Zbrush to Maya video tutorial

Hello, last week I did a small Zbrush/Maya presentation for the Atlanta Alias User Group. It was a small quick workflow overview on using Zbrush with Maya.
Some of the topics covered were:

-Basic Zbrush tools overview. -Exporting Displacement from Zbrush. -Rendering Displacements in Maya. -Generating Normal maps in Maya. I recorded a video recap of the presentation, so please feel free to download. Any feedback would be appreciated. Hope it helps. DOWNLOAD IT AT THIS LINK [http://www.edwin3design.com/root/news.htm](http://www.edwin3design.com/root/news.htm) Sincerely Edwin Sumalave [www.edwin3design.com](http://www.edwin3design.com) [email="edwin@edwin3design.com"]edwin@edwin3design.com[/email] PS: I'm in the process of updating my site, so check back in the near future. Thanks.

Thanks for sharing! I will watch this in a bit- I have to make popcorn first!

sounds interesting.
Thanks very much :+1:

I started watching this and in the begining you talk about a plug-in for UV layout on HighEnd3d.com.

What is this plug-in?

Are you talking about FG Auto UV?

I was talking about the “Pelt tool uv”


you can find more infor at


Im back. I had Smart Food popcorn, with this one.
Heavenly, I forgot how easy normal mapping is in maya.
THank you soooo much for sharing.

That’s what I thought you said… but I couldn’t find the link.


thank u …
…i never used Surface Sampler before…its very Cool… :+1:

The pelt tool is the best thing ever, I’ve been using it for a few months now. :smiley:

Thanks for the support guys, there are a few thing I need to clarifly about rendering displacement maps there are 2 options that Zbrush allows you to use.

Adaptive: Adaptive displacement is located under the (Tool palatte>Displacements).
When this option is enabled the displacemen
t map will be calculated using
an algorithm that speeds up the generation time while keeping the accuracy
and detail.

DPsubPix: Is a different algorithm, that controls the number of times the mesh is
subdivided as the displacement map is created. The higher the value the
more accurate the overall displacement map will be, but in return it will
also increase the time it would take for Zbrush to generate the
displacement map.

To get a more accurate render in Maya you can export your displacement maps in Zbrush as 32bit instead of 16bit, then convert them into .map files in order to render them with mental ray (you can use the quick code [color=Blue]DE-LBEK-EAEAEA-R32 for the Displacement Exporter 2). You will have to always set your alpha gain to 2.2 and you alpha offset to -1.1 for any displacement. This will allow you to get the closet displacement in Mental Ray when compared to your Zbrush model.

Thanks to Ryan K. from the Pixologic team for his help on these topics.


Edwin Sumalave


Are normals faster to render in maya than displacement maps? I’m downloading this video right now, slow connection.

Womball, here are the map generation render times for the character on the video:

-Maya Displacement(Surface Sampler)---------------7min 5sec
-Maya Normal map (Surface Sampler) ---------------7min 5sec

-Zbrush Normal map(Zmapper)---------------------------8sec
-Zbrush Diplacement(Multi Displacement exporter 2) ------3sec

The video was made for the Maya user to understand the basic capabilites of Zbrush.
Hope this helps




I just realized that I don’t have “Surface Sampler”, because I’m on Maya 6. Does anyone know how to connect ZBrush generated Normal Maps to a shader network in Maya?

Thanks for taking the time to make the video and answer my question!


This thread should help:


Connect the ‘Out value’ of the normalMapper node to the ‘Normal Camera’ of the shader :slight_smile:


thanks atwooki! I’ll give that a try! :slight_smile:

Many thanks.
Stupid question.
At two of the Maya shows in New York,last year.
I raised the subject of Zbrush and it was basically voted
down. Can you advise how it came to pass that it was presented
there and are there plans to put it into the “road shows”.
Gets tiresome being the voice crying in the desert.
Xsi should not be the only major “zbrushfriendly” program.

Hey Bicc39, The user Atlanta user group meeting was set up by Rick P. He is the community manager of www.aliasusergroup.com I’m not aware if there are any plans for “road shows” at the moment. Send him an email, I think he might be able to help you.


Edwin Sumalave

Thank you so much! I watched your video and I finally understand how to make a normal mapped character. The gallery is about to be filled with my work! muhuhuhuhwahahahaha! :smiley:

Remember to turn hardware rendering and High quality rendering on******

I did this tutorial 4 times because I couldn’t see my normal map, in realtime, in my veiwport.

hey man, thanks a lot for that video tutorial. There is however one problem with that normal mapping technique. My high poly model file when imported to maya leads to maya crashing.