ZGametools Texturer : Sharing my progress and my workflow

Some Features :

Bake accurate normal maps and target the engine of your choice compatible with GGX and metalness workflow.
*** Optimize GGX reflections for Marmot toolbag, or Unreal Engine 4 using engine target presets, and some more support to come for ( maya/stingray, unity, cryengine)
**** Baking time are faster that substance painter baker or any other solution on the market ! *
***** BPR rendering AA is taking no time ! better quality that what Substance Painter 2.4.1 gave me after 1 minutes of baking with no AA !

Bridge Zbrush to Photoshop, Marmot Toolbag, and Unreal engine 4 with no effort. *
Use Toolbag or Unreal Engine 4 as previewer during your sculpting session in zbrush.
Switch to normal map shader then, sculpt directly the normal map in zbrush canvas.


Complete description of the video :

Workflow with External application * (all along the video i jump from app to app)

Workspace manager helps to exchange with Zbrush > photoshop > Marmot Toolbag, then finally end into Unreal engine 4.
Both applications helps to check the all the baking that is entirely achieved into Zbrush, with the new Normal map Matcap.
Work in Zbrush, then bake and switch to the game engine and apply the edit, then you can use Toolbag or UE4 as previewer in combo with zbrush,
during your sculpt session.

1a. Sending the baked texture using ZgameTools core to Photoshop,
Note : then after the document is open into Photoshop, you don’t need to use the core module, it will update in Ps if the file has changed.
1b. I just apply the crop to the texture to remove the margin and by the way the 1 pixel black border.

2a. Toolbag scene has been setup just before the video capture.
2b. The path to the texture are pointing  within the workspace directory, where zbrush batch save all rendered passes you setup in the render options of the Zgametools.
2c. Then when you switch to PS or marmot toolbag will automatically apply the textures changes without to do anything.

3a. In UE4 you import your texture then setup the material,
3b. then you will only have to select the updated texture in content browser and click Reimport !

Clipping Tools ** ( 2’15 in the video)

Get more control on soft or sharpen edges of your sculpt/texture using the Zbrush tools ( clay polish, smooth, relax etc..)
Note : I use a clipping plane with an offset that is driven by the layers intensity, depend the result i like to get, adjust the clipping for soft or sharpen edging.

zbrush-vs-spainter-normal-map-cliping-methodOn top ZGameTools baking using the clipping plane method, on bottom Substance Painter 2.4.1

GGX Reflections ***

Take the control on how the GGX reflections applies the horizon occlusion on your normal map, mostly depends of the game engine you choose to export to.
Several presets (Unreal engine 4, Unity 3d, Maya/Stingray, Marmot toolbag) are now available in Zgametools Texturer to match the game engine of your
choice with the optimized settings.

Rendered into Unreal Engine 4.13  ( on top ZGametools bake, on bottom Substance painter bake)


Baking Rendering Time ****

My computer specs : ( low spec :s)

  • Amd phenom II
  • 6 gb ram
  • Geforce 760 GTX
  • no ssd

Example :

Zbrush BPR Default AA Settings, Substance Painter with no AA
2048*2048 take only 6 seconds in Zbrush with BPR and default AA settings, and between 30 seconds to a minute to bake using Substance painter with no AA.


On left ZGametools baking, on right Substance painter 2.4.1


Stay tuned.


MESA on Gumroad

Hey there, i differed the announcement to inform you about the availability of MESA on Gumroad.

Few words about the meaning of this :

Gumroad provides me analytic data, mean that i know who download, you can contact me using gumroad interface, and with that I can offer a better support for my users.

MESA is free and will never being charged, but in the case you appreciate the tool and the effort done to make it real, and/or you liked the service i , you can make a donation buy defining a price to support me. All funds goes to maintain my web services, like this blog and are welcome to help me to maintain my Activity and my pipeline tool and my projects alive.

Gumroad is the chosen platform to sell and share some resources, so stay tuned to check if there is no freebies to appear on my page, doing some zbrush custom brush and a nice UI that increase the workflow .
It ‘s possible that a little and cool plugin for Zbrush is on the way too :)

I am thinking about to commit some Sample scenes for MESA on gumroad.


MESA Documentation Update


After an hard work I hope you will appreciate the new MESA documentation:

It still necessary to update the screenshots on the Export guide, but it might be good enough for today.

I got a lot more in mind, like to write a tutorial  on how to create custom projects workspaces, to work with your mod projects. and that would comes in addition to complete the The Installation Guide.

I would like to record a new time the video tutorial about the installation, and instead of one tutorial , i will split the process in two videos, the first would be dedicated to MESA Setup, and a second one for the Project Setup.

And the most important, is that i must to make a Guide about the Characterization.


As reminder this feature help you to compile a npc character  or a player character(third person model) using the npc animation set and the player animation set from the human sdk provides with the sourceSDK content. The human sdk is included with MESA 2.1 and is located into ” MESA/addons/human_sdk“.

Unfortunately, i don’t provide the reference biped in rest posture, but I am working on sort of Sample Projects, from the one you could check out on you own, how the scenes are structured, you could simply copy the samples scenes into your own project workspace then using this Characterization feature.

MESA 2.1 released

Long while without giving a sign of life, i am sorry for the lack of activity on my blog, a lot of change has been applied to my website since i write down the last Post,
The WP theme has changed, and the layout, and a better sectionning so i can make cohabit my devBlog and MESA, and a forum and even if i never found a moment to create my portfolio here, one day it will finally happen :x

Ok Today , it’s all about MESA 2.1 release, this version is a revision of every edits i had made all along the last year, and recently i thought this would be important to fix the compatibility with SMD file produced by the decompilation of MDL files using Crowbar.(http://steamcommunity.com/groups/CrowbarTool)

  • SMD IMPORT : Compatibility with crowbar mdl decompiler
  • SMD IMPORT : Rewrite of the ReadUntil function in use when you importing a SMD file into maya.
  • SMD IMPORT : Import Reference, no longer force maya to create a new scene when importing an SMD file.
  • SMD IMPORT : Mouse Cursor don’t flick anymore during the SMD importing process.
  • INSTALL/CONFIG : Simplification of Mesa_config.bat file, the simplification has been apply to every projects batchs files too.
  • SMD IMPORT (ref) : weight skin data greatly improved during the smd reference import in maya.
  • SMD IMPORT (ref) : very small skin value are pruned at the import process.
  • SMD IMPORT (seq) : don’t need anymore to rename the unknowdag1 object to “unknowdag”, let it with the default name,the smd sequence will stop to throw you the error message about the missing unknowdag object.
  • SMD EXPORT : bug with the compileQc() function that give a wrong path to studiomdl.exe
  • SHELF TOOLs : BUG with the path to launch qcEye from the shelf
  • SHELF TOOLs : BUG with the path to open the current model into hlmv
  • COMPILE LOG : a printed information that bring confusion with a suspicious double quotation at the beginning of the path of studioMDL Compilation and VTEX.
  • SAMPLE ASSETs : adding some samples ready to use with maya and to compile with your game projects.

Read the complete  2.1 release notes

You can download MESA from the Download page, or you can download MESA from Github.
If you get in trouble with the new build of MESA, you can report the bugs/issues on that topic.

Hello World ! I’m still alive, just an..


… harder time with project and life stuffs.

I would d like to apologize about the lack of update, and the unfinished guide for Dota 2.

I would like to inform the MESA users that a last maintenance  will be provide and  BUT Mesa is DISCONTINUED, because I am moving up to new horizon in game development and i want to work with Engine that reflect the current technology in game industry, so I am sorry to leave MESA user without  any support for the source engine.

But you can still Post your help Topic into the forum, you probably noticed that i am very slow to respond with the question there are posted, happily with the wade number of people who download mesa 2.0.1 everyday, it seem that the installation system has successfully  made their effect, as the question are most commonly about the setup and the basic usage.

I can’t To say when this last update of mesa will be release, it will just fix few detail :

  • 1. Re-localization of source sdk in Common directory.
  • 2. adding import in Existent scene. So you could import a full collection set for your characters and the Valve workshop.


Nicolas Kirsch

MESA 2.0 released now

Dear Mesaïan,

It a great pleasure for me to announce the availability of MESA 2.0
MESA is a tool-set of scripts for Autodesk Maya that can Import and Export to the Source engine.

This is a list of the new functionalities and improvements than MESA 2.0 brings.



    • The new environment System is now completely independent from the Source Sdk Environment variables.


    • The Maya.env files is no longer used to define the environment variables that MESA requires to work.


    • MESA provides the project environment workspaces for the 20 Games powered by the Source Engine.


    • The UI has been refines ( check the Screenshot section )


    • Guide Sections (under development) this section wil brings some use full tips and important information
      with the creation of assets vehicles, npcs, items, and weapons.


    • and more…



The new MESA panel :




Click on the Tab to display the screenshots :





Installation ( article )
How to Update ( article )



Report Bugs and Development

You can use the Issue report service that Github offers for developpers to report any bug, or features requests.

MESA on Github

Nicolas Kirsch

MESA 2.0 Released

All right that Here :)

Click on the Logo ! and check the main menu for all the detail, lot of documentation and Video tutorials.

I will post a better announcement tomorrow, the night was so long =)