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GCG Feature: Bungie Technical Director Theodore Tackles ZBrush

What's it really like to learn a new piece of gamemaking software? In the latest Game Career Guide feature, Bungie Studios' technical director Steve Theodore takes the plunge
What's it really like to learn a new piece of gamemaking software? In the latest Game Career Guide feature, Bungie Studios' technical director Steve Theodore takes the plunge and relates his story of diving into a new and intimidating package, Pixologic's painting and modeling tool ZBrush. Theodore explains his intentions in his first entry in the account: “I'm finally resolved to get to the bottom of all this ZBrush business. Beautiful models have been popping up all over the net for months now, but every time I've tried to get to grips with ZBrush, I've given up about 15 minutes after installing the demo. This morning I found myself compulsively surfing the gallery on the ZBrush site again, and now I'm determined. I've plunked down my $489 and am downloading the app right now. No more free demos. With five Cs on the table, I'm going to learn this program and see what all the buzz is about.” However, the experience, it turns out, was mixed, as he notes in a later entry written the following day: “There's good news and bad news. The good news is I finished the model, and frankly, I'm amazed. I've gone from a 400-poly box to a high-resolution character in less than a day. I was so grouchy about the crazy poly modeling business I had almost forgotten the liberating power of ZBrush. What joy, to just sculpt without stopping to count vertex valences and or ponder impossible edge loops puzzles! Now for the bad news. I can't open the model. It's too big for Maya to handle the .obj file, which comes in at around 3 million triangles. My original plan was to bring the in the high-resolution model and use a normal caster to generate normals on a low-res copy, but now I can't get all that great detail back into Maya. I can take it down to a lower subdivision (on my machine, Maya seems happy with about 800,000 triangles, though it takes forever).” You can now read more of Theodore's pains and triumphs that came with tackling Zbrush for the first time (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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