Accurate Displacement Workflow from ZBrush / Mudbox to VRay (Maya/3ds Max) and Arnold

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  05 May 2013
Accurate Displacement Workflow from ZBrush / Mudbox to VRay (Maya/3ds Max) and Arnold

Accurate Displacement Workflow

I've just finished writing up a displacement mapping workflow tutorial that covers generating an accurate 32bit displacement map from ZBrush or Mudbox, and correctly applying it in VRay for Maya or 3ds Max, and Arnold Render.

There's often a lot of confusion and misinformation surrounding displacement maps and how they're supposed to work. You'll sometimes see artists load a displacement map onto their low resolution geometry and play with intensity and depth values until it looks somewhat similar to their high resolution geometry and assume that's it's as close as they can get. But with this workflow you wont have to eyeball any 'amount' settings, or rely on normal mapping for fine details, or settle for 'close enough' - the correctly generated/applied displacement map will match your high resolution geometry accurately from the start.

So have a look and let me know if you have any feedback. Hope it helps out!

Modeler / Generalist TD
  05 May 2013
This tutorial looks terrific!
I just flipped through it and it is pleasing to look at and will calm the nerves of any distraught modeler trying to grapple with displacement. Only thing I miss is the MentalRay max version which is a very common configuration being that MentalRay comes with max as a standard engine.

Looking forward to the vector displacement tute!
Great work well done.
The terminal velocity of individual particles is directly related to pink rabbits on a bank holiday.
Characters, Games, Toys
  07 July 2013
Excellent tutorial with really good tips. I found it searching at google. Thanks! Nice works btw.

Last edited by Ballo : 07 July 2013 at 12:18 AM.
  08 August 2013
great tutorial, only thing Im having a problem with:
I have a UV layout with multiple tiles.
Eporting with Multimap exporter always exports all tiles, but doing it your way only exports one tile.
How do I work around that?
  08 August 2013
^ You can still use the Multi-map exporter to generate your displacement maps as long as you use the same settings as in the tutorial. The only thing is that you'll need to use a program (preferably Nuke) to convert the generated displacement maps from TIF format to EXR format - as 32bit floating point Tifs can sometimes cause issues in 3ds max and maya.

Modeler / Generalist TD
  08 August 2013
yeah, i figured also works to hide the mesh coresponding to the specific uv tile. But i guess converting in ps is less trouble. I haven't found any improvement on leaving the uvs unbroken in 3ds max...whats the visual benefit of that?
Also your not specifically mentioning it, but you also wana check in the uv rollout, that you have border at 2-if you for some reason have it at 0 you get visible seams.
Have you also tried this workflow with HD Geometry Levels?
  08 August 2013
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