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Sculpting custom stamps and stencils

From: Mudbox 2013 Essential Training

Video: Sculpting custom stamps and stencils

Using photos as stencils and stamps is great. But what do you do when there are no photos of what you're trying to sculpt? Mudbox has a really great set of features that let you sculpt something once and then extract that sculpting as a 2D image. Then it can be used as a stamp or a stencil to recreate that exact sculpted shape or detail as many times as you want. Now you may be wondering what kind of sorcery allows 3D sculpting to be stored in a 2D image. Well, it's not magic at all but technology called Vector Displacement Maps.

Sculpting custom stamps and stencils

Using photos as stencils and stamps is great. But what do you do when there are no photos of what you're trying to sculpt? Mudbox has a really great set of features that let you sculpt something once and then extract that sculpting as a 2D image. Then it can be used as a stamp or a stencil to recreate that exact sculpted shape or detail as many times as you want. Now you may be wondering what kind of sorcery allows 3D sculpting to be stored in a 2D image. Well, it's not magic at all but technology called Vector Displacement Maps.

Let's see how it works. In this video, we're going to be making some cornrow braided hair on a head. Now you could manually sculpt all those braids by hand, but that would take a lot of time. I can sculpt just one section of a single braid and then create a custom stamp from that sculpting. To make a Vector Displacement Map, you are going to want to start with a single plane. So let's open up the basic plane. Now on this surface you are going to want to subdivide it fairly high and just do some sculpting on it.

So you'll probably just want to turn off symmetry here and get your brushes whatever brush you want to use and just start sculpting. Let me set some properties here. I will increase the Strength a little bit. I am just going to make some braid type shapes. This could take a little while, so I am just going to skip ahead to where I've got a nice finished braid to work from. So I am just going to go to Open, I am going to go to Ch 2, and we are going to go to Custom Stamps, and let's open up cornrow.mud. No, don't need to save.

I want to turn off the Wireframe, Shift+F, and let's just take a look at this really quick. It's got some nice sculpted detail of a section of a cornrow braid. So we have got the cornrow braid over here in the object list, and it's called plane by default. So I am just going to click on that and right click, go to Rename Object, and I am just going to call this sculptedbraid and hit OK, and let's hit Ctrl+Shift+A to deselect that so it's not so annoyingly yellow.

Now we need to make a second plane. This will be a comparison object that Mudbox will use to calculate how much difference there is between a sculpted plane and a neutral flat plane. So I will just go to Create > Mesh > Plane. Let me hide the sculptedbraid really quick. Just make sure and confirm that it is there. Okay, great. Now let's make that 2D map. We will go up to Maps > Extract Texture Maps > New Operation, and I want to run on Vector Displacement Map. There's a lot to look at here.

Let's take it one step at a time. We need to tell Mudbox which model is the target model, or the low-resolution mesh, and which one is the source model or the one that we sculpted. So I'll just select plane as the Target model and click Add Selected. In Source Models, we could also go and select the sculptedbraid and then add it, or we can just do Add All, and then I am just going to remove the plane. Generally, the default settings work pretty well. I usually don't have to change too many of these other settings.

If you make a Vector Displacement Map, and it doesn't have enough detail, you might want to increase the resolution of it. You could also turn on Antialiasing if you want to have a little bit higher quality. We are going to leave this at Relative Tangent. If we were using PTEX--it's kind of an advanced feature--we will just leave it at Texture. So basically all we need to do now is just give it a File Name. So you can go and save it in--let's see. We'll go to Documents > Mudbox > version number > data > Stamps.

The folder that you want to go to on a Mac is quite different. If you're having any trouble here, please refer back to the movie in the Introduction chapter on user-made tools and then just go ahead and give it a name, cornrow, and then if you're saving a Vector Displacement Map, you always want to end the file name with _vdm for Vector Displacement Map. The basic TIFF 32 by default is pretty good. We will go with that. Now let's scroll down and hit Extract.

It should just take a second or two. Looks like it's done, say OK, let's close, and let's take a look in our Stamps and see what we have. Looks like it's not there yet. We might need to edit manually. So go ahead and click on the option arrow and Add Stamp. So now we can pick the cornrow_vdm from our Stamps folder and click Open. So it's added it right here. Now let's see what we can do with it. Let's go to your File > New Scene, don't need to worry about saving this, and we will just open up the Basic Head.

I am going to subdivide it a few times, Ctrl+D, up to about 2 million, and let's use this Stamp with the Repeat tool. So let's see. We'll select the cornrow stamp as our stamp. And well, let's just give it a try, see if we need to change any settings after we've done an experiment with it. Shrink the size of the brush a little bit. Looks like I need to turn off some of this randomize. I don't want it to spin it or anything, I just want it to be a straight line, and I might need to increase the Buildup a little bit-- get a stronger effect, yeah.

Cool, not too bad. Looks like it's stamping a little too close together. I am going to change the Stamp Spacing-- I don't know. Let's see, 70. Yeah, that looks pretty good. So you could go and just simply draw on these cornrows. That saves us so much time over doing all that sculpting manually. The ability to create my own stamps like this has saved me so much time and effort. You can use the resulting map as a stencil as well. So Vector Displacement Maps are really versatile.

Anytime that there's a particular sculpted feature or detail that needs to be repeated many times, creating a custom stamp can really be a timesaver.

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This video is part of

Image for Mudbox 2013 Essential Training
Mudbox 2013 Essential Training

64 video lessons · 7318 viewers

Ryan Kittleson
Author

 
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  1. 7m 49s
    1. Introduction
      58s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      1m 28s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 1s
    4. Understanding where to store user-made tools
      4m 22s
  2. 49m 31s
    1. Optimizing a Wacom tablet for Mudbox
      1m 54s
    2. Getting a first look at Mudbox
      2m 47s
    3. Understanding the limitations of Mudbox
      4m 2s
    4. Loading a model
      3m 18s
    5. Moving the camera
      3m 43s
    6. Focusing and framing
      1m 33s
    7. Customizing hotkeys
      4m 42s
    8. Importing a reference image plane
      4m 9s
    9. Working with subdivision levels
      3m 40s
    10. Subdivision level tips and tricks
      3m 17s
    11. Editing materials
      5m 46s
    12. Using the selection tools
      4m 37s
    13. Hiding and unhiding parts of a model
      2m 50s
    14. Selection tips and tricks
      3m 13s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. Sculpting in Mudbox
      5m 49s
    2. Using the standard sculpting tools
      6m 21s
    3. Using the special sculpting tools
      3m 54s
    4. Customizing the sculpt tools
      4m 28s
    5. Making a custom crease tool
      4m 7s
    6. Using stamps
      4m 12s
    7. Using stencils
      5m 50s
    8. Freezing parts of a sculpt
      3m 8s
    9. Sculpting custom stamps and stencils
      6m 24s
    10. Sculpting with layers
      3m 16s
    11. Editing sculpt layers
      3m 3s
    12. Working with multiple sculpt layers
      3m 8s
    13. Sculpting symmetrical details on an asymmetrical model
      2m 45s
    14. Bringing it together: Sculpting demo
      4m 16s
  4. 22m 52s
    1. Using the Object List
      4m 1s
    2. Translating objects
      3m 12s
    3. Duplicating and flipping an object
      2m 57s
    4. Transferring detail between two models
      4m 38s
    5. Cleaning up problems with transfer details
      4m 19s
    6. Using materials with multiple objects
      3m 45s
  5. 37m 8s
    1. Using UV maps
      3m 58s
    2. Creating and importing UVs
      3m 39s
    3. Creating paint layers
      2m 35s
    4. Using basic painting tools
      4m 34s
    5. Using adjustment painting tools
      2m 31s
    6. Painting with the advanced tools
      5m 22s
    7. Editing stencils
      4m 54s
    8. Working with paint layers
      4m 15s
    9. Texturing with Ptex
      5m 20s
  6. 38m 40s
    1. Understanding texture channels
      4m 53s
    2. Painting bump maps
      6m 21s
    3. Making the most of texture channels
      5m 59s
    4. Transfering paint layers between models
      3m 55s
    5. Making normal maps
      4m 44s
    6. Creating ambient occlusion maps
      4m 53s
    7. Generating displacement maps
      3m 48s
    8. Preparing texture files for use in other applications
      4m 7s
  7. 16m 6s
    1. Introduction to joints and posing
      5m 12s
    2. Creating joint skeletons
      3m 23s
    3. Painting weights
      4m 50s
    4. Posing a character
      2m 41s
  8. 19m 59s
    1. Lighting the scene
      5m 17s
    2. Using point and image-based lights
      3m 23s
    3. Setting up viewport effects
      6m 5s
    4. Rendering still images and movies
      5m 14s
  9. 1m 45s
    1. Next steps
      1m 45s

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