Mudbox displacement maps in T2

Started by TheBadger, May 17, 2013, 10:25:30 AM

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The maps that are produced are quite strange actually, and I now realize why you can't really paint them. You paint with white, but the 32bit maps have floating depths, so extend beyond white.
I even tried cutting the produced map in half for a 2:1 ratio, or stretching it to 2:1 before using it in spherical projection or UV projection, etc, all to no avail (I knew but nevertheless tried).
I'm quitting  >:(

j meyer

Found a working solution,.....uuhmm err sort of.
It has two problems at least,the polar regions and a visible seam.
Polar regions have the same problem you get when projecting an unmodified
panorama shot on a sphere,some distortion.Often taken care of in some image
editing software.
I doubt that it'll be possible to correct a VD map like that.
The visible seam is also something that is most likely hard to get rid of,maybe
lessened a bit.

So,if you want a custom made/sculpted moon or planet you are definitely better
off to use your sculpted highpoly object or a lower poly object and a tradtional
disp or bump map,at least from my point of view.

The solution was to make a spherical mapped sphere (1:2 ratio) and in to use
spherical projection in TG,too.
I learned the correct way of mapping while/by doing the tests mentioned in
my previous post.
(btw,that's what I mean by experience beats theory Michael ;))

Feel free to ask if you got questions.


Hi J.

1) I am curious if this seam can simply be placed on the non visible side of the object?

In the last image in the last post of the thread I linked, if you look closely you will see some issues with the "northern pole". I could have easily fixed this as its just a paint angle matter. But nonetheless shows if your not carful, there are issues the way I did it too. But yes, based on yours and Ulco's response, the first way I did it does sound more straight forward now.

2) It sounds like the seam is the biggest problem you ran into. How ugly are we talking here?

3) You said you just learned mapping. For clarity, your talking about mapping to a object, and not UV mapping?

Any images you can post that you think are relevant would be nice.

Quotethat's what I mean by experience beats theory Michael

lol. Yes but theory is immediately gratifying. Practice only pays off in the end  ;D

In all seriousness Im a little distressed by the results of all your testing next to my expectations of what the results should have been. I feel like Im being logical in my way of thinking. I feel like the results I was asking about here and earlier in this thread were and still are reasonable. I cant deny though that there is much I do not know, and therefore cannot include in my thinking. But I do have a Mudbox/Maya workflow to compare to.

I have been playing with all this as much as I have found the time to try things on my own. And I have to say that I feel like its all a bit more complex then it should be. I mean, once you get to the terragen part of things.
Do I dare make a request?

All Ill say is look at the number of views of this thread in comparison to all other threads and topics (and this has only been here for about 2 months). Dose anyone deny the immense interest level?

The fact is that Z-brush and Mudbox are not loosing ground as software, the user bases are only growing. It stands to reason then, that rather then Planetside implementing some sort of in app sculpting tool (which would still be nice). It would be at least more expedient to make working between Terragen and Z-brush/Mud a tad more direct/simple. Couldn't more be done to expand on the possibilities? Is there some way for Terragen to recognize a Mud or Z Vector, and know what to do with it (customized nodes?) That is, what we are doing here, does not appear to be the first reason for terragen to imports vectors. More like a benefit of some other idea?

I dont know though. I have no idea what happens behind the curtain. I only know what I see happen in the UI(s).

At any rate. If I have to keep to the workflow in the moon thread. Then I hope to see multi UV tile support soon. Its the next best way to get huge detail.

It has been eaten.

j meyer

1.yes,of course it can be placed on the non visible side.I just thought you would like to
animate your moon maybe,or a fly around or so.

2.see picture.  the poles could be problematic,too,depends on what one wants to have
there displacement wise.

3.I said I just learned the correct way of mapping.That refers to the way the UVs have to
be set up to make use of a 1:2 ratio image (my 8x16 squares) and still be in 0...1 UV space
and square.
I did it wrong before and thus got a square map with one half of the space wasted.
At the moment I don't have any pics that could illustrate the UV thing,but if there is interest
I can quickly prepare some and we can discuss that,too.

Yes it is complex and it takes a lot of time.
As for getting huge detail you could look at some methods they used for avatar for example.
And there are some good tips/hints in some of the production interviews you can find on the
pixologic homepage.There was something about continuously swapping maps and stuff.


that is in no way the failure you seemed to imply. The seam is not even so bad.

Yes I would animate a camera and such. But I never had any reason to fly around the entire moon. So even with a issue at the polls and a seam in the back, you could still do a lot of camera moves and not be affected.

I will take a look at pixologic for the information you mentioned.

Also, while were still on the topic..
It was either the new tom cruse movie, or the new will smith movie, I saw a preview of. The clip showed the earths moon was destroyed.
Has anyone seen these movies? which one had the destroyed moon?
Im waiting for blue ray.

Quotebut if there is interest
I can quickly prepare some and we can discuss that,too.
Well Im certainly interested.
It has been eaten.

j meyer

Now for the UVs then.
We want to map a 1:2 ratio image (8x16 squares) to a sphere.
I like to do that in Wings3D and it's spherical map unwrapping results in this:
The blue frame marks the 0....1 UV space and the background is a default one.
For that UV mapping layout a texture like this is required:
Wasted space!
To avoid that some apps (in my case XSI) simply stretch the displayed UV grid,so that you
can see your undistorted texture in the UV editor.But this is virtual,actually the UV space
is still square (0....1,remember?).
Other apps,like Wings3D,use another approach.Here the texture is displayed distorted,
like this:
So the unwrap from the first image would produce a result where the upper half of the
texture is missing:
The simple solution is to scale the unwrap vertically:
Now the squares of the unwrap are stretched to a 2:1 ratio rectangles.
Not that much wasted space anymore.So that is the "correct way" I was talking about.

Then there is the difference between a correctly mapped import sphere and TGs sphere,
have a look:
See the difference?
The TG sphere has the 8x16 squares texture mapped onto it via image map shader set
to spherical projection btw.

Don't know what approach apps like Maya or Lightwave or whatsoever use,so you have
to do some thinking on your own. ;)

I can only recommend simple tests like this!


A great little lesson, J! Thank you again.
It has been eaten.


Apologies, I have a question that may have already been answered, but I could not track the answer down in this gigantic thread.

I saw that people found a way to use a Vdisp multiple times on a terrain. But my memory is that it was the same vdisp. Does anyone know for sure if you can or cannot use multiple different Vdisp s on the same terrain, as like multiple HFs?

I thought I remembered someone saying that you cannot (matt?) But I cant find the post I thought I was remembering.

My hop is that I am wrong, and I can do what Im asking about.

It has been eaten.


I wouldn't know why you can't, but it will be difficult to control. Say you displace the first from ground zero level (flat), then you get strange displacements. Fit the next in and it will displace as if from a flat level (the way it was built), so you may get unpredicted displacements. Using them in different sections of terrain is no problem of course.
I tried a vdisp map made from a flat plane on a mountain side to make a cave, but that's also hard to control. At least in my quick and short experiments.


Thank you.

I'll probably end up trying several different things.

So much time spent just learning :-[ I hope it pays off.
It has been eaten.


It all takes an awful lot of time, but it's usually worth it. I didn't even dare starting on your reindeer, by the way, a bit daunting and little time.


by the way, Im nearly finished (no really, this time I mean it)

Im adding controls to the rig so it will be really simple and easy for you to pose it. And Im making a short video for you showing where everything is and how to do it (hence the screen capture thread).

Of course Im going to use it my self, so you may just end up wanting to use those models. But at least you'll have plenty of options.

Sorry for the off topic :-X
It has been eaten.

j meyer

If you want to use several VD maps it depends on how and what,methinks.
Tiling (one big VD-terrain split up into parts) should be rather problematic,
because of the ugly outer edges the VD maps tend to have.
Using it on top of each other requires the approach Chris mentioned earlier,
if you want predictable results,that is.(see page 15 of this thread)

Ulco,a variation of that tech should help with your cave on a mountain side,too.


A heads up for anyone who might use ZBrush for making vector displacement maps for TG:

If you get the new ZBrush 4R7 64bit, the number from the diagnostic test that you need to put in has changed, much to my annoyance. The value for the flip and switch settings is no longer "3". Now it is "43". Why it changed, I can't begin to speculate. I only figured this out after much frustration, assuming that it had to be the same.

I haven't tried it in 4R7 32bit, so you might find different results there.

j meyer

Thanks for the heads up.Confirmed.

Maybe that caused Ashley's problems,too,a while ago.