Unlike how delicious the brand of butter I simply referenced is, 3D is not so tasty at times. There are rare times when you can eat your favourite food, enjoy the hell out of it but still be kicked in the taste buds by some unexpectedly bad after taste. It happens once every... hundred times or so, but when it does you feel like you've been made a fool by something you so dearly trusted. Today, I had that experienced. Unlike with food, where running to down the closest thing (like apple juice or jam) usually clears the bad after taste, 3D work takes 100x longer and usually requires a lot of thought and problem solving.
True to my word, I said I would be complaining about Maya, Zbrush, and whatever I could get my hands on. No matter how much experience you have, there are somethings you can't predict. I write this mostly as a precautionary warning to myself and anyone else reading it who can utilize this shared knowledge of pain. Which mostly means I'm writing this for myself.
1: Sometimes it's better to work in pieces than it is to work as a whole.
I'm not sure what to think about this. Intersecting pieces vs a whole continuous mesh? I've used both methods already, and I honestly can't say which is better. For ease of mind and matter, I suppose intersecting pieces is better, but maybe for animation a continuous mesh is better? I'll tell you one thing I know for damn sure, it's a hell of a lot easier to retopologize and bake intersecting pieces than a continuous mesh. Easier on my over heating brain and my over heating computer.
2: EDGE PADDING AND ANTI-ALIASING ARE GOOD.
I cannot emphasize that enough. I always thought there was little reason to care about these settings in xNormal, but it turns out I had been taking them for granted. What they do is they make the normals and occlusion so much better when baking. It makes the rendering go past the UV borders and ensures that you can't see any nasty seams. It also cuts down on time spent cleaning up your easy bake mesh afterwards. I never knew, luckily I work methodically (or I'm paranoid...) so I can fix these issues up, but I never would have seen this coming. And to think I did it just to save my computer some effort rendering. Good for nothing...
3: Decimation Master is...sketchy.
Well, I spent most of today fighting with Zbrush crashing on me every 3 seconds. I have no idea why it's doing this, chalk it up to the randomness and sheer frustrating...frustration of 3D programs. Photoshop never did this to me, photoshop has always been kind and gentle. I love photoshop. I can't say why Zbrush isn't working, my usual method of figuring out what's wrong by eliminating what I've done and retracing my steps isn't working because Zbrush has quite a rigid work flow, another reason I want 3.5 R3, though, probably not a great reason.
Well, that's all I have for now, at least Haruka is coming along nicely, the bake turned out well except for minor (or not) grievances that I've outlined above. Update somewhat soon, when I finish the textures.