If you’re an existing Maya user, this page will help you learn ZBrush.
You’ll see how to block this Simple Dragon, and in later lessons, you’ll learn how to sculpt, texture and, and export him back into Maya for rendering.
We’ll explore many of the ZBrush features so that you’ll be able create your characters too.
ZBrush uses non-standard naming conventions that can make it confusing, but it shares the universal 3d principles that you should already know. This page will help you translate your existing knowledge of Maya into ZBrush terminology.
What Is ZBrush?
ZBrush is primarily a 3d sculpting program, but it also comes with polygon and texturing tools too. ZBrush can be addictively fun to learn with its ability to effortlessly manipulate million-polygon models.
In animated production, ZBrush can quickly detail concept sculpts. It’s ideal for building models with complexity.
ZBrush compliments with Maya nicely, you can think of it as an extension of Maya’s capabilities. Maya is great for polygon modeling and ZBrush for sculpting.
What Will You Learn Here?
On this page you’ll learn the basics such as navigating, creating and managing objects, and you’ll learn how to use the sculpt brushes and various blocking workflows.
The following pages (parts 2 and 3) will teach you sculpting, textures and export workflows.
There’s three main block workflows demonstrated on this page…
1. Primitive Block Workflows
2. Maya To ZBrush GoZ
3. Sculpt Block Workflow
The first workflow called `primitive-blocking` covers the foundational tools, and you’ll see how poly-groups can help you manage complex objects. You’ll also see Dynamesh that can be used to join your objects easily.
The second workflow will show you how to block a model in Maya and import it into ZBrush for sculpting which is one of our favorite ways of working.
And in the last section, you’ll discover the fastest workflow which uses masking to extrude new forms. This technique can cause lumpy side effects, and requires more sculpting expertise for the beginner.
Dynamesh and ZRemesher
The blocking workflows on this page feature Dynamesh and ZRemesher.
Dynamesh allows you to join multiple objects into one high polygon mesh. And ZRemesher is ZBrush’s auto-retopology tool. These tools make ZBrush an essential program for advanced 3d artists.
Which Version Of ZBrush Should You Use?
ZBrush comes in a ‘fully featured’ version and the discounted `ZBrush Core` which has many of its tools disabled. 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
On this page, we’ll be teaching the full version. ZBrush Core lacks the ZRemesher feature which is used in a significant number of our workflows. It’s also missing GoZ, Project All, Displacement, Normal Mapping, Decimation Master (Poly Reduce) and more.
Please support Pixologic the creators of this great program by at least buying ZBrush Core. Remember that the license is not subscription based and can last many years without any upgrade fees.
C3dC Hotkeys And UI Config
To make ZBrush easier, you can download our customized menus and hotkeys. The application’s most important buttons are difficult to find and our menus put them into one easy-to-find location.
Andrew will demonstrate each video with our custom hotkeys and menus, but if you prefer to use the default settings, you can find those in the notes under each video.
Download The C3dC ZBrush UI And Hotkeys.
ZBrush is a fun and rewarding program. However, if your goal is to animate characters, we recommend that you complete an intermediate level character in Maya (or equivalent) before learning the software. It’s rare for beginners who start 3d in ZBrush to animate their characters. If you don’t intend to animate or work within an animation team, then that’s fine 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 foundational polygon knowledge as a pre-requisite for this class.
Important Installation Note
If you are using our user created menus, please make sure you have ZBrush 4r8 installed with the Patch 2 upgrade . The Patch 2 update fixes many bugs. Previous to Patch 2 our UI may crash due to backward compatibility issues.