Need Advice: Multi-Character Illustration Workflow

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  03 March 2012
Need Advice: Multi-Character Illustration Workflow

I'm embarking on a small project and it just occurred to me I'm missing a crucial bit of knowledge. The project is a series of illustrations of two or more characters. I want to do them in Zbrush for obvious reasons, but I realized I don't know how to have two tools placed at the same time with both being editable, if this is even possible.

The only way I've seen so far is to collapse both models into subtools of a shared tool. I've even seen it suggested that I can use a single zsphere rig for both models this way. However, this is problematic for another reason: These characters are fairly complex, with hair and clothing and whatnot. Turning a multi-part character into a subtool seems like it would make a lot of things more difficult by creating subdivision level conflicts and baking the hair into an un-editable mesh, but I may be wrong.

So if anyone has found a way to have two characters, each with their own subtools, interacting, would you please let me know? Especially if anyone knows a tutorial or something. I'm not sure what is and isn't possible here.

Thanks in advance!
  03 March 2012
tool> subtool all low
tool> merge
now all tools are as one,
tool >group split if you want them back as each subtool

there is all so a plugin called subtool master
  03 March 2012
I had considered something like that, but merging all those elements together creates its own set of problems.

The first is textures. The characters are both coloured and have clothing and accessories that are their own polypainted subtools. I would lose the polypaint data by merging them at a lower resolution, and a subtool can only have one texture. I could UV them all into one map and make a texture, but I'd be bound to lose quality somewhere.

The other issue is hair. Both characters make a lot of use of Fibermesh, and by merging them I'd lose access to the grooming features, which are important to make the poses as dynamic as possible.

I suppose what I could to is merge the subtools of both as far as is practical, then merge the tools together. So I'd have each character as a subtool, each of their hair as a seperate subtool, etc. Then I could use a zphere rig or Transpose Master to pose them.

I'm still trying to figure this out, but I'm closer than I was. I'm sure there must be a way to do this.
  03 March 2012
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