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Ricky Shaftoe

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About Ricky Shaftoe

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  1. Thanks for your reply. You answered my main question. Yes, I was rounding a little. The exact numbers are: 4096 owned, 4112 donated to group, 512 for premium bonus. Paid tier level is 8192. And yet, right under this, the site says "available square meters: 4592." I don't understand where this number comes from. I recall that there's a 10% bonus for group-owned land, but that certainly wouldn't amount to 4592m2; more like 411m2 or so (10% of my group-owned amount of 4112). It's not that big a deal: as long as I'm safely at the 40USD tier, I'm happy. I don't plan to buy more land, so I guess I won't be testing whether I really have 4592 "available." I just don't like not understanding what that number means.
  2. I have recently returned to SL after a hiatus, and I've just sold some (group) land to reduce my tier. I *think* I succeeded in getting my tier down a notch. But I have two questions. 1. On the "Land Manager" section of the website, I clicked the next-lowest-tier's radio button, and the "Land Manager" indicates I'll be at that tier ($40USD/month). But the "Account Summary" section of the site, under "Account," still reflects the next-highest tier, with a rebill date in early July. I think that's because I have to pay for whatever peak tier-usage I had in the month before that rebill date, right? So that my August bill will reflect the lower tier? 2. Also, I own roughly 4000m2 outright and have donated another 4000m2 to my group (of which I and my alts are the sole members). It's all Mainland land; I pay LL directly, not other residents. I would think my 8000m2 total puts me close to the 8192m2 limit for the $40 tier. But the "Land Fees" section says I have 4500m2 "available square meters." How can this be? Either I'm close to my tier cap of 8192, or I'm 8000m2 (not 4500m2) below the next-highest-tier cap of 16,384m2. Can anyone explain this "available square meters" field? Thanks in advance.
  3. Yeah, ZBrush has a distinctly nonstandard UI. I just loved it from the get-go, lol. It works great with my stylus. I rotate the model just by moving my pen around. I'll look at Blender's hotkeys. Every default UI choice bugs me. Right click to select? Ugh. I will indeed play with modifying the UI. A poster over at ZBrushCentral confirms that ZBrush doesn't really have a smooth-normal function, so Blender it is. I actually do own an old copy of 3DS Max, but I've forgotten whatever I knew about it, and my brain can handle only so much learning at once. Spotlight is fun!
  4. Oh, don't get me wrong, I am on board for using low-poly models. I was just speculating about what others do. I did successfully use Blender to smooth the normals of my model, thanks to your instructions. The upload cost was identical. I didn't pay close attention to whether SL thought my smoothed model had "more" vertices than my unsmoothed one. Maybe I'll write down the vertex count next time I test this. Blender worked fine, but part of me still wishes I could do the same in ZBrush. ZBrush does have a way to preview smooth shading, but I'm not sure it has its own soften-normal function. I guess it's fine to use Blender. I just hope it's always the simple one-click process you described, because I don't like editing in Blender. (Just one of many complaints: I hate using the middle-mouse-button plus shift for panning the view!) So now I'm learning to use Spotlight in ZBrush to paint better textures. Fun.
  5. Thanks for the word to the wise. Evidently SL does enforce some poly limits, but they aren't very strict about it. I got away with importing my 30,000-point mesh the first time I tried it. I do think SL drew the line when I tried to import a 70,000-point mesh. I wonder: are there clothing designers importing shorts with 35,000 vertices?
  6. Thanks very much. You're a godsend! So smoothing normals is a separate process from creating a normal map. I wasn't understanding that. So I always should smooth normals on my low-poly mesh, and probably also include a normal map. Anyway, I'll try smoothing normals in Blender. I imagine ZBrush has a similar feature? I don't mind doing it Blender, but I'm more comfortable in ZBrush. But I suppose it is better to do this at the very end of the work pipeline?
  7. Thanks for your further reply; it was very helpful. I made a lot of progress tonight. Still some questions -- the first two of which are ZBrush-specific, so I probably should ask over at ZBrush Central. 1. I followed your suggestion on using ZRemesher to get down to 3500 polys. First I duplicated my tool, then Zremeshed, which gave me a hi-poly subtool and a low-poly subtool. But even with both selected (both "eyes" visible), when I click Project All, it doesn't seem to do anything. I think maybe I'm supposed to subdivide the new low-poly model before hitting Project All? 2. Anyway, I just went ahead and used the low-poly model as my base, and subdivided it. I subdivided my 3500-poly tool just 3 times, getting up to about 70,000 polys. But when I started sculpting or painting on that (pretty modest) high-poly model, ZBrush would start saying "Subdividing into 1 million polys." When I subdivided one more time, to 300,000 polys, once painting ZBrush would say "Subdividing into 5 mil polys," and the program chugged as if I really did have 5m polys on the screen. I *think* what happened is I somehow activated dynamic subdivision; I found it lit up. But even after disabling it, I swear I saw ZBrush automatically say it was subdividing. Do you ever see this behavior? How do I stop it? 3. Do I need to click 'generate normals' when importing a mesh? It seems so. My first shirt worked fine in SL, except that it looked like a 3000-poly mesh: squares everywhere. This first shirt just had a color fill and a few lines of polypainting just for testing. I fixed it, but I'm not sure how. I went back and retextured it by spraying a texture all over it, and then when I imported the mesh into SL, I clicked 'generate normals' when uploading. This time the shirt looked great. I tested again by using the same sprayed texture but this time importing without "generating normals," and the shirt looked low-poly again. So...I *think* I need to click 'generate normals' when uploading. But should I be doing this somehow in ZBrush? I did bake and export a normal map, but it didn't fix the low-poly look of the shirt. Thanks in advance for any advice. I'm making slow but steady progress, in large part because of your help. Ricky
  8. Many thanks for that great reply. I figured my target should be more in the neighborhood of 3000 polys. I'm wondering how to get there from my initial model, which typically is around 30,000 polys. I see that one can retopo in ZBrush by hand using an appended ZAphere and then just drawing vertices, but that sounds like a lot of work for 3000 polys. ZRemesher is good, but not sure how to use it to get from 30,000 to 3,000. Maybe just use it several times, with a target of half each time? Another option is Decimation Master, I suppose? I'd rather do it inside ZBrush simply because, well, I like ZBrush. As for specula rmaps: I've tried using the optional ZBrush pluging MatCap Baker to bake in shiny materials directly into my diffuse map. But so far the results are underwhelming. Maybe I'm using the plugin wrong. If instead i draw a specular map by hand right on th emodel, what should a specular map for clothing look like? Is it just an alpha, with white for high shiny? A grayscale image, which lighter meaning shinier? Should I draw this as a separate layer from polypaint, before doing my retopologizing?
  9. So now that I can produce a bad but properly-rigged shirt, I'm pondering how to improve, and starting to think about texturing. My workflow, I think, is something like: 1.export Avastar avi to ZBrush; 2. subdivide the geometry before painting a mask to extract a shirt, to make it easier to paint crisp mask lines for sleeves/neck/waist etc (or is that dumb?); 3. extract shirt; 4. reshape holes and fabric, sculpt details. I'm used to making organic forms in ZBrush, not the machine-tooled cuts of sewing. My efforts to cut clean semicircles with the Trim and Curve brushes have been mixed at best. Maybe I need more geometry, or better geometry. Should I be Zeremeshing before doing any cutting? I have better luck with folds and such, as I'm more used to that sort of thing. 5. use this high-rez sculpt to produce texture maps (color maps; normal maps? bump maps? displacement maps? ambient occlusion? I doubt SL supports all of the above, but I haven't checked yet); 6. possibly retopologize using Zeremesher, thereby reducing poly count; 7. export to Blender (and possibly retopo there instead of in ZBrush?); 8. rig/weight in Blender; 9. export .dae to SL. Something like that, yes? Also: is there a rough poly-count target for export of a shirt back to SL? 30,000 polys? The detail will come from the normal/bump maps, yes, not from the mesh itself?
  10. I purchased Avastar, and I rigged my first T-shirt with no problem at all. The Avastar UI seems to have changed from the videos I see online. The videos depict the Avastar avi with several rings around it. In my (current) version of Avastar, I just see four arrows pointing outward from the base of the avatar. And the Avastar tab on the left looks different too. But I figured it out, at least for basic rigging. Essentially I just had to select both the avatar and the shirt in Blender, then click a button. The T-shirt seems to move perfectly in SL without any adjustment to weighting. I assume I won't be so lucky with pants or more complex clothes?
  11. Thanks for your further replies. I successfully exported a 1-meter cube from SL to Blender, then from Blender to ZBrush as an obj, then exported out of ZBrush as an .obj back to Blender, then back to SL -- and it remained a 1m cube. So yeah, the problem was in ZBrush's .dae-export plugin. As you say, it's not critical to use that; I will be using Blender for rigging and weighting anyway. Didn't realize I'd have to use it for retopo too; we'll see how that goes. Anyway, at least I'm ready to start sculpting stuff that's full size, lol. But first, time to practice rigging and weighting in Blender.
  12. OK, I've been trying to export and re-import a 1mm cube. ZBrush seems to be chopping my models down by half. The cube works fine if I export to Blender, save as a new .dae file, and reimport: still a 1mm cube. But if I instead export the cube from Blender as an .obj file, then open in ZBrush, then immediately save, then use the ZSculpty plugin to export as a .dae file, it uploads to SL at half size. Half a meter on a side. Now, I can fix this by doubling its size in ZBrush, or by using the upload options in SL to upload at 2x scale. But obviously it'd be better to get it right. Could the problem be in the ZSculpty plugin -- the .dae exporter for ZBrush? I"ve posted in ZBrush central about that. Or am I missing something more obvious? (In other news: Marvelous Designer is now on Steam Greenlight. Getting more tempting.)
  13. Thanks for your reply. I'm glad I asked, as I'll now make sure to focus on getting my import/export sizes correct. I'm curious about Marvelous Designer, but the subscription rate seems pricy. (ZBrush was pricy too, but I bought it several years ago, for a one-time fee.) ZBrush has retopo tools, so I suppose I can make do with those. I do like the look of MD's snip-and-sew design UI.
  14. Hi all, After years of animating, I thought I'd give clothing-creation a try. I've made a bad mesh T-shirt using ZBrush, and I have some questions. 1. First, I spent some time in ZBrush scaling up the T-shirt so that it would be slightly larger (or so I thought) than the avatar mesh I was using as a body guideline. But when I uploaded the shirt on the beta grid, it was quite small. Why is this? 2. Obviously I could then resize it using SL's scaling tools. But is this the best practice? Do people make different "sizes" of clothing by scaling it in-game, or in their 3D applications? 3. Now that I've got my bad T-shirt mesh, which makes an awesome plaster cast on my chest, I need to rig and weight it. I need to use Blender and Avastar for this, right? I do have an old version of 3Ds Max somewhere, but Avastar looks like a convenient tool. I don't love Blender, but if all I have to do is rig and weight, I can live with it. So: Blender and Avastar, right? 4. I like using ZBrush because I'm used to it: I've been using it for years in conjunction with my real-life art classes, and I just think it's fun and easy to use. Plus, polypainting. But I don't have much experience making clothing, as I usually sculpt busts and the figure in ZBrush. Should I be adding something like Marvelous Designer to my workflow? Thanks in advance.
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