Building a Base Mesh pt7: putting it all together

Building a Base Mesh pt7: putting it all together

Finally, I assemble the pieces I created in the previous 6 videos to build the base mesh. The base mesh is based on the 8-head high figure contained in the Andrew Loomis book “Figure Drawing for All It’s worth”.

Radiant Rig 2.0.0

 Radiant Rig 2.0.0 released

 – Detection of rigify addon added
– Deleted duplicate HumanMetaRig class
– Fixed heel calculation error
– Improved rigging proportions using Vitruvian Man proportions (Thanks Da Vinci!)
– Improved finger rigging with new algorithm (Thanks Fibonacci)
– Fixed context errors

Available for download at
 fullbody generatedbound

Radiant Rig Help

Radiant Rig is my implementation of the paper “Raycast based auto-rigging method for Humanoid meshes” by Romain Lopez (ESGI Paris) and Christophe Poirel (ESGI Paris). It works only in Blender 2.6.8 and above. Radiant Rig depends upon Rigify. Radiant Rig automatically creates a human meta-rig sized to fit the selected figure. Download Radiant Rig here.


Rigify comes pre-installed in Blender. It needs to be activated in order for it to work with Radiant Rig.

1) Go into User Preferences (Windows CTRL+ALT+U or Macintosh CMD+,)


2) Click on “Addons” and search for “Rigging: Rigify”. Make certain there is a checkmark beside Rigify.


3) Click on “Install from file” and select the downloaded Radiant Rig Zip file.


4) Click on the box beside “Rigging: Radiant Rig” to active Radiant Rig.


5) Click on “Save User Settings”.



1) Click on ‘N’ to show the Properties Panel. Load your figure into Blender.


2) Click “Generate Auto-Rig”.


3) You might get the following message:

Calculation Error. Unable to find all limbs.
Possible Causes:
* Limbs are covering each other.
* Not a humanoid figure.
* Clothing mesh on top of figure: Try with split mesh.


4) Click on “Split Mesh”


5) When the splitting is complete, click on “Generate Auto-Rig”.



6) Once rig calculation is complete, a new rig based on the Human Meta-Rig will be generated.



6) Click on “Bing Rig” to bind both the clothing and the main figure to the rig.


7) Your rig is now attached to your figure.


Get the most out of Blender

Rather than type out text tutorials, I thought I would collect links to some of the best video tutorials for Blender. Most of the tutorials give tips for rendering but the last tutorial shows how to use GoB, an unofficial GoZ for sending models between Blender and ZBrush.

LuxRender tutorials

  1. Introduction to LuxRender in Blender 2.5 from BlenderCookie (26:36 minutes)
    Basic setup information on LuxRender by Jonathan Williamsonluxrender_on_blendercookie

  2. Introduction to Lighting in Luxrender and Blender (9:07 minutes)
    Is your LuxRender a black screen? You may have the lights turned the wrong way. Avoid this with the help of Frederik Steinmetz

  3. The Secrets of Realistic Texturing in Blender (34:27)
    Although done in Cycles, the advice applies to other renderers. Make your renders look better with texture advice from Andrew Price.

Blender & ZBrush

  1. GoB Zbrush Import-Export for Blender (10:05 minutes)

Turn ZBrush 3D Layers into Blender Shape Keys

In ZBrush tools can’t be retopologized without destroying existing 3D layers. In Blender, objects can be retopologized and existing Shape keys will be altered accordingly. The altered base object and its shape keys can then be reimported into ZBrush. The conversion is tedious work. I attempted using the GoB plugin, an unofficial GoZ for Blender, but the steps became even more tedious then simply exporting all the 3D layers as obj files. To do this tutorial, you will need the Corrective Shape Key script for Blender available for download at

Step 1: Set up Blender

Install the Corrective Shape Key script (Blender)

1) Download the script.

2) Open Blender.

3) Open User Preferences.


4) Click on Addons.


5) Click on Animation.


6) Click on Install from file and select the script.

7) Checkmark the script to the on postion.


You are now ready to use Corrective Shape Keys.

Step 2: Export from ZBrush to Blender


1) Open ZBrush.Steps for Conversion

2) Turn off group under Export and export the main object.




3) Turn on the first 3D layer in the layer palette.


4) Export the obj with the applied layer using a different name. I name them after the 3D layer.

5) Turn off the selected layer, turn on the next 3D layer and repeat steps 3 and 4 until all layers have been exported.

6) Open Blender.

7) Import all the obj files.



8) Type B to do a box select then select all imported objects. Type CTRL A and select location then type CTRL A again to select rotation.



9) Select the base object using the Outliner.


10) For the base object under Object Data > Shape Keys click the plus sign to add a new Shape Key called “Basis”.


11) For each 3D layer obj, select the morphed object first then select the base object. Use the Outliner to do this selection.


12) Under Object Data > Shape Keys click on the downward triangle and select Add as corrective pose shape (fast, armatures only)


13) A new shape key should have been added based on the name of the morphed object.n You can rename it as you see fit. Turn off the new shape key by clicking on the eye.

14) Click on “Basis” then repeat steps 9 to 12 for all the morphed objects.Please Not, if you miss the step, you will overwrite your previous shape key with the new one.

You can now modify the geometry of your base object and the changes will be propagated to all the shape keys. Unfortunately you cannot work in mirror mode to edit your topology so check both sides frequently with each edit.


Step 3: Export from Blender to ZBrush


Back to ZBrush

1) In Blender export the obj file with NO SHAPE KEYS APPLIED.

2) In Blender, for each shape key, turn on the shape key and export it as a new obj file. Turn it off after the export.

3) Once done exporting all the morphs, open ZBrush and import the base obj.

4) For each morph obj, add a new layer in ZBrush and keep it in record mode.

5) Import a morph. This automatically turns a morph object int0 a 3D layer.

6) Turn off record and click on the eye to hide the morph.

7) Rename the layer to keep track of which morphs have been added

8)Repeat until done.

Blender with BSurfaces: My Dream 3D app come true?

BSurfaces v1.5 on Vimeo

Image taken from a video by Blend_ideas at vimeo.

Three years ago, I knew about Blender but it still had many usability issues and had poor implementations of the things I was used to in commercial software.

The move to the new 2.5 interface made Blender more attractive and easier to learn. With the addition of BSurfaces and Cycles, Blender is seriously giving commercial software a run for its money in the areas of modeling and rendering respectively. External renderers like YafaRay and LuxRender make Blender even more competitive. Sculpting and animation are two areas where Blender is still not as strong as compared to commercial software like ZBrush (can’t rebuild subdivision levels, can’t handle billion+ polygon counts, and a limited number of sculpting tools) or Maya (more compatibility with other 3D apps and sophisticated rigging and animation tools) but given the rate of improvement this could change.

What is so great about BSurfaces? Put simply, BSurfaces allows an artist to create an intricate surface with just a few hand drawn lines; ZBrush has a similar feature but Blender’s version preserves good topology. BSurfaces also supports retopology in a method very similar to Topogun. Draw the guidelines and BSurfaces fills in the polygons. Although it does not come standard with Blender, you can download the addon from Blender Artists Bsurfaces thread (Dec. 1, 2015). If Blender had been this good in 2009, I could have saved myself some serious change. Click on the image above to see BSurfaces in action in a video by Blend_Ideas.

Update August 17, 2012: QRemesher in ZBrush 4R4 provides similar topology functions to Blender’s BSurfaces.