Reallusion's Character Creator 3 is a great tool for creating characters and for providing base meshes that can be exported to 3D apps like ZBrush for further refining or complete overhauling.
The only problem when using these meshes as a base for clothing, armor or accessory creation is trying to get sort of straight lines out of a mesh that is a mix of quads and some tris thrown in. The vertices are a bit jumbled up and can be difficult to work with.
Reallusion has tried to solve some of this since Character Creator hit the scene by making their base meshes more quad than tris. The triangles are limited to orphaned areas, islands, between much sweeter quads but even their lines are not even enough to get a clean mesh extract or poly group a duplicate from.
In Reallusion's defense, there are reasons for the mesh to be this way in its final form such as reducing overhead on the system running it. The problem is the triangulated AND quad surface. Everything is peachy until you run into an orphaned tri and there goes your smooth line requiring a little more work to refine.
Who needs a smooth line you say? There are ways to deal with that after the fact??? Yes… but not if you are new to this type of modeling. Pros have many ways of dealing with this and all are a bit complicated if not impossible for beginners.
A clean mesh is a great mesh. Or… if this does not insult your Southern Baptist ways of thinking it is considered the “God” of meshes. Anyone in a pipeline will thank you for it and you will appreciate what can be made from it with less hassle.
So how do we get to this Nirvana state of mesh perfection? Well… you and I don't… generally. It still takes a lot of time and refined talent but… ZBrush has the tools to help us get a long way down that road by just pushing some buttons here and there.
It's not going to be the perfect mesh. No one is going to rave about it on social media but your family/roommate/neighbors will appreciate the lessening of the late night tantrums as your reasons for those tantrums are diminished by starting with a cleaner mesh.
A cleaner mesh is closer to a Godly mesh. Remember that Grasshopper… it will serve you well.
So how do we get to there for here?
Mainly… the improved ZRemesher tool.
Don't use decimation master unless you need low, low poly for a game. Decimation creates triangles, which are fine at the END of the production pipeline but not anywhere else.
Hence… ZRemesher and it's improved toolset.
- From CC3 select your mesh and use the ZBrush button to send to ZBrush. Once over there bring it in and make it editable.
- Duplicate the mesh you just imported in case you need to start over.
- Turn on Draw Poly Frame so you can see the makeup of the mesh.
- Using the latest version of ZRemesher with Double button on, hold down ALT and press the ZRemesher button.
Smile… you now have a much cleaner mesh with smoother topology, and never once did you have to manually re-topologize anything!
From here I usually Divide the mesh two times up to level three and delete the lower levels to create the mesh I will work with. Once finished I will use ZRemesher again, this time set to Half instead of double, to lower the poly count down to an acceptable level.
I also Crease the poly groups before doing this to maintain form. This allows me to use the DetectEdges and KeepCreases features of ZRemesher making the base mesh retain more of the original higher poly count form.
Again… it's not the perfect mesh but it's a much better starting point for extraction/masking or cutouts via poly groups from which you can make clothing, armor, and accessories.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.