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Zbrush Workflow

Okay dokie, I've got part of the basics down for Zbrush, getting ready to try to do a normal map for a character I'm doing for my portfolio. I've built a few models in zbrush now, but haven't actually used Zmapper or any other method to export a normal map to place on a character. I was just curious as to the way the workflow goes for this.

Anybody got any tips or suggestions for Zbrush workflow? Do you guys like to start with one area and work it through, or attack the whole character as a whole? Is it better to start from the middle of the character and work your way out? Top to bottom? Inside out, lol

I'm also just wanting to clear up the actual process of outputting the normal map. I unwrap the low-poly mesh FIRST and then bring it into Zbrush so that it knows where to render the zdata to right? Thanks guys


  • oXYnary
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    oXYnary polycounter lvl 16
    As another zbrush newb, I would be interested in the answers as well. I can share one discovery of my own.. Finish COMPLETELY your current sub-d level before going to the next. Going back and forth too much can start to ruin your details at higher levels.

    (Yeaa, you have the target mesh already unwrapped).
  • frostymoose
    This is how you use zmapper to create a normal map assuming that the mesh you brought into zbrush in the3 first place is not the low poly mesh you wish to generate a normal map for.

    Load high detail ztool
    Open Zmapper
    Go to the "projection" tab
    "Capture current mesh"
    Load low poly ztool/import lowpoly mesh (unwrapped before you loaded it into zbrush)
    "Create projected normal map"

    Make sure that you're generating a tangent space map and since zmapper is very quick, you should definately play around with all the settings to make sure you get a result you're happy with.
  • Penzer
    Thanks. So I've got that part, and I can see my low rez model with the normal map running on it. How do I now export the model with the normal map?
  • frostymoose
    You've probably got it by now, but the normal map should be selected as the texture and just click on that and export it/ save it.
  • ChaosEidolon
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    ChaosEidolon polycounter lvl 14
    So, im pretty sure i have this right, but there is no need to do any kind of UV setup for the high poly, or even have the geometry match the low poly what-so-ever.
    If i really wanted to i could normal map an emu onto my low poly char head, right?

    I just want to clarify so i dont go ape on my high mesh without doing some kind of setup and then find out im screwed when its time to project it.
  • frostymoose
    The highpoly mesh doesn't have to be unwrapped. It does have to fill the same space that the lowpoly mesh does and be the same size, as there is no way to align or resize the 2 meshes in zbrush.
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