A very trying day, but something i must get used to if i want to keep experimenting with new technology. I tried exporting a displacement map from Mudbox to apply to my model in maya and encountered some problems.

First off I chose to export a displacement map because if I exported it as a OBJ and imported back into Maya, the geometry would be too higher pollycount and would make it hard to work with in terms of processing speed.

Something I have discovered with these programs is how temperamental they are.

On the college computers i exported a displacement map and applied it to my model in maya and had some unsightly jigsaw effects where some edge loops tuner into gaps in the geometry. but… i have just exported the map on my home computer, using the same settings as college, to take a screen shot of the problem for this post and the problem didn’t happen at all! in  fact it look quite good. So i am very confused, I have spent most of the day trying to work out why it was happening and how i could fix it.

Turns out i had a screen shot of the problem after all.

So here’s what i did today to try and fix it.

First off i thought i was doing something wrong in the exporting. I tried a video tutorial on vimeo which i wish i never watched as it just confused me because the chap didn’t know what he was doing, everything he did didn’t work and he was back tracking all the time and i couldn’t keep up with what stage I should have been at.

I found a written tutorial which exported using a vector map and every time i followed the instructions and hit export mudbox crashed, three times. So i scrapped that tutorial.

A friend (Andy Howden) conducted a little test to see if he was getting the same results. His test was sucessful, so i copied what he did to see if i was doing anything wrong. So i created a sphere in maya, exported it directly into mudbox using the send to mudbox option in maya. That imported fine. Did a quick skribble using the sculpt tool and exported it as a displacement map…. it did not work.. i got a displacement map with no signs of displacement.

BAD MAP! (below)

This is what it should have looked like. (below)

We couldn’t understand it. In an attempt to find any sort of solution i closed all my programs and started from scratch and followed all the same steps that Andy did and this time it worked!

I have no idea why it didn’t in the first place but it worked in the end using the same method as I was using before that wasn’t working. ????

So I re attempted to export my displacement map of my dragonfly and to eliminate that jigsawing effect I was shown the Mental Ray Aproximation Editor. I am not really sure what it is or totally sure what and how it does what it does, which I normally like to do but i think my brain had had enough for one day so that is something I will look at in more depth another day in another post.


So using this mental ray approximation editor, i needed to click create on the subdivisions section. It was this that pulled those gaps in the edge loops together that was the problem in the first place. Then using the N Subdivisions value in attribute editor, you can control the intensity of  the displacement map.

This was a huge relief at the end of a very mentally challenging day. The was talk of having to start my model from scratch and that was something I couldnt conceive with only 2 weeks till dead line. Now that I have discovered what it is I have to do to export it from MudBox, discovered this jigsaw problem found a solution I can finish my sculpt in Mudbox…or so I thought.

I got home and was met with the most dreaded warning and student/modeller could get.


After everything I contended with today as well! but thats just sometimes how it goes! I don’t understand this message, because something is really wrong. It is telling me that my file version is Mudbox 2013 and that the Mudbox version I am trying to open it in is 2012 but it is 2013??? I have been saving  back up files at different stages and it only seems like version 5 and 6 ( the ones I worked on at college) are the only ones that bring up this message. I have my files backed up at college and I am hoping they will open there and the sculpting between version 5 and 6 will open at college as i did quite a lot. In the mean time I am downloading the Mudbox hotfix to see if this will fix my problem at home if not i hope they are not corrupt. I will find out tomorrow if I need to lose a few days work, fingers crossed the files at college are ok.