15 tips to Master zbrush

Three A-list artists share their tips to give your Zbrush skills that Hol­ly­wood fin­ish

3D World - - CONTENTS -

Three top artists re­veal their favourite tips for work­ing smarter, faster and bet­ter in Zbrush, with ad­vice on cus­tomis­ing the UI, us­ing Morph Tar­gets and smart mask­ing

01 Set work Screen

A very ba­sic but im­por­tant thing to do is set your work screen in a way that lets you utilise it fully. Go to Doc­u­ment in the tool­bar and set the size of your doc­u­ment mon­i­tor res­o­lu­tion to make sure there are no un­used ar­eas. You can also change the Zbrush screen from grey to gra­di­ent black for a con­sis­tent back­ground screen. Thirdly, I would sug­gest that you change the ma­te­rial from Mat­cap Red to Mat­cap Grey or ba­sic grey ma­te­rial. Gau­rav Ku­mar

02 cus­tomise your ui

This is a very ef­fec­tive way to in­crease the speed of your work. Go to Pref­er­ences in your tool­bar, select Con­fig>en­able Cus­tom­ize. By press­ing Ctrl+alt you can move any but­ton, pal­let or brush onto your Zbrush in­ter­face. Once you’ve added your most-used brushes and op­tions to your UI go back to Con­fig and click Save UI and Store Con­fig. This will help to make your cre­ative process eas­ier and faster. Gau­rav Ku­mar

03 use the time­line

This is a great way to move quickly from one an­gle to an­other. When work­ing on a large model it be­comes dif­fi­cult to see it from all sides, so you can go to Movie in the tool­bar and un­der Time­line turn on Show. This will put the time­line cam­era on the top of the screen, so you can po­si­tion your model and click on the time­line to add a keyframe. This can be done in any po­si­tion that you may need to see again or work on quickly, and you can move through them quickly us­ing the ar­row keys. Gau­rav Ku­mar

“Cus­tomis­ing your ui will help to make your Cre­ative process eas­ier” Gau­rav Ku­mar, sculp­tor & video game artist

04 cre­ate Ba­sic forms in low Sub­di­vi­sion

Cre­ate most of the shapes of the model in the low­est sub­di­vi­sion so that the forms can be made cor­rectly with the least poly. It’s much eas­ier to man­age and edit a lighter mesh than a heavy one. Al­ways try to sculpt in the same flow of mus­cles or skin to make the model look real. Gau­rav Ku­mar

05 trans­pose Smart MASK­ING

Trans­pose is a smart tool for mask­ing cer­tain ar­eas of your model. If you hold Ctrl then click and drag the model, you can mask with the Trans­pose Smart brush. It will look at the sur­face and mask

the rest of the area, leav­ing any raised spa­ces, as seen in the im­age. Gau­rav Ku­mar

06 amp de­tail the easy way

Go and search Ryan Kit­tle­son’s Macro script. It could save you some time when sharp­en­ing up your sculpted de­tails. In­stall the script and find it in your Macros folder, then sit back and let it work its magic. Maarten Ver­ho­even

07 Make use of Sculp­tris pro

You can use Sculp­tris Pro to add de­tails to your al­ready-dec­i­mated mod­els; in­stead of re-dy­namesh­ing your pre­pared sculpt just go in again with Sculp­tris Pro with­out the re­stric­tions. You can eas­ily mod­ify and add small de­tails un­til you’re happy. Maarten Ver­ho­even

08 use poly­paint to add colour

Poly­paint is very use­ful when it comes to adding colour to your piece. The most im­por­tant thing, how­ever, is to let the sculpt do its magic. All the sculpted de­tails will pick up the high­lights. When ap­ply­ing the Poly­paint start rough and tweak it with the RGB value of your brush. A lit­tle bit of Poly­paint can get a big re­sult when it comes to the fi­nal im­age. Maarten Ver­ho­even

09 Shrink wrap re­top

One of the main ways to cre­ate stun­ning mod­els th­ese days is to sculpt the ini­tial form in pro­grams like Zbrush or Mud­box and then re­topol­o­gise the sculpt. This is the process where you cre­ate new ge­om­e­try that is more an­i­ma­tion-friendly, more pre­dictable with con­tigu­ous edge loops and much lower in poly­gon count, mak­ing it more ef­fi­cient. You can of course do this in Cin­ema 4D with tools like the Poly­gon.

To make it even bet­ter you can down­load scripts like the HB Mod­el­ling Bun­dle that make Cin­ema 4D into a per­fect re­top so­lu­tion, en­abling you to draw new ge­om­e­try right onto your sculpt. Find a range of op­tions here: mo­tion­works.net/shop. Maarten Ver­ho­even

10 utilise Skin al­phas

Try to blend dif­fer­ent types of al­phas with a pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive value over each other. Try switch­ing out be­tween big ones and small ones to give it a nat­u­ral blend. Also, for adding veins a small trick that I use is to go down a few sub­di­vi­sions and draw in the vein – if you step up again, it will blend in per­fectly like it’s un­der the sur­face, in­stead of lay­ing on top. Maarten Ver­ho­even

11 use ac­cu­rate curve Mode for Spines/spikes

One as­pect of the Move brush is that the falloff tends to cre­ate a rounded cen­tre to the brush ef­fect, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to cre­ate a sharp pro­tru­sion like a spine, spike or peak. To fix this you can edit the set­tings of the Move brush. Select the Move brush then go to Brush>curve and turn on the Ac­cu­curve but­ton. This forces Zbrush to use the brush curve in this menu to de­fine the falloff of the brush. The re­sult as you can see is a sharp, pre­cise Move brush. Madeleine Scott-spencer

12 ad­just the Smooth BRUSH Set­tings

When us­ing the Smooth brush many users re­alise how dif­fi­cult it can be to smooth border edges on poly ge­om­e­try or sin­gle stray points that have been shifted from the orig­i­nal model, as some­times hap­pens when pro­ject­ing ge­om­e­try. Smooth­ing th­ese ge­om­e­try types can of­ten pro­duce un­sat­is­fy­ing re­sults. A good tip is to edit your Smooth brush set­tings to al­low the brush to be more ef­fec­tive on open ge­om­e­try edges and sin­gle points. Go to the Brush>smooth Brush Set­tings menu and lower the Min Con­nected slider to 1. The Smooth brush will now be much more ef­fec­tive in th­ese ar­eas. Madeleine Scott-spencer

13 use pol­ish fea­tures to clean up panel loops

When gen­er­at­ing panel loops from poly­groups, we of­ten find that the edges of the mask and the re­sult­ing poly­group cre­ates an ir­reg­u­lar shape to our panel loop ge­om­e­try. A great way to

cor­rect this and give the model a nice ma­chined look is to pol­ish by fea­tures. This slider is found un­der Tool>de­for­ma­tions. Af­ter you have gen­er­ated your panel loops open the De­for­ma­tion sub-menu and click on the Ra­dial but­ton on the Smooth by Fea­tures slider. This will look like a black dot in a cir­cle rather than a white dot. Now raise the slider in­cre­men­tally and you will see the edges of your loops clean up and look far more pleas­ing. Madeleine Scott-spencer

14 use draw Size and dy­namic Mode But­tons

Of­ten when I’m work­ing in Zbrush I will make changes to my draw size and in many cases the Dy­namic set­ting on my brush. Pre­vi­ously this set­ting was global for all brushes, so if you were to make a change to your draw size whilst work­ing in curves it would im­pact any other brushes in use. In the new Zbrush you can now en­able a per-brush Draw Size and per-brush Dy­namic mode. Sim­ply en­able the but­tons at the top of the screen to have far more con­trol over each brush set­ting. Madeleine Scott-spencer

15 use Morph tar­gets to Help Blend off de­tail

One of the trick­i­est as­pects of adding fine de­tails to a model is find­ing the best way to fade one tex­ture into an­other, or to fade out de­tails com­pletely. We want to avoid a uni­form ‘stamped-on’ look. Be­fore I start to add fine de­tails I will store a morph tar­get of my model in its un­de­tailed state by go­ing to Tool>morph Tar­get>store MT. Now as I de­tail the mesh I can use the Morph brush to blend back out to the un­de­tailed sur­face. This is much bet­ter than smooth­ing be­cause the Smooth brush erases de­tail while the Morph brush will gently re­duce its in­ten­sity. It's a much more ef­fec­tive blend­ing brush. Madeleine Scott-spencer •







amp 06b

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poly­groups have many uses in­clud­ing rapid hid­ing of de­fined ar­eas

15b add sub­tle blends with the Morph brush and saved Morph tar­gets






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