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Creating Game Characters with 3ds Max and ZBrush

by Justin Marshall

In this tutorial, we will use 3ds Max to create a game-type, low-resolution character from a highly detailed model. Software required: 3ds Max 2011 and higher, ZBrush 4.

What you'll learn

In this tutorial we will use 3ds Max to create a game-type, low-resolution character from a highly detailed model. Creating appealing characters is a lot of fun when using powerful sculpting applications like Zbrush or Mudbox in conjunction with 3ds Max. We are able to create models with a very high level of detail in our sculpting applications. But getting those characters into a lower-resolution state suitable for rigging and animation can be a little more challenging. In this tutorial, we will go through the process of using 3ds Max and Zbrush to convert a high-resolution, sculpted and painted character into a low-resolution, game-type mesh that can be rigged and animated. We will start by using Decimation Master to reduce the resolution of our model drastically while retaining much of the visual detail. Once we are in 3ds Max, we will build low-resolution geometry around these detailed meshes so we can capture the important shapes of the character. We will create UV layouts for the low-resolution pieces and finally extract the color and sculpted detail from our high-resolution pieces onto the new mesh. In the end, we will have taken a model of 20 million polygons down to approximately 8,000 triangles. Once you are done, you will be able to use the workflow to transfer and convert your own high-resolution characters into a more usable state. Software required: 3ds Max 2011 and higher, ZBrush 4.

About the author

Justin thrives as a lead modeling author at Pluralsight. Growing up, Justin found a deep interest for the computer graphics industry after watching movies like Jurassic Park, Toy Story, and The Abyss. His ambition would lead him to work at Sony Imageworks in Los Angeles on movies like Monster House and Surf's Up. Justin has also had numerous articles, tutorials, and images published in 3D World and 3D Artist. As an author, Justin enjoys collaborating with fellow authors, especially on project... more

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