Advice for a Cinema 4D/Zbrush Workflow

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  05 May 2013
Advice for a Cinema 4D/Zbrush Workflow

I decided I wanted to learn how to work in 3D about six months ago. Iíve spent time familiarizing myself with different options, but Iím not certain what workflow to implement. Iíve decided to use Cinema 4D Studio and Zbrush as my main applications, with animation being my end goal. I wanted to see if someone could tell me if the following workflow sounds appropriate. Iím mainly still vague on when displacement mapping and painting enters the process.

Zbrush for sculpting/modeling -> Cinema 4D for UVs and painting -> Topogun for retopology and maps -> Cinema 4D for rigging and animation -> After Effects for compositing.

I could eliminate Zbrush by sculpting in Cinema 4D, but I have enjoyed using dynaspheres for starting my meshes.

Does this sound correct? Iím concerned about spending time going down a path that Iíll have to revise later. Thanks for any advice you can provide.
  05 May 2013
Hi David,

You sound a lot like me when I started out. How do you see yourself making money doing this? If you are planning to drop $5,000 on software alone, you have to have a clear idea where your money is going to come from. If you plan to work for a studio then they will decide which software you are going to use, and from there you can develop your own workflow. You also can't be afraid to change your workflow. Software is always changing, so will your workflow.

To answer your question though, you could stay in ZBrush alone until you are ready to rig and render your models and then jump into C4D. Maps and painting happens after you have created your UVs. I think Topogun is unnecessary with ZBrush 4.5, but that's up to you.
  05 May 2013
Thanks for the information! Concerning making money, I run a small creative agency that mainly offers writing and 2D design services to corporate clients, so I don't need to make money immediately. At some point, I'll be adding 3D work as a service, which is why I chose Cinema 4D. I think the addition of Mograph will be more applicable to the type of services they'll need, but Cinema 4D will still give me the character animation tools that I want to learn.
  05 May 2013
Ok, great! Maxon and Adobe recently announced that in the new version of After Effects C4D will be integrated like never before. This should allow you to offer 3D pretty quickly in this form, which is good because I think character animation is going to take some time to learn.

Google "CINEMA 4D Lite" for an avalanche of info on the subject. Good luck!
  05 May 2013
Originally Posted by Falstaffer: Zbrush for sculpting/modeling -> Cinema 4D for UVs and painting -> Topogun for retopology and maps -> Cinema 4D for rigging and animation -> After Effects for compositing.
I could eliminate Zbrush by sculpting in Cinema 4D, but I have enjoyed using dynaspheres for starting my meshes.

I wouldn't eliminate Zbrush's sculpting tools in favor of Cinema 4D's, the tools in ZBrush offer far more freedom for creative exploration. I'm not knocking the new tools in C4D, as I've found them to be increasingly useful.

There's nothing in the industry that compares to dynamesh for hacking a concept together quickly, and letting it go just as fast if it doesn't suit your needs. The fact that you can throw together a few simple shapes in Cinema, export and build a model in minutes. It's been a game changer for me.

ZBrush also has sufficient UV tools for organic meshes, but the tools in C4D aren't too shabby either. It always depends on the model. With Qremesher and the retopo tools, there's little need for Topogun anymore imho. But feel free.

Another indispensable tool is XNormal . This will allow you to easily export a high polygon model in zbrush with no uvmaps and to transfer/project the polypainted effects over to a low poly mesh. This workflow is faster than bodypaint for me, with quick to access layers, the ability to paint color and displacement together, masking tools for picking out cavities, AO. If not for the final painting, Zbrush can at the very least get you off to a great and fast start.

Cinema and ZBrush together make for a lethal combination.

Last edited by ThePriest : 05 May 2013 at 05:08 PM.
  05 May 2013
Thanks for the additional information! I think my issue with understanding the workflow was how to get the painted textures from the high poly mesh in Zbrush onto a low poly mesh appropriate for animation in Cinema 4D. I havenít had an opportunity to use BodyPaint too much yet, but I have taken several tutorials for painting in Zbrush, and I really like the workflow. PhoenixCG mentioned keeping the workflow in Zbrush until exporting the mesh into Cinema 4D for rigging and animation. So you are recommending the same thing by modeling, sculpting, and painting in Zbrush. Creating a low resolution mesh, and importing them both into XNormal to project textures from the high resolution mesh to the low resolution mesh, and then to Cinema 4D for animation.

Also, I checked out your gallery. Very impressive! I especially liked Haunted Mansion.
  05 May 2013
There's no single or correct way to work it. Some people prefer to do the whole model in ZBrush and then export for painting, etc. Others prefer to model a base mesh in a poly modeler like Cinema and then take it into ZB for sculpting/painting. If you do it that way you can set up your UVs in Cinema first. Either way, if you intend to export displacement and/or normal maps from ZBrush you will have to have decent UVs on your model. ZB's UVMaster plugin is actually quite good for that.

My advice would be to start with just ZBrush and Cinema. That's a whole lot to learn right there, and between the two of them they can do everything you need. Later you may decide you want to add Xnormal and/or Topogun.
  05 May 2013
Thanks for the input! I spent today working through several Digital Tutors courses dealing with sculpting in Zbrush, sending the models to Cinema via GoZ to create the UVs, and then back to Zbrush for texturing and maps, and finally rendering in Cinema. That workflow is very streamlined, and I liked the quick results. I agree that there are years worth of learning required just between those two programs, and if I can manage the retopology in Zbrush, then I think I'm going to be very happy with my choice of programs and workflow.
  05 May 2013
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