[Noobish] On sculpting details vs texturing

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  04 April 2013
[Noobish] On sculpting details vs texturing

Hello everybody.

I'm a new entry here. I'm 28 and I have a background in traditional art, currently teaching myself modelling with the goal of becoming a character artist and a environmental artist/rigger (as side skills). I'm using a Digital Tutors subscription, coupled with a lot of research and some Gnomon dvd.

I've been working on my first "project" - it's a 3d portrait. Now that I've created a semi-detailed sculpt, I have come to a sort of block and here it goes: what is the difference between sculpting facial features details (pores, wrinkles, etc) and using, for example, Mari to texture paint them?

I'm asking this because I'm following 2 tutorials to produce my piece, trying to orientate myself and now tutorial 1 starts to add pores, wrinkles using alphas in Zbrush, while tutorial 2 takes the portrait into Mari at a relative low-detail level.

Please pardon my lack of technical knowledge but I'm still at the starting phase.

Thanks and best wishes to everybody!
  04 April 2013
Easy to animate and fast to render

When you model details you are creating new polygons. In this process the polygon count can increase dramatically making the object unusable for animation and reeaally slooow to render.

So Mari, Mudbox, etc have tools that allow you to create, normal maps , displacement maps , etc and give cool interfaces and techniques to get an incredible level of detail. You can work with thousands or millions of polys and still having a nice and fast interaction with the model. Then you can export the necessarily maps to recreate the detail in Maya, Max, or whatever you use as a main package in render time. Check the respective websites or check youtube channels for The Foundry Mari and Autodesk Mudbox.

these are really nice tools. Have fun with them.
::: León :::
  04 April 2013
Projection vs 3d

Take a look here
There is a fast explanation between Mudbox and Mari.
::: León :::
  04 April 2013
Thank you for the links!

So basically the bottom line is: sculpt the majority of your details on the mesh for films and use normal maps/baking etc for games?
  04 April 2013
you also bake maps for film... dispmaps for film and nextgen games...
and normalmaps for current gen games...

and fine detail displacement as painted map...
cause its much easier to paint 200millions of pixel than sculpt on a 200million poly object...
  04 April 2013
I see.

Allow me this question then: how do I decide, for example, to proceed for detailing pores? Should I go on and sculpt them with alphas or use normal and displacement maps? Is there a golden rule?

Thanks again
  04 April 2013
No rules

I think there are no rules here. You decide according to your needs. Lets say, sometimes you can just paint skin texture because there wont be any close ups (in a film example). So a painted texture would be enough. But if you need some extra detail you can add some bump mapping, or use displacement maps for more realism. Finally you can model each poly in a wrinkle for an insane travel inside the skin of a model!

I suggest you to try different techniques and see what can you get with each of these. the idea is you're free to try different approaches, sometimes using a technique in a unusual way gives you cheap and good results. I've seen some great looking models like buildings and ornaments made just with displacement maps.

The point is to know the differences between this techniques so you can decide what is useful or better in any situation.

Another reference Bump and displacement

Try some projection techniques with Mari, zbrush, mudbox. You can get hyper realistic results using real skin photography. Then add detail: you can paint some bump or displacement maps. Paint some details in the specular channel so you define how bright or "oily" is the skin. I just watched this . Useful for reference.
::: León :::

Last edited by leonfcs : 04 April 2013 at 08:40 PM. Reason: Complement idea
  04 April 2013
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