When do you leave maya and go to zbrush?

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  06 June 2009
When do you leave maya and go to zbrush?

Hey guys and gals,

I'm very new to modeling, but I'm hoping to learn. I'm trying to figure out how far I should take a model inside maya, before going to z brush. I want to make a nice model, but I also what to make sure it is highly animatable later on (with minimal retopologizing) Any ideas or advice?

Here is my wip model (Be gentle, it's only my 2nd attempt at doing a realistic human (the first time was a fail :P)). If I took the whole character to the detail of the torso/legs...is that far enough to switch to z brush..or should I take it as far as I can with maybe 1 level of sub division before switching to z brush to polish things up?


Impossibilities are limits placed by those who lack imagination.

  06 June 2009
hey leif,

welcome to modelling

i think your model is almost ready for zb
i'd add a bit more detail/edgeloops to the forearms and upperarms

also if you want to use morph targets to animate the face, you might wanna put a face in there that has proper topology and loops for the eyes, nose mouth etc.

all in all its not a one shot deal process. you can sculpt a bit. then use programs to build geometry on top of your sculpt for example polyboost plugin for 3ds max lets you build geo on top of a surface. then you can reproject that new geometry onto your sculpt in zb.

you can read about that in the zbrush wiki on how to project geometry

good start and good luck

-=CG Portfolio=-
  06 June 2009
In my opinion the most important part is to have evenly spaced loops. ZB can add loops, but its best to get em outta the way.
  06 June 2009
2nd attempt? thats miles away from what i did on a 2nd model!

There's a drawback to building edgeloops before going into the sculpting app, anytime you will try to shift the direction of a stroke and its not in the same direction as the edgeloop, it wont work as good. The positive side is you have much of the work already done in regards to shapes and proportions and no need to retopo (altho i've had to on occasions).

The alternative is building a box mesh with evenly spaced geometry, i used to build edgeloops before going into mudbox or zbrush, but i gradually went with box meshes and i prefer this approach a lot more. It's faster to build a base mesh and really a breeze to work with, the key is keeping the mesh very low poly so you can tweak the first level easily and propagate to following levels instantly. As you guessed it, rebuilding the topo is the drawback of this method...but its a lot more fun to rebuild if you ask me!
  06 June 2009
kuman: Thanks for the feedback, this helps a lot. I'll keep developing the edge loops on this one. Would you recommend that I do the proportions and everything in maya, and just use z brush for the detail stuff (muscle fibers, veins, etc), or is it easier to keep it a little generic and adjust proportions, muscles sizes, etc in z brush?

phix314: Thanks for the quick response! So you would approach it with a much simpler model that is almost a bunch of cylinders with evenly spaced edges (ignoring muscle flow)? Do you have an example of what type of model you would bring into zbrush?

Psyk0: Thanks for taking the time to respond! Every little bit helps...it's a daunting task to learn a whole new aspect of 3d in my spare time (by myself).....Do you know of any threads/videos/pics that show the workflow you're describing? Usually I can find images of the final models (or close to final model in the wip sections)....but all those do is make me jealous of the fact I can't do it :P

Thanks again to everyone for taking time to respond!! It all seriously helps!
Impossibilities are limits placed by those who lack imagination.

  06 June 2009
No problem!

Well its not exactly a tutorial but hopefully a quick guide to help you out.

I picked up the workflow from Zack Petroc:

You can see the base mesh he created in the last pics, its very basic in its structure with proportions established.

Here's a more detailed basemesh from Kolby Jukes, proportions and forms more defined, some hint of edgeloops, mostly in the face.

Notice how everything is evenly spaced as best as possible so when the mesh is subdivided, you dont get an area that has more polygons than the other (except maybe the face), so the brush will react the same way all over the model.

The main thing you have to remember is to work the mesh in passes, get the most out of the current level you are sculpting. Broad strokes first (usually the first stage is tweaking proportions with move and inflate tool).

Once you have gotten the most out of the 1st level, divide and repeat process until you have achieved all the forms, finally add surface details like pores, wrinkles, pimples etc.

Last edited by Psyk0 : 06 June 2009 at 04:35 PM.
  06 June 2009
Great...Thank you!!! I may disappear from for a couple of weeks while I try to learn z brush (not a very intuitive program at first...) and then give some of these concepts a try. I'll be sure to post again once I have some progress...

Thanks again,
Impossibilities are limits placed by those who lack imagination.

  06 June 2009
You might enjoy working with stripped down interfaces like these:

Download link:

And i use a modified version of this one:
  06 June 2009
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