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 This tutorial helps you to understand a bit about mapping procedures of these two useful and powerful 3d softwares.

 You must already know Creation (modeling), Importing/Exporting within both 3D Studio MAX and ZBRUSH. Also the maps creation in ZBRUSH and UWVs in 3D Studio MAX.If you have your base model made in 3d Studio Max the steps are the followings:
Once the base mesh is done, and you want ZBRUSH only for details such as diffuse and bumps, you have to set up Well the UWVs Coordinates (to set a good UWV map.)

The base model made in 3D max, and its UWV sets.


Once you have the mesh and its UWVs done, you can export a new OBJ from 3D Studio Max. It would be better if you’d export it with the Guru Wave: Exporting Plugin, because, it has a preset that made ZBRUSH OBJs (look for gw::OBJExporter at

Now you are ready to import a new tool into ZBRUSH and create the maps you need.

Apply as many “divisions” into ZBRUSH to your imported OBJ and create the maps you need.


Once you have ready all the maps DIFUSE,CAVITY,DISPLACEMENT and NORMAL, you are ready for the next important step. Before you do that, be sure that your maps(.tiff, .psd, or .bmps) are all the same size, so you can obtain a better result for the rendering process in 3d Studio MAX.

 ZBRUSH final Result of the Imported OBJ.


Before applying maps to a 3d Max material, you need to flip them vertically, otherwise they won’t fit to the mesh. Also the Alpha Chanel by ZBRUSH is a bit different than the one of 3D Max and also other 3D software such as MAYA. ZBRUSH, in a displacement map for example, uses the grey color to identify there is no displace at all, while 3d MAX (and others) use the black color. So you need to set up the RGB Offset in Output into Material (in 3d max) so instead of value: 1 you can try the value: -5 that in my case worked.
Take a look at the following maps:

*Note that DISPLACEMENT map has grey as base color, which has to be set to black, as said before.


DIFFUSE MAP (flipped)

CAVITYY MAP(not flipped)


So you have the maps created within ZBRUSH, you flipped them, and you know that the displacement map’s RGB Offset has to be set to value -0.5 instead of value 1, but you could still have some problems on fitting well the textures. That’s probably because in ZBRUSH when you imported the OBJ created in 3d MAX, and you started applying all the “painting” and shape modification, you didn’t select the Store MT into Morph Target.

That would help you to remember the original shape of your primary exported OBJ from 3d MAX. But there is also a solution and this one is: You re-export the OBJ form ZBRUSH, but this time with no division” (smooth) on it. And this will be your OBJ – mesh that you apply maps to.


Now you are ready to test your images. Do that simply putting the right maps to the right places (where they belong).
Diffuse Map to Diffuse,
Normal Map to Bump Map,
Displacement Map to Displacement (by the way be sure you pick a SHADER(“renderer”) you can
handle it best, because VRAY has different result with different procedures than Mental Ray or
Cavity Map to Glossiness or RGlossiness(Vray) Map,
Normal Map to Bump Map
If you do want to render a model you started to create straight into ZBRUSH
Before you need to apply any kind of modifications onto the mesh you create into ZBRUSH, you need, first of all, to export this mesh at a base MODE (not too many divisions) into a OBJ. Once you exported it you import it into 3D Max and set up the UWVs coordinates. From now on you go ahead like said up there.
For the result I couldn’t render, is not much to say, except that with these UWV coordinates you will have some texture problems, so the most important part is to set up well, the UWV map of your primary mesh obj, that you will import into Zbrush.
You can improve details and quality but it needs time. So it’s up to you whether you want to make a quick model to be animated or to make a High Quality Still Image (HQSI) ☺..This passage from ZBRUSH to 3d Max and vice versa, helps you avoiding exporting the huge models made in ZBRUSH that have millions of polygons into a software that works with pixels and not pixols (like ZBRUSH). Hope it helps you understand a bit about mapping procedures of these two useful and powerful 3d software.

Reference: 3D Graphix


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