3ds max 2008 - Zbrush 3.1 - 3ds max 2008 Workflow: Maybe The Only Solution?

Dear ZbrushCentral Community / Art Masters and Authors,

I can see that many of us, including myself and many others are struggling to get this particular issue resolved for quite sometime already, specially with generating displacement maps, bump maps and color maps and import it back into 3dsmax for our characters or any other objects.

Indeed I haven’t still yet found a DVD tutorial in the whole www. I’ve search and search for a decent step by step tutorial and only a few tutorials or they are incomplete or they assume too much from the end user. I haven’t found a single tutorial that it would take me from Step A all the way to Step Z (A to Z).

I wonder why?

So, here’s an idea, why doesn’t any Author come up and produce a walkthrough step by step process DVD in showing this so desperately needed tutorial, as requested by thousands of people, students, artists and pure mortals? I’m sure that this would be a good business and I’m sure I would be the first one in the line to buy it.

If anyone has any comments, please feel free to do so.
Maybe if we all ask for it, someone will eventually do it ?
Thank you.


Maybe its because the core of ZBrush is just not properly programmed to deal with this.
I too have done extensive research into getting the old Zbrush 3.1 to work seemlessly with MAX 2008 with no luck.
I am beginning to believe that Pixologic made some serious errors and its because of this and the fact that they are very quiet about this that makes me feel that there is no REAL answer only some partial workarounds.
I mean I hope I am wrong but the constant difficulties expressed by almost all users and the constant streak of problems really suggest that the ZBrush 3.1 needs a very overdue makeover.
It is just amazing that a company can be so reticent to accept its own errors and do something about it.
Some simple examples are the exploding imports on subdevision, the multimarker tool’s total uselessness, the incredibly difficult to use subtools, the use of displacement maps and the even more difficult UV situation.
With all these problems and they are not the only ones - one must seriously reconsider ones use of this program in a pipeline workflow situation. This is a shame because the program has much to be appreciated.

Personally I have given up on this program due mainly to time constraints and the frustration factor.
If Pixologic finally gets its act together and releases a “Finished and complete” version that actually deals with these things then I will reinvest time.
Sorry but that is what its like in our team and I speak for a group of several very experienced digital artist.
PS We would all love for this programm to work properly but it just does not!
PPS If people do not like what I am saying then do me a favor and do not attack the messanger but have look at the message.

yeah your right. Ive been searching everywhere for a real thorough tutorial. But maybe you should check out some of the gnomon dvds about 3Ds Max. i seen the meats dvd which tought me alot about ZBrush. IDK just a thought

Digital-tutors also has a 3ds Max to Zbrush workflow DVD, but it’s certainly not new.


are you sure you’re not talking about the maya to zbrush dvd? Never heard of a 3ds max dvd by digital tutors… maybe i’ve missed it but i don’t think so!

Anyway, yeah it’d be good to have a great tut. on zbrush working with max and vray!

I can’t recall seeing any 3ds max Tut done by DT, since they are more focus on Maya pipeline. Thought, their training series are excellent IMO.
However, wished they had something for 3ds max too.

Lynda training series is not bad at all too.

However, haven’t found anything as I described above. I am really surprised that since this was requested by thousands of users and there are no DVD training material in this regard. I would be glad if someone could correct me and tell me that I’m wrong about this, in return, tell us where is this fantastic DVD.


I was sure that I saw a Max to Zbrush workflow DVD when I was considering whether to purchase Max or Maya as my traditional modeling program, but I could be mistaken.

Lynda is certainly a great service for finding 3ds Max tutorials, but as you said, I seen anything that would relate to this issue there.

This is certainly a quagmire.

gigity gigity

Who else but Quagmire?

No one? Anyone kind enough to give us the steps? Much appreciated.


there’s a free video tutorial here on the pixologic website. log in with your zbrushcentral username and password. it’s the last video on the page.

here’s written documentation for displacement in max


I have the same problem as you here. I wached the video from pixologic. It a good video, but still not enough… at least not for me. But you all should check this link:

There are few dvd’s about 3ds max, but you should check character and creature design which treats 3ds max and zbrush! I admit that I didn’t see those dvd’s but I plan to buy them to see if they make thing more clear in this issue.
Hope it helps.

Have you seen my tutorial about exporting from 3dstudio max- zbrush - 3d studio max?

is a tutorial step by step how you can make all the process.


i see a lot of tutorials about this but all put one thing ( modelling, rendering, export normals…).

i took all this things and i explained all.

the tutorials are bored and you have to use a lot of hours to make it. The companies don´t want to make a great tutorial because they didn´t make money. You have to buy more XD.

hum… didn’t follow that tut, but I will definetely will and give you my feedback. Thanks alot!

Please be aware that at the moment of writing this post - displacements in 2008 are ‘broken’ when using the MR displacement slot, before you spend to much time figuring it out. At present I would stick to Max v.9 if you wish to use displacement maps in MR.

Thank you JAOL, I have already replied to your thread. Again, thank you and I will definitely follow it up once I get back home.

Thanks musca_ro for the link as well. Will check the Russian tut as well for sure and let you guys know my outcome.

Thank you hotknife , however, do you know anything what if I use displacement + Vray??? Not sure if that’s the right question as my knowledge in the Render Section is still very limited. Appreciate if you could elaborate a bit further. Thank you. :slight_smile:

Believe displacements in Vray is ok in 2008.

If using MR you can still add turbosmooth and add a Displacement modifier on your object which works, but using a disp’ in the Mental Ray connection, (displacement slot in the material editor), Tthis causes the object to ‘split’ when rendered in 2008, autodesk confirmed it was a bug, and are working on it.

This also happens in 3ds max v.9 but you just had to uncheck the ‘smoothing’ button in the render dialog rollout to solve it…not so the case in 2008, which is a real shame as it trashes any renders using MR.

That’s cool! I’ve seen some rendering results from other Artists and I must say that Vray quality is way much superior than MR. Ok, I’m not starting a X better than Y here, that’s only my own visualy preference. :slight_smile:

I also would love to see a 3dsmax > zbrush >3dsmax > vray training dvd.

I think I actually get up till you import the zbrush model back into 3dsmax (maybe), but after that, the detailing from the displacement map looks terrible.

I have modelled a running shoe and was working on some stitching details around where the cloth section attaches, but no matter what I try, the imported zbrush model and disp map look bad compared to the zbrush version.

i’m sooo freaking new to modeling… i just got 3dsm and zbrush a few days ago…

Anyways I have modeled a character in 3dsm 08 and eported into zbrush ok.

I added geometry only … created the normal map. (whatever that is) and exported.

I can only get the .obj to open in 3dsm if I exported from zbrush as sDiv 1 “low” …anything higher crashed 3dsm. why?

If I can only use the low res…whats the point of using zbrush to enhance ??

I am not concerned with texturing, uv or displacment mapping (whatever that is)… I just want my model back in 3dsm with the geometry I added… I will texture in 3dsm.

Here is a render of my character in 3dsm…


thanks in advance for any help.