-poly base mesh, with proper UV's, from your main 3D package.
2. Import that mesh to Mudbox, subdivide, sculpt.
3. Export normal/displacement map from high-poly Mudbox sculpture.
4. Back in your main 3D package, apply the displacement/normal map from step 3 to your low-poly model.
5. Rig/animate your low-poly model.
6. At rendertime, the low-poly model is subdivided (displacement mapping) into a very high-poly model.
6a. For gaming, normal maps would be used generally instead of displacement maps. Normal maps are used in almost all modern games, which is why you see so much character detail and environment detail emerging in realtime.
So, yes. You can do anything with your character you would otherwise do in your main 3D package. At rendertime is where the details emerge.
3.) What do you, personally, use mudbox for?
I'm likely a rare case, but I mostly use Mudbox for landscape sculpting. I'm a remodeling contractor and other apps don't have the power, clarity, or accuracy I need, so I export from Rhino (where my measurements are accurate and fit the real-world job I'm working on) to Maya (where I create a new low-poly mesh using the Rhino mesh as a template) to Mudbox (where I sculpt the hell out of my landscape as well as paint the base textures) then back to Maya for adding plants and rendering semi-realistic images for my clients.
Sometimes I use it for fun, artistic projects. Demons, dragons, sculptures, etc. But my company bought it for landscape design at my request, and these days making time for personal art is rare. Alas.
08 August 2009, 10:19 PM
Thanks for your time. :]
I'd never considered using it for terrain sculpting but that makes a lot of sense. My drawing tablet arrived today so I'm going to start with a trial of either zbrush or mudbox.
08 August 2009, 10:19 PM
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