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Zbrush to Max head retopology

polycounter lvl 5
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ChrisFraser polycounter lvl 5
Hey everyone,

So, I'm just getting into learning sculpting in Zbrush. I've got this head as far as I want to take it and now I want to retopo it in Max.

I've never retopo'd anything before or really made anything directly in Zbrush (like this head) and then moved it to Max. I have made base meshes in Max and taken them to Zbrush and back, so thought it would be relatively the same.

The thing that caught me off guard was I was watching a tutorial on retopology in Max and the guy said that he should have resized the mesh in Zbrush before moving it to Max but for this tutorial he would just use the scale tool in Max to make it bigger but that you should never do that... Of course he didn't say why you should never do it and of course I had already moved and scaled the .obj head that I imported into Max by the time I heard this. 

This got me thinking that this is probably some basic knowledge that I don't know and who knows what else I'm missing from this process. I searched a bit but can't find anything relevant to this question or what the correct process is for doing this that isn't going to bite me in the butt later...

So, I'm wondering if someone can point me in the right direction on what the proper steps are to take a head that you made directly in Zbrush into Max and maybe a good retopology tutorial if you know one that might help.

Thanks so much for any help!


  • musashidan
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    musashidan high dynamic range
    'You should never do that' is just high drama. He probably heard that off someone else who heard it off someone else, never questioned it, passed it on to you.........and the myth was born.....

    You can scale your objects at any stage in the process. Just reset the xform/collapse the transforms and you're good to go. It's generally good practice to ultimately work in real-world units. If you're rendering the head offline using an SSS shader then working in real-world will garner expected results(even though there's a scale setting in the shader)

    Also, floating point displacement maps are scale dependent(the scale is baked into the map), but just as you an use the SSS shader scale setting to compensate, you can also do this in the shader for displacement scale.

    Zbrush uses its own propitiatory scale that you should always work in for optimal and expected results(ZB primitives and applying Unify are the perfect ZB scale) There is a 100x disparity between ZB and Max scale. You can set up your .obj import/export scale to allow for this: scaling up/down 100x. Personally I use the Styx plugin which is a bridge that uses .obj which I have set accordingly so I never have to worry about scale issues between Max>ZB. So your Export scale from Max would be 0.01 and your Import scale would be 100.

    So bottom line is that you should aim for using suitable scale to make your pipeline efficient and ensure you're working at optimal scale for each program in the pipeline. Know your final output and purpose of the asset/project. Once you understand the issues involved then you can work to them or around them. This is generally learned by dedicating yourself to doing tests and experiments with simple assets(I still do this all the time) rather than just taking someone's word for it and not trying to break things yourself in order to understand them.

  • ChrisFraser
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    ChrisFraser polycounter lvl 5
    Thanks musashidan, that is definitely some helpful stuff!

    I ended up finding some good explanations online too after I posted this. I just needed to word my search better. I was just worried I had missed some super basic thing that would screw me over later. I should have just gone for it I suppose.

    Thanks again
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