Zbrush or Mudbox for me? Characters to a movie

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  06 June 2013
Ps.: I've seen the Pixar stuff. It looks really good and hope it will be in the next maya revision. Shame they didn't make it for 2014
  06 June 2013
Yep Zbrush is amazing.

I wish the documentation would treat 2.5 D better.

It did not click with me until I realized that 2.5 D is a powerful tool to create depth drawings that can be converted into alpha maps and used as brushes of different types. I mean that is just one thing. There are other uses.

But for all practical purposes think of 2.5 D as a legacy feature they should kill from the standard interface and just bury as a feature you can pull up is you need it. Granted, maybe that would not be possible. But from an artist perspective it is best to file it as yet one of the many irritating Zbrush interface quirks.

Drag out your mesh, hit the edit button first thing and then forget about it.

Moving on...

The way to set up multiple pieces of a scene if that is what you want to do is to use subtools.

This is a powerful feature that goes beyond just setting up separate objects within one tool container. You use the subtools to also perform many other functions. But never the less you can use it to simply place various parts of a character, the body, eyes, clothes, effects and even props. Same for environments and set pieces.

Zbrush is a powerful modeling tool. But I will stop at saying it is a replacement for certain things I still think are better to set up and do in something like Maya. And for me that would be something like a set with furniture. Not something I'd want to do and set up in Zbrush. That's me. But Subtools is one way if that is what you want to do. You'll get there soon enough.
Richard Culver
Protfolio Facebook WIP1 WIP2
  06 June 2013
Thank you Richard,
that makes sense now. I thought it could be the case but the idea of creating alpha for brushes is an interesting one. That can actually be something really great to use this for.

Yeah, I'll look into the subtools and yes I wondered how to separate eyes for example from the character so you have cleared that out.

I think soon I'll post my first test so lets hope its not a total garbage

Thank you for help and input, very helpful and nice of you.

Thank you so much
  06 June 2013
Hey no prob and good luck!
Richard Culver
Protfolio Facebook WIP1 WIP2
  06 June 2013
ok, i've finished the getting started videos and did some of the sculpting one.
I'm a little bit curious about what others think its best for character creating.

I love the zspheres approach to create the basic "skeleton" of the character, then use sketch brush to sketch the mass to a more detailed model and then convert it to polymesh and continue normal scultpting process. That seems to make sense and looks fairly simple.

Now, what is the dynamesh or is it any use these days?

What is the most uptodate workflow (I know everyone is different but I want to avoid using "old" approaches) that most people use, please?

  06 June 2013
Yeah you can use zspheres like that. The cadge you get from zspheres is rarely symmetrical so the center line is often off and you can fix those and center diamond polys in a standard 3d app. If you use goz it is even quicker and you end up with a cadge that you can resym at will.

Dynamesh is another really useful approach as it lets you grow meshes out of your start shape and by using a remesh stroke the resolution of your sculpt gets distributed over the whole piece when its needed. You can also use the project feature to stop the form from going mushy when you do that. You can insert meshes and dynamesh has a super boolean function as well. You cant go up and down in resolution like you can with a standard zbrush mesh but the possibilities for experimentation seem endless. At the end when you have a more worked out form you can always retopo or qremesh your sculpt.

Ztools are separate models and you can see them in the tool dialog where they appear in a list like ps layers. The body of a character could be one tool and clothing pieces other tools or 'subtools' for example. In turn subtools can be made up of many elements or just one. You can hide subtools and turn their textures on and off and you can also use them as booleans. Ztools are an incredibly convenient way to separate parts so you can handle them individually. Those 'tools' or parts can be combined and split whenever you please depending on their resolution the tools will also maintain their sub level history as well.

Hope that helps.
The terminal velocity of individual particles is directly related to pink rabbits on a bank holiday.
Characters, Games, Toys

Last edited by Kanga : 06 June 2013 at 11:47 PM.
  06 June 2013
Opinion forthcoming... take it with that in mind.

I don't like Zspheres at all and I find them incredibly odd to work with. I agree that they look simple and logical.


They are actually an older method. A newer method is Zsketching and the most dynamic and intuitive to me is Dynamesh. It is also the more "current" technology.

Of course one can argue - especially if one is a long time Zbrush user - that all of these tools have their place. But I would argue that the only reason some of these tools have their place is because they became comfortable from use mainly because there was no other way. And but now there is a better way - in my opinion - so why mess about learning an older way?

That is just me and the way I decided to approach it as I worked through the vast documentation. I very early on decided that I hated dealing with Zsperes and was just as happy to check that off the list an eliminate hours or days of training time.

However it is a good idea to be familiar enough with them as they can be used as a base for making topology with the topology tool.

That said, beyond just a basic character Zpheres/Zsketch is a good way to sketch out more odd shapes. Not for me, but for others... up to them.

But regarding the problems with symmetry you can always convert to a quad mesh and also use the mirror function. There is also the slice brush and other tools to use to correct the problem within Zbrush. The more familiar you are with the tools the more solutions you'll find.

With Dinamesh I simply drag out a sphere and start sculpting. Insert brushes come in handy. But I like to just push and pull and shape something into what I want.

I am also not ashamed to use one of the included human meshes as a starting point to sculpt my own character in Dynamesh as a starting point. Or you can import premade meshes from other sources and start that way as well.

In general there is this workflow:

You sketch out your basic shape - by any method.

Once you get it close as a base shape then you can then convert to quads and start using levels. There are a few ways to go about this but projection is a key component. You could retopo first and then come back to add details.

But I have been settling on the workflow of using dynamesh and then convert to quads, reduce the resolution as far as I can using Qremesher and then add levels and then project back to the highest level to get the details from the Dyamesh back. Then from there add all of the finer details on the sculpt and then finally retopo in an external app and bring it back for projecting details needed for displacement and/or normals occlusion UVmapping and so on.

Just my opinions based on how I have found I like to work. FWIW.
Richard Culver
Protfolio Facebook WIP1 WIP2
  06 June 2013
thank you guys, I will reply properly a bit later when i test certain things I wanna try first before I ask but here is something i wonder.

You mentioned retopology in early stage on the model but I thought that I can just use zspehere, then zsketch and then convert it and start sculpting and only after that do the retopology, was that incorrect?
Because my impression is that it doesn't matter what method you use as in the end you will have the same mesh as a result, correct? (ie. zspheres will not be inside the mesh anymore same as zsketch etc. the mesh will be just surface like you would do in maya and it will be the same regardless of the procedure, correct?)

I hope you don't mind me asking but I though I would get this right the first time so i'm on the right track.
  06 June 2013
Yes. In the case of Zphereres you would basically convert it to a mesh and then start sculpting.

And yes, just in general the workflow is to first sketch out a basic shape before adding details.

In Dynamesh you can take this quite a ways. But it is just generally an intuitive way to sculpt and keep mesh integrity. For example you stretch and pull then you can remesh it on the fly and it will fill in with new geometry so that the mesh is not stretched out.

Any kind of topology can be done at any stage of the process, including sending objects back and forth to a 3D app or retopoing parts as you go to give you a better basic shape.

But me personally I don't like to get too tied down to topology until I am prepping for animation and maps.

There are no rules. As you go through you will find things that work best for you.
Richard Culver
Protfolio Facebook WIP1 WIP2
  06 June 2013
So actually until I'm ready with the model for animation etc. then there is no "wrong" way to do things as I can always fix that even when the model is done, right?
Well in that case it makes it easier I guess to start and headache will come later when animation will start

Thank you Richard
  06 June 2013
Yeah, that's the idea.
Richard Culver
Protfolio Facebook WIP1 WIP2
  07 July 2013
so now that 4R6 is out would you recommend using that for retopology or are we still looking for topogun as a better retopology solution?

You experts will probably know straight away if the new update replaces the need for me to learn topogun ))

Thank you

p.s.: Mari 2.0 still best for texturing?
  07 July 2013
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