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Oglu aka Christoph Schädl
 
 
Posted: Dec 10, 2012
Published by: the area
Homepage: Visit the page
Software: Autodesk Maya, Autodesk Mudbox
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The Area:
Hello Christoph - most of us know you as Oglu on the forums, and you are always out to give a helping hand to users. Asides from your generous tips and advice on the forums, we don't know too much about you..or rather Google doesn't tell us much ;-) Could you share with us your background/specialization and how long have you been working in 3D?
Christoph:
My name is Christoph Schädl. I started with 3D about 12 years ago. At first, it was only a hobby but after some time had passed, I realized it was time to join the industry. At the time in Austria, there was only one studio that I was really interested in, simply due to their high reputation and the company’s impressive track record. I applied for a job and started to work for Rabcat five years ago, where I still am at today. When I began, I was working as a character artist but have now switched to be the rendering and pipeline guy.
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The Area:
What kind of school program were you enrolled in prior to working in the CG industry?
Christoph:
I have completed an apprenticeship as a joiner and a higher-level school for Wood Engineering. But I have no specialized education in 3D or art. Everything I know about 3D, I have learned from the internet or my mentor Steffen Unger (aka Neox). During my first years, I tried to work with every 3D software package I could find. With each new tool, I learned something new that could also be applied in the other applications.
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The Area:
What are some past projects you've worked on to date and in what capacity?
Christoph:
I have worked on large-scale videogame productions such as “Split/Second” (Disney Interactive Studios) and “Forza Horizon” (Microsoft Game Studios). For both games, I was part of the environment team and I can tell you that I’ve made alot of rocks :D I also modeled and textured some spaceships for the “Star Wars” Kinect Game.
Nowadays, because I’m now responsible for rendering, I’ve worked on nearly every Gambling Project at Rabcat. The one I’m most proud of is the Trailer for Forsaken Kingdoms.
The Area:
You are known for your wealth of knowledge in Mudbox, especially in lesser known settings and functionalities. When did you first begin using Mudbox?
Christoph:
In 2006, I heard some rumors about a new Sculpting application developed by some Weta guys during their work on King Kong. After some research and emails, I was able to get into the Mudbox beta. So I’ve been using Mudbox since beta 0.5.
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The Area:
As you know, there are other applications that allow users to sculpt and/or texture in 3D - ZBrush, Sculptris, Mari, 3DCoat..and then even complete 3D packages like Maya can handle sculpting as well. With the various options available, why do you still use Mudbox today?
Christoph:
That’s a good question. Everybody knows I’m a big Mudbox fan. But I don't use Mudbox exclusively, because I also use all the other tools you’ve mentioned. I think the power of Mudbox is the ease of use and that it fits well into our pipeline. An artist is able to learn Mudbox in one day. There isn't too much of a technical learning curve to get past in order to be productive, but its deep enough to surprise also experienced artists. I like the painting in Mud a lot, the editing options in there allow me to stay in Mudbox, so much that I haven't used Photoshop at all for texturing work.
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The Area:
There are likely misconceptions about Mudbox, because probably the UI looks simple and users may think that Mudbox has limited functionality. In your opinion, what are some of the most underrated features of Mudbox?
Christoph:
Yes the Mudbox UI looks simple indeed, it’s easy to handle and the layout is well designed.
One of the most powerful features of Mud is the native support of UV tiles for painting and baking. You are able to split your asset into multiple textures and paint in really high resolution.
And it’s not uncommon to use Mudbox as a baking tool because of its native PTEX and Vector Displacement support. Just import the highres and the animation mesh into Mudbox. Prepare the PTEX setup and bake the maps you need. Most render engines like mental ray, Renderman or VRay are compatible with maps from Mudbox.
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The Area:
As most are aware, Autodesk has a beta program in place, where users participate in helping to shape the development of software by evaluating iterations of the software before commercial release. You are a part of this beta program for Mudbox; without giving anything explicit away, what are your immediate thoughts about the direction of development?
Christoph:
In my opinion, the developers always have in mind what artists need, to get the data into Mudbox and further down the pipeline. Mudbox is in some areas behind the competition, but I hope this will change over time. A lot of artists would like to see Mudbox change into a second ZBrush. With regard to particular areas, I agree with that. Mudbox needs more little tools to help the artist during the day-to-to work. The Mudbox team is working a bit too much on the big features. I believe there should be a better balance between little things and features with a longer development time.
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The Area:
So, obviously no product is perfect -- otherwise, we would all be using that said package already. What areas do you feel Mudbox could be improved upon?
Christoph:
Mudbox is a powerful texturing tool but if you have to unclean UVs in connection with a lowres game mesh, this often fails. Some more love for lowpoly texturing would be fine. And I would like to see some design sculpting tools. Often you need to design during sculpting, so it would be nice to do that in Mudbox as well.
Also, have a look at the Autodesk Mudbox ‘small annoying things’ Voting page. I've posted a lot there.
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The Area:
Asides from Mudbox, what other applications do you keep in your CG toolbox?
Christoph:
I don't use any other tools in my pipeline that are noteworthy to mention. As I mentioned earlier: I usually use Maya for modeling, 3DCoat for retopo and UVLayout for UVs. And last but not least, VRay for rendering.
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The Area:
What are you working on these days?
Christoph:
I can’t say much about my work cause most of the projects are under NDA. But I have some private projects I’m working on. I will post more in the new year.
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The Area:
One more thing – you’ve shared a number of stencils on the Mudbox community. What tips can you suggest for people who want to shoot their own textures?
Christoph:
If I take a second look at those stencils I would say they aren't that good. There is too much light information at some areas.
For shooting your own textures, I recommend a DSLR and a Tale lens to have less distortion. You always have to search for diffuse light conditions. Less shadows means less work in Photoshop. In most cases you need a lot of different images from one object to get enough variation during texturing. Generally, I shoot for two kind of images. One for diffuse texture work and one for masking stencils. Diffuse textures should be clean and repetitive. Masking stencils are high contrast grayscale images.
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The Area:
Thanks for your time, Christoph!
Christoph:
Thanks for the interview.

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Newest users comments View All 5 Comments
Posted by Tzu on Dec 18, 2012 at 11:06 PM
ok guys! mmmm moving totally to MUDBOX!
Posted by xtrm3d on Dec 13, 2012 at 09:19 AM
very good read !!
and great work
Posted by fantasymaster on Dec 12, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Nice interview, dude!

Looking forward to see more insiring stuff you did on the web. Amazing sculpting, as always!
Posted by tswalker on Dec 11, 2012 at 07:00 PM
nice article and recognition... I got to see your work on CGSociety, and found you here too... you've been very helpful... looking forward to see your personal projects.
Posted by sam10bw on Dec 10, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Great interview! The one thing I would love to see in Mudbox is mesh creation I doubt I see it but it's something I would love to see in the upcoming release.