Some Newby questions about mudbox

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  09 September 2013
Angry Some Newby questions about mudbox

Hi all,

I am really desperate to get good with mudbox after seeing lots of tutorials and suchlike, but I have some questions I hope can be answered. I have control over the pen, because as you can I can write my name, but I am having problems with how to control it. Is this what it was like for everyone when they started.

very often when I use the knife tool instead of getting a smooth line cut I get a spotty line, no
matter how I change the settings, and even on the higher sub divisions. The stamp is set to the eye stamp, and stamp spacing is off, and I have even reset it to make sure I hadn't done something silly. If you can see the attached picture, everytime the knife tool is used it isn't smooth. I see this tool being used in a lot of tutorials without getting the same results.

Sometimes when I use the smooth tool it won't smooth. I know the smooth tool works better on lower sub divisions, but it should still smooth on higher. I find it especially hard to smooth after I have used the cut tool, which causes a deep cut.

Still having trouble trying to work out how the sensitivity works?
The default is Min Size=25.00 and Min Strength=0. I am not sure how to control this effectively. I have played about with different settings, but never happy LOL.

How do I draw a line over a cut. What happens is that when I try it just falls into the cut. I mean for layering graphics.

  09 September 2013
maybe your settings are corrupt...
delete the settings folder in myDocuments\mudbox..

are your wacom driver up to date..?

dont turn off stamp spacing it will only slowing down the brush...
2 or 3 is a good setting...

do 90% of the volume work in low levels... high details dont need so much smoothing...
  09 September 2013

Hi Oglu,

My Wacom drivers are the latest from the Wacom site. I will try deleting the settings, and I will play with the stamp spacing.

I am a little frustrated at the moment. All the videos make it look so easy LOL.
Perhaps it would have been easier if I had learned traditional sculpting.

BTW I had a go at doing an eye on the chocolate orange, and it didn't quite work heh heh.

  09 September 2013
The first thing I always do for most brushes is change the min size up from 25% or whatever the default is to near the top. 75% to 90 or so. That means the size is pretty much fixed and the pressure only controls strength. I do the same in Photoshop. That just suits me more than controling size as well. Sometimes I need it controling size, but not most of the time. I'll just dial it back down if I need a variable size brush.

Regarding smooth. Sometimes you'll need to run flatten or fill over an area before using smooth. Fill will fill in the cuts without building up the surface. Flatten will bring the surface together much more quickly than smooth.

I also work at as low a subdivision level as I can and only move up when I have the rough forms right.
  09 September 2013
Hi Oglu and Robin,

Thanks for the suggestions. I deleted my settings and now the knife brush seems to work a little better.

However my modelling is very bad. I have had a go at 4 alien heads and deleted them in disgust. I just started with a sphere and tried to shape that. I know there is a head one, but I need to improve.

I believe at the moment I am up to the level of a blind 5 year old sculptor.

I spent years in 3ds Max and I got pretty good with that, but mudbox is defeating me at the moment. It is a totally different kind of modelling to what I am used to.

Thing is I have been watching tutorial after tutorial, and I can't seem to grasp it myself.
I have particular trouble working out how to shape the eyes.

  09 September 2013
A couple of points.

From the look of your sculpting it seems like you are trying to get to the details too quickly. A more ideal way to approach it is to gradually work up the volumes and shapes more gradually at a lower division level.

That's just technical regarding sculpting. But as far as anatomy goes....

I would not even try and tackle the details at this stage if you are looking at starting from a sphere.

Here are some images I dug up off the web. I think these are from Hogarth's book on the

Try first and grasp the proper proportions of the head. Then using that, work on the basic shapes, the volume of the head as in these:

I would not worry about details until you can master the volume of the head without thinking about it as in the above images.

Do that a dozen times and get the hang of it.

Then move on to each feature - alone. Not connected to the head:

Here is an artist taking examples and simply trying to perfect the features one at a time in this case the eyes:

Mastering the head is a matter of taking your time and first mastering the overall volume and then each feature one at a time before you tackle doing it all at once.

After you can do these things second nature, then it is time to work more freely and sketching things as you imagine them or from more challenging references.

I almost always use a reference. Either a photo or one of my own sketches.
Richard Culver
Protfolio Facebook WIP1 WIP2
  09 September 2013
Hi Cineartist,

Thank you I am going to take these images and study them. Part of the problem is that I know what a face looks like in my head, but replicating it on a 3D model is incredibly difficult. I really want to get there though.

The other problem is this. Being new I am not sure how to stay on each subdivision. I was at subdivision 4 and I was having trouble trying to draw the finer detail so I increased it, and ended up at subdivision 8. I totally agree with everything you say, but it is hard to know when I should move up a level. I have watched tutorials and they seem to get the detail in quick and move up, so I am probably a little misled.

I think the biggest problem is that I have spent a long time in 3ds max and now this kind of 3D is more like traditional art. Now at school I was ok at sketching, but I never did any real sculpting, and so I have to get into this mindset.

Thankyou for your help. I really hope I can get there in the end.
Now I am going to save all those pictures out and get them in my head.

  09 September 2013
Hi CineArtist,

I tried to block out the head shape looking at some of the pictures you gave me. I know it isn't perfect by a long way, but I will be practicing this. Ok I started with a sphere, and now I am subdivision level 2. How much more detail can I get into this before I up the level?
I have given some form to the nose and the brow.

I usually get to this stage and this is where I go wrong. I am going to practice doing a few spheres before I add start on eyes and stuff though.

In my spock head in the other thread I got a good shape by doing it in 3ds max first, but I think I should forget that for now and practice on spheres until I can do it in my sleep.

I thought the level 1 head look a little like Iron man LOL.

BTW can't wait to see your new webpage.

  09 September 2013
Looking good. That is the idea. Get those basics down.

Now the next step is to do the head basic shape for real with the neck. But again, don't do the finer details. Just the essential shape. Find a good image as a reference. Maybe you can find something better but here are a couple of possibilities:

Just mainly get the hang of getting the jawline to match up and the main bones of the skull forehead and cheek. looking right.

Like in these angles, paying particular attention to how the cheek and brow ridge looks from all of the angles. And don't forget the temple arch - or whatever you call that I forget - it goes from the brow at an arc up around the top of the ear (top right below):

To your specific question. For me I try to just think of the underlying support for the details that will go above. This is why I gave you those basic head volume shapes to get used to the idea of blocking it out at a basic level. It is just a matter of pacing yourself. Tutorials will also help.

But the rule is, think of the primitive level you are trying to get and make sure and block that out. When you can not get that primitive level of detail up the res.

Like so:

Basic head volume with neck

Nose, eye sockets, other basic bone structures (as mentioned above)

Mouth area blocked in, just raised and basic shape sculpted in. No separation of the lips.

Begin pulling out the ears. nothing detailed just the basic volume.

At each level of detail add only enough division to give you what you need.

Now before moving on to other details I can recommend first doing those separate first:

This page shows some of specific areas to work on like the mouth ear and nose:

Then come back and practice doing it all on a head.

If you enjoy starting from a sphere to get your shape, you will likely want to go back to 3Dmax and retopo the head form once you get it the way you want before coming back and doing finer details like wrinkles and so on.

My website is taking a while to get to.

Here is a WIP on a personal project:

All I have for now. That is all old work. Gonna update my site with new stuff hopefully soon.
Richard Culver
Protfolio Facebook WIP1 WIP2
  09 September 2013
Hi CineArtist,

Again I started to run before walking. Anyway I went back to the lowest level because I knew I had to form the neck. Started with the wax brush and it wasn't fast enough so decided to use the grab tool. Anyway I formed the neck and unfortunately messed up all the polys and making them all stretched. Anyway I know I messed up somehow. Also I managed to screw up the shape at the side doh. I don't think I got the proper control over the grab too yet.

Then I thought I might as well practice on the face. I tried to build it up slowly in layers rather than before. This is at level 5. I know I put too much detail into the ear too soon as well.

I am a little despondant, but I do think the structure of the face has improved a little.

I like your "magic dust" concept. It reminds me of Philip Pullman crossed with Skyland.
I also love the font you used as well.

I also have a little gallery of my past work, but I really need some organic work to stand out.

  09 September 2013
Nice portfolio!

My influence when I was in high school was mainly Roger Dean and a lot of surrealist painters of the 60's and 70's. From there I developed my own take on the style and began designing worlds and logos. I gave all of that up for the most part when I was about 18 and took on a career in music (because I felt I was simply not good enough as an artist) and from there filmmaking. When I returned to 3D I took up where I left off in high school and continued to perfect my personal style which is reflected in the logos and fonts you see that I designed.

I see things like Skyland, the floating mountains in Avatar and all that kind of thing more or less derivative of Roger Dean. I am guilty too. But I think I kinda developed my own take on it.

OK, enough on that.

Despondent is in fact usually a result of trying to go too fast or basically skipping over the basics. A lot of people forget to teach this stuff because they have forgotten what got them where they are. I have not forgotten because it is still a process for me. I am not a master but a student of the craft. And I know what has worked for me. If I can get this stuff - anyone can. Believe me. I found it very very hard to master the head. It is still a challenge. But it took me months of drawing exercises and at least a dozen 3D heads before I had anything that looked even like a head at all!

I can not stress enough slowing down and just work at your most basic level from 2 to 4 max and block out the shape of the head, neck and bone structures. Just keep working on that. Don't put any detail into the face yet. Just keep working on it until you can do that in your sleep.

Then go back and just work on facial features completely detached from the head. Just learn them in their very basic structure. I do recommend Hogarth's book on the head as a reference. You can find it in bookstores or order it online.

Learning to sketch this stuff is perhaps optional but highly recommended.

Keep in mind that everything I am telling you here is based on things I have actually done. This is not just theoretical advice. One could say that it is only what worked for me. And I can not argue. But at the same time I can not advise on things I have not tried and I don't venture to speculate 2nd hand knowledge.

I think you could benefit by to disciplining yourself to take it gradual.

You have to do this even with Dynamesh or with the new retopo tools in Mudbox.

And remember that this is a long process. It will not happen in a matter of days. Think at the very least, months.
Richard Culver
Protfolio Facebook WIP1 WIP2
  09 September 2013
Red face

Hi Ciniartist,

I haven't gone back to doing head shapes, but like you said I have been working on parts that make up the face. I have done nothing today except watch Wayne Robson tutorials, and my first ever mouth in mudbox. I have to say in mudbox because I have built a face in 3ds max a while ago, although nothing to be really proud of. I just used a flat square for this, so I didn't get distracted by doing a head.

I am not sure if the gap between the lips is deep enough or not. Anyway I have learned something. I tried to put the gap in at about level 3. Anyway it didn't look very good, and then at level 5 I tried to make it deeper and it looked terrible.

Anyway to cut a long story short I went back to level 3, and smoothed it over with the rake tool, or rather the scrape tool (Sorry Wayne's influence), and I then went back to level 5 and carefully used the knife tool.

I know it isn't up to the standard here, but it is my first ever mouse in mudbox which looks like a mouth. Also I think it is an improvement on my other post where I did a face and lumpy lips LOL.

By the way am I the only new one here? It would be nice to talk to a few other new people to learn at the same time.

PS. I was worried about whether it was my lack of skill or a problem with my wacom tablet earlier, but I think it is my lack of skill. After watching a Wayne Robson tutorial earlier I changed all my tool settings and put them in a different order. Now the wax brush feels like it should.

  09 September 2013

Well after the partial success of my mouth I thought I would try a nose. Ok the nose is not brillient, but it looks nose shaped. Then I went on to eyes. The problem I think here is that I know what eyes look like, but not how to build them up.

I started by making a dip for the eyes socket at level 3, and then drew the round eyeball which was difficult as it look jagged, and then I smoothed it out and went to level 5 to add the eyelids.

I am having trouble defining the shape of the eye. I tried using the knife tool, which doesn't always work.

Anyway the mouth and nose were ok at level 5, and for the eye I went up to level 6.

I think I have trouble sculpting something, even though I think I know what it looks like. I really could do with another monitor so I could study an eye while sculpting.

  09 September 2013
Improvement. Keep at it.

By the way a little progress on my site. At least I have a reel up. It is a start for now.
Richard Culver
Protfolio Facebook WIP1 WIP2
  09 September 2013
Hi cineartist,

That demo reel is mind blowing. I have to say after watching it the thing that sticks in my mind is those wonderful bristles on the toothbrush. How on Earth did you animate them. Surely you didn't use hundreds of splines?

Do you use 3ds max for animating or Maya. I have played with the CAT system in max, but only ever half rigged a body. I did successfully rig pages turning in a book though.

I have been told it is good to learn maya, but I tried it once and never got on with it. I think it is more important to learn mudbox first.

I will be keeping an eye on your page.


PS I have added a couple of pictures to my portfolio. Is there anyway to group some pictures together which are under the same subject eg. I have some close ups of my time machine which I would like to group? Also why are some peoples portfolio marked in red and some in blue?

Last edited by Asimov : 09 September 2013 at 10:21 PM.
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