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Does ZBrush make it easy to repurpose models for use in multiple ways? What kind of savings does that work out to for you?

We reuse bodies, pants, shirts etc. It helped us save a lot of time. Once a model was made, like a shirt or a pair of pants, it's very easy with ZBrush to rework it with the TransPose tools and the Move Brush to make it fit a new character.

We actually reuse a lot of things so in that sense, yes. ZBrush definitely makes things much easier. Turning a male article of clothing into a female article of clothing was simple and easy.

Our biggest savings is in time. The great thing about ZBrush is the SubTools. Now we can make each individual piece a new SubTool and they can be quickly interchanged with other characters. We can take a SubTool from one character and with a little resizing, sculpting or scaling have it as a new piece on another character. As I mentioned before with the layers, you can quickly turn off or on different types of details on the SubTools and then have a completely different looking model in a really short amount of time.

What were the challenges with having part of the production in China in addition to where you are located?

It went very well and fast. We asked them to do the animals of the zoo: rhino, hippo, elephant, gorilla, lion etc...

We were approving the ZTools, then the in-game models. Except for one of the animals they all ended up dead in our maps. The animals were modeled in a base pose. ZBrush allowed us to quickly take these models and pose them how we wanted using the TransPose tool.

How does TransPose fit into your pipeline? It's not something that people often associate with game productions.

Early on in the game cycle it's great. You can quickly get different looks for your characters by posing them in ZBrush. Since most the characters aren't skinned at that point, it allows us a lot of flexibility since we don't have to wait for setup to get the results we want. It also worked great when I used assets from different-sized skeletons.

How much do you use ZBrush for texturing? What are your steps there?

All our base objects are made in 3dsmax with unwrapped UVs. In ZBrush we use Zapplink to texture all our heads, bodies etc. using picture references for skin and hair. It was very helpful for all our heads since they were sharing the same base mesh which was the in-game mesh. We also use the cavity map tool and the displacement map as a base texture. Zapplink was also very helpful to quickly get rid of unwanted seams or to project decals on our textures.

For my heads it was pretty much all ZBrush. And for things like jeans or pants I would often use photo sources and texture the object first with Zapplink. Doing this also helped me know where exactly to place my folds, seams, etc. It made for photo-real but VERY fast assets.

Zapplink is great for texturing heads and bodies. The whole process is sped up by the integration with Photoshop. You can quickly move around a head or body and paint your way to a seamless texture using hi-res photos. Also our textures are aided with the help of things like cavity and displacement maps.

What is your preferred way to approach a sculpt once you have the model in ZBrush? Do you find that there's a certain pattern that works best?

I generally start with the Move Brush and the Clay Tube brush for the most part. Once I'm happy with the overall proportions, I add more divisions and work a lot with the Bryan Silva brushes, the Inflate and Pinch brushes. For small details, I use the Drag Rectangle with a custom alpha or/with my texture converted to a mask.

To be honest with you I'm one of those guys who uses one brush in Photoshop, so in ZBrush I almost only use the Standard brush.

It depends on what I'm working on. Generally I tend to try and move the geo into the general overall proportion that I am happy with. From this point, if I'm working on clothing I tend to start putting in things like seams and pockets. It helps me picture how the piece of clothing is going to sit if I can see how it's constructed. Then I add another layer and move onto things like folds and the texture of the material. With bodies it just tends to be an additive process. I rough out the proportions. From there I start cutting into the form to add things like musculature and details. Once I get about 85% there I tend to start adding pore-level detail. I find that it helps me get an overall sense of the character. Then from this point I tend to go back and forth, refining the musculature and the fold detail of the skin until I get something that I am happy with.


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