November 1, 2009

Modeling Process

So after several creature models, I think I've finally came up with a sound pipeline for getting them done quickly. I'm posting this here because I think a lot of student character modelers who may (or may not) be reading this, have no idea about the alternatives to polygon modeling, and albeit, I think it's a much quicker one.

(Low Poly with Normal, Diffuse, and Specular)

Here's my process:

1. 3ds Max - Block the model in using simple box extrusions
- It can look like crap here. Just make sure that it's entirely quads
- Note: A better way to do this is using Zbrush's Zspheres. But since I'm working in Mudbox, I believe this to be the best way

2. Mudbox - Import and subdivide the model for high-detail sculpting
- Sculpt to 90% completion
- Avoid texture detailing so you can start working on the lowpoly (for the animator)

*3. Topogun - Create a low poly mesh on top of the high-detail sculpt
- Consider your poly-count
- Use this opportunity to focus on clean edgeloops
- Topogun does all the modeling work for you :) Just focus on the topology
- Before exporting to Max, make sure the silhouette reads

(Above: Creature being retopologized in Topogun)

4. 3ds Max - Unwrap and Rig
- Create a quick simple rig to test your edgeloops
- Hand this file to the rigger or animator

5. 3ds Max - Bake Normals and Ambient Occlusion maps

6. Photoshop - Use maps to aid your texturing
This stage can go sort of two ways. You can either go back to your mudbox file and sculpt


Pros: Intuitive. Removes the constraint of working within a polycount, and allows the artist to focus on sculpting rather than topology.

Cons: Animator does not have a test rig/model to work with until the Hi-Poly sculpt is 90% complete.

Links to the tools I use:
*Topogun -
Xoliul Viewport Shader -

1 comment :

Mellacita said...

Dude! Cool shit. Kirk just blasted me with a bunch of TopOGun videos and I'm sure gunna check it out. Thanks for showing your process. It's REALLY nice to see how people do things. THANK you!