Step 3: Add some creases
Rather than adding in support edge loops to create hard edges, we'll be using Maya's Crease Set Editor. For each mesh select any edges that need a hard edge, then in the Crease Set Editor (Edit Mesh > Crease Set Editor) click New to create a new Crease Set. You can easily add or remove edges from any crease set with the buttons in the Crease Set Editor window.
Each object will need its own Crease Set. Once the object is smoothed these edges will hold its shape without the need for any extra support edge loops.
Step 4: Finalize and export
Continue to create the new meshes for each part of the armor and assign a new crease set to each object where needed. Once all of the objects are complete, delete the object's history (Edit > Delete by Type > History) and export each object separately as a Maya Ascii file to preserve the crease set information. Do this by selecting the object and going to File > Export Selection and set the file type to mayaAscii.
Step 5: ZBrush import
In ZBrush, you can delete (Subtool > Delete) all the original armor blocking meshes, so that the only remaining SubTools are the head, body, eyes and hair. Then under ZPlugin > SubTool Master, select MultiAppend to import the new armor MayaAscii files.
Step 6: Edge smoothing
To see the creases on the SubTools in ZBrush, click on the Draw Polyframe icon (Shift + F) and you'll notice the small, extra, edge loops along the creased edges. Subdivide (Ctrl + D) the mesh a couple of times and you'll notice that the creases create really tight edges. We need to soften these edges to allow for better results when we bake our normal maps.
To soften the edges, once the SubTool has been subdivide 2-3 times, remove the creases by selecting UnCreaseAll (Geometry > Crease > UnCreaseAll) and then subdivide the model again. You should find that the edges have been softened, but the main shapes have been retained.
To soften the edges further and polish the overall shape of the mesh use the Polish by Crisp Edges, Polish by Features and Polish sliders under the Deformation tab. Do this to all the armor SubTools, then we'll move onto detailing!
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