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thatguyfromthething

Mesh projection that keeps normal map generation quality in mind?

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Like many people I like to have a low poly and a high poly mesh for characters, then use the high poly mesh to generate out normal maps. Zbrush works great (most of the time) for high poly stuff, and maya is good for low poly stuff and perfect for animation. Unfortunately they are both terrible at each others' task, and going back and forth is a big time waster and in zbrush it very often leads to loss of detail or the need to redo lots of work. I also waste a lot of time on tweaks in maya to get just the right mesh that will deform perfectly and fits the cage well. To combat this I finally broke down and made a maya plugin that I can use to project parts of the low poly mesh onto the high poly mesh. The people rejoiced (well, I did), but soon I realized that while it was saving time it didn't save nearly as much time as I'd hoped. It works great where the changes are gradual, but it tends to make an even mesh and doesn't take sharp corners or protrusions into account well. Places like elbows or feet get butchered every time, and while it's easy to fix them it gets pretty time consuming and it also negates a lot of the work the projection did in the first place to try and make the poly placement more even. So that is the problem at hand, one that is easy to understand in real terms but seems very difficult to put into terms of some sort of algorithm. Probably no easy answer here but keep in mind I have some of the work done already, and better yet the problem is more limited in scope. So what I need is something that does the following: 1. Works on single point of well made low poly mesh at a time. No need to rebuild whole mesh. 2. moves that point in direction that somehow corresponds to a tigher fit to the cage mesh. By tighter fit I don't mean the vertex points, but closer in such a way that it minimizes the area difference between the two meshes. 3. minimizes 'hot spots' of variance between the meshes. That is, minimizes problems in places like elbows and especially the feet for some reason where big chunks of detail can be completely cut off. what I have already is: 1. very fast nearest neighbors check between meshes. 2. projection that moves out (or in) from vertex normal until it collides with cage. 3. Ability to calculate area for a submesh (but not super fast). 4. anything in the maya API 5. very fast lossless vert smoothing. Anyone have any ideas?

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