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Few questions on the traditional style of modeling:

I'm trying to git gut at traditional modeling, and I was wondering what tutorials / articles / books out there are worth consuming on the topic (I use maya, but engine independent material is welcome). To clarify, I don't want to model simple, hard-surface stuff, but I'm rather looking for help on managing and developing high poly organic meshes - a human, for instance - and on keeping everything organized and clean, because right now, my models always degen into a mess of unaligned vertices which I can't move without making things even worst.

Is there a correct technical term for this kind of modeling? When I look up "modeling", I get a lot of sculpting as well, so I'm wondering if there's a keyword I'm missing here that'd help me out.

Is making normal maps by hand a thing, or do people now-a-days pretty much bake everything from a zbrush sculpt and be done with it? If the former, where would be the best place to start with that?

Thanks in advance.
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>Is there a correct technical term for this kind of modeling?
box modeling, sub-d modeling

>Is making normal maps by hand a thing,
Sure - I assume you mean making normal maps in a regular 2D image editor

Of course you can also make normal maps "by hand" by painting depth directly onto a model into a normal/height map (not geometry) in something like Substance Painter or 3D-Coat. This way you can add per-pixel normal detail to an already baked map.

For creating and editing normal maps in an image editor, there are different approaches. The typical idea is that you use a height map in greyscale (implicitly or explicity) and use an algorithm to convert it to a normal map. This can have some advantages over 3D workflow since you have access to all the tools of the editor.
For Photoshop there is Quixel nDo which basically works by painting height that is directly converted into normals. So you basically paint or draw a bunch of shapes and it will "indent" or extrude in the normal map, you can even set the profile curve etc.

Krita can now do a lot of that - there is a height-to-normal filter based on Sobel operator that you can add as a filter layer, then just draw into the height map and you see your normals immediately
Krita also has a tangent normal blend mode for blending multiple normal maps based on https://blog.selfshadow.com/publications/blending-in-detail/ which is better than what Photoshop and Quixel offer in this regard, plus a Normalize filter that normalizes normal maps in 3D space
Krita has a brush engine that can paint tangent normals based on the tilt of your tablet pen, so you can paint surface direction with your pen direction.
People also paint normal maps by color picking from a palette like pic related (faceted or smooth) - painting curved surfaces with normals is very difficult of course, that's why there is the height map approach





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