3ds Max to ZBrush and back again! Can we talk workflow?

polycounter lvl 5
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hmm_rock polycounter lvl 5
Hey guys! I've found the biggest problems I run into are usually rooted in bad workflow. I'm really trying to improve this by following tutorials, but I always seem to get hung up or miss something.

Recently, I've been following some ZBrush tutorials from 3D motive, and while they are very helpful, there always seems to be gaps in the information. For example, Galen Davis' tutorials focus on creating a model in 3ds max and preparing it for zbrush. He removes a lot of small, modular bits of the model that will be repeated or mirrored, he then goes ahead and exports, sculpts, and poly paints in zbrush. Great tutorial, but when the time comes to bake, he only uses small individual pieces/subtools. There's no explanation of how you should go about putting the model back together or bake it to include everything.

So now I'm stuck with a zbrush model that I have no idea how to handle. It's unwieldy in the poly count and due to a lack of foresight and the thought that deleting lower subdivisions would ease the stress on the program, I can't go to a lower subdivision. Deformation master can't even save me. The zbrush sculpt consists of a few subtools that I planned to clone to bake on the low poly, so it's too confusing to bake in xNormal as is.

That's a lot of information and I apologize, but my point is, this could have all been avoided with proper workflow foresight. So how do you do it? Here's what my workflow has been like.

  1. Make and save a low poly version of the model in 3ds max (unwrapping at some point)
  2. Make a high poly model and prepare it for ZBrush
  3. Import, sculpt, polypaint
  4. Lower the subdivision level, uv map, and texture from polypaint

At this point I'm lost. Do you take the model back into 3ds max and arrange it for baking? I know that you can just export a high poly from ZBrush, polypaint, and all and bake it in xNormal, but what about those modular pieces? I've tried a workflow before where you bake individual pieces and later over lay them in photoshop, but that seems excessive.

Please enlighten me masters of polycount! :) What is your high to low workflow? and if anyone has ideas of how to salvage my sculpt, I'd love to hear them.


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