Here there are the basics of the workflow we are using to create quick assets for rendering purposes.
Learn a quick workflow for creating traits with rendering purposes.
Maya (optional, only needed if you want to create a low topology with UVs using it).
Masking - "Ctrl+drag"
Unmasking - "Ctrl+Alt+drag" or "Ctrl + click out the model"
Create Polygroups by mask - "Ctrl+W"
Selection - "Ctrl+Shift"
Hide Selection - "Ctrl+Shift+Alt"
The first mandatory step is to create a good base mesh for the body:
In this case, I am using the male tool in Zbrush Lightbox.
Perform a clean retopology.
Ensure correct polygroups by regrouping some parts, as shown in the reference.
Keep a low number of polygons with subdivisions.
Avoid using Dynamesh.
As you can observe in the image, with a correct base mesh, you can duplicate it and delete the parts you don’t want to create different types of clothing. Assign different polygroups for distinct clothing items, like green for the shirt and pink for the trousers. Additionally, if you need to create shorts, it’s as simple as cutting the topology along the loop you deem necessary.
The next step involves using the ZModeler brush. Configure the options as shown, allowing you to extrude your mesh and add volume.
Additionally, utilize the polygroups to quickly generate UVs shortly.
Smooth out the details without significantly altering the topology using the tools in the Deformation Menu. In this case, tools like “Polish by groups” are very useful to achieve a more relaxed mesh, and “Inflate” can be used to add a bit of extra volume.
This type of workflow is perfect for preserving the loops of the underlying mesh, ensuring that the loop continuity between meshes is not disrupted. This make it much easier to rig and animate in the end.
After this step, you can easily add loops along the edges you don't want to lose. This allows you to add subdivisions and begin sculpting your highly detailed mesh.
Create quick UVs using the UVMaster tool in the ZPlugin Menu. Make sure to enable the polygoups option activated so that it automatically cuts your mesh based on the groups created during the previous extrusion with the ZModeler brush.
Renaming and exporting your meshes
It is crucial to do this accurately; using the same naming convention for the low and the high meshes will make thing easier for baking. Many softwares tools operate based on naming order, and having your meshes correctly named significantly speeds up the process.
Import the meshes using the quick loader in Toolbag and proceed with the baking using the setup as shown in the references.
Ensure to rename the material correctly before you begin working in your Substance scene.
Set up your scene with your mesh and your baked maps.
Add some interesting materials.
Work with the material as a base.
Duplicate the material and adjust the parameters to create lighter and darker variations.
For the lighter version, use a brighter colour and reduce roughness.
For the darker version, use a darker colour and increase roughness.
With these three layers, you can easily create a simple shader.
After that, you can group your layers and add a black mask to the group. This allows you to isolate parts and continue adding detail to your model.
You can duplicate this group and invert your mask to have another group where you can add more materials and details that work well in the unused parts of the other group.
Add some details to make your model more appeailing, and that’s it.
This is a quick workflow for creating traits (clothes, hats etc.) for avatars intented to be rendered and used as profile pictures. It is easy to follow and yields good results in the end. You can also apply this workflow to a hand-made retopology ready for animation, ensuring that your clothes have the same topology as your mesh. This makes them suitable for animation purposes as well. Feel free to use and adapt this workflow according to your preferences 😉.
I am a 3D artist passionate about sculpting creatures and characters