Join Andy Beane for an in-depth discussion in this video Retopology in Mudbox for Maya, part of Maya: Advanced Modeling.
- [Instructor] Okay, so we're here in the 05_03_Start MudBox file and I have gotten our chair to its sculpted level. The chair is around 12 million polygons. By the time we got done, so we could get the details of these kind of cushion shapes that we were wanting to get in, the folds along the leather, armrests, and on the front here. We did not add those little nail heads that were in there. We're actually going to add that detail and the piping that goes around the cushion back in Maya.
So, what we need to do now, from the organic workflow, is to actually get this shape back into Maya at a usable resolution. Now, it might not be the final model, but I typically like to try to get a retopology out of MudBox as a start for me to then manipulate and then get the final geometry that's needed for your workflow. So, let's jump in and start looking at the retopology tools now to send this back to Maya. I'm going to minimize my cushion to start with and select the high-res sculpted chair.
Now, for retopology to go back to Maya or to reduce the amount of geometry that we have here, I am actually going to bring my chair down to a different level. I typically try to pick that mid-level resolution. It tends to allow the retopology tool to not get hung up on geometry that might be going through itself and cause errors or crashes at that point. So this level three should be the one that we want to use. With the chair selected, I'm going to go up to mesh, retopologize, and choose new operation.
Here, we have our operation name, which I'm just going to leave alone, but my output mesh name I'm going to change back to chair low-res. My target-based face count, I'm going to change from 3000 actually up to 30 000. This is going to give me enough resolution for my high resolution project in Maya without overloading it completely and still making the geometry usable for me to manipulate in Maya as well. I like to leave my face uniformity onto uniform size or a level one.
I'm not going to use any curves to help control topology flow for this. I'm also not going to transfer any of the sculpted detail. I want MudBox to create about a 30 000 polygon mesh and not worry about going up or down with more resolution. I am going to change it over to symmetry based on an axis. Let me move this over and show you what's happening here. I am going to tell the retopology tool to choose, go from the right side to the left.
I'm going to click use local axis and you'll notice that that grid does kind of move a little bit. I didn't model this entire chair with really strict symmetry rules so I do want to kind of click on that to make it kind of center itself a little bit better. And the transfer of the sculpting here, sorry, I need to get my mouse off of those, it likes to pop up with help menus. I'm going to change this from one side of source to test both sides. The test of both sides of the source is really good when you have objects that are close to perfectly symmetrical but not symmetrical.
And that should do it. Now, this is going to take probably anywhere, depending on your machine and resources, one minute up to about ten minutes. So I'm going to hit retopologize and we'll come back when this is completed. Okay, so, it took about five minutes and our retopology has succeeded and we have a base mesh of 30 952 polygons. So, let me right-click on the object here and hit 'w' if you don't have wireframe on.
That will bring up the wireframe and we can just kind of examine our mesh that MudBox has kind of given us by default. Now, this mesh is not going to be perfect. You can actually see that we have an issue here close to the middle with this diamond shape. This particular hold in the cushion really wasn't pushed in far enough for my liking and the ones on the side I think will need just a little bit more help as well. But, if we just kind of circle around the entire object, you can see we're getting a lot of vertical and horizontal edge loops and this is going to work really well for our transfer with textures.
So, let's hide our chair low-res here and let's bring up our cushion and take a look at it. Now, sometimes, with digital sculpting, especially when doing something that is a cube or a sphere with it's natural shape, you might not need to run an entire retopology. Let's de-select this and take a look. And I'm going to use the page down button and just slowly start coming down in my subdivision levels of this particular object. And we could see at level two we're at 48 000 polygons, which is way more than we need for our cushion.
A level one is going to give us about 12 000 polygons and level zero is about 3000. Honestly, I think we're okay using the level zero here. We're getting edge loops that are running kind of close to each other along that edge where the piping is going to go for the final look. Now, we have lost all of our detail from that particular sculpt but that's where the normal map or bump maps that we're going to generate are going to bring all of that information back. So in this particular case, I don't recommend actually doing a retopology.
You're more than welcome to, you can run the exact same settings to get a cushion out with a different polygon count but, in our particular case here, we're going to leave this as is. So the next step we need to do is send both of these shapes back to Maya so that we could start to correct them and actually add UVs to them so that we can transfer these high resolution details. So I'm going to bring up our low-res chair, just make it visible, and I'm going to also select our cushion here, and we're going to go to file, send to Maya, and we're going to send this as a new scene.
And it'll make a connection here. And if you had a scene file open, Maya actually will go through the process here and down at the bottom of the screen you could see it's connected to MudBox and we could pull back here and take a look at our two objects and a much lower resolution than we had before. Now all of that detail is missing but we will be getting that back. So, this step is actually quite crucial in the organic modeling workflow. It is going in between our two software packages or sometimes three or four software packages that we need the geometry to be optimized for the workflow of the software that you're currently using.
So, MudBox is going to be able to handle 12 million or 30 million polygons really, really easily. But if we were to bring that mesh over into Maya, we would kind of bring this software package down to its knees and we'd really not be able to do much in terms of workflow and rendering and really being able to utilize it for what else Maya could bring to the table like animation or effects or the final rendering process with rendering layers.
- Modeling workflows
- Geometry conversion
- Working with small room objects
- Modeling the top, middle base, and floor base of a table
- Blocking chair shapes in Maya
- Retopology in Mudbox for Maya
- Cleaning up model files
- Managing files and importing