retopo 2014

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  04 April 2013
First let me just say that I agree with everything that you guys have been saying in this thread. And I love Mudbox, I really do. I think its a really great app in many ways.

What I dont understand is how software like 3d coat can include these "new" features in a package that a hobbyist can buy for $99, and do it BETTER than mb.

Again, I like mudbox a lot and none of this affects my workflow....but that's kind of the problem.

Last edited by DrZenith : 04 April 2013 at 10:42 PM.
  04 April 2013
Originally Posted by Scott Ayers: I agree that it's not quite there yet.
As someone who writes code. I can really appreciate this new Auto Topology option.
But the average user is probably going to feel a bit less impressed.

One of the other things that I don't like is the Reduce mesh option.
I don't like that it creates triangles instead of keeping the quads.
There is an awesome Reduce option in Softimage that reduces meshes and keeps the quads.
When this option is used along with the Relax option. You can reduce a quad mesh down to a very small amount of polygons.
And the quality is really fantastic. Better than any other reducing software I've ever used. Including Z-Brush.

I would really love it if this reduction code was include in Mudbox. So I don't need to install Softimage just to use that wonderful reduction tool.


That is funny tragic and disturbing all at the same time. What a powerful application gone to waste.
  04 April 2013
Originally Posted by Scott Ayers: There is an awesome Reduce option in Softimage that reduces meshes and keeps the quads.

thats the same as the new reduce in maya 2014... great feature...
  04 April 2013
^I was wondering about that. I does look a little bit similar.
But it would be nice to have the typical Reduce option with quad keeping. In addition to the Auto topology option.

The main reason being. The Auto topology changes the mesh flow a lot.
It can be sort of controlled with curves. But the mesh still is going to change quite a bit from the original.
The Reduce option in SI just reduces the number of polygons. And mostly keeps the flow the same.
While the relax option sort of lets you control the smoothing in the reduction.
Which is really nice when you make the base mesh yourself. Not from a sculpted sphere for example. And you just want to reduce the mesh. But not drastically change the topology, like the Auto Topology does.

Having the Reduce option work this way would give me that option of being able to reduce without drastically changing the topology like the Auto option does.
I'm still old school and create my base meshes by hand. So saving most of my edge flow work, while reducing the quads is a big deal to me.
For the people that start off with a sculpted base mesh as their base mesh. This probably isn't a big deal. But for us old timers. The Auto option tends to wack the flow of the mesh we've already set up to our liking.

Anyway. That's just what I'd like to see in future versions.
MB is still my favorite sculpting app.

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  04 April 2013
its not similar its the same now in maya...

the auto retopo in mud is based on the idea that you use vector displacements for your final rendering... so the form change doesnt really matter...
  04 April 2013
I was just saying that I could visually notice the similarities before you told me they were the same.

As someone that models most of the mesh by hand...then sculpts the fine details. I guess I tend to get overly attached to that workflow and my edge flows. And I don't like it when something changes them like the AutoTopo option does.

Having a good reduce option, like the one in SI, that doesn't also radically change my previous work would allow me to keep control over what I make. With the level of control I'm used to.
I'm probably just old fashioned that way.

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Last edited by Scott Ayers : 04 April 2013 at 07:20 PM.
  04 April 2013
Originally Posted by cineartist: Symmetry. It does not work - at all. I tried it.

That's because it's not there. The Mudbox team knows symmetry is important, and the devs have it working, but it wasn't ready to go when the release date rolled around so it didn't make it into the release. It's that simple.

Originally Posted by cineartist: But these [retopo] tools are not useful to me yet, not even close

If you have time at some point, can you post a couple images of your tests?

Originally Posted by Scott Ayers: I don't like ... the Reduce mesh option... [want algorithm that] reduces meshes and keeps the quads.

Yeah, use Maya's new reduce.
  04 April 2013
Originally Posted by atac: That's because it's not there. The Mudbox team knows symmetry is important, and the devs have it working, but it wasn't ready to go when the release date rolled around so it didn't make it into the release. It's that simple.

Yeah, it is simple. I can see it is not there. We can all see it is not there.

But thanks for the insight.

Originally Posted by atac: If you have time at some point, can you post a couple images of your tests?

It is really not that hard or complicated to figure out. I wrote up what I saw, People already have seen this on their own screens. It is clear what it not working. People can just just try it.

Originally Posted by atac: Yeah, use Maya's new reduce.

The point I think here is when is Mudbox going to get such a feature? In keeping with the stated theme from the Mudbox team. Keeping it all in Mudbox as a feature (complete it there) and then to send down the pipeline.

Most people are using another app with Mubox. But absolutely certain that not everyone is also using Maya.

I have not actually tried this feature yet, but from the reports here, seems like that feature is also not pipeline ready in Mudbox.
  04 April 2013
at least its working with ears...
  04 April 2013
Originally Posted by atac:

... Yeah, use Maya's new reduce.

Not a great option. We use Max. What are we supposed to do? We're not going to add Maya to our pipeline just for one thing. Max supports optimising with vertex colour and Uvs (multiple channels too, as game artists we use lots of both) which are both critical for our work, but not quads. So we can do it there but lose quads, or in Mudbox and lose Uvs and vertex colours. Neither option is great.

I think on reflection we're best off still doing it in Max and give up on keeping usable quads. Plus we can choose the detail based on the look of the model after optimising, not guess, attempt it, delete and try again. In which case optimising in mudbox isn't really useful to us at all.

If symmetrical retopologising is on the cards, that's good. It's clearly needed. I hope we get it in a Product Update or Subscription advantage Pack this year rather than having to wait a whole year for the next version. I was very disappointed that my subscription didn't give me an SAP last year. I'd have liked to try out the retopo stuff when it was still in development.
  04 April 2013
In fairness, as I think about it, I am not sure the poly reduction tool is intended for the quad pipeline with UVs. The videos show it used with tri meshes to reduce gobs of data down to a reasonable size and I think this is why the fill hole tool also only works with tris.

But it would definitely be a useful feature. And it would have to be designed specifically to do what it does in Maya and Softimage. (Both of which I have).

The closer alternative in Mudbox - in theory - would be to re-mesh using hard constraint curves. But that'd be rather tedious compared to Softimage/Maya solution. I don't know how it compares to Max.

I have not actually tried anything like that yet, but from what I have seen as far as what does work, in theory, you might be able to wrangle it.
  04 April 2013
Originally Posted by cineartist: OK first of all, Mudbox retopo is nothing at all like Dyanamesh.

For a "Dnamesh worfklow" this is practically useless and not to mention far more time consuming.

I disagree. It may not be the same as dynamesh, but in someways it's more powerful than dynamesh because you can use it further into the modeling process. Its not even intended to be used as a dynamesh but it just so happens that you can.

dynamesh which is great, is limited to your base level. The second you add sculpt detail on level 2, or use layers... dynamesh becomes useless. However this is where Mudbox Auto Retopo becomes extremely powerful because its not limited to just the base level.

Mudbox Auto Retopo will transfer all sculpt data on multiple subdiv levels, with layers (and layer masks) when you retopo. That is incredibly useful and dynamesh simply cant do that.

Granted its not symmetrical currently and true its not as fast as dynamesh (but its pretty fast considering it transfers more data). Mudbox Retopo is not perfect but it far from useless. Give it some time I'm sure all the issues will be addressed. Meanwhile its still a useful tool.


Last edited by AdamBaroody : 04 April 2013 at 02:49 AM.
  04 April 2013
You are comparing apples to oranges here.

You may as well leave dynamesh out of it. As I warned earlier, you are opening up a discussion you don't want to have here. But since you did....

In Zbrush there are basically 2 divisions in workflow.

1) Base Mesh Creation.

-Zpheres, Zsktetch etc... as well as Dynamesh.

You can use many combinations of these tools to work on your meshes to create a base working mesh. None of your work at this level contains subdivision levels nor does it contain layers. This is not the intended workflow. It is just a way to sketch out your basic shape.

Dynamesh in my opinion the best and most intuitive of all of them. This is basically and all it is is just sketching. And dynamesh puts nothing between you and that workflow, but a couple of settings. Projection being a big one. For this workflow to be useable you have to be able to choose to re project - as a part of the basic one click on ctrl swipe operation - the volume of the mesh back onto itself.

(It is restricted to one level, but, you can change the resolution at anytime, up or down as you remesh. But in steching your shape, you are not at all concerned with levels. When you get to that point, you move over to 2 below)

And Dynamesh does not create only quads it will make tris. But it also will adhere to symmetry as much as you need for this step.

Not to mention, poly groups, masking, insert brushes and ..... well too many concepts and workflows to cover here... but that all are compatible with Dynamesh as a part of the base object creation workflow.

And another powerful feature dynamesh allows is subtractive scupting where you can make clean Booleans. Very easy and powerful technology.

I have not covered everything. But all of this is just under the general heading of base object creation.

And now...

The "further into the process" goes here:

2) Working with division levels, layers and re-topology tools. Once you have your base shape intact, you can now move over to topology, layers, subdivision levels and so on. When you learn how to use all of these tools such as QRemesher, you can still use your subdivision levels and have tons of options to retopo, have several working versions of your subtools, create as many versions of your mesh at different levels etc and prepare for export and so on. There are also several different ways to retopologize your mesh.

And comparing Apples to Apples here. You have all of the functionality further into the workflow and much much more in Zbrush compared to the like-tools in Mudbox. Just comparing Apples to Apples. Zbrush gives you far more flexibility and tool-set here at this stage.

But none of these in my opinion can replace working in an app like Max (or now Maya) that has good basic retopo tools that you do by hand. And then using that as a base mesh to project back all of your details.

So it is this second area that Mudbox has entered into with these tools not the first. And I consider the purpose of the first area is to intuitively sketch a base shape.

Now Mudbox:

In order to have a "dynamehsish workflow you can do this:

1) Sculpt away.

2) When you are ready to retopo, make sure you don't have any subdivision levels and turn off transfer sculpt details and wait.

3) When that is done processing - about 3-4 X slower than dynamesh - then use the transfer details function - another panel, more set up, more selections and more waiting, doing again until it actually works right, - and basically re-project the volume back to the mesh.

4) Repeat 1-3.

(Now if you really wanted to, and had a reason, you could do this in Zbrush too, that is still an option, and still maintain your sculpt details,division levels, transfer them, and so on along with many other tools that fit in here)

For Mudbox this is a large advance. But it does not compare in any way shape of form to Dynamesh nor even what it is intended to give you which is a free form sketching workflow. And a continuous and intuitive iterative process. (not to mention a plethora of tools you can use in this process that all are compatible with Dynamesh)

The key thing here... no interface items, panels, settings and so on in your way as an artist. Just sketch and freely retopo.

Now, if that bug gets addressed, that kills the ability to have a reiterative process on a mesh, you can then reduce one of the steps. Still nothing at all like Dynamesh, but it would give you a working iterative retopo workflow and progressively work on a mesh.

(just so you know I did make a request you can vote on to use this basic function as a one click or swipe feature- please vote for it)

I do like many of the things in Mudbox. Yes, it has some function. But currently limited by only one bug and the lack of symmetry. (and I include the lack of editing curves in symmetry as part of that)

With those two things addressed, it will be much further along. Not anything close to Zbrush, true, better in some ways, I agree.

And I would loooooove.... it if Mudbox could create some competition for these Zbrush features (also in 3D coat I understand).

So again, please vote for more intuitive workflow.... please....

Last edited by cineartist : 04 April 2013 at 05:39 AM.
  04 April 2013
Yes the lack of symmetry is disappointing.

You can compare all the little details, and you will find faults and flaws. Many of which I agree with but the fact is, before 2014, you had absolutely no ability to generate topology, or sculpt from a sphere and generate new topo without leaving mudbox.

I've used it to sculpt from a sphere. It works. Is it the same? No. Is it better in some ways? Yes. Is it perfect? unfortunately no. But you simply could not do this before 2014.

This isnt a Zbrush vs Mudbox conversation. No one is saying "finally the holy grail of 3D... mudbox 2014 replaces dynamesh". Thats not what I'm saying I'm looking at a new tool in mudbox and figuring out what you can do with it that you could not do before in mudbox. How you fit that into your workflow is your choice. Does it work for you? Thats your choice.

But to say you cant use the new retopo tools to start from a sphere, sculpt, retopo, sculpt retopo, sculpt... would be incorrect. You can, and you couldnt do that before 2014.


Last edited by AdamBaroody : 04 April 2013 at 05:49 PM.
  04 April 2013
That is all understood. Believe me. And I agree with most everything you just said. And I am not challenging you as an artist or your artistic choices.

I just don't feel you can make the comparison you made, and I stated my reasons. Technically. And I don't feel statements like that help on a broader stage here, for the case of Mudbox.

That's just me.

I am not challenging your artistic reasons for using Mubdbox or any of the tools however you want anything like that. The work I have seen you do is great.

The point here however is that the Mudbox team with this release made some specific promises. Those promises related to this particular release and these particular tools were not fully kept and I am sure they are aware of it and feel the same.

There are a few issues - like I have been saying over and over - that need to be fixed to live up to that promise. Not big drastic changes, a bug, introduce symmetry with both re meshing and the curve edit tools.

That in my opinion makes it a tool worthy of being considered for finishing in Mudbox and moving it down the pipeline. Even in a limited tool set, it needs to live up to that promise in my opinion, Just on a basic level.

And on a practical level, I am not going to be adding Mudbox to my pipeline in that way just because I am happy the the tools are there in whatever state they are in. They have to work for me and what I expect.

I paid for my subscription just like everyone. It happens I also use Zbrush and was really looking forward to making a switch. I don't expect Mudbox to have even a fraction of the tools right away. But the ones promised, that I paid for, I want to see working.

I want to see Mudbox doing well and I want to see frank unbiased discussions about it and the tools. I feel that is the best way to make changes.

And because I use Zbrush and know it, I don't take offhand statements about it lightly. And I don't see that as productive to bettering Mubdbox.

That is all of where I am coming from.
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