ZBrush is a digital sculpting and painting program that has revolutionized the 3D industry with its powerful features and intuitive workflows. Built within an elegant interface, ZBrush offers the world’s most advanced tools for today’s digital artists. With an arsenal of features that have been developed with usability in mind, ZBrush creates a user experience that feels incredibly natural while simultaneously inspiring the artist within.
With the ability to sculpt up to a billion polygons, ZBrush allows you to create limited only by your imagination. Designed around a principle of circularity, the menus in ZBrush work together in a non-linear and mode-free method. This facilitates the interaction of 3D models, 2D images and 2.5D Pixols in new and unique ways.
ZBrush gives you all of the tools needed to quickly sketch out a 2D or 3D concept and then take that idea all the way to completion. You can create realistic renders directly in ZBrush with lighting and atmospheric effects. With the many powerful export options, you can easily prepare your model for 3D printing or use within any other digital application.
Because ZBrush users are enabled by its powerful software processing, you can sculpt and paint with millions of polygons with out having to worry about purchasing expensive graphics cards. It is for this reason why ZBrush is used by everyone from art enthusiast to major film and games studios.
With Panel Loops you can convert your model’s PolyGroups into panels of polygons with or without thickness, or even as extruded surfaces. The edges of these panels are created with a custom bevel around them defined by an editable curve.
This is a great companion to ZBrush’s existing Mesh Extract feature, providing advanced control over the final result. Borders will have clean polygons loops even on low resolution models. They can have inner or outer panels (or both) and can be created as an extrusion from the original surface or as entirely separate pieces.
Panel Loops are a remarkably fast way to create armor, machined surfaces or anything else where a panel shape is called for in your hard surface sculpting or product design.
And because they are derived from your model’s PolyGroups you can take advantage of ZBrush’s many auto-grouping features to quickly and intelligently break your model into these paneled segments.
The new Delete Loops command analyzes your model’s topology based on a user-defined angle setting. With a single click it removes all unnecessary edge loops – polygons that don’t contribute to the shape of the model. Not only is this a blessing for artists who must work within a polygon budget (such as game designers), it also allows you to push your high resolution sculpting farther. After all, unnecessary polygons add up quickly when you subdivide your model several times!
Incidentally, pushing the limits of the Delete Loops settings can be an interesting way to quickly explore alternate designs by producing original models derived from the original polygon structure.
A companion to the Delete Loops feature, Align Loops uses the same settings but doesn’t actually remove any polygons. Instead it moves them to what you would get if you’d used the Delete Loops function. In this way you can push the settings to their extremes in a non-destructive manner and quickly explore new directions.
As mentioned above, the new Panel Loop feature is the newest in a series of functions that work from your model’s PolyGroups. To that end, ZBrush 4R5 provides even more features for quickly and accurately assigning PolyGroups to your model. The new Merge Stray Groups function lets you “clean” the results of ZBrush’s automatic PolyGroup creation tools such as PolyGroups from PolyPaint.
You can also now automatically create PolyGroups based upon Surface Normals.
Creasing can be added to a surface or removed from it based upon PolyGroup edges alone. This ignores creases that are elsewhere on the model, running through the middle of the PolyGroups.
Polish by Feature
The Deformation sub-palette now has Relax options including Polish by Feature, which intelligently improves your mesh’s shape without sacrificing volume. It produces beautiful by analyzing the model’s PolyGroups, creasing and split areas.
Improved Frame Mesh
The Curves Frame Mesh option can now create curves based on the model's PolyGroups, creased edges or outline. These curves can then be used with any of the curve-based sculpting brushes like Curve Multi Tube or even QRemesher Guides.
ZBrush 4R5 puts Cell shading at your fingertips with new Posterize render features. Give your models a new look with full control over gradients and steps in real time!
Posterization in ZBrush 4R5 is computed in different ways depending on your needs. You can use it in 3D and build your desired effect directly onto your model, or it can be applied as a 2D effect to your renders in conjunction with BPR (Best Preview Render) filters. By applying Posterization to your model in 3D, you’ll expand the shape and depth dynamics of your image.
Taking this concept further, BPR Posterization can dynamically unify your model with a background image. This means you can use photos and integrate your 3D models with even more accuracy and still retain an interesting Posterization effect that stays uniform throughout your composition.
In ZBrush 4R5 Posterization can also be applied to Materials and Curves via the curve modifiers settings. This means you can assign different Posterization effects to multiple materials and modulate the effect of Posterization in the Specular, Diffuse Color and Environment Color channels. That’s just the start. The Posterization functionality extends to Shader Channels, Sculpting Brushes, Alpha curves and Auto Masking. The limits to what you can create are really only measured by what you can imagine.
The Outline function applies an illustrative touch to your final image. Outline also works with the Material Mixer and as a post render effect in conjunction with BPR filters.
Saving your work has been streamlined with the addition of Quick Save. This feature supplements your regular saves by creating uniquely named backups which can be made with or without the Project History. Each time a QuickSave is called for, it creates a new project with incremental numbering. By default, ZBrush will cycle between ten QuickSaves but you can change it through the Preferences settings to as many as one hundred!
If you have ever become so focused on creating that you’ve lost track of time and forgotten to save your work (and who hasn’t had this happen?) you will appreciate the new Auto Save feature! If you step away from your computer or switch to another application for a few minutes, ZBrush will add a new QuickSave to the existing series. This turns QuickSave into an Auto Save process!
This feature isn’t limited to inactivity either. You can also set ZBrush to automatically perform a QuickSave after a specified amount of time has passed since your last save. This gives you total freedom to save when you wish, but also security for those times when you simply forget.
Dynamic Brush Size
Makes it possible for the brush size to dynamically change as the model moves closer or further away from the camera. This becomes extremely helpful when sculpting items such as bolts, alpha pattern, scales, and etc. No matter the distance the model is from the camera the bolt, alpha pattern and scales will remain the same size due to the brush dynamically changing.
Sometimes as you work you might find yourself searching for reference images on the internet or maybe referring to an image already loaded into another program. Or maybe you’ll be working through an online tutorial and don’t want to constantly switch back and forth between ZBrush and the instructions. Whatever your reasons, the new See-Through option lets you make the entire ZBrush window partially transparent so that you can see what’s in the other windows behind it.
You can now save time by skipping the need to switch between windows, print stuff out or even load reference images into ZBrush to be able to work against them!
Mouse Wheel Support
Scrolling your mouse wheel up or down can now be assigned to any slider in place of a hotkey. Simply assign the hotkey like you normally would but scroll the mouse wheel instead of pressing a key.
Switching Between the Mask
and Selection Brushes
To improve your workflow when using the Selection and Masking brushes, you can now use the Ctrl/Cmd key to between the various Selection and Masking brushes without the need to cancel your current stroke.
- SubTool splitting can be based on the surface’s mask -- useful for creating a SubTool based on an inserted a mesh or a tri-part curve.
- The Smooth algorithm used in several major ZBrush functions (such as DynaMesh and ShadowBox) has been improved to preserve as much of the original mesh volume as possible.
- The Topology brush now keeps the curve segment size constant, even after zooming in or out. This avoids accidentally changing the curve density while navigating.
- Slice Curve now works on partially hidden geometry and has four Stroke options: Lasso, Curve, Circle and Rectangle.
- Micro Mesh has a new Align option, causing all replicated objects to face the same direction.
- The Render Properties now have a Vibrant slider for a global setting change. This eliminates the need to individually edit materials when you want them all to share the same value.
- Images can now be exported in PNG format with full transparency support and/or depth as an Alpha. This is especially useful with the new GrabDocAndDepth function.
- Size and Position of the Tool can now be adjusted through dedicated sliders. Unlike the deformation sliders which reset to 0 immediately, these new sliders retain their values. For example, you can simply set the Size slider to 2 and double the size of your model. To change it back to the original size you would change the slider back to a setting of 1.
- Extract has a new Double option, allowing you to extract both out from the surface and in toward the center at the same time.
ZBrush 4R2b revolutionizes digital modeling and unleashes your creative power by delivering a topological-free sculpting process with new tools like DynaMesh. When sculpting with traditional techniques, polygons become stretched and difficult to work with.
Now with a quick gesture, ZBrush will instantly generate a new sculpting-friendly model with uniform polygon distribution. This makes it possible for you to focus only on the visual aspects of your model, without worrying about its underlying geometry.
Freedom of Creation
DynaMesh is The New Base Mesh that has no limitations to what it can become. Starting from a sphere to create a character head is an easy process but DynaMesh will allow you to create a whole character from that very same sphere with no uneven geometry!
Consider what it’s like to work with clay. As you stretch clay out or add volume to it, the clay itself retains the same basic consistency and the same capacity for detail across its surface. DynaMesh brings that experience to the digital world.
Inserting Elements to Your DynaMesh
With DynaMesh the ability to recreate geometry with one flick of the wrist opens new ways to combine several meshes together to create one new complete model such as integrating a pre-sculpted ear into your head mesh. On top of that, DynaMesh brings freedom to cut out surface forms or even create holes in your geometry. This capability is equivalent to the well-known Boolean operations, except that with DynaMesh your result will be a perfectly uniform and easily sculpted mesh. Using the already loaded ZBrush primitives and a few flicks of the pen will allow for a complex result that would have been extremely difficult and time consuming to build in a more traditional way.
You can create a library full of noses, ears, heads, arms or any thing else you come up with. Then with the help of the Insert Mesh brushes you can add these shapes to any sculpt. The result is a creative process that will have few boundaries and incredible speed.
DynaMesh is for More Than Just Sculpting
With DynaMesh you can more easily cut a model into two or more pieces using the new Slice brush combined with the Group option. Use the Insert Mesh brushes to create intricate parts for 3D printing and when done, use the new Create Shell function to add an internal thickness to your model.
These different operations deliver the ability to create a figure that is ready for 3D printing faster then ever before.
Easily Create Primatives Using ShadowBox
Pixologic constantly strives to change the way artists create by introducing brand new suites of sculpting features and expanding the power of the existing ZBrush toolset. Shadow Box provides an entirely new way to explore shape creation in ZBrush!
“When creating complex shapes from scratch you most often had to rely on other 3D packages. But thanks to the new ShadowBox feature in ZBrush 4 you never wanna go back.”
Senior Modeler – Framestore
Shadow Box brings limitless control to the process of creating your three-dimensional base meshes:
- Use the advanced masking brushes to paint a silhouette of your idea on any of the three sides of Shadow Box and a mesh matching that profile will appear at the center.
- Carve out holes in the surface of the mesh by simply erasing any part of the masks; the surface at the center of Shadow Box updates instantly.
- Combine radial symmetry, your own custom alpha textures, reference images and masking curves to build complex forms in a matter of seconds.
Whether you are sculpting a specific model or just exploring shapes, Shadow Box offers a unique method for quickly establishing an editable base mesh for sculpting.
ZSpheres allow you to quickly create a base mesh with clean topology, which can then be sculpted into any form. The power of ZSphere lies with in their simplicity. From a single ZSphere you can easily grow new ones, which can then be scaled, moved, and rotated into any form. Now you can enjoy creating the geometry for your characters while posing in real time.
When using ZSpheres in ZSketch mode you can draw ZSpheres directly on to a base armature or freely draw anything you can imagine in 3D space.
Sketching with ZSpheres gives you the flexibility to simply explore what your imagination holds or quickly convert your ZSketches into a sculptable mesh for further detail with all of ZBrush’s sculpting brushes.
A good pose is the essence of a great composition. Rhythm, gesture, weight and balance are all key to any work of art. Use the Mannequin sample projects included with ZBrush to find just the perfect pose for single or multi-character models. The ZSphere Mannequins can easily be edited to fit any character or creature you need. Create an entire scene in just a few clicks! In no time, you'll have established perfect visual harmony and you'll be on your way to sculpting a masterpiece.
Mannequins are essentially ZSphere armatures. The way that you interact with them allows for easy posing, so that you can quickly explore your ideas – faster, in fact, than sketching a concept image and with far greater flexibility for change as you go. The great thing about using Mannequins is that you don’t have to model anything; the model is already set up and ready to go. Later on, if you need to you can skin the Mannequin to make a mesh that you can sculpt.
Several Mannequin scenes are included with ZBrush. It is also simple to create your own to infinitely expand your library.
One aspect of ZBrush’s workflow is the ability to create extremely complex scenes by combining a bunch of smaller objects. Ultimately, a scene could be composed of millions or even billions of polygons, yet still render in real time!
Many of these complex 3D primitives ZBrush provides combine to produce a very powerful masking and deformation system that is unique to parametric objects.
This system allows you to create an endless assortment of complex shapes all from a single primitive.
Curves are used within ZBrush to make powerful editing of a feature intuitive and much more powerful. This is also the case with ZBrush primitives. By editing a primitive’s curve you can create an endless number of shapes with both rounded surfaces mixed with hard edges. Add as many point of control along a curve to make shapes as complex as you want.
Not so primitive primitives!
There are a wide range of attributes that can change the initial state of a ZBrush primitive. This gives you a great level of control over the shape of the primitive you start sculpting with. Quickly and easily change a cone into a torso or a single plan into any shape you can imagine by using ZBrush’s powerful curves.
In addition to DynaMesh, ZBrush 4R2b delivers a powerful set of new tools, functions and features. These include a new Curve mode that can be used with any Stroke type, a Clay Polish topology modifier and several new sculpting brush presets. When combined with the existing ZBrush features, these will empower your creative juices like never before.
With Curve mode, creating patterns on a surface can be as easy as selecting the right alpha with any brush. You can even stretch any piece of geometry along the curve with brushes like the Mesh Insert brush. Using the Curve mode in association with DynaMesh will allow you to generate anything from simple to extremely complex volumes in just a few clicks. Or expand your existing creations, no matter whether they are organic or hard surface style models.
New 3D Brushes
To help all these new additions maximize their potential, several new brushes have also been added. Many of these are variation of the existing brushes you already know and love, combined with the new features to open all new possibilities. There are now brushes that will allow you to instantly add a nose or ear to your mesh or even use the new CurveMesh brushes to draw out lines of geometry.
On top of the brush advancements already talked about, there is a new SliceCurve brush. This brush will allow you to slice your model while adding new faces along the cut and can also create two different polygroups at the same time. When used with DynaMesh and the Group option, SliceCurve will create independent parts of a model, ready for manipulation.
Extra brushes have been added to open new ways to deform your model quicker then ever. The Curve Fill brushes allow you to draw a curve and with release of your cursor, the stroke is converted into a closed shape. This new mesh is ready to be sculpted or even continue to refine the mesh after the curve has already been drawn. the new Curve Lath brush will create a revolution based mesh from your drawn curve. This is a new way to quickly create a base mesh or even props in just seconds.
A new Curve mode has been added to the Stroke palette, allowing you to apply your brush strokes with all their settings and modifiers along a defined curve. This curve can be drawn out along the surface of your sculpt or even continue the curve off your model to create integrated pieces like horns, arms, fingers and so much more.
To apply the Curve mode to any brush, just enable the Curve Mode button found in the Stroke palette. Draw your path on (or off) the model. Now click on the curve you just drew -- your selected brush will be applied along the curve. The Curve mode even allows you to change the intensity and size of your stroke along the curve’s path!
Thanks to its dynamic ability, the curves can be adjusted even after the initial drawing of the curve to refine the position of your stroke over you model. The Curve Mode will allow editing of PolyPaint, masking, geometry or sculptural detail at any point of the process. Curve Mode brings you the freedom of fine refinement, but will also allow you to mix different brushes with the same curve.
This one-click function will apply a topological modification to your model to alter the geometry by sharpening its edges. It can also create a clean surface between two sharp-angled edges.
By modifying the Clay Polish parameters, you can drastically change its result. For example, it can give your model a clay weld look, as if the two pieces were welded together.
Clay Polish can be combined with DynaMesh. This further enhances the feel of real clay sculpting in ZBrush 4R2b, making it look even more like you’re adding real clay strips to the surface!
With over 30 start up brushes to sculpt with and the ability to create an endless assortment of your own custom brushes, it's easy to see why sculpting in ZBrush is not only powerful but incredibly easy as well. The natural brush strokes you get when sculpting across millions and billions of polygons gives the user the feeling like they are sculpting on a real piece of clay, or wood, or stone, or really any surface you can think of.
The wide range of brushes you will find in ZBrush were created with real world sculpting techniques in mind. Maybe you want to sink your fingers into a soft piece of clay to rough out general forms. Or maybe your want to chip off pieces of stone with a metal chisel.
However, simulating real work sculpting tools isn't all you can do with the brushes you find in ZBrush. With tools like symmetry, repeat and hundreds of other custom controls you can now sculpt details like stitching in fabric, hard mechanical edges, and so much more.
When using ZBrush's
dynamic range of brushes the control you have over your surface is limited only by your imagination.
Gravity allows simulation of gravity, wind, magnetism, or other directional effects that 'pull' (or push) at the surface of your model. When gravity is on, your regular sculpting will be modified by a pull in the direction of the gravity. Imagine windblown cloth, or the heavy folds of elephant skin.
Even the shakiest of hands will have tremendous control over the direction of their strokes. By enabling Lazy Mouse while sculpting in ZBrush, you get surgical accuracy as you brush across the surface of your model. Sculpt with smooth flowing curves or make perfectly strait line across your surface. Whether you are using a mouse or a tablet to sculpt inside ZBrush, Lazy mouse and its many settings give you the precision you need to create any style of strokes quickly and easily.
Use the freehand stoke to brush across the surface the way you would in real life, or switch your stroke type to gain even more control over the surface you are sculpting. Use the spray stroke to add a random spray effect as you sculpt. The Drag Rectangle Stroke allows you to draw out exact details like skin pores all the way to sharp mechanical parts.
Using different alphas as you sculpt gives you unlimited control over how you deform your surface. Create realistic wood grains, scaly skin, feathers and so much more. You can use the many alphas that come with ZBrush or use any image to create your own.
Editable Brush Curves
Adding to the endless controls you have over your brushes in ZBrush is the ability to edit the shape of your brush. The easy to use curve allows you to precisely change the shape you sculpt into the surface. You can even create curves that transition between hard edges to soft rounded ones.
Polypainting allows painting on a model's surface without first assigning a texture map. A texture map can be created at a later time, and the painted surface can be transferred to the map. Polypainting offers significant advantages compared to standard workflow.
The resolution of the texture map need not be decided in advance. This is particularly valuable if you find you need more detailing on an area than you thought you would. Instead of repainting a new, larger texture map, you can simply transfer the existing surface painting to a new, larger map, with no rework necessary.
Similarly, the UV unwrapping need not be fixed in advance. If one unwrapping proves unsatisfactory, simply create a different unwrapping and transfer the surface painting to that map. Removing UVs from your model frees up system resources and allows you to work with even more polygons!
To understand how polypainting works, first consider a 2048 by 2048 texture map, which provides reasonable resolution. It has a total of a little over 4 million pixels.
If you work with a 4 million polygon model, then in terms of surface painting, simply assigning each polygon a uniform color gives the same amount of information as the 4 million pixel texture map. (Actually, somewhat more, since significant parts of texture maps are typically left blank.)
So, with polypainting, you can put all of the painting details directly onto the model's polygons, and then transfer that detail to a texture map when the painting is complete.
ZBRUSH 4 - Windows
- OS: Windows XP SP2/Vista/Windows 7
- CPU: Pentium D or newer (or equivalent such as AMD Athlon 64 X2 or newer) with optional multithreading or hyperthreading capabilities
- RAM: 2048MB (4096MB for working with multi-million-poly meshes)
- Monitor: 1280x1024 monitor resolution or higher (32 bits)
Minimum System Requirements:
- OS: Windows 2000/XP SP2
- CPU: P4 or AMD Opteron or Athlon64 Processor (Must have SSE2 : Streaming SIMD Extensions 2)
- RAM: 1024MB (2048 MB recommended)
- Monitor: 1024x768 monitor resolution (32 bits)
ZBRUSH 4 - Macintosh
- OS: Mac OSX 10.5 or newer
- CPU: Intel Macintosh (Must have SSE2 : Streaming SIMD Extensions 2)
- RAM: 1024MB (2048MB recommended for working with multi-million-polys)
- Monitor: 1024x768 monitor resolution set to Millions of Colors
(recommended: 1280 x 1024 or higher)