Join Craig Barr for an in-depth discussion in this video Mudbox lighting, part of Mudbox 2016 Essential Training.
- Mudbox is primarily known for two areas. As a very powerful sculpting package and has an excellent 3D painting tool set. However, there is a third area that is very useful especially for showcasing your work, the Real-time Rendering Workflow. Here we'll take a quick look at how we can produce some nice imagery and video directly out of the Mudbox Viewport. So we're going to take this base mesh that we started with and we're going to go from this into... If you have access to the exercise files, I have some samples here. Something like this, and these are rendered directly out of Mudbox.
And we're going to take a look at how we can set that up. The first thing that I want to do is, I want to take our geometry here and step up the levels of subdivision right to the top level. We're going to crank everything right up to the highest level with all the details that we have on there so that we can see the full resolution of everything, everything that we've sculpted in and all the details. So here we have all the sculpted details on our gremlin head. Now, the only other thing we want to do is... We have all the sculpted details showing, let's make sure we turn on all of our texture layers.
So, I'm just going to quickly... I'm right clicking over top of every piece of geometry here. And I'm just turning on those maps as we go. So here's a map that we don't want on there, that's fine. And on the head, turn that on. Just a note, I'm turning on all of these texture layers. If you have access to the exercise files, you have access to all of these layers as well so that we can display them and you can render or play with the render settings on your own. So, the first thing we want to do is take a look at lighting and how lighting works in Mudbox.
So the basic setup here... If we go to the Object list, the default light that comes in or that you start Mudbox with is called Light 01 and it's a directional light. Let's take a look at what's happening in there. The parameters are very simple. You have a color, you have an intensity, and then, of course, you have where you can show the grips of how to access to the light and actually the light itself of the direction that it's pointing in. These grips represent a rotational area where I can grab that and rotate the light around. Actually, I'll leave those on so you can see.
If I use the hotkey "L"... Just hold "L" and drag around, you're actually accessing your lighting and you're able to light your scene just by using "L" and dragging around to rotate in a 3D space, the light. I'm going to turn off those grips and that light. It's important to note that the default light is always clicked to Locked to Camera. And that's important because what that means is that it's Locked to the Camera so if I rotate this way, that light is always going to be locked to my view. So it's lighting from my view.
If I don't want that, and I want it to stay in 3D space, I can uncheck that and have those lights in 3D space so the model is turning with those lights there so that it's kind of locked more to the model than it is to the camera. So, let's take a look at what else is happening here with lights. One of the basic things, while we're in the default light is the Shadow setting. So, Cast Shadows is simply a check box and by default it'll usually come in at a very low setting, something like 256 x 256. So if you click this on, it's going to start to cast the shadows here as we work and this is where we want to set the resolution of the map.
The lower the resolution, the more chunky the shadow's going to be. You're going to get this big, blocky effects on here. But if we dial it up to something like, say for example, 2K, you'll see we get a much nicer, sharper fall off on the shadows. This is where we're going to start to address, or adjust our lights as we work. So, for example, I'm going to take the "L", and I'm going to start to drag around on my stylus and just dial in those shadows. So I'm adjusting the lighting and adjusting maybe how I want the shadows to be. Now that we've addressed that, let's take a look at how we can work with some different lighting here.
So, we have the default light and now we want to work with some other lights. At any time I can go to the Create menu set and I can go under Create Lights. You see we have three basic ones. A simple Point light, which is going to be a point of light in space and it's omnidirectional. Or a Directional light which is only one direction and that's where you're going to rotate it around and as we saw the default light is a directional light. So we have that. I've actually created another light here, I've named it a Rim light and what this is going to give us is some nice background, rim lighting around our character just to really pop out stuff for all the details and sculpting that we've built for rendering.
And this is where we can adjust this up here and we can address some of the lighting issues going on on the Viewport so we start to bring this a little more to life here. Now, the settings that I'm using... I'm using an intensity of six, because I've just set this light up, I know that it works like that, but I can also go in at any time... Any of the lights that I have selected... As long as it's selected in there... And use the "L" hot key, I am adjusting that light. So you can see... Let's bring in that rim lighting along the edge of his ears, on his cheek, we want it around that nose and we can double check that by just turning it on and off and you can see that it definitely looks a lot better with that rim lighting in there.
So we're starting to get a much better effect as we work. Now, another light that we have here under Create lights is this Image Based light. And these lights are excellent for really upping the quality of the Viewport Real-time Rendering that we're working with. I have one here that I've built and I've turned the intensity down to zero because it's turned off right now, But if we turn it up to something, for example, like one, you'll see the scene's really going to kind of start to pop. Same thing applies here. The Image Based light is actually taking the lighting based off of textures.
There is an entire texture set that comes with Mudbox that you can utilize as well. You can use some of the sample textures that come with it. So here's Light Probes, Light Spheres, for example. And you can use any of these. In here I'm using the 3point default light. I can certainly change it to any of these. There's the default 3point light that I'm using. You can import your own as well. And this is where it gets really exciting because you can actually use HDR lights, you can use some, nice high dynamic range lighting within Mudbox.
Let's keep with the default here and adjust this. So again, with making sure that that light is selected in the Viewport, I'm just holding down "L" and you'll see that the reflections and the specularity are updating as I move that around. And, this is just going to give us our overall kind of lighting effect on the character in the Viewport and just kind of pop up the overall rendering quality as we work. So we had something that was quite dark and now we have something that is not only brightening the scene but is really working with the specularity... Some of the subtle reflections along the helmet there as well.
So there's an overview of how we can work with lights in Mudbox for our rendering workflow. How we can adjust shadows, and how we can apply different lights for different lighting effects as well as HDR Image Based lighting.
Craig Barr also covers retopology, posing, and rendering and exporting, providing a complete learning experience on Mudbox workflows typical in feature film, game, and character design projects.
- Getting around Mudbox
- Creating primitives
- Importing models
- Working with layers
- Painting with stamps and stencils
- Retopologizing models
- Extracting detail maps
- Texture painting
- Rendering and exporting