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Old 06-17-2013, 12:35 PM   #1
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Entire modelling workflow in Zbrush (4R5)?

Hey folks,

I've been training to become a 3D character artist (I'd like to work in both production and game art).
I'm still a beginner though since I have a lot of things to think about during the day.

I have a simple question and I know that there won't probably be a definitive answer but I'd be glad to hear opinions.

I love Zbrush and I like to start modelling directly into it. Now with the advent of 4R5 it has become even more powerful and independent.

1) Would you guys think that it'd be possible to work entirely in Zbrush with professional results?
2) I mean retopology, texturing and rendering without switching back and forth with other programs?
3) What about companies? Would they look at you as lacking fundamental skills (e.g. in Maya/3ds max etc) or they'd just be interested in the final result?

Thanks!
 
Old 06-17-2013, 01:02 PM   #2
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1) The retopo tools are brilliant to redistribute detail through phases of the sculpt.
If you have a precise target though, in terms of topology, polycount or both, they aren't there yet.

2) No, the texturing is way too far behind. The rendering is great for illustration and even some pack shots, it's not meant to be the kind of thing you shoot for when "doing 3D" though. It's great at what it does, but it's very narrowly scoped.

3) What companies? If you sell yourself as a concept artist they care very little for how the final pixels are produced. Outside the design loop, and into producing assets (modelling departments for games, films, TVE and TVC) just ZBrush isn't going to fly very far.
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Old 06-17-2013, 01:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThE_JacO
1) The retopo tools are brilliant to redistribute detail through phases of the sculpt.
If you have a precise target though, in terms of topology, polycount or both, they aren't there yet.

2) No, the texturing is way too far behind. The rendering is great for illustration and even some pack shots, it's not meant to be the kind of thing you shoot for when "doing 3D" though. It's great at what it does, but it's very narrowly scoped.

3) What companies? If you sell yourself as a concept artist they care very little for how the final pixels are produced. Outside the design loop, and into producing assets (modelling departments for games, films, TVE and TVC) just ZBrush isn't going to fly very far.


Hey thanks for the answer.

Yeah the third point is the most important to me since I'd like to develop a skillset which blends easily in the professional workflows of games/films company.
For example, in this moment I'm learning to model and render with Zbrush, Mari and Maya but there are more and more options for a 3D artist , popping out everyday and with so many choices it's easy to get lost. I've seen lots of job advertising (for games) requiring experience in 3DS Max while Maya is more standard in the film industry. That's already a dilemma for me starting out right now..

Maybe that's why I was seeing in Zbrush a sort of messiah . This is also due to the fact that I have a traditional art background and the virtual sculpting experience is awesome.
 
Old 06-18-2013, 12:34 AM   #4
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Stick to ZBrush hard for your sculpting, that will be important skill/sw wise. Texturing/rendering wise, if you're aiming for assets departments in games/film, I'd say don't bother at all with it (just for the painting stage, I mean).

Mari is making huge strides every day in film, both features and adoption wise. I don't know for sure about games, where I think adoption is more shy and Photoshop still dominates, but texturing for the two fields is fairly far apart in requirements, process, maps used, resolution and style.

Maya is fine in the game industry for triple A titles, it's far from being max dominated these days (used to be), but the game industry, I find, is very regional.

Some areas will be heavily biased towards one software or another. That said, I can think of a very, very long list of companies using Maya for games.
Modelling wise it's relatively easy to transition across packages anyway, and if you're aiming for both film and games (or to figure it out later), Maya probably has a bit more reach and is worth continuing with.

Good luck.
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Old 06-18-2013, 02:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThE_JacO
Texturing/rendering wise, if you're aiming for assets departments in games/film, I'd say don't bother at all with it (just for the painting stage, I mean).

Mari is making huge strides every day in film, both features and adoption wise. I don't know for sure about games, where I think adoption is more shy and Photoshop still dominates, but texturing for the two fields is fairly far apart in requirements, process, maps used, resolution and style.


I totally get the rendering advice here - pack shots are the only thing and even then it's a huge maybe for zB - but texturing? Do you think we have already gotten to the stage where the only thing viable is Mari?

I would have thought zB as a texture painting tool was still totally viable. Especially since actual Mari training outside of big facilities is pretty rare still.

(The irony being that as I say this I know that I've got some Mari training being offered by work for those of us who haven't gotten serious yet).

I don't know it kinda makes me sad. I've often felt like modelling, sculpting and texturing have become to isolated from each other. It's nice to paint when you sculpt
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axiomatic
I totally get the rendering advice here - pack shots are the only thing and even then it's a huge maybe for zB - but texturing? Do you think we have already gotten to the stage where the only thing viable is Mari?

I would have thought zB as a texture painting tool was still totally viable. Especially since actual Mari training outside of big facilities is pretty rare still.

(The irony being that as I say this I know that I've got some Mari training being offered by work for those of us who haven't gotten serious yet).

I don't know it kinda makes me sad. I've often felt like modelling, sculpting and texturing have become to isolated from each other. It's nice to paint when you sculpt


Yes, the spotlight feature is one of the aspects that made me think about texturing directly in Zbrush, but I'm really a beginner so I'll let more experienced people share their views..
 
Old 06-18-2013, 07:22 AM   #7
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I wouldn't rely only n zbrush, which is good for concepts and to sculpt the main shapes of the character, and way more, but i'd add to it knowledge of at least 1 3d package modelling tools.
Using that with GoZ you get the best of both worlds and all you need for character development and modelling of accessories and so on. oh and real rendering too.

For manual retopology, better than current native Zbrush tools, you could use topogun, or even 3D Coat tools. (3d coat is a bit like zbrush but uses voxels, but also has very nice painting tools and retopology tools are just great.)
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axiomatic
I totally get the rendering advice here - pack shots are the only thing and even then it's a huge maybe for zB - but texturing? Do you think we have already gotten to the stage where the only thing viable is Mari?

I would have thought zB as a texture painting tool was still totally viable. Especially since actual Mari training outside of big facilities is pretty rare still.

(The irony being that as I say this I know that I've got some Mari training being offered by work for those of us who haven't gotten serious yet).

I don't know it kinda makes me sad. I've often felt like modelling, sculpting and texturing have become to isolated from each other. It's nice to paint when you sculpt

ZBrush is perfectly fine to do a first pass of map sketching, gets used plenty for that, and it has some very interesting tools and ideas, but past that it has two issues when it comes to film/games:
A) No pixel control, you paint per poly (pixol, whatever) and have very little fine control over the output
B) No controllable multi-mapping networks, or at least the tools to get part way to multiple outputs.

That means you are free to use it, but since OP was asking for advice in a professional/employment context, I feel it's best to keep in mind that it's not a safe bet (not sufficient in most places), and that you might be required to use something else.

Currently I see mudbox used a fair bit, mari pretty much blazing a trail everywhere high profile, photoshop being a standard for a few good reasons and many a wrong ones, and occasionally bodypaint cropping up when particular tasks it does well at come up, or legacy licenses get tossed around.

That's about it, really, I can't say I've ever seen anybody RELYING on ZBrush for texturing. More when you get something out of it it's cool and you're happy, but you shouldn't really expect it to at present time.
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:57 PM   #9
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Thanks guys, I'd love to hear various opinions on this one. Maybe somebody else will chime in...
 
Old 06-21-2013, 05:21 AM   #10
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In the end I believe your still going to have to export your model into another program anyway. Its then your going to find out if your UVW's and model are working in that program. The other thing is putting the materials in the correct slots for final rendering (speculars,diffuse..ect). Unless you just hand off your model to another person and they fix your problems you couldnt catch because you only knew zbrush. And if you only know Zbrush a company will have to take to take time to either help you fix the problem or hope your models come out of it perfectly. Don't get me wrong.. I love Zbrush and all but when it comes down to it you really have to know where your model is going to. I guess what I'm trying to say is usually there are no short cuts or everybody would be doing it...
 
Old 06-21-2013, 10:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edgemaster
...I guess what I'm trying to say is usually there are no short cuts or everybody would be doing it...


Thanks Edgemaster,

please don't misunderstand me: my question comes from ignorance and curiosity, not from laziness. I have no problem in learning new stuff (in fact I'm addicted to it).

It's just that, being very comfortable in Zbrush, I hoped that maybe it could be the only tool needed for a character artist.
Usually being able to focus our efforts through a single "instrument", makes us much more efficient and free to express our creativity (I'm speaking quite generally).
 
Old 06-21-2013, 11:37 AM   #12
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Yeah for anyone who grew up box modeling figures zbrush is one giant shortcut in itself

If you are doing characters it depends on what situation or studio you are in I suppose. If you wanted to produce a complete package then you need other apps. Then you need A LOT of apps. By complete package I mean a character that comes with animations you can just plug into an engine or animation setup and run with.

Zbrush doesnt try to be perfect in every area and they are very up front where that goes. There are no real uv tools just a quick aprox solution for example. The folks at pixologic have done their best to make zbrush as compatible with a large range of software and it seems kind of strange not to take advantage of that. If you wanted the cheapest solution available I think the Blender people even made a GoBlender for ZB so you could use a combo of Gimp, zbrush and Blender on a very low spec machine and the sky would be the limit.

Apart from bragging rights (wow he did all this in one package) I don't really see the point of doing everything in one place just for the sake of it. I actually dont want pixologic to make one monster app that does everything, instead they should just do what they do best by continuing to develope the most kickass compatible sculpting software on the planet
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:37 AM   #13
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