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Switching to Zbrush

Image

I’ve been doing some 3D printing at work using a Makerbot Replicator 2 and I’m really excited by the technology. The ability for an artist or designer to create something digitally and then turn it into an actual object is a paradigm shift in manufacturing. It is something that is on my mind every day…

Zbrush is the perfect tool for this, so I’ve decided that it is something that I need to master. I exported my Animation:Master model of TAR as an .obj as well as his shield and club and, using Dynamesh, merged them into one Ztool. Then I sculpted some more detail into the body (I’m not finished yet, this is only a couple of hours work…).

There are some really cool features in this program that make me think that it might be easier to create characters from scratch in Zbrush and then export to an animation program. A lot of studios use Zbrush, so might be a better workflow for doing freelance too.

[Edit] Here is what it looks like in makerware

Tar_ThingHere is the link to the “thing” file on Thingiverse–download it and print it!
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:158321

Zbrush to A:M

I had an idea this evening to see whether I could combine Zbrush and Animation:Master by using the extract command in Zbrush to create equipment (in this case a helmet) and bring that geometry back into A:M as a PROP.

So I exported the Hyena as an .obj and imported it into Zbrush, painted a mask for the helmet and extracted the geometry. I then sculpted some detail–though  not too much, because I wasn’t sure it would work…

helmet

Before exporting the helmet, I ran the Decimation command on it to reduce the polygon count, then exported an .obj file. In A:M I imported the helmet and assigned a rusty steel DarkTree material to it. I dragged and dropped it into an Action and it perfectly aligned with the Hyena model! All I had to do was add a translate to and orient like constraint to the head controller and I was done:

hyena-helmet

I’m not sure if I will use this technique on some of the gear, or if I would just model from scratch in A:M. I just wanted to try it and see what happened. A:M has a reputation for not playing well with polygon-based programs, but I think you just have to understand the limits and work around them. For landscapes or hard-surface objects that don’t need to deform, use the PROP feature and you shouldn’t have any problem.

I recently experimented with modeling a simple landscape object in Sculptris, and it also worked great in A:M

sculptris_screencap

tar+hyena2.0