Retopology, Baking and UV’ing mudbox sculpture tutorial

Sounds like a fun day! no? So I decided to clean up the mudbox monster sculpt, since it was made from a default sphere the Polygon distribution was very very uneven. At 2 million poly my mudbox was maxed out, yet there were still a lot of places on the sculpt that lacked definition. The solution currently is to retopologies the sculpt so that polygons are spread evenly and resculpt the details back onto the retop’d model, short cutting this process by baking a displacement map in Maya.

This is the first time I’ve followed this workflow, but thus far it has worked. the downside is that it takes a long time to do this, but by the end you should have a mid-res model with good topology for animations and even displacements.

This is also the first time I’ve used 3DCoat, I gotta say I’m thinking about forking out the $99 for the student version just for the retopo and UV feature, its pretty awesome.

Hi-res to Mid-res retopolgy Mudbox Sculpt Steps

  1. Export a level 5 – 6 hi-res obj from Mudbox ( under 1 million poly )
  2. Import the high-res OBJ into 3DCoat and retopolgy the model
  3. I used the new auto retopo feature, following youtube tuts , 2
  4. Created the UV in 3dCoat, following vimeo tut
  5. Exported the new retopo’d mid-res model to OBJ with new UV’s
  6. Clean up the mid-res model in maya is needed ( tri’s, n-gons, UV’s ), re-export if needed
  7. Imported both the Hi-res ( step 1 ) and the mid-res ( step 6 ) models into Maya
  8. The next step is to generate a displacement map from the hi-poly model, so we don’t have to resculpt the details in mudbox.
  9. In render menu > Transfer maps select the low and hi poly models
  10. Follow the baking steps on this great tutorial just choose displacement instead of normal / AO
  11. The trick here is to make sure you adjust the envelope so that it covers most of the hi-res.
  12. Once the displacement map is saved load up mudbox
  13. import the retop’d mid-res model
  14. subdivide the model a few times
  15. in mudbox goto > maps > sculpt model using displacement maps
  16. load up the displacement map from Maya
  17. If you don’t see any changed make sure you have subdivided the model and the displacement map is correct.
  18. Wala! you now should have a decent platform to continue sculpting on the retop’d and uv’d model 🙂

Fun wasn’t it? This is the problem with polygon sculpting. Until Ptex and voxel sculpting is supported everywhere this will not change. Of course you can avoid all this if you start out with a base model that is already UV’d and has nice poly spread 🙂

Mudbox setting
mudbox setting for step
Retopologised mesh - woot
Retopologised mesh - woot
UVed model - sexy

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