Newbie advice. Going from Zbrush into an unreal engine 4 map

Very very new to this. I’m just learning digital art with a tablet and am used to traditional format so bear with me here. I want to create a pretty basic map in unreal engine 4. Say a one or two room castle, with simple geometry, and then I would like to create some kind of a custom 3d statue to place inside this castle. What programs do I need to be able to do this? I was thinking of using Zbrush to create the statue and then import it somehow into unreal engine as an object that I can place. Do I need a middle man between these two programs like Maya ? What filetypes does the engine accept?

This will help start my learning process. Thanks guys!

Greetings, MikeMandt!
Make sure you’re optimized model before exporting into Unreal with ZPlugin->Decimation Master or Tool->Geometry->ZRemesher if you want to keep flow of polygons closer to original(Good for organic models which you later want to animate, for example).
Then you can export your model with ZPlugin->FBX ExportImport. If your version of Zbrush lower than 4r7 then you can export via Tool->Export and save your object as .obj

Hope you don;t mind me asking, when going from z brush to UE4, how do you create a normal map and UV Unwrap so that textures could be made or could I just produce a normal map and use Substance Painter to create the textures I need?

I think there is a way to unwrap your model in zbrush but I don’t know how good it is…

Normally you would use a 3d modelling program like blender, maya, max, etc. There are loads of tutorials on youtube on this subject for all those pieces of software, just have a search for them.

For creating normal maps you first need your low poly model unwrapped and then I would recommend using xNormal which is a free program for baking. Again there are tutorials on youtube showing how to use it.

Hey Liondog,
I usually unwrap models in MODO(Or any other general 3d software) and bake normals in Substance.
In Zbrush it possible to achieve acceptable result with ZPlugin->UV Master and Control painting, but it’s solid only for organic meshes and some weird environmental stuff like rocks, cliffs and etc. However I would not recommend this pipeline, in this case it’s better to stick to software where you have more control.
About normal maps - check out this video, it may help you

Thanks zeOrb. Is there any particular reason to use Substance for painting instead of using Photoshop?

I’m tring to use as few programs as possible so I don’t totally overwhelm myself. I.E starting with Photoshop, zbrush and the unreal engine and then buying a subscription to one of the autodesk programs when I get to that stage. What would you recommend?

So just so I understand the workflow is:

  1. Build Model
  2. Decimation Master
  3. UV Unwrap Low Poly
  4. Create Normal Map

Do I need to UV Unwrap before I make a normal map?
Is making a normal map the same as using Substance Painter or Quixel NDO to make the textures and exporting the normals from there along with the other materials?

I just want to verify that I have the workflow correct

I use Photoshop more like utility tool(Masks drawing, tweaking, color correction, small details etc) rather than texture painting. Nowadays with PBR you have to create materials that utilize your textures and masks rather than simple painting. For example your roughness map, metalness map and albedo(new diffuse) are all interconnected and Substance allow to work with all of them at once. Also you can look at result of your work immediately, without exporting textures somewhere else.
You may ignore at now while you learn other stuff but definitely try it later, when you will have some free time

New people often choose 3dsMax to get started in 3d, but I recommend you to stick to Maya - it less friendly, but solid choice for making 3d in game dev. It has nice customization, tools for modeling are more modern than in 3dsMax and so on. Also you may want to try MODO - it user friendly as 3dsMax, but developers tried to reinterpret basic workflow and tool set. In result we have very powerful tool that a bit different from oldschool techniques. I personally love all these changes and I think it’s simply better in many cases, but you have to decide for yourself! There are free trials after all :slight_smile:

So just so I understand the workflow is:

Seems like this normal tool bake details from highest subdivision mesh to the lowest. So it works when you subdivide your model and then want to bake normals within single mesh.

So just export from zbrush your lowpoly and highpoly, bake it in Substance Painter and then work with it like you normally would.