WIP: Reconstructing/Re-Designing Aidan – Part 2

So in the last post, I had completed the base mesh for the new design, and had UV Mapped the mesh for future texture work.  Now I’ll be taking that mesh into Mudbox to do detail sculpting.

The short version of what Mudbox does, is it allows a modeler to increase the polygon/vertices count of a mesh into the millions without the heavy draw on memory that usually happens in rendering software.  Upping the count into the millions will essentially make the mesh react as if it were made from clay or putty and we will be able to actually cut into it and sculpt out details.  From there those details will get baked down into an image, or texture map, that other renderers such as Maya or later a game engine like Unreal Engine 4 can simulate the appearance of these high-resolution details on a much lower detailed mesh.

The even shorter version; this next section will give us the most detail in our character, while conserving the most memory going forward.

One of the big things we will need for this are anatomical references, to aid in sculpting things like wrinkles or muscles.  One of my personal favorites is this reference created by CGCookie.

I have a few more references by them, such as detailed hands, backs of legs, etc but I’d like to refrain from simply reposting all their work here.

Now we started with a mesh that was in the ~6700 polygon range, and after a few subdivisions and sculpts in Mudbox, we’re already up to around ~750000 polygons and have a little detail going already.  Now you may note that Aidan is already seeming a little excessively muscular from what we described we wanted before, but there is actually a reason for that.

Firstly, note that the lighting in Mudbox is fairly harsh by default, and will cause these details to stick out a bit more than expected.  But more importantly, it’s always good to do a little more than we need, as later we will have precise control over just how heavily the detail shows up in the mesh.  So we can always lighten the detail later.  One thing I’ve learned from sculpting in Mudbox, is it’s always good to bulk up an area, or inflate it a bit before cutting in details and then just soften the results a bit.

It’s also very important to take into account how your character is standing when sculpting muscles.  In this case, Aidan is in a traditional T-post, so we’ll want to shape his torso muscles in a more upward direction, towards his arms.


Now, once we’ve finished sculpting the organic details, we’re going to sculpt some seams for his undergarments.  We don’t want to accidentally edit some other part of the body while working however, so we’re going to freeze the rest of the mesh.

Now aside from making the character look like a slightly less unsettling Dr. Manhattan, these blue sections are frozen, meaning we can’t accidentaly edit them are able to work freely.

And after a bit of sculpting and detail work, we have some undergarments.

From this finished mesh we will generate out a series of maps.

Now we’ll take the low detail base mesh we originally created, as well as these maps we’ve just generated and import them into Marmoset Toolbag to get an idea for the finished product prior to color/diffuse texturing.

The render above is being done on the lower ~6700 polyon mesh, using the maps made from the ultimately ~3 million + polygon mesh.  And you can see that with the change in lighting as well as some adjustments made in Marmoset, that the detail isn’t nearly as harsh.

In the next post I’ll be working on coloration and Diffuse texturing.

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