This multi-part tutorial will cover Mudbox character sculpting, adding high-resolution detail, painting textures, and more. We begin with creating the basic shape of the character, and then detailing the character via sculpting!
Updated 10/17/2014: Parts 2 and 3 are here!
Starting with the sculpt
This Mudbox character sculpting tutorial takes the opposite approach to my Maya character modeling tutorial, where we start by building a low res base mesh, then move on to sculpting. But with Mudbox, you can dive right in. We can start with the generic base human in Mudbox, so that we can get right down to creating our character.
We need the right approach, though. The biggest mistake is rushing in and trying to create high-res detail immediately! Instead, we want to iteratively build up the detail on our surface, subdivision level by subdivision level. That’s what the idea of Progressive Detailing is all about. First we worry about the overall silhouette of our mesh. So we start with a generic mesh, then reshape it to create the character we want. Second, we block in large detail shapes, like muscles or clothing bulges. Last, we tackle fine detail, like skin pores, fabric texture, and the like.
And you’ll need the right tools for each stage
Every brush can be used at every stage – for example, the Smooth brush is used after almost every stroke, to blend our sculpting. However, some brushes tend to show up more often on certain stages: First, for our silhouette, I use the tools Grab and Bulge.
- Grab – used in the beginning, this is how we change our mesh’s shape to match the silhouette of our character.
- Bulge – quickly adds volume to our new silhouette.
Second, for large detail, I rely on Wax and Foamy.
- Wax – used next, to quickly block out muscle shapes, in a similar fashion to my earlier Mudbox muscle sculpting tutorial.
- Foamy – used with a sharp falloff and negative value, to push inwards around the edges of shapes to emphasize them.
Last, for the finest level of detail, I use Foamy, but also add Pinch to the mix.
- Pinch – used in later stages, Pinch sharpens detail and straightens out curves into more regular shapes.
In summary, my general sculpting process is to block in detail broadly, and only start refining detail once I like the overall shape. I try to use the biggest possible brush and the weakest possible strength to do the job.
Mudbox character creation tutorial:
Up next: revising our character after the sculpting process is complete
As an artist, we need maximum flexibility to accommodate revisions that our art directors, teachers, or bosses need – Part 2 will feature the Transfer Detail tool prominently, which makes the process of revising our character much easier!