This introductory class to ZBrush is the first in a three-part series for Maya users. Designed so you can get started quickly and experience a variety of tools this easy to follow tutorial will have you creating a simple Dragon bust while learning the core of ZBrush’s many features.
You’ll block the character here on this page.
We recommended that you have a working knowledge of Maya, Andrew will relate the tools back to Maya terminology. ZBrush shares the same 3d software principles as other packages; however, ZBrush uses non-standard naming conventions. And its UI can be unwieldy. You’ll be able to learn the program quickly using your existing knowledge of Maya.
What Is ZBrush?
ZBrush is a 3d sculpting program, it also comes with polygon modeling and texturing tools. It strength is modeling with super high polygon counts. ZBrush has an enjoyably fast and addictive learning curve.
In the context of animated production, ZBrush is used for quickly creating concept sculpts, detailing objects and 3d printing. It’s ideal for handling models with more complex forms.
In our pipeline, ZBrush compliments nicely with Maya’s strengths. You can think of it as an extension of Maya’s capabilities. Maya does have some sculpting tools and ZBrush also has some polygon modelling tools, but neither program handles those areas particularly well. It makes sense to combine the programs and use them for their strengths.
What Will I Learn Here?
The Simple Dragon pages will help to introduce you to ZBrush and help to immerse you into the program quickly.
You’ll learn basics such as navigation, creating and managing objects, you’ll cover foundational sculpt brushes and various block workflows. The following pages (parts 2 and 3) will teach you final sculpting, textures and exporting.
On this page you’ll see how to block and join the Dragon’s shapes using three workflows…
1. Primitive Block Workflows
2. Maya To ZBrush GoZ
3. Sculpt Block Workflow
You’ll learn the primitive-blocking workflow which is similar to Maya’s. We’ll cover the foundations of ZBrush’s object-based tools and discover how poly-groups can help you manage complex objects. You’ll learn about Dynamesh and how it can effortlessly join objects together.
The second workflow shows how you can easily use Maya in combination with ZBrush.
In the last section, you’ll discover the fast-sculpt workflow which is the quick and nasty way of roughing models with masking and sculpting tools. You can block objects with speed, but this method potentially causes more lumpy side effects; it requires more expertise in the area of sculpting.
Dynamesh and ZRemesher
The blocking workflows taught on this page incorporate the standout tools of Dynamesh and ZRemesher.
Dynamesh helps you to joins multiple shell objects into one high polygon mesh. And ZRemesher is ZBrush’s auto-retopology tool. These re-meshing tools along with project make it an essential program for more advanced 3d artists.
Which Version Of ZBrush Should I Use?
ZBrush comes in two versions, ZBrush (full version) and ZBrush Core (cut down/indie version). There is a 45-day trial but no free or educational version outside of large institutions.
ZBrush 45 Day Trial
ZBrush Core $149 USD
ZBrush (Full Version) $795 USD
We teach the full version. ZBrush Core is missing ZRemesher which is a major part of our workflows. It’s also missing GoZ, Project All, Displacement and Normal Mapping, Decimation Master (Poly Reduce) and more.
Please support Pixologic the creators of this great program by at least buying ZBrush Core.
C3dC Hotkeys And UI Config
To make ZBrush easier, we’ll give you our Customized UI and Hotkeys. ZBrush has many confusing buttons, and the C3dC menus will help you to filter out the unnecessary noise.
Each video shows the hotkeys for both the default and C3dC versions of the program in the video notes.
Download The C3dC ZBrush UI And Hotkeys.
ZBrush is a fun and rewarding program. However, if your goal is to animate characters we recommend to have at least finished an intermediate animated character in Maya (or equivalent) before learning this software.
It’s rare for users who start in ZBrush to animate their characters since it encourages fast workflows that aren’t are much more difficult in rigging and animation. If you don’t care about animation then that’s all cool too!
ZBrush has made an enormous contribution to concept art and detailing, but it’s more of a supporting package in the context of the 3d industry which requires moving images. Games, Film, and TV. We recommend a solid polygon knowledge as a pre-requisite for this class.