Texturing Next-Gen Characters in ZBrush

Learn a production workflow and time-saving methods for creating game-ready textured characters, texture painting techniques, and adding character enhancements for appeal. Software required: Maya 8.5 and up, ZBrush 3.1, Photoshop.
Course info
Level
Intermediate
Updated
Mar 31, 2008
Duration
4h 14m
Table of contents
Description
Course info
Level
Intermediate
Updated
Mar 31, 2008
Duration
4h 14m
Description

Contains over 4 hours of project-based training for artists learning the creative processes of texturing characters for next-generation games. Popular highlights include: Setting up base materials in ZBrush; Filling Subtools with Color; Painting Illuminated Panels; Painting with Symmetry; Isolating Portions of Subtools; Working with Polygroups; Cavity Masks to Emphasize Detail; Painting Wear into Armor; Adding Color Variation; Layering Color and Detail for Skin; Blending Textural Detail with Alphas; PolyPainting Techniques; Photoshop Integration with ZApplink; Cloning Photographic Detail; Painting Scarring and Decay; Converting PolyPaint Colors to Texture Maps; Painting with Projection Master; Using Cavity Maps as Texture Guides; Editing Textures in Photoshop; Assembling Textures in Photoshop; Painting Specular Maps in ZBrush. Software required: Maya 8.5 and up, ZBrush 3.1, Photoshop.

About the author
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.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Introduction and Project Overview
Hi, and welcome to Texturing NextGen Characters in ZBrush presented by Digital Tutors. My name is Justin, and I'll be your instructor as we go through the process of using ZBrush to create textures for a normal mapped game model. Texture maps add a great deal to any CG character, but they're especially important when working with game characters. The limits on the amount of model detail that you're able to build into a game model push artists to include as much information as possible into the texture maps. There are many techniques for creating textures, from hand painting, to using 3D paint programs. Since we'll be starting from the detailed model that we sculpted in Detailing NextGen Characters, it makes sense for us to use the powerful painting tools in ZBrush to continue the process by creating texture maps. Using this workflow will also enable us to match our texture detail with the normal maps that we've already created. We'll start by working out a color scheme for our character using a paintover. We'll then set up some materials and assign simple colors to our separate sub tools. From there we'll paint the skin textures using several strokes in combination with various alpha maps. We'll look at ways to isolate parts of our geometry so that we can more easily paint them. We'll also explore the Projection Master in ZAppLink for integrating ZBrush and Photoshop. Once we're finished, we'll export our texture maps and apply them to the normal mapped game model we created over the previous two volumes of the series. Okay, let's jump right in by taking a look at where we'll be starting from and then talk a little bit about our workflow. Alright, so the Maya model that we'll be using to apply everything to the game model is basically the same one from the end of Volume One. So if you've gone through that process, you can use the model that you created and just continue on with that process, otherwise we'll provide you with this model to be able to start from. The only difference between this one and the one at the end of that, that title, I think is this two triangles. I think that one was 97. 93 and this 97. 91. That's just because I changed something here on the leg just to show you, I think this was connected up at one point right here and I just cut that off. Eliminating a couple of triangles. That should be the only difference. The UV's should be the same if you're using your own character you want to go ahead and continue with that because your UV's obviously will be a little bit different than mine. Otherwise you can go ahead and use this. This is the guy that we built, first off to actually be used in the game. Then we took this geometry and brought it into ZBrush in the second volume and sculpted this high resolution detail that we wanted to here on the armor and on the flesh and things like that. Sculpted all this detail in here using some of the various techniques and then we exported those as normal maps which we then brought back into Maya. When we turn on our high quality rendering we can see those applied here. We've still got the low resolution here, geometry but now we're showing the normal maps. So we can see that that detail has been brought through and is displayed here on our geometry. What we want to do now is actually add some color to this, we have the kind of raised detail here but we want to actually paint textures on this. Traditionally you might go in and paint in Photoshop using UV Snapshot or some other methods of painting a 2D texture. There are methods out there, also like Body Paint and things where you can paint in 3D. What we're going to do to actually match up the high resolution detail that we've sculpted with our color map is to actually do all of this within ZBrush. We'll actually be taking this model that we have ended up with, and we'll provide you with the ZTool as well as the Maya model there. We'll actually use this high resolution model to actually paint our textures on to, to then apply to our model within Maya. The method that we're going to be using for a large portion of this training with be polypainting. The concept of polypainting, normally you would paint a 2D texture and would apply it onto some sort of a piece of geometry. But, in the case of ZBrush, the pieces of geometry get so high res that you can essentially paint on these just by coloring the individual polygons. We're talking about millions of polygons here. If I go ahead, and I've got the abdomen selected here and I'll just go ahead and Color, and fill that with white and make it kind of a green color. Just to illustrate, I've got a brush with RGB on. If I go ahead and paint on this, you can see I'm painting a line, basically. You can see it's fairly sharp in there, but I have no texture applied, all of this color is actually being applied individually to these polygons. This is what's called polypainting. When we're all done painting on our model we can then export our textures out and then do any kind of manipulation we want to to them in Photoshop and apply them in Maya. We can also go back and forth using the ZAppLink between ZBrush and Photoshop as well. What we're going to be using for the most part is polypainting and then we'll get into some of the things that we can do with our actual texture maps. So we'll go ahead and paint our texture in ZBrush you're using a lot of the different techniques. And then we'll bring those texture maps out, manipulate those a little bit perhaps, and then bring them back in to Maya on to our model here. Again, we'll just have the same resolution on here but now we'll have our normal maps and our texture maps as well. In the next lesson, we're going to actually look at one of the techniques that we can use to actually come up with color schemes for our guy. If you don't have any artwork that you're working from, maybe you already have a drawing that you want to match and it's already got all the colors set up for you. If you're trying to figure out what colors you want to use using paintovers can be a good way to do that. We'll show you how to to that in the next lesson.