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Mapping Procedures: 3ds max to ZBrush - ZBrush to 3ds max

by O x H | d3 (Baiculescu Ovidiu Nicky), Italy Web:

First of all - I write this “tag” assuming that you already know Creation (modeling), Importing/Exporting within both 3ds Max and ZBrush. Also the maps creation in ZBrush and UVWs in 3ds Max.

A) If you have made your base model in 3ds Max then following are the steps:

1. Once the base mesh is done, and you want ZBRUSH only for details such as diffuse and bumps, you have to set up well the UVW's Coordinates (to set a good UVW map).

2. Once you have the mesh and its UVW's done, you can export a new OBJ from 3ds Max. It would be better if you’d export it with the Guru Wave: Exporting Plugin, because, it has a preset that made ZBRUSH OBJs (look for gw::OBJExporter at

3. Now you are ready to import a new tool into ZBrush and create the maps you need.

4. Apply as many “divisions” into ZBrush to your imported OBJ and create the maps you need.

5. Once you have all the maps ready Diffuse, Cavity, Displacement and Normal, you are ready for the next important step. Before you do that, be sure that your maps (.tiff, .psd, or .bmps) are all of the same size, so you can obtain a better result for the rendering process in 3ds Max.

ZBRUSH final Result of the Imported OBJ.

6. Before applying maps to a 3ds max material, you need to flip them vertically, otherwise they won’t fit to the mesh. Also the Alpha Chanel by ZBrush is a bit different than the one of 3ds max and also other 3D software such as MAYA. ZBrush, in a displacement map for example, uses the grey color to identify there is no displace at all, while 3ds max (and others) use the black color. So you need to set up the RGB Offset in Output into Material (in 3ds max) so instead of value: 1 you can try the value: -5 that in my case worked.

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