Tutorial: Make Hi-Res/Low-Poly VR Chat Avatars with MasterpieceVR

Hey ya'll.

I wanted to share with you my VR workflow for creating some of my recent VR Chat Avatars which are low-poly but still incredibly detailed. Let me re-iterate, this is a Virtual Reality workflow which I found suites my particular style of art. I've been sculpting and painting since birth so if you'd prefer I just make a model for you...then that's a different conversation altogether (hit me up). But if you're like me and you have a VR rig, MasterpieceVR and love to paint and sculpt then listen closely (video coming down the line). There's many ways to get to Rome but this is the way I did it.

Software needed:
MasterpieceVR ($30)
MeshLab (Free)
Tiltbrush with Poly Account ($30)
3D Coat (Free Trial...Windows 3D paint might work too...don't know)
Unity 5.6.3 with VR Chat SDK (Free)
Internet Access

STEP 1: The first thing I did was sculpt the avatar and left the eyes out so I could add them in Tiltbrush. I painted my model but you don't have to since you'll be doing that in 3D coat. 

STEP 2: Export your humanoid. I did it as an OBJ but as of writing this, I see that MasterpieceVR has a new export option which wasn't available. 

STEP 3. Import your mesh into MeshLab and go to Filters/Remeshing, Simplification and Reconstruction/Simplification - Quadratic Edge Collapse Decimation. A pop up will appear asking you what your target number of faces are. VR Chat restricts you to under 20k so I did mine at 15k and it was just fine. I didn't push it to 20k because I'm going to add some brush strokes in Tiltbrush and want to leave some wiggle room.

A pop up will appear. Set target number of faces to under 20,000 for VR Chat.

A pop up will appear. Set target number of faces to under 20,000 for VR Chat.

STEP 4: Upload the model into Poly and then open Tiltbrush. 

STEP 5: Load your model into the default scene. You'll notice on the floor that there is a square with 2 lines marking the dead center of the environment. Turn on Mirror Mode and line it up directly over this point. Now bring your T-pose model so he is centered with his feet on the floor. The mirror mode helps because it adds a y-axis which helps you with your placement.

Tilt brush has a number of great brushes but many of them add a ridiculous amount of polys. Seriously, the toon brush can add thousands really fast. I suggest using 'WIRE' or 'FIRE' as fire is really just a .png and wire is low poly.  EXPORT from the Labs (see video) and then bring that .FBX file into 3D Coat (or similar painting program).

I love 3D Coat because I don't have to do anything special to prep the .FBX I outputted from Tiltbrush and it has a Photoshop style interface which is intuitive. I used the 'PER PIXEL PAINTING' option when painting this and you should too.

For the rest of the tutorial please refer to this video, cheers:)

Getting the model painted and into UNITY

More in depth video of using the SDK in UNITY.