Sculpting in Mudbox

1. Models in Mudbox: created, imported, sent over from Maya, multiples. Hierarchies.

IMPORTANT FOR MUDBOX 2018: if your Maya units are set to centimeters, scale the model in Maya to ~50-100 units in one dimension (adjust other dimensions proportionately). Then send the model to Mudbox. In Mudbox go Edit/Freeze Transformations. You should now be able to quickly undo your sculpting.

2. Subdivision levels. Scuplt layers

3. Sculpting brushes. CTRL and Shift modes. View Pluralsight Sculpting Workflows video

Sea Star Workflow Highlights:

  • model from a prism primitive in Maya
  • ensure that all faces are quads
  • may want to scale the model ~10 times if working with cm to accomodate Mudbox brush diameter size (you can scale in Mudbox too)
  • Modify/Freeze Transformations on your model so that you could work with default brush size thresholds in Mudbox
  • lay out UVs
  • grab and pinch using lower subdivision levels
  • freeze area of no impact or mask using a sculpt layer
  • sculpt, spray on a sculpt layer
  • sculpt with a stencil or stamp
  • camera bookmark (in the bookmark tray, lower right corner)
  • paint color texture

5. Creating Normal and Dislacement Maps (Watch on Pluralsight: Introduction to Mudbox 2015: Extracting Maps In Mudbox)

6. Curve and Pose Tools

7. Retopologizing for better surface flow.

Troubleshooting Mudbox 2016: when brush doesn't affect the model:

1. Close Mudbox
2. Go to C:\Users\vberezin*\Documents\Mudbox and delete the 2016-x64 folder.
3. Restart Mudbox

* In Users folder pick the one with your user name or user name.accad, ie vberezin.accad


Tips and Techniques from Digital Tutors:

Environment Techniques

Detailing and Aging Props

Sculpting Human Ears (sculpting nose and mouth videos are also available)


To reuse a custom sculpted detail as a brush work with Vector Displacement Maps:

1. Sculpt a desired pattern.

2. Use UVs&Maps/Extract Texture map operation to create Vector Displacement Map.
Watch on Pluralsight: Sculpting with Vector Displacement Map (VDM)


For repeating sculpted detail (ie brick or stone pattern for a wall) sculpt using Tiling Planes.

1. In new file create a Tiling Plane. (Watch:Tiling Planes section from Environment Techniques)

2. Use the saved tile with a stencil on a desired model. (Use tiles in the Sculpt tools settings)



Normal and Vector Displacement Maps (VDM)

Normal and VD maps offer a great advantage over Bump and regular Displacement maps because they store values of vectors pointed in different directions. They do so by using values of several colors. Traditional Bump and Displacement maps represent values of only one type of vector: pointing up.

General workflow:

1. In Mudbox UVs&Maps/Extract Texture Maps, check as many maps as you like, but click on each one to adjust settings. They will automatically become visible in the Mudbox view, uncheck their visibility in the Object list to control the display of your model in Mudbox.
2. Send the model to Maya. It should come in with all maps connected. For displacement render with Mental Ray for best results.
3. Use 32 bit RGB files for textures to include depth (this is in many cases a default in Mudbox).

Normal maps:

1. Use for fine sculptural details on any surface or large sculptural details on a relatively flat surfaces. Check how faceted the contours of your target model level is to decide on the resolution of the model to be sent to Maya. Normal maps can't fix the faceted contours.
2. In Extract Texture Map, use Ray Casting and experiment with Sample Method, click on Best Guess for Search Distance. 
2. Renderable with most software and hardware renderers.

If you need to set up a normal map texture manually in Maya, connect the file into your shader via Bump Mapping Section, but choose (Use As) Tangent or Object Space Normals.

Vector Displacement Maps:

1. Can be used on mesh of different resolutions/levels. The most accurate results would be with higher resolution meshes.
2. Maya Software and Hardware Renderers do not work with VDM. Use Mental Ray or other type of renderer.
3. In Extract Texture Map settings use: Object or World Vector Space.
4. To set up VDM in Maya: select Material, in Attribute Editor go to the left most tab (SG) and create file displacement texture. Connect the target file as Vector Displacement Texture. Make sure the dispacement type is set as Object Space.
5. To gain further control over displacement rendering with Mental Ray, use Approximation Displacement settings. They can be created via Windows/Rendering Editors/mental ray/Approximation Editor. Upon creation approximation use Spatial Approximation Method and Grid approximation style. Experiment with Max Subdividions (increase) and Length (decrease).

Sculpting with VDMs

You can sculpt a surface detail on a Plane Mesh (rename it to Source). Then create another blank Plane Mesh and use it as Target Mesh when extracting VDM. Then import newly made file as stencil or stamp and use accordingly.

In Extract Texture Map settings use: Relative or Absolute Tangent.

More detail available in this Digital Tutors tutorial.

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