morph creation workflow questions

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  02 February 2013
morph creation workflow questions

I have a character; basic biped, rigged and weighted etc using CAT

I want to create a morph, via zbrush. Well a number of separate morphs ...

So i export the mesh to Zbrush, sculpt my morph; lets say a shoulder joint crease for example; bring it back into Max and load this into a morph channel ...

Repeat the process for other morphs ..

So here's where I can get confused;

My default character is in a T-pose; however I want to address a morph that occurs later on in the animation phase; ie the character moves in a specific way that causes issues that cant be fixed by weighting alone; so at this point; if i export the model in the animated pose; to correct the visible issue area, into Zbrush and back ... will i encounter issues when loading this back into max? Taking into account the model will be posed ... so i was thinking i could load this back in; the at the specific frame just dial up the morph ..

In general is there a preferred workflow with creating morphs for a typical biped character? ie; is it a good idea to export the whole body, or is it better to some how detach the head and just export that for example?
  02 February 2013
As long as you have the same number of verts and especially if both came from zbrush you should be ok. I know some software sorts verts from top down and some from bottom up so you can run into issues back in the day if they were from 2 different programs. These days I can't imagine that being an issue.

I've done quite a few rigs and skins for commercials in my day but never created a morph to fix a pose. Not that you can't do that, but that I wouldn't suggest it to my supervisor or the next thing I know I'll be doing it all the time. I haven't used CAT much since it was a plugin from softimage but with most bone systems these days you have bulge or muscle deformers that you can use for situations like this and to make a character more lifelike when they pronate / supinate and flex. (Sp?)

Normally you would slip the morpher under the skin so you can morph before rigged deformations, but with your idea you'd need another morpher *above* the skin since you are correcting a certain pose. Could work, but not necessarily the optimal workflow. It will be a major hassle if there are last minute changes to the shot. But in theory it could work.


Last edited by Diffus3d : 02 February 2013 at 04:06 AM.
  02 February 2013
A few years ago I worked on a feature that involved some heavy creature work. I noticed throughout the work flow, the lead CG character had to hit specific key poses that were quite heavily designed in preproduction. This involved the artists animating the character to the key poses, then the mesh was exported to Zbrush; touched up and finesses to take it that extra 5-10% to really nail the desired look of the key pose. The mesh was then fired back to Maya and dialled in, and repeated for the next key pose.

I thought this was a good approached to really designing the key poses and ensuring then got every crease the way they wanted.
  02 February 2013
That's pretty cool. I never got around to movie production so I'd imaging having more time and budget means you can pull cool tricks like this. Thanks for sharing some insider info at that level.
  02 February 2013
As for whether or not to detach the head and create morphs seperately, I believe I remember Paul Neale showing an example some time ago of why it is more efficient to do full character morphs rather than seperating and reattaching later in the stack.

You could also set up the key poses in Zbrush as morphs so you can morph between poses and maintain continuity in the silhouette whilst sculpting.
  02 February 2013
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