Archive for the Maya Category

Attack Ship

Posted in 3D, Maya, Photoshop, Pictures, science fiction, Substance Painter, zbrush with tags , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2016 by Jim St Ruth


It’s been a long while since I posted to my blog… Busy world, lots of distractions and a lot of home improvement.

I bought Substance Painter a few months ago, and have been blown away by the ease of texturing a model. With so many filters, so much control and a great ability to customise, paint and make a model worn/ dirty, it’s an exceptional piece of software.

The model was sculpted in ZBrush, then retopologised and UV mapped in Maya.


Original ZBrush Sculpt

To allow for high resolution textures, there are nine different texture sets/ UV groups, each with their own materials assigned, set up as different objects. The component objects are then unified into a single object that now has multiple texture sets, and it’s exported as an .obj file; importing this into Substance Painter then allows for the different texture sets to be worked on. I’ve included a UV snapshot of three of these texture sets below for reference and, whilst one of them doesn’t fill up the space as efficiently as it might do, it did the job.

The modelling took far more time than the texturing. Completing the ZBrush sculpt was pretty rapid, and I was happy with the overall design. This was created via Dynamesh and then reduced from 5m polygons to 36k using Decimation Master. The model was then made live in Maya, curves drawn across the surface which were then smoothed to make the flow of the individual piece of the model in the next step more regular.

The retopology was then completed at a low resolution; only around 25k polygons for the whole ship. The borders of the model’s pieces were checked with smooth preview, before the next step in Maya.

Substance Painter doesn’t have an option for smooth preview, so to prevent any blockiness the objects need to be at a higher resolution. So the pieces were subdivided, and unwanted edges were deleted. The final object is around 100k polygons which, when imported into Substance Painter, made my machine run like a dog.

However, because I’d UV mapped in groups and created several texture sets, the various pieces can be viewed and worked on in isolation in Substance Painter, speeding things up considerably. It’s also worth pointing out that by cycling through the material options with the ‘m’ shortcut key, you can effectively turn lighting and shadows off, allowing the whole object to be visible with very little slow down.

I was going to take everything back into Maya to render… but the in-built renderer in Substance Painter does a very nice job using HDRI maps for lighting. Since this is just a static image, just some beauty shots of the model and no scenery or posing, I’m just going to leave it as it is.


Exploration Buggy: Test Comp

Posted in 3D, Design, Maya, Photoshop, Pictures, science fiction, scifi, sculpting, zbrush with tags , , , , , on October 9, 2013 by Jim St Ruth

Much to do still: model the rear and inside, and add texturing… but couldn’t resist posting!


Armored Scout Buggy: Teaser

Posted in 3D, Design, Maya, Pictures, science fiction, scifi, sculpting, zbrush with tags , , , , , , , on September 27, 2013 by Jim St Ruth

NewCar1a-JimStRuth2013A quick update of the model. The exterior has been completely retopologised (thanks to the use of Maya’s Quad Draw function and lots of curves to help smooth out the edges and various interior pieces of the body panels). The front wheels now have brake pads and suspension modeled too. The textures are purely placeholders… lots of exciting stuff still to come: interior modelling, full texturing, the weaponry and maybe some exterior armor plating.

Spaceman WIP

Posted in 3D, Design, Fantasy, General, Maya, Photoshop, Pictures, science fiction, scifi, sculpting, zbrush with tags , , , , , on March 23, 2012 by Jim St Ruth

A Zbrush work in progress, with additional modelling and refinement done in Maya.

Human Male Sculpt WIP, using Zbrush and Maya

Posted in 3D, Design, General, Maya, Pictures, sculpting, zbrush on November 22, 2011 by Jim St Ruth

Click to view

Scout Ship: Pilot’s Head Test Render

Posted in 3D, Design, General, Maya, Photoshop, science fiction, scifi, zbrush on July 8, 2011 by Jim St Ruth

Here’s a test render of the scout ship pilot’s head.

This started out as Michael 1 from poser, taken into Zbrush for some extra sculpting and fine tuning; it’s not recognizably Machael 1, I don’t think, but I’m not quite skilled enough yet to have confidence about building a head from scratch… and I don’t have the time, either. From Zbrush, the figure was taken into Maya and I re-skinned/retopologised the whole head, giving me better edge flow, a lower poly count and some extra fine tuning. Then it was back into Zbrush to polish out some areas where the edges were bunched up.

The hair is a sphere that’s been sculpted into shape with the Clay Brush, and subdivided a few times. I used the Clay Brush on each subdivision level to add form and detail to the hair. This will be retopologised to remove the unwanted parts of the hair, then I’ll re-project the detail onto the new hair mesh.

Scout Ship Update

Posted in 3D, Design, General, Maya, Photoshop, Pictures, science fiction, scifi, Uncategorized, zbrush on July 6, 2011 by Jim St Ruth

A busy and productive day, today. I’ve been going through the first two-thirds of my treatment for my next book, got stuck in the rain while I was out for a bike ride (and completely drenched, he-he), I’ve been up to my elbows in fish poo while cleaning out my fish tank (and the two angel fish that the guy at the aquarium promised me wouldn’t grow bigger than an inch and a half are absolutely enormous), and I’ve even had my mud coated bike in the bath for a scrub down (so that’s what it looks like!).

I’ve also had chance to set some test renders of my scout ship running. The exterior is mostly textured and almost finished, bar some flaps and the texture for the exterior air lock hatch. The interior of the main deck is now almost completely modelled, with just the control panels, displays and lighting to be modelled – which will be quite a lot of work, and great fun.

I spent a lot of time over the weekend looking for free UV mapping software, but to no avail. I even tried to download Blender to help me UV map the outer body of the ship, but I just don’t have the time to learn Blender at the moment. Then it came to me in a flash! … and yes, the moment was pretty dramatic for me. I carved the pieces up into UV islands in Maya and then used GoZ to import the model into Zbrush. Zbrush’s UV Master only allows you to ‘suggest’ where the borders of your UV will go, but thankfully you can set it to respect any UV islands that are already in place.

I unwrapped the pieces in Zbrush, then took the model back into Maya for some fine tuning… and discovered that I suddenly understood how to unwrap things in Maya. No time lost, but perhaps taking the model into Zbrush was unnecessary; I’ll have to see how I got with the interior UV mapping to say whether I’ll need Zbrush for the job in future.

The exterior was textured mostly in Photoshop, with some dirt and scratches textured in Zbrush – Zbrush’s Lightbox makes it so easy to import textures and photographs and paint them directly onto the model; most importantly, you can paint without having to worry about how texture-strokes match up across UV islands.

Here, then, are the latest test renders.