Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 191

My book started with creating an egg which doesn't sound that exciting or difficult. However this lesson was designed to show all the features that Mudbox has so I get an overview of the program. Looking at the reference photo on the top right, you can see that the egg isn't perfectly smooth so there is some work to be done to mimic that.

I start out with a simple sphere and then I uploaded some reference images. I probably didn't need to place references to create an egg shape but they wanted me to see how to import images for future projects. I also changed the material of the model from the default brown to white to allow me to see things a little bit more clearly. 

So to get fine detail in the model, I need more polygons. Much much more. In Mudbox, you can easily increase the amount of polygons. Each increase creates sort of a new level of detail to work on and I can switch between the levels depending if I was to do fine detail or general shaping. The sphere started out with about a thousand polygons. Here, I cranked that all the way up to over a million.

Now with that set, I can finally get to work. I said Mudbox is a sculpting tool so how it works is that the black circle represents my brush and I can push or pull the surface of the model. However it's not limited to just a circle. There are a variety of brushes (called stamps in Mudbox) so the one I'm using here is a cluster of dots. So I pushed and pulled the dots all over the egg to create random bumps and depressions. It's not looking too much like an egg though. Another feature of Mudbox is that you can work in layers. So one layer can just be the basic shape of your model and another can be the fine details. This way you can work on certain parts of the model without interfering other parts. If you change your mind, you can also throw away a layer and still keep all the stuff you've already done. You can also control how strong a layer affects the model so I toned down all the dots I made to produce a much more subtle and accurate eggshell surface below. 

At this point, I was going to paint the egg. Along with sculpting, Mudbox is a painting tool and it allows me to paint directly onto the model. I can also sculpt and paint in Maya but the tool set is not as powerful. Being able to paint directly on the model is much easier than having to paint in Photoshop on a flat image and hoping it looks right when I put it on the model. Mudbox allows you to both sculpt and paint in layers so painting in Mudbox is very similar to painting in Photoshop. However, this was when I encountered the big issue I mentioned earlier. Painting in Mudbox 2010 on my computer just doesn't work. Considering how important painting is in Mudbox, I was pretty disappointed. I tried installing Mudbox 2009 but painting didn't work in that either so I've hit a roadblock. My brother has a laptop with a better graphics card that's broken but apparently fixable. I'm going to try to see if I can get that working and hopefully Mudbox with work on that.

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