Haven’t posted for a while because I’ve been so busy working on my student film, “Wander”. Making a film is such a HUGE undertaking, thinking of a bunch of pieces as a whole narrative has been quite a learning experience. It’s been a roller coaster, and I’ve only just begun.

Here are my two main characters Noah and Beast.

Both rendered in 3D with a surface shader.

The story pitch:

“Now journey forth and slay the beast within”

A sage takes a young boy to the edge of a forest to undertake a rite of passage with only these words as a guide. During his journey the boy learns the true meaning behind the sage’s words.

Little 3D Tips

Some things I’ve come to learn while making a student 3D film.

Thought I’d type some of these up for future reference and perhaps to help someone who may happen to stumble on them. 


Visible seams / distortion of texture on Smooth preview models in Maya. 

What I did:

*I exported the un-smoothed, low poly objs of my character from Maya to Mudbox for texturing. 

*I then began painting the face and hair of my character in Mudbox.

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So far so good.

 *However when I zoomed into the arm I noticed that Mudbox would not paint over the seam.

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I had no idea what was wrong at this point. Luckily I have access to a network of animation students at my school, and one person helped me figure this out.

The first suggestion was to go to Mudbox Preferences, and in the Painting preferences increase the bleed.

(Bleed is how much your textures bleeds from the edges of your uvs which helps mitigate issues with Mip mapping, so it’s a good place to start) 

My default bleed in Mudbox was set to 4 pixels, I increased it to 8 pixels and re-exported my map for the limbs.

Took it to Maya and rendered:

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No dice.

Even if I repainted it and re exported with a high bleed, it would still leave a thin line where the texture wasn’t being painted on.

Second suggestion.

After a while of back and forth we figured it out.

It ended up being an issue with Smooth Preview in Maya. 

When you smooth preview your textures often distort as well, if your low poly version is really low poly.

So to combat this

*I smooth subdivided the mesh for the limbs once

*Re-exported them and re-imported them into Mudbox and painted on those.

The Result:

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Success! Though there are still a few little artifacts present, I simply fixed those in Photoshop.

The reason this drove me nuts for a while was that the issue hadn’t popped up with the face or the hair. 

The reasons for that were:

1.The hair seams were perfectly hidden.

2.The face has enough poly’s that very little distortion happens when it’s smooth previewed.

I didn’t understand why, and I couldn’t find the answer online, mostly because I had no idea how to search for it,  and with Maya this happens to me a lot. So I decided that if I found the answer, and if time allowed me to, I would make a little guide so hopefully someone wouldn’t have to tear their hair out on these sort of tiny  little issues.