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ZBrush

A Beginner's Guide to the 3D sculpting program, ZBrush

ZBrush 101

 

  Shortcut: B C B   

  Shortcut: B T D   

  Shortcut: B D S   

  Shortcut: B M V   

   Moves faces as a whole beneath the brush falloff.

  Shortcut: B I N   

   Pulls faces out along their surface normal direction as opposed to one normal direction as with the Standard brush.

  Shortcut: B S T   

   The default ZBrush sculpting brush. Pulls faces directly out in the direction of the surface normal under the center of the brush.

  Shortcut: B P I   

   Pulls vertices together

  Shortcut: B N U   

   Slides edges along the surface.

SMOOTH BRUSH

  Shortcut: SHIFT + Any Brush

   Smooth details on a surface towards an ‘average’ level of that surface.

GEOMETRY

 
Tool>Geometry sub-palette default items

Tool>Geometry sub-palette default items

Lower Res

The Lower Subdivision Resolution button selects the next-lower-resolution mesh from this object’s alternative mesh resolutions. Higher-resolution meshes can be added by pressing the Divide button in the Geometry sub-palette. If this tool is a ZSphere object in Preview mode, use the Density slider in the Adaptive Skin sub-palette to determine the maximum mesh resolution.

Higher Res

The Higher Subdivision Resolution button selects the next-higher-resolution mesh from this object’s alternative mesh resolutions. Higher-resolution meshes can be added by pressing the Divide button in the Geometry sub-palette. If this tool is a ZSphere object in Preview mode, use the Density slider in the Adaptive Skin sub-palette to determine the maximum mesh resolution.

SDiv slider

The Subdivision Level slider selects the alternate mesh resolution. A value of 1 selects the lowest-resolution mesh. Higher-resolution meshes can be added by pressing the Divide button in the Geometry sub-palette. If this tool is a ZSphere object in Preview mode, use the Density slider in the Adaptive Skin sub-palette to determine the maximum mesh resolution.

Cage

When dividing the mesh with smoothing active, the shape and placement of polygons in lower levels change. With the Cage button pressed, ZBrush recalculates the placement of the base vertices so the object conforms to its pre-divided shape. Before generating a displacement map for this object, the original low-res base mesh must be restored. If it cannot be recalled or imported, the Cage button provides a means of approximating it. The button is inactive when the highest-resolution mesh is selected.

Del Lower

The Delete Lower Subdivision Level button removes all lower-resolution meshes from this object’s alternative mesh resolutions. Higher-resolution meshes can be added by pressing the Divide button in the Geometry sub-palette.

Del Higher

The Delete Higher Subdivision Level button removes all higher-resolution meshes from this object’s alternative mesh resolutions. Higher-resolution meshes can be added by pressing the Divide button in the Geometry sub-palette.

Freeze SubDivision Levels

Freeze SubDivision Levels will preserve higher level detail when using DynaMesh.

Reconstruct Subdiv

The Reconstruct Subdivision button attempts to construct a lower-resolution mesh level from the current lowest level. If successful, the new mesh becomes level 1, and the current lowest level becomes level 2.

Convert BPR To Geo

The Convert BPR To Geo button will convert a BPR render result of MicroMesh or FiberMesh into actual geometry that can be sculpted.

Divide

The Divide button doubles the horizontal and vertical resolution of the current 3D tool. Each polygon along the object’s face becomes divided into four polygons — two wide and two high — thus quadrupling the number of polygons which make up the object.
If this object is a polymesh, and no portions of the mesh are masked or hidden, a new, higher alternate mesh resolution is added. You can switch between higher- and lower-resolution meshes and perform appropriate edit actions; ZBrush automatically applies the edits to lower- and higher-resolution meshes.

Smt

The Subdivide Smooth button determines how the mesh will be divided when the Divide button (left) is pressed. With the Subdivide Smooth button pressed, the mesh will be smoothed when divided.

Suv

The Smooth UV button, if pressed, determines that UV coordinates are smoothed when the next Divide or Edge Loop action is performed.

  • When the Smooth UV mode is enabled, the UV smoothing is automatically updated when the subdivision levels are changed. This re­moves the need to manually re-import a smooth UV version of the model or constantly use the ReUV command.

 

MASKING

mask is an area of your model that is ‘shielded’ from sculpting, painting, etc. Masks only apply when in 3D Edit mode. (See ZBrush Modes.)

Note: The sections below talk about manipulating masks directly as you model. However, the Tool:Masking submenu contains quite a few controls that can be used to generate masks automatically, affect properties of masks and mask drawing, etc.

Masked areas are not simply on/off. Instead, they can be unmasked, partially masked to some degree, or fully masked. The effect that operations such as sculpting have on masked areas of a model depends on the intensity of the mask at each point.

Paint Masks

You can paint masks on your object directly by holding down the Ctl key while painting on the model. (The stroke must begin on the model.) By default, masked areas show up as dark patches on the model. The following figure illustrates this:

Painted Mask

On the left, a Painted Mask; on the right, the result of sculpting – masked areas not affected

Drag Rectangles Across Part of Your Object

Hold down the Ctrl key, click on the canvas outside your object (not too close, either), and drag a rectangle across part of your object. You can see the results below. Note: You need to start the drag outside the object, but you don’t need to end it outside the object.

If an alpha is selected in the Alpha palette then this is used to define the masked area.

Lasso Parts of an Object to Mask

You can select the Lasso Mask brush by holding Ctrl and clicking on the large Brush thumbnail.

Hold down the Ctl key, click on the canvas outside of your model. Drag out a lasso selection.

Invert an Existing Mask

To invert an existing mask, hold down the Ctl key and click on the canvas outside the model.

Mask before and after Inverting

Mask before and after Inverting

Note: A convenient way to mask an entire object is to invert the mask while the object is completely unmasked.

Blur a Mask

Ctl-click on a masked area to blur the mask. This will ‘spread the mask out’ further across the object, while decreasing its intensity.

Unmask an Area

You can ‘unpaint’ a previously masked area, by holding down Ctl+Alt and painting onto the model.

Unmasked area created by Ctrl+Alt painting

Unmasked area created by Ctrl+Alt painting

In this figure, the inverted mask has been taken from the previous figure, and the ‘border’ of the model has been unmasked using Ctl+Alt-paint.
Note: If you don’t want to remember the unmasking key combination, you can also unmask an area by inverting the current mask, painting a mask onto the area you want to unmask, and then inverting the mask again.

Clear a Mask

Hold down the Ctl key and drag on the canvas outside the model. Any visible amount of dragging will do.

Create a Mask Using Topology

This masking method is discussed more thoroughly in the Transpose page, which is where the topological masking is functional. Basically, when in transpose mode, you can Ctrl-drag along the surface of a model, to have a mask dragged out across the surface, following the topology of the model. On models with typical topology, this gives an extremely fast, easy way to mask out limbs, tentacles, branches, and other extrusions.

Quick One-Touch Masking of Polygroups

Masking out particular parts of your models can be a tedious process – especially when it’s a complex model. However, if your model has PolyGroups this can become a very quick and easy process. Simply press W or click the Move button and then Ctrl+Shift+click on any PolyGroup. All other groups will immediately be masked.

#AskZBrush

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Using Twitter, simply ask the question through the hashtag #AskZBrush. Our experts @Pixologic will review the question and where practical follow up with a short video containing the answer." ~ Pixologic
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