ZBrush to Houdini Live (v1 Beta)

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Hi, to solve a problem a method was created to read ZBrush meshes in near "realtime".

When tweaking a rigged mesh in Houdini I noticed that sending a base mesh back to ZBrush can be a bit problematic. One of the reasons is that ZBrush tend to smooth or edit the basemesh from Houdini, so it does not look exactly the same as in Houdini. The "cage" feature in ZBrush is also an approximation.

To solve the case the idea was to facilitate tweaking of a base mesh that is already rigged in Houdini from ZBrush. Meanwhile it should be possible to review the results of the changes, and that includes for example weights and poses. It is possible to update the topology in Houdini or another app, however, the feature demonstrated here is for fine tuning the shape of the base mesh only.

In this video not many nodes were added after the subdivide node, and it is possible that there will be some added delay to such updates. However, it should still be possible to use it for tweaking certain problematic areas such as closing a beak, or eyelids.

Attachments:
swest_screen_capture_20221124_2142.mp4 (7.6 MB)

IT-teacher (8y) / just for fun TD & artist / Debian11 XFCE / Houdini / Zbrush (Wine) / Blender / Python / VNC / networks / two small kids / BSc CS:CG / Stockholm
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Now to the first test in a real case. The "ZBrush to Houdini live" feature heavily relies on I/O to RAM.
Edited by SWest - 2022年11月24日 17:06:48

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swest_screen_capture_20221124_2249.mp4 (14.1 MB)

IT-teacher (8y) / just for fun TD & artist / Debian11 XFCE / Houdini / Zbrush (Wine) / Blender / Python / VNC / networks / two small kids / BSc CS:CG / Stockholm
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Looks great, keep it up
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Thanks for some feedback.

In this version there are a couple of updates for user friendliness. For example the ability to choose any file node, get a backup, and automatically have ZBrush zoom in on the model, to name a few things.

Some minor updates are probably needed after this.

Attachments:
swest_screen_capture_20221128_2249.mp4 (5.3 MB)

IT-teacher (8y) / just for fun TD & artist / Debian11 XFCE / Houdini / Zbrush (Wine) / Blender / Python / VNC / networks / two small kids / BSc CS:CG / Stockholm
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Now I want to imagine that this is done, at least the Linux version. It was made with 300 lines of commented Python code including ZScripts embedded. It is one class, one object, and one function for the toggle button. Everything is run from Houdini, including the update loop.

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swest_screen_capture_20221130_2240.mp4 (12.9 MB)

IT-teacher (8y) / just for fun TD & artist / Debian11 XFCE / Houdini / Zbrush (Wine) / Blender / Python / VNC / networks / two small kids / BSc CS:CG / Stockholm
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Soon after thinking this was over it became obvious that the user should be able to choose the initial source of a mesh.

For example, I'd prefer to keep the source of a mesh created in ZBrush in that program, to benefit from all the data there. Then export the base mesh as well as any additional information from there.

This was quick and easy to implement in Houdini.
Edited by SWest - 2022年12月1日 15:56:49

Attachments:
swest_screen_capture_20221201_2114.mp4 (2.2 MB)
swest_screen_capture_20221201_2144.mp4 (14.0 MB)

IT-teacher (8y) / just for fun TD & artist / Debian11 XFCE / Houdini / Zbrush (Wine) / Blender / Python / VNC / networks / two small kids / BSc CS:CG / Stockholm
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This is a "bonus" video for those of you who find tweaking groups in ZBrush to be annoying.

The issue is like this: You might keep getting new groups when all you want to do is adjust your current groups. These can originate from ZBrush or Houdini. Using the PolyGroup menu it seems only possible to quickly apply groups with more or less an automatic approach. However, when you only need to tweak them it will not work.

One solution: If you import a base mesh back into ZBrush that has higher levels of details it will ask if you would like to reproject those details. However, at least for me, this might give undesired side effects. So to avoid reprojection in ZBrush it is possible to use the ZModeler tool instead. In this video you can see one method of how to use it. The key seem to be to place the tool under the "shift" key. Then use shift+alt to select a group. Then simply use shift to apply it.

Attachments:
swest_screen_capture_20221203_1111.mp4 (12.3 MB)

IT-teacher (8y) / just for fun TD & artist / Debian11 XFCE / Houdini / Zbrush (Wine) / Blender / Python / VNC / networks / two small kids / BSc CS:CG / Stockholm
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Attrib painting

Attachments:
swest_screen_capture_20221213_2059.mp4 (9.9 MB)

IT-teacher (8y) / just for fun TD & artist / Debian11 XFCE / Houdini / Zbrush (Wine) / Blender / Python / VNC / networks / two small kids / BSc CS:CG / Stockholm
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