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vincent1
01-29-2006, 08:16 AM
Greetings,

With help from people here, I finally managed to key down most of the workflow procedures involved in getting zbrush and lightwave to play together properly.

This is a character modelled in lw and enhanced in zbrush, i.e. boobs, musculature. Texturing and make-up is 100% zbrush using zbrush's auv mapping.

I can now safely say enhancing/texturing models from now on will take hours rather than days. With max 7 and bodypaint, I would have taken days to do this and without any musculature control to boot.

Best competitive upgrade I ever done, switching to lightwave.

Link to walk cycle:
http://www.exposurehifi.com/test/

Thanks for all the help I received.
-Vincent

Carm3D
01-29-2006, 06:20 PM
Nice work. I can't wait till I can get ZB. Have you experimented with using ZB for painting textures?

vincent1
01-30-2006, 03:15 AM
I also own maxon bodypaint 2.0.

Zbrush is the most amazing 3d texturing program I have ever experienced. You need to learn its "aha!" moments. Once you do, it's incredible for modelling and texturing.

For example, you can apply a painted or phographic face texture to a polygonal plane and you can map that to your model with ease; painted the lips too big? No problem, select the move points tool to distort the texture point by point to fit your model!

Need skin? Apply a 500 x 500 pixel skin texture again to a polygonal plane and add a circular soft-edged alpha mask (something like photoshops alphas) and apply all over at varying opacity and colour saturation and size ON THE FLY!

JUst go to www.zbrushcentral.com to download videos that show this method of character texturing plus tons of other stuff.

If you are asking if zbrush can also behave like a 2d painting programme like painter and photoshop, yes, it can!

Carm3D
01-30-2006, 03:45 AM
No I'm asking if it can be used for 3D painting, ala BodyPaint.

Carm3D
01-30-2006, 04:19 AM
But if one can only afford one or the other...?

Nemoid
01-30-2006, 04:36 AM
ZB is cool for textures as well.
it has the project master method which is quite good.

you can import your model as a.obj, then ZB can make UV for you (that are quite undistorted, even if they're not outlined to be understadable to paint into a 2d classic app.)
you can also transfer your UV to your old lw object, if you need it,through a plugin called Zwave

To paint textures in ZB you create a blank texture for the whole model at first. there, you can also fill the model with a base color.
then, you can select different parts of the model, better if you isolate them, to work faster, frame it in the canvas,and go in Project master and paint. once your session is finished you can pick up the model , and "painting" is projected onto texture applied to geometry.

but it doesn't end here:

you have a plug called z app link, that transfers the project master image to Ps (or whatever app supporting psd you use) so that you can paint even there, and go back and forth to your hearth content.


with this method you don't heve the need to unwrap UVs for your model. you even don't need to see UVs. only paint.


ah i almost forgot :

ZB supports even classic UVs you can create with Lw or other apps. BTW. :)

BazC
01-30-2006, 04:42 AM
I'd recommend ZBrush if you can't afford both but with some reservations!

First, ZBrush isn't really a 3d painter. You can't paint part of your model then rotate and paint some more. You have to drop and pick up each time you want to move the model. It's OK once you get used to it but I don't think it's a really smooth workflow. Also those aha! moments Vincent mentioned can really bite you on the *** if your not careful. Things like painting through the mesh is easy to accidently do and that can wreck hours of work! Also if you paint up to the edge of the viewport you can get nasty artifacts.

Still, it IS an awesome painter once you get used to it's idiosyncrasies with loads of great features. If you add in it's unbelievable hi res modeling capabilities and displacement and normal map generation it's really unbeatable value. Once (if?) ZB2.5 is released it will be downright unbelievable!

Oh yes it also has an excellent though very unconventional renderer/materials system. Fantastic for illustration but limited in output size. Try the demo! Be warned though you will have to put some effort into learning it's ways and you have to accept that it's nothing like any 3d app out there, the people who fight against the ZB way are the ones who hate it, Be one with the app Grasshopper and you will learn to love it! ;) - Baz

Nemoid
01-30-2006, 05:11 AM
yap i agree on those limitations, painting workflow not being exactly smooth and idiosincrasies. however,once understood that, if you think to ZB as a 2.5 painting app, there's no problem at all and you reach getting excellent results.
you can paint textures, create bump maps, disp maps, normalmaps. you can also improve your models giving to them not only great detail, but a natural feeling, difficult to achieve into a traditional 3d app. you can also model from scratch with z spheres. good tool for organics. plus , u can work in combination with other apps. ZB is a good companion for most 3D apps.


as upcoming features, you'll be able

1) to "rig" your model inside ZB, for pose and proportion modification purposes, inside ZB. i think you'll be able to obviously re export the model and so obtain easily a model with different proportions- poses, if you want

2) you will be able to, lets say model within ZB, and reconstruct topology for animation purposes in other 3d apps with a tool similar to topology brush, using zspheres.

i dunno Bp so i can't judge it

acocq
01-30-2006, 05:43 AM
I was also pondering whether to get BodyPaint or Zbrush.

I ended up with Zbrush (partially due to the fact that I got it in a bundle together with my Wacom Inteos3 tablett :dance: ) and haven't regretted it.

Yes, the workflow takes some getting used to :compbeati , but after that you get to enjoy a truly unique program ...

As a hobby user (high on ambition, low on talent :stumped: ), I have spent hours 3D-Doodling with Zbrush. It is amazing !

And once you get the LW-ZB-LW workflow set up, it really adds a lot of capabilities (look at the latest plugin ZMapper for advanced normal mapping functionality). :thumbsup:

And I agree that the Zapp link to your favourite paint program adds yet another dimension of use.

(Oh dear, I'm starting to sound like a fanboy ... hmmm ... :foreheads guess I am ! )

Cheers,
Andreas

Carm3D
01-30-2006, 07:45 AM
Yeah I saw ZBrush demoed, so I know about the whole Paint-Drop-Rotate methodology. But for me it was love at first sight. I didn't see the PSD-linker feature that you talked about so I am curious how that would be useful. It sounds more like a 2D painting tool from that perspective.

spec24
01-30-2006, 08:21 AM
Greetings,

With help from people here, I finally managed to key down most of the workflow procedures involved in getting zbrush and lightwave to play together properly.

This is a character modelled in lw and enhanced in zbrush, i.e. boobs, musculature. Texturing and make-up is 100% zbrush using zbrush's auv mapping.

I can now safely say enhancing/texturing models from now on will take hours rather than days. With max 7 and bodypaint, I would have taken days to do this and without any musculature control to boot.

Best competitive upgrade I ever done, switching to lightwave.

Link to walk cycle:
http://www.exposurehifi.com/test/

Thanks for all the help I received.
-Vincent

Got the time to post a brief tutorial of your workflow for us ZBrush newcomers?

starbase1
01-30-2006, 08:23 AM
I'm rather intrigued by all this, as I am painfully slow at modelling.

But I'm still not really clear on exactly how you use Zbrush. If I understand correctly, it lets you paint geometry onto a model. I looked at the web site though, and that confused me more, with references to materials and stuff, which make it sound more like a surfacing or even rendering application, (or is this just for baking UV's?)

I'm useless if it comes down to painting in photoshop with brishes on a blank canvas - would a lack of skill as a digital painter be a serious handicap for me?

Perhaps a specific example would help - I have never yet managed to make a satisfactory cratered moonlet / asteroid in LW. It's just too oainful trying to raise sets of crater rims fall over a (very roughly) spherical surface... If I understand correctly, this should be very easy indeed in ZBrush?

Nick

vincent1
01-30-2006, 08:32 AM
I stand corrected. zbrush is not YET a true 3d texture painter as you cannot rotate and paint on the fly.

Like it was pointed out, you need to drop and pick up before painting another area. It is just a workflow i have accepted as a reasonable compromise.

I think where I find it so productive is that its (compared to BodyPaint's) invisible uv management is far superior for character texturing. No need anymore to spend hours fixing or moving uv points just to get textures not to stretch and fit properly. Ask Leigh van der Byl, it was common for her to spend hours if not days tweaking uv maps, which I did myself before zbrush.

Even with bpaint, i spent a lot of time isolating uv meshes and resizing to get higher resolution in faces, ears, etc. This was due to my preference for creating only one seamless mesh for everything. As opposed to one head for talking, seamless body for walking and bits and pieces for close-ups, etc.

For my workflow zbrush's GUV, AUV tiles work great without ANY need to tweak a single UV point. This particular model (the female model) was even modelled prior to ZB and contains tris and quads. Not a texture seam to be found anywhere.

Disclosure: I'm not an accomplished 3d character artist, whether technically and artisitically; it is just a passion of mine, whatever time i have left remaining from my job as Creative Director for an ad agency, i now spend pursuing 3d character work and 2d painting.

I'm just excited to be able to do character work with much less time and effort than it took me three years ago.

For e.g., this aqua dog took me three hours of doodling and another hour to refine the next day.

vincent1
01-30-2006, 09:10 AM
Starbase1 - you are joking right?, that's a lot of high quality models on your site for "a painfully slow modeller". :-)

Yes, you do need skill and control of the wacom pen to paint musculature and stuff like that. Things you can't get from a seamless texture.

Zbrush is not efficient with structural and manmade stuff like achitectural structures, spaceships, cars. Im not saying it can't be done, as there are zbrush fanatics who have done it, it's just the reverse for zbrush to model these kind of structures; what's the word? "Painfully slow".

I have built entire factories and hospital visualisations and trust me, do not expect zbrush to do these kind of stuff. Max and formZ will be much better here.

However, since I can see you are a spaceship fan, zbrush will be great to put much better panelling detail on your spaceships. Create a mask or stencil and literally brush rivets, recess lines into existance on your spaceships without ever needing to push Lightwave's bevel, multishift buttons even once. And these are real geometry, not bump maps, mind you.

The two picts below are the zshphere model and the quadratic mesh generating by it. All other stuff you see on the aqua dog in my previous posts are just brushed on. Yes, you literally brush on geometry and detail.

I do not use zbrush for its 2.5d illustrative capability, as I prefer to create models for animation purposes in Lightwave. "Make the best use of your tools to serve your purposes", that's my motto. In other words, if Lightwave takes days to model wrinkles, use zbrush. Zbrush takes much effort to make a poseable model (now anyway), so use lightwave's bones, etc;.

vincent1
01-30-2006, 09:37 AM
Just to show zbrush great AUV tile.

Just painted this in under 5 minutes.

Not one uv point to tweak. Just two standard seamless texture maps and the high lighter brush. What's that? a brush to lighten geometric ridges or darken crevices.

dmg3d
01-30-2006, 09:49 AM
With help from people here, I finally managed to key down most of the workflow procedures involved in getting zbrush and lightwave to play together properly.


Do tell... how about a step-by-step?
What about Lightwave's problem with 16-bit tiffs?

Dodgy
01-30-2006, 09:54 AM
What exactly do you mean you have to rotate-drop-paint? Do you mean using the Projection master panel? If so, that's not my experience. You don't have to use the projection master while painting. It does give you more options, like changing the alpha of the brush etc, but if you're just painting pure colour you can just click drag outside of the 3d object and the object rotates (alt drag=move, alt click drag=scale), then you can continue painting.... Or is that what you mean?

For those that don't have a clue on the workflow still I have a tutorial on my website for getting things from LW to ZB and back again.

vincent1
01-30-2006, 10:27 AM
An alternative lw to zb to lw approach:

http://www.stevewarner.com/html/zbrush.html

There ae links there to get the 16bit displacement map plugin for lightwave. You NEED to install this into lightwave before you can import the displacement map.

Important to remember:

One you apply the normal displacement plugin (object properties, deform panel>add displacement; to your model in lightwave scene, double click the normal displacement and set the "luminance centre" to 50%. Otherwise it doesn't work.

You may also see two normal displacement plugins (one is lightwave's default plugin-which doesn't work with zb displacement map) in the "add displacement pop-up list. The correct one will have the "Luminance Center" entry box.

Then experiment with the displacement value to see the effect, it can differ from millimetres to metres, depending on the scale of your original model. A lot of people are thrown off by these two oversights.

Thirdly, make sure the Render SubPatch level for your geometry is set high; at least 10, as you go higher, displacement becomes sharper at the cost of render times. But there is a drop off point. any higher, you just waste time. I would say 20 tops. More efficient will be to use the displacement map also on the bump channel and set subpatch levels to 15. Works well visually for me.

Other traps in zbrush:

You need to send your zbrushed mesh down back to level 1 before you can export the disp map.

Then you need to flip vertically the disp map before exporting the map.

Export also the level one mesh to obj file for use in lightwave. Do not use the original mesh modelled in lightwave.

Once in Modeler, be sure to set your model to subpatch mode (Press "Tab" and make the mesh smooth} before sending to lightwave and applying the normal displacement plugin.

Steve warner has pretty much detailed everything for us. Kudos to him. :D The things I mentioned were not clear or not documented by him.

Last bits, if you need to animate your model be sure to set your geometry's "Subdivision Order" to "After Motion". Edit: EVEN if you do not intend to animate, you need to set to "After Motion". Another big trap.

Set your bone's FallOff type to "Inverse Distance 2 or 4. Gives smoother deformation at joints.

starbase1
01-30-2006, 12:22 PM
Starbase1 - you are joking right?, that's a lot of high quality models on your site for "a painfully slow modeller". :-)


Well, that's very kind, but I really do find modelling painful! The spaceships and stuff are either very regular, (which I find easy), or made up as go along, so there's no exact shape to try and model to. (Complex abstract shapes and people are generally just exported from other applications).

I couldn't do a human head, or an animal from scratch to save my life...

Thats why I thought ZB might help me get out of my comfort zone, and let me grow into some new styles and approaches.

Nick

starbase1
01-30-2006, 12:23 PM
So how does this sufacing stuff work in ZB if you render in LW then?
Nick

spec24
01-30-2006, 01:25 PM
I'm rather intrigued by all this, as I am painfully slow at modelling.

It is quite a powerful program, and filled with a lot of goodies. I just bought it on Saturday after watching some demo videos and trying the demo out. This is a crude head I banged out in less than 10 minutes using the demo, to give you an idea of the modeling capabilities.

BazC
01-30-2006, 01:49 PM
What exactly do you mean you have to rotate-drop-paint? Do you mean using the Projection master panel? If so, that's not my experience. You don't have to use the projection master while painting. It does give you more options, like changing the alpha of the brush etc, but if you're just painting pure colour you can just click drag outside of the 3d object and the object rotates (alt drag=move, alt click drag=scale), then you can continue painting.... Or is that what you mean?

For those that don't have a clue on the workflow still I have a tutorial on my website for getting things from LW to ZB and back again.

Actually I hadn't realised you could do this, thanks for pointing it out! It's very limited though, no alphas, no stroke choice, no brush choice but quite useable for laying down the basic texture. The real power of ZB texturing lies in Projection Master though! - Baz

3d360
01-30-2006, 08:58 PM
great thread, thanks for all the info...

and Dodgy, hopefully you are still following
the thread, I forgot to thank you (earlier in 05)
for the detailed tutorial for LW and ZB.

Great piece of educational instruction,
appreciate the effort. -Mark

vincent1
01-30-2006, 09:11 PM
Starbase1 - some pointers:

To do character design and /or organic stuff, you DO need to know how to draw. How to do learn to draw? You need to copy, copy and copy. When that right brain and ****ed hand of yours begins to obey you after about three months to thirty years of drawing, you will be able to generate your own quality stuff.

It's like learning to play a guitar piece, you struggle and struggle, suddenly one morning you wake up and the piece becomes increasingly easier to play.

No copy, no learn draw (Chinese proverb). If you are willing to make that effort, this is one book you must buy and go through. I have used it with people who refuse to think that they can draw; after this they can. So what's the secret in a nutshell to drawing? 95% it is a problem of seeing with the right mind, the hand is only translating what the mind is seeing. Learn to see with the right side of the brain and you will learn to draw. After that, how well your hand obeys your mind is how well your drawing level can reach. And the obedient hand can only be achieved through constant practice.

To be cruel, if you are not willing to do that, then continue building your spaceships and structures.

To be kind, you already have the ability to visualise 3 dimensions in your mind, so take it to the next level.

The book:

How to draw with the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. Do not buy her other books. Just this one. I swear it will cut your learning to draw time by 3 months to 3 decades, depending on how open your mind is at the start to her theoretical and practical advice.

Best wishes on your artistic journey! Bring lots of food...

vincent1
01-30-2006, 09:48 PM
Starbase, Blyphi:

zBrush is a displacement map creator and also a texture map painter amongst many other things. I only use a small area of zbrush's abilities as those are the ones that fit my production workflow. E.g., I do my renders in Lightwave, so I won't bother learning it's material system. I spent 15 years using photoshop, so I won't be using it's 2d painting system anytime soon.

That's why pixologic came up with the zApplink. It's a plugin that grabs your 3d texturing in zbrush and sends it to Photoshop so that users who are also masters at Photoshopping can do their magic and go right back to zbrush without saving, exporting, opening, modifying, saving, exporting, opening, ad infinitum.

Blyphi, the one area where zbrush lacks in comparison with BP is BP's multi channel texture painting ability, that is, paint colour, specularity, bump, etc all at one go using differing brushes for each channel. In Zbrush you will paint this separately. Actuallly, zbrush's material system can do this already, it's just that it can't be exported out as channels yet. When they do give that us that ability, zb is DA MAN.

Coming back, all texture maps and displacement maps use the same AUV mapping, so rendering in lw is just a matter of saving your zb texture maps and applying them to the uvmap exported with your model from zb.

Of course there are many production steps and workflow to learn, so it is not all guns n' roses.

Finally, Starbase1, zbrush is like the plasticine given to me and my friend when we were 6 years old. I made only bread sticks, roundish blobs and other barely recognisable stuff while he was sculpting animals. Yet today I'm in the creative industry and he's an engineer, one of those who can no longer draw. So how bad do you want to be an artist? :)

ACLOBO
01-31-2006, 12:39 AM
was there ever a patch or fix my Maxon or anyone else that fixed the photoshop issues with Body Paint 2.0? You cannot use Photoshop CS filters with BP2.0 because of some file incompatibility. Some might say just get BP 2.5 upgrade, but this feature being broken kinda pushed me away from BP... Still, it is powerful for texuring / painting in 3d.

-Adrian

Rory_L
01-31-2006, 01:36 AM
BazC, you say you can`t use alphas without going into Projection Master, but you can make custom stencils and use them to give the same functionality as an alpha. A tutorial was included in one of the recent learning packages on the main Z-B site.

R

BazC
01-31-2006, 02:17 AM
Thanks for the info Rory!

Dodgy
01-31-2006, 03:11 AM
Yeah, I do agree Bodypaint has a much more straightforward workflow when it comes to painting spec/bump/paint maps than Zbrush. The material system in ZB could do with being made more straightforward. At the moment if you change your material, anywhere you haven't already painted on your object gets that meterial too, so you have to make a first pass completely covering your object. Plus you can only paint a material on a per poly basis, so you have to subdivide your object all to **** to get clean lines in your image. All in all it's really a toss up between BP and ZB as to which is more usefull.

Thanks for the stencil tip Rory, I'll have to have a look, not really used stencils much!

spec24
02-01-2006, 11:04 AM
What exactly do you mean you have to rotate-drop-paint? Do you mean using the Projection master panel? If so, that's not my experience. You don't have to use the projection master while painting. It does give you more options, like changing the alpha of the brush etc, but if you're just painting pure colour you can just click drag outside of the 3d object and the object rotates (alt drag=move, alt click drag=scale), then you can continue painting.... Or is that what you mean?

For those that don't have a clue on the workflow still I have a tutorial on my website for getting things from LW to ZB and back again.

but painting like this doesn't allow you to undo, unlike projection master.

Dodgy
02-02-2006, 03:38 AM
Yeah, that's one of the many of the bits which are quite frankly, rubbish :P
If it was as nice to paint colours as it is to paint deformations, it'd be a whole lot better..

CB_3D
02-02-2006, 06:12 AM
Do you use LWs native displacer?

spec24
02-02-2006, 06:12 AM
Yeah, that's one of the many of the bits which are quite frankly, rubbish :P
If it was as nice to paint colours as it is to paint deformations, it'd be a whole lot better..

well - we've lived without a real undo in LW for years. We should be used to it :D

Dodgy
02-02-2006, 06:26 AM
I use the Normal Displacement plugin.