Modo - ZBrush displacement workflow with Displacement Exporter

Hello, I'm going to show you, how to create and apply a displacement map with the help of a WIP model.

UV-ing the model in MODO

1. UV-ing : Select the edges in edge mode, which we will use to lay the UV map along.

2. Switch Layout in UV Layout (Menu Bar/Layout/Layouts/UV Edit), create and lay the UV map using the Unwrap tool (UV & Vertex Mapping Tab / Create / Unwrap Tool): Click and Drag in the UV Texture View window. Use UV Relax tool (UV & Vertex Mapping Tab / Create / UV Relax) for aligning the UV shells (Click and Drag also).

3. Export to OBJ format (Menu Bar/File/Save As).

Sculpting in ZBrush with Multiple Resolution

1. Import model inyo ZBrush (Tool/Import button) and save the current geometry (Tool/ Morph Target/ StoreMT button).

2. Divide the model to a higher mesh resolution (Tool/Geometry/Divide) and do the sculpting with Zbrush brushes

2. At the end of the sculpting adjust the subdivision level of the model to the lowest value (Tools/Geometry/Lower Res button or Subdivision level slider);
-export it and use this base model and the DispMaps in modo, or

-generate the DispMap for the original modo model. In this case you have to set the imported base mesh of the model back (Tool/ Morph Target/ Switch button).

Exporting Displacement map in 16 bit Tiff with Alpha Displacement Exporter plugin

Configure the map to export (Zplug/ MULTI DISPLACEMENT 2/Map Size (Max Map Size slider), Overpaint border thickness (Border slider) and Map quality (DpSubPix slider)).

(For more about installing and using the Displacement Exporter plugin go to ZbrushCentral: http://206.145.80.239/zbc/showthread.php?t=029789.)

Right, configure the Displacement Exporter plugin on the ADE panel (Alpha/DE Option button): PN16 (this is predefinied configuration). Configure this as follows: set the Configuration Status to ON (this way the Red channel will contain the positive, and the Green channel will contain the negative displacement map) and set options: Smooth, Seemless and Vertical Flip to Yes. Export (Export Active Set button or Export Current button).

Saving positive and negative DispMap separately in Photoshop

Save the red and green channel of the exported file as two separate maps into 16 bit Tiff format. Open the exported file in Photoshop, go to the channel palette, select red channel, select all (Crtl + A) then copy it (Ctrl + C). Create a new document (Crtl + N) and paste it (Crtl +V), then go to the layers menu, and select Flatten image. Save the file into 16 bit Tiff format with the name PositiveDispmap (File/Save As). You have to do the same thing with the green channel, but save this one with the name NegativeDispmap.

Setting displacement maps in Modo

Switch Layout in Default Layout (Menu Bar/Layout/Layouts/201 Default Layout). Create materal for the model, then create an item mask (Item List Tab/RMB on model/create item mask in Item List).

Set the two DispMaps to the material. On the Render Settings panel (Render Settings Tab/Add Layer/Image Map), set Effect to Displacement (at the positive displacement map in render properties set the layer mode to Add, and at the negative to Subtract (Render Settings Tab/Render Properties/Texture Layer).

Set the amount of displacement of the material (Render Settings Tab/Render Properties/Material Ref/Displacement Distance), set the model to subdivision mode. Set the camera, the lights, the materials and the render settings (Render Settings Tab/Render Properties/Shader Tree/Render) and render (F9).

The model sculpted in Zbrush.

The displacement map rendered with Modo.

To see more by Zoltan Korcsok, check out Photoshop for 3D Artists