MUDBOX CHARACTER TEXTURING: photorealistic skin projection painting tutorial


I’m James Taylor, back with our bodybuilder
character model last time, we constructed the bodybuilder
on top of photo reference now we can use that same photo reference to create textures in Mudbox. I’m starting
with my mesh imported into Mudbox, and I’ve subdivided
it one Subdivision level Mudbox works better when the mesh is
subdivided and then we go to this stencil tab on
the bottom here, and click that little button to ‘add stencil’.
I’ll just load up the same reference I used to model on top of in Maya, and we’ll see it’s added to this stencil menu.
And when I click on it, I see that it pops up in the viewport. I
want to line my stencil up with my character mesh as closely as possible. this can be easier in the front view,
because there’s no perspective so I’ll right click in the viewport,
switch view, and then go to front view and bring the stencil up again, and I
match my stencil in my viewport camera, so that the character and
this stencil line up and now I’m going to use my projection
brush to apply the stencil as a texture so I select the projection brush from my
paint tools rollout, and then click on the mesh and I’ll get a create new layer option box.
For right now I’m just gonna choose 4096 and 16-bit TIFF so I’ll use the projection brush to paint
on the surface of my mesh and we’ll see that it does what it says
it does: it projects the stencil on to my character. Now I’m getting photo realistic detail on the surface of my character, with very
little effort in fact, most of our effort will be spent trying to get the stencil and the model
to line up you can see I’m moving and rotating the
stencil to fill in the blank areas where the initial projection missed some detail, so that I can go back
and fill it in while the front is projected well, we get errors all over the other places so we’re not going to be able to get
away with one projection. We have to do more. So I’ll create a new
layer and this will be for my side projection and every new projection gets it own
texture layer we’ll see why in a minute. I switch to my
orthographic side view same way I did with my front view camera and again I’ll position my reference and my character to match each other as
closely as I can when I switch back to perspective, and I
tumble around I see that I have those same projection
issues that I had on the front view we see that the side view actually covers up some of the front view, and we need to use our
eraser to reveal the parts of the front view we
want to keep this is why we project every projection on its own layer! one quick note about the eraser – it’s
extremely strong so we’re usually gonna stick with very
low values for the eraser I’ll just get rid of everything that I
don’t need, and I repeat the process for my front view layer okay let’s do another projection. I
switch back to the front orthographic view, and I will project the
head from the front as it own projection.
Matching all the fine details on the head and face is extremely important for
capturing the likeness of the character but when we’re projecting, we note that
the ears don’t match up and we need to edit our stencil so that
they do I go to the edit menu and choose edit
stencil edit stencil is a powerful tool that allows
us to change our stenciled images by either painting or sculpting them, so
that we don’t have to go back into Photoshop to make changes. In this case I’ll switch to my sculpt tools, and use the grab brush to push and pull my stencil into shape so that the ears match up better. When
I’m done making changes, I hit done and I switch back to the projection
brush, and now I’ll see the projection of the ears works a lot better on to the side view of the head – I do
another projection here and again, we are creating new texture layer. Every new projection gets a new texture layer! I have the same problem here, where I can project most of the head, but the ears still don’t match up so I use my grab brush on my mesh to adjust the position at the ear,
to match my reference once I’m happy with the projection, then
I turn my eraser on again and I work on blending between the front and the side view. Now adding all these layers WILL have performance ramifications it’s gonna slow down Mudbox, so we need to optimize with only my head layers visible, I right click and choose merge visible and I’m collapsing those to paint layers into a single paint layer I’ll turn the body layers back on, and I merge those down too, and by merging
visible, I’m reducing the number of textures that are applied to our surface so our video card and Mudbox are going
to run a little bit better now onto the back. I’ll turn my back projection on, I’ll tumble my character around and just try and match it up the way that I
did with the previous projections again, it gets its own texture layer – every projection gets its own layer and then it’s a matter of wrestling with it to get it to match my mesh as closely as possible I can use my edit stencil again to pull that leg into place. I use my grab brush again, and just move the leg over so that it matches once and I’m done projecting, I tumble around to
the front and I see the back projection ended up on the
front. I’ll use my erase brush to take care that but if I use too big of an erase brush, the exact same problem happens the back part is erased, even though I’m erasing on the front so when erasing this kind of projection, I use a smaller brush, it takes a little bit longer, but it’s the only way to do it. When I’m done there, I create a new layer and start to project the back three-quarters and this is the basic process that we follow for every part of the character will take as much texture reference as we can get our hands on, and we project it from as many different angles as we possibly can the overall workflow is to create a new layer for each projection, then blend it into the rest of the layers in this way, we end up with a character that is covered from all angles, and we’ll get nice high resolution texture detail at this point, we have pretty good coverage, but I want to fill in some of the gaps, so I turn off all my textures and make a new
layer, and it’s gonna be a base color layer. I can fill it with a background flash color so with the paintbrush selected, I can scroll down to the bottom in the brush palette on the far right of our screen, and just hit Flood Paint Layer, and that’ll fill my paint layer with whatever base color I’ve chosen my goal here is to give something that blends down to a pretty basic flesh tone, and now that I have this brown base coat, I can edit my layers individually, so I go through and cleanup all the rough edges: deleting the white background is a lot easier now, because it’s a lot more visible against that new base color and once I’m done cleaning up all the
edges on my texture I have a mesh that’s completely covered in texture detail and now I need to worry about blending my textures together. We can see various areas aren’t matching up, like the side in the front of the arm, so I select the side arm layer, right click, and choose Adjust Color by dialing down value, that’ll darken the layer, and we see that it matches a little bit more closely but when I darken, it it tends to grey things, so I add saturation to it, to intensify the color just a little bit but I also have adjustment brushes that let you make more localized changes. Here I’m using the Dodge
brush, and affecting Midtones and the Dodge brush just brightens shadowed areas, and works the same way as it does
in Photoshop now this is a good start to the blending process. Another technique I like to use is to create a new overlay layer. It can be a relatively low resolution, because it’s just
gonna be a color layer and we use a paint brush to sample one of the average colors on the body I’ll paint this color into areas where the blending could be better we’ll see that there’s a lot of different hues across the body we’ll unify that by using this as an overlay layer, so I’ll paint that in, and then adjust the layer blending. I’ll try
hue mode, however when we do that we’ll see that it
doesn’t really make much difference. So I try overlay, but overlay is too much of a change so I switch to Soft Light, and soft light gives me a good mix, matching the color without changing the
value too much as another example you’ll see that
started to paint in with really strong, bold colors and this ends up looking incorrect so we use another feature – layer masking I’ll right click on my layer to add a layer mask to it and now I can use a black and white paint brush to mask off areas so I can get much more subtle effects what we’re not gonna do is take a single
color and brush it over the entire model because skin tone changes in color across the entire body – keep this in mind
when you’re blending your textures together ok at this point you’ll see I’ve got an awful lot of layers in my scene, and its gonna cause performance problems it’s time to start consolidating by using merge visible I’ll turn layers on one by one or two or three at a time and my goal is to reduce the number of
texture layers while preserving all possible detail. Okay, let’s switch tracks to a different technique I have a lot of seams like this that I want to
fix. I’ll use Flatten to UV Space under the UVs & Maps menu and that’ll basically reduce my mesh to a 2D shape, it’s UVs which means I can paint on it as if it’s a flat surface and to paint out these seams, I’m going to use a new brush the clone brush and the clone brush works basically the same way that it does in Photoshop. I’m gonna hit control to sample an area and then when I paint, it’ll copy the paint from that area and paint in whatever area I’m painting on top of. I can also use stencil projections in this mode so that I can take detail from various areas on my stencils and project that and to help cover up whatever seams I have so here I am using the front view to add some nice pixel detail from the high-resolution reference in that area I wanna make sure that I maintain detail like skin texture and moles it’s tiny little details that create really nice looking high resolution texture once I’m done editing in this 2d mode, all I have to do is go back to the UVs and Maps menu and choose Unflatten from UV space and then my character will switch back to normal. Now I’ll clean up the seams in the 3d mode so again I hide my arms and I’m looking at the side seam and now I wanna fix that so I’ll use my clone brush again to sample detail from the surrounding areas to overwrite that seams so we get a nice smooth blend I can also use my stencils to paint this detail and again on human pretty close on the stencil to make sure they’re getting high resolution pixel detail now I’ll look at fixing the shoulder and neck seam and we’ve got the seam at the shoulder, and the neck is on it own entirely different set of UVs the only way we can blend this together is by using texture projection you’ll see that I’ve got my front view reference and I’m zoomed in really close to capture that pixel detail the texture on the neck is really distinctive, so I use my clone brushed to propagate that throughout the area, and then rely on my stencil to cover up the major textures seams that we can see also run into the exact same problem in the back when I had it seems between the neck and shoulders and the arms and then I was like to deal once over to
just double check that their aren’t any scenes showing basically
every time we run across the UV seem this is how we’re going to use
projection painting to fix it now let’s look at using the same
techniques to project another difficult area which is the
inside the owner to use my select faces tool to select my
body and hide it the just the arms are visible in
all-star with the projections and a half so I
have some three-quarters images at the arms and I can use this to selectively re
projects and high-resolution detail in this case for the forearms will see
that it doesn’t cover anything up above the forearms so then we have to
improvise what I’ll do is only used the outside in
the arm project that on the inside the arm to
fill in a lot of missing texture detail and we can get away with this because
the textures are generally similar but also because the inside the arm is
an area that is you are is not going to have a chance to scrutinize an awful lot you’re using the mirror tool to
project the outside back portion of the forearm to give it a little bit extra detail on
both sides, but in general I don’t use mirroring when projecting,
we want to use as many unique pixels from image references as we possibly can. so we’ll see here instead of mirroring the texture
detail from one side to the other I’m actually painting in an entirely new
texture on the inside of my other arm and with that work done we finally have a
completely textured character covered head to toe With nice
high-resolution detail So how do we get it out of Mudbox? well I’m merge visible on all my layers
and then I select the resulting layer call it whatever I want and then I can
right click and export selected however the is an easier way I don’t
have to delete all my layers I can just export channel merged and that’ll save me a step I won’t have
to merge visible not to say they doubt has a tip format wherever I want and now I’m gonna bring it in to Maya. so
back in Maya, I have my character with his two separate materials And if I look where I saved my files, we’ll see that Mudbox saved two separate files out and
that’s because it saves one file per UV set- so the head and body are saved as separate files because
they’re a different UV tiles this means that I can plug in my
textures to make different materials I select my head material: and on
navigate TV had tile that Mudbox exported employed
at an and now I get ahead assigned and I can
do the same thing for the torso because the way my
druthers viewport things look a little gray so I mean add to stop little bit of a
red today Inc and essence channel on both my
materials this all live in things that make it a
look a little bit more like skin tone is a total old-school fake now
definitely don’t do this before you render strictly for the poor and with that we
are finally done we get textures on our character character looks a lot more like the
photos at the person that they’re based on we can see that we’re missing a few
things namely anatomical structures muscles on stuff like that that comes next in
this sculpting pass when we add more detail on James Taylor thanks for watching

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