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Understanding the limitations of Mudbox

From: Mudbox 2013 Essential Training

Video: Understanding the limitations of Mudbox

While Mudbox is primarily used to add details and texture to models that are already created, it can also be used to design new assets. There are a few limitations to take into account however. To demonstrate how Mudbox can be used as a Design tool for Characters and Props, I'm going to start sculpting on one of the built-in models. Don't worry if you can't follow along with what I'm doing right now, I'll go over all these tools and options later. For now I just want to demonstrate how Mudbox works at a fundamental level.

Understanding the limitations of Mudbox

While Mudbox is primarily used to add details and texture to models that are already created, it can also be used to design new assets. There are a few limitations to take into account however. To demonstrate how Mudbox can be used as a Design tool for Characters and Props, I'm going to start sculpting on one of the built-in models. Don't worry if you can't follow along with what I'm doing right now, I'll go over all these tools and options later. For now I just want to demonstrate how Mudbox works at a fundamental level.

Let's say that we want to design a character that is basically humanoid. Mudbox comes with a generic human model that can get us started in the right direction. So I'm just going to make a few adjustments to the model right now. You can use Mudbox to stretch things out and to make changes to the overall proportions of the character. Experiment with various body proportions and different designs. So for making very general and limited adjustments to a model, Mudbox works great. But what if we want to do something more drastic? That can be done as well, but with some limitations.

Let me show you what I mean. I want to give the character some big bunny ears, so let's see what happens. Now I am just going to turn on the wireframe, you can see that the polygons get really stretched out, there's only a few polygons defining the whole ear. In order to make this look like an ear we'll have to subdivide the model, which creates more polygons. When I do that you see that every polygon has been split into smaller polygons, this gives us more detail to work with.

We could use this detail to sculpt on more realistic anatomy or to give the bunny ears more shape. So now I could sculpt a bend shape into the ears, for example. The problem that we run into now is that all those polygons in the ear are stretched. This can make it difficult to sculpt finer details on the surface, so let's see what happens if we zoom in and try to sculpt something more detailed. You can see that it's not actually turning out very good, this is called tearing. When sculpting results in this jagged edge, for this reason I only recommend making drastic modifications to a model in Mudbox for sketching purposes, not for use in final production.

Now that we've made some high-resolution details and shapes let's see what that did to the model at its original density. You can see that all those finer details go away. Depending on how you plan to use this model, making drastic changes may or may not be acceptable, for example, if you wanted to use this model in a video game you would want to export a low-density version of the model. But since the ears aren't really defined at this level at all, the model would look bad and animate poorly. In order to use this model for games you would want to use a separate modeling program to model the ears onto the character, and then bring that back into Mudbox for the finer details.

However, let's say that you only want to make a 3D print of the model. In that case, you can send the high-resolution model to the Printer, and not worry about all this tearing. Another way that you could use the model is the Export for use in a 3D rendered scene in a program like Maya or 3ds Max. In that case, you could export the low resolution density along with the Displacement Map that would recreate the high density details on a low-density model when you render. However, the ears would still not work very well for animation purposes because there is not enough polygons to make smooth deformations, also Displacement Mapping can get complicated and cause more problems than its worth.

If you want to animate the ears you'll have to model them in a separate program, and then import that back into Mudbox for detailing. Feel free to distort the shapes and structures of the models in Mudbox, but just be aware that as you push it further from its original shape, the model will more likely need to be retopologized, or remodeled in some other program.

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This video is part of

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Mudbox 2013 Essential Training

64 video lessons · 7337 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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