ZBrush: Simple Dragon, Part 1 – Block

ZBrush: Foundations


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.

 

Block Workflows

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.
 

Warning!

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.

1. ZBrush Fundamentals (13 mins)

Get started in Zbrush with the basics in this section.

1. Open A Dynamesh Sphere
2. Load the C3dC Custom Prefs and Hotkeys
3. Learn the Maya style orbit modes and set the camera’s angle of view
4. Beware of the 2d mode in ZBrush and find how to fix scenes while accidentally entering it
5. Learn the basic Navigation hotkeys which vary from the Maya style.

This section shows the basics that you need to know while first opening the program.

VIDEO 1.1 : CLASS OVERVIEW (2:47 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Introduction (0:00)
2. Image Planes (0:20)
3. Primitive Block (0:30)
4. Maya Block (1:20)
5. Sculpt Block (1:40)
Information
This video is an overview of the class on this page. This page is an introduction into ZBrush for Maya users and concentrates on 3 different blocking methods.

1. Primitive Block
2. Maya Block
3. Sculpt Block

VIDEO 1.2 : OPEN DYNAMESH SPHERE (57 sec)

No. Video Points
1. Introduction (0:00)
2. Open Dynamesh Sphere (0:40)
Information
This video shows how to open a Dynamesh sphere using Lightbox. Lightbox will open when you load ZBrush it’s a button found on the top right of the screen.

The Lightbox window manages different ZBrush Assets; you can find the DynaMesh_Sphere under the Projects tab.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Lightbox Opens the window for loading Zbrush assets
Preferences > Lightbox > Lightbox
, (C3dC)
, (default)
VIDEO 1.3 : LOADING THE C3DC CUSTOM HOTKEYS/WINDOW CONFIG (2:59 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Introduction (0:00)
2. Load Custom UI (0:25)
3. Close Windows Fix (0:50)
4. Close Side Windows (1:12)
5. Store Config (1:40)
6. Load Hotkeys (2:14)
7. Store Hotkeys (2:30)
8. Restore Standard UI (2:35)
Information
This video shows how to install the Custom UI and Custom Hotkeys. Download the UI and hotkeys from the ZBrush 4r8 Preferences Page.

The Custom UI adds extra buttons to the window and gives two new menus which you’ll see docked to the left side panel. ZBrush is a relatively simple 3d program but it’s various buttons, and cumbersome interface can make it seem much more complicated. So the C3dC Custom UI takes the necessary buttons and places them in one easy to use location.

The Custom Hotkeys add extra hotkeys to those buttons that may be missing shortcuts. To find the hotkey of a button, hover over it with your mouse and the tooltip will let you know if one exists.

To see the default location of a button hold Ctrl while hovering over it. The tooltip will show the menu path in dark gray at the bottom of the description.

You can find the appropriate hotkeys notated at the bottom of each video. Both the default and C3dC hotkeys will be included.

Download The C3dC ZBrush UI And Hotkeys.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Load UI Config Loads a custom UI config from a .cfg file on disk
Preferences > Config > Load Ui
None (C3dC)
None (default)
Store UI Config Stores the currently loaded UI Config for restart
Preferences > Config > Store Config
ctrl shift i (C3dC)
ctrl shift i (default)
Load Hotkeys Loads Hotkeys from a text file. Needs to be stored for restart.
Preferences > Hotkeys > Load
None (C3dC)
None (default)
Store Hotkeys Stores the currently loaded hotkeys and changes for restart
Preferences > Hotkeys > Store
None (C3dC)
None (default)
VIDEO 1.4 : Y MAYA STYLE ORBIT, FOCAL LENGTH (1:53 mins)

No. Video Points
1. The Y Button (0:00)
2. Diagonal Example (0:20)
3. Shift Note (0:30)
4. Angle Of View (0:50)
5. Angle View Hotkey (1:30)
Information
You’ll want to press the Y icon in the right shelf which locks the camera so it can’t roll. It makes the camera navigation behave like Maya. Without this pressed most Maya users will find that the camera can turn upside down. Turn this on for each ZBrush session.

Another scene default to set early is the Angle Of view on the camera. The default ZBrush camera has quite a wide angle lens so setting it to 25 will give the camera a longer lens and is better suited to modeling. The Angle Of View should be set once per project file.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Rotate On Y Axis Sets a navigation style where the roll of the camera is locked, similar to Maya.
Transform > Rotate On Y Axis
None (C3dC)
None (default)
Angle Of View Sets the Angle Of View for the ZBrush camera. Lower numbers equal a longer lens. 25 is a good starting point.
Draw > Angle Of View
alt v (C3dC)
None (default)
VIDEO 1.5 : IMPORTANT EDIT MODE NOTE (1:34 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Always sculpting (0:00)
2. Edit Button (0:30)
3. Weird 2d Mode Fix (0:40)
4. Clear Canvas (0:58)
5. Repeat Fix (1:10)
Information
This video shows a typical issue while navigating inside ZBrush, you’ll find is by hitting (t) which is the Edit Object mode. With this clicked off the canvas is put in a 2.5 D mode and the scene is no longer 3d. Clicking it on will have the last tool turn into a true 3d object, but additional models will still clog up the view.

To fix make sure that Edit Object (t) is on and hit Clear Layer (ctrl n) to clear the unwanted models.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Edit Object Enables you to sculpt a 3d object. Clicking this off disables 3d mode.
Transform > Edit
t (C3dC)
t (default)
Clear Layer Clears the background layer, especially useful while switching to 3d (edit) mode and wanting to clear the background layer.
Layer > Clear
ctrl n (C3dC)
ctrl n (default)
Fit Mesh To View Frame the selected object in the view. Hit it twice to set to the center of the object.
Transform > Fit Mesh To View
f (C3dC)
f (default)
VIDEO 1.6 : ZBRUSH NAVIGATION (3:08 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Orbit Camera (0:10)
2. Orbit Modes (0:15)
3. Mask (0:23)
4. Frame/Fit Selected (1:00)
5. Pan/Track (1:15)
6. Zoom/Dolly (1:30)
7. Tablet Note (2:15)
8. Conclusion (2:35)
Information
Navigation in Zbrush is different to Maya and most 3d programs, with practice you’ll get used to the ZBrush way. The three navigation modes are…

Navigation Free Rotate (Orbit) Alt+Right-click & drag
Navigation Move (Track) Alt+Click & drag
Navigation Scale (Dolly Zoom) Alt+Click & drag

You can also hold shift to snap to the 90-degree angle views…

Navigation Constrain 90 Degrees Alt Click+drag, press Shift

And roll the camera too…

Navigation Rot Around Z Shift, Click, release Shift, drag

You can also change from the perspective mode using

Perspective Orthographic Toggle p

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Navigation Free Rotate (Orbit) Orbits around the model
Alt+Right-click & drag (C3dC)
Alt+Right-click & drag (default)
Navigation Move (Track) Tracks the camera planar to camera
Alt+Click & drag (C3dC)
Alt+Click & drag (default)
Navigation Scale (Dolly Zoom) Zooms the camera in and out of the object
Alt+Click, Release Alt, drag (C3dC)
Alt+Click, Release Alt, drag (default)
Navigation Constrain 90 Degrees Snaps the navigation camera to the front top side views etc
Alt Click+drag, press Shift (C3dC)
Click+drag, press Shift (default)
Navigation Rot Around Z Spins the camera on the z axis, tilting it
Shift, Click, release Shift, drag (C3dC)
Shift, Click, release Shift, drag (default)
Perspective Orthographic Toggle Toggles between orthographic and the perspective camera
Draw > Perspective
p (C3dC)
p (default)
2. Setting Image Planes (8:13 mins)

There are many ways to create image planes in ZBrush. Here you’ll see the two methods…

1. Using Grid Image Planes
2. Using Spotlight as a Reference Plane

Grid image planes map onto the floor grid and are easy to use. Toggle between the orthographic camera with p and use shift to snap the camera to front side and top.

Spotlight is a tool often used while texturing. But you can use it for reference as well. Be sure to check off the “Spotlight Projection” button this will allow you to sculpt as per normal.

VIDEO 2.1 : IMAGE PLANES: GRID STYLE (4:33 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Reload Scene (0:00)
2. Image Plane Section (0:35)
3. Load Front (0:50)
4. Floor Grid (1:30)
5. Top View (1:52)
6. Side View (2:00)
7. Flip Image (2:10)
8. Image Settings (2:15)
9. XYZ Isolate (2:44)
10. Opacity Settings (2:55)
11. Axis Visibility (3:53)
12. Find UI Location (4:07)
Information
This video shows how you can create Grid image planes in ZBrush.

Load the maps for the front side and top views using the C3dC Mesh > Image Planes section then Front-Back, Up-Down, Left-Right and the first map.

There’s a few settings within that UI, best to turn the Projection Lines to zero to disable the projection lines. Enhance Opacity Image Plane (alt n) and Enhance Factor Image Plane (shift n) control the transparency of the model and images.

Simple Dragon Image Planes

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Load Image Plane Grid Adds an image to the grid as image planes, add to front side or top views
C3dC Mesh > Image Planes > Front or Up or Left > ZMap1
Draw > Front or Up or Left > ZMap1
None (C3dC)
None (default)
Floor Grid Toggles the floor grid on and off
Draw > Floor
alt g (C3dC)
shift p (default)
Enhance Opacity Image Plane Slider for setting the transparency of the grid image plane
C3dC Mesh > Image Planes > Enhance Opacity
or
Draw > Enhance Opacity
alt n (C3dC)
None (default)
Enhance Factor Image Plane Slide for the XRay Transparency of the object while over an image plane
C3dC Mesh > Image Planes > Enhance Factor
or
Draw > Enhance Factor (default)
shift n (C3dC)
None (default)
Projection Lines Projects lines for the grid image planes, setting to zero switches this off.
C3dC Mesh > Image Planes > PLine Opacity
or
Draw > PLine Opacity (default)
None (C3dC)
None (default)
VIDEO 2.2 : IMAGE PLANES: SPOTLIGHT (2:57 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Import Texture (0:00)
2. Load Texture (0:30)
3. Add To Spotlight (0:47)
4. Spotlight Settings (1:00)
5. Hide Spotlight (1:30)
6. Spotlight Proj Off (2:15)
Information
This video shows how to load an image plane as a reference that sits on top of the camera using Spotlight.

1. Import the image plane as a texture
2. Load the texture, so it’s currently active
3. Add To Spotlight
4. Turn Spotlight Projection Off

You can move spotlight around with its dial controls, scale and opacity are the most helpful. You can toggle the dial on and off using…

Edit Spotlight (z)

To toggle spotlight on and off use…

Turn On Spotlight (shift z)

Simple Dragon Image Planes

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Import Texture Imports a texture into ZBrush
Texture > Import
None (C3dC)
None (default)
Current Texture Loads a texture and makes it currently active
Texture > Current Texture
None (C3dC)
None (default)
Add To Spotlight Adds the currently loaded texture to Spotlight
C3dC Mesh > Image Planes > Add To Spotlight
or
Texture > Add To Spotlight
alt ctrl t (C3dC)
None (default)
Edit Spotlight Toggles the Spotlight tool slider on and off
Transform > Edit Spotlight
z (C3dC)
z (default)
Turn On Spotlight Toggles Spotlight on and off
C3dC Mesh > Image Planes > Turn On Spotlight
or
Texture > Turn On Spotlight
shift z (C3dC)
shift z (default)
Spotlight Projection Turns the Spotlight Projection on and off so you can sculpt using the transparency of Spotlight or disable it.
C3dC Mesh > Image Planes > Spotlight Projection
or
Brush > Samples > Spotlight Projection (default)
ctrl p (C3dC)
None (default)
Floor Grid Toggles the floor grid on and off
Draw > Floor
alt g (C3dC)
shift p (default)
VIDEO 2.3 : SAVING PROJECT FILES (43 sec)

No. Video Points
1. Save Project (0:00)
Information
This short video shows how to save a project file (.zpr) in ZBrush.

.zpr files contain everything in the scene and most closely resemble .ma or .mb files. There are two other file formats that you can use, .ztl where you save the current tool only and document .zbr which is a 2.5 D file, don’t save as .zbrs!

For most people, it’s easiest to save as .zprs which will include everything in the scene including the image planes and textures.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Save Project .zpr Saves the ZBrush Project File
File > Save As
ctrl s (C3dC)
ctrl s (default)
3. Subtools (ZBrush’s Objects) (6:01 mins)

A Subtool is the equivalent of a Maya object; you can organize them using the Subtool view under tools. Think about this area as the equivalent of the Outliner window.

Split helps you break apart shells of a single mesh to create many objects like Maya’s Extract.

Merge, usually Merge Down is the equivalent of Combine, and you can reorder, rename, and delete Subtools as you like.

ZBrush has no groups or hierarchies, and so it can be difficult to handle many objects. By using Masking and Polygroups, you can work around some of these shortcomings. You’ll learn about those concepts in later sections.

VIDEO 3.1 : SUBTOOLS (OBJECTS) (3:03 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Subtools (0:15)
2. Gizmo Manipulator (0:55)
3. Ctrl Duplicate (1:30)
4. Masking (1:45)
5. Split Unmasked Points (2:23)
6. Move Between Subtools (2:40)
7. Exit Manipulator (2:50)
Information
This video introduces Subtools which are ZBrushes objects. It also shows how to duplicate and move components around inside of a subtool.

The Move (w), Scale (r), and Rotate (e) modes in ZBrush all fall under the one Gizmo (manipulator). Although they can be toggled to transpose tools with more functionality it’s easiest to think of the Gizmo as these modes combined into one tool.

Find Subtools under Tools > Subtool. The layout there can’t be moved.

You’ll usually dock the Tools menu screen right. You can think of the Subtool layout as the Outliner, and there are no hierarchies or groups.

Since it’s common to work within one subTool Zbrush uses a lot of masking which is like Freeze in Maya or Mudbox. In ZBrush the masks appear as darkened areas on the mesh.

To Split objects is the similar to Maya’s Extract. Use Split Unmasked Points (alt ctrl shift e) to split the unmasked selection into a new subtool. Or Split To Parts (alt e) to split by shells.

To move between subtools hold alt and click on the new subtool, a small brush size may help (s). The selection will switch to that subtool, you can also hold Subtool And Popup (n).

Draw Pointer (q) exits out of the Gizmo back to brush mode.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Subtool And Popup Shows all subtools, on the hotkey it pops up a window
Tool > Subtool
n (C3dC)
n (default)
Move Enters The Gizmo, hit it twice to go into transpose move mode
Transform > Move
w (C3dC)
w (default)
Scale Enters The Gizmo, hit it twice to go into transpose scale mode
Transform > Scale
r (C3dC)
e (default)
Rotate Enters The Gizmo, hit it twice to go into transpose rotate mode
Transform > Rotate
e (C3dC)
r (default)
Split Unmasked Points Splits the Unmasked area into a new subtool
C3dC Mesh > Sub Tool > Split Unmasked Points
or
Tool > Subtool > Split > Split Unmasked Points
alt ctrl shift e (C3dC)
None (default)
Split To Parts Splits the mesh shells into new subtools
C3dC Mesh > Sub Tool > Split To Parts
or
Tool > Subtool > Split > Split To Parts
alt e (C3dC)
None (default)
Change Subtool Switches the focus of the current subtool
Tool > Subtool > click
alt click on subtool (C3dC)
alt click on subtool (default)
Draw Pointer Enters draw mode, deselects Gizmo modes
Transform > Draw Pointer
q (C3dC)
q (default)
VIDEO 3.2 : BASIC SUBTOOL FUNCTIONS (2:58 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Append Cylinder (0:00)
2. Brush Size (0:40)
3. Position Neck (0:50)
4. Merge Down (1:40)
5. Split To Parts (2:10)
6. Delete Subtool (2:30)
Information
This video shows more functionality of Subtools.

Append Subtool (ctrl a) will add a new subtool at the bottom of the list. You can use it to append a cylinder to our current subtool.

Change the brush size with Draw (Brush) Size (s)

To combine subtools together, you can use Merge Down (alt d), that will merge the current subtool to the one below in the subtool list.

To delete a subtool use Delete Subtool (alt ctrl shift d).

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Append Subtool Appends a new subtool to the current subtool to the bottom of the list
C3dC Mesh > Sub Tool > Append
or
Tool > Subtool > Append (default)
ctrl a (C3dC)
None (default)
Insert Subtool Inserts a new subtool to the current subtool below the currently selected subtool
C3dC Mesh > Sub Tool > Insert
or
Tool > Subtool > Insert (default)
ctrl i (C3dC)
None (default)
Draw (Brush) Size Sets the brush size, larger smaller
Draw > Draw Size
s (C3dC)
s (default)
Merge Down Merges the current subtool with the one below in the list. Like combine.
C3dC Mesh > Sub Tool > Merge Down
or
Tool > Subtool > Merge > Merge Down (default)
alt d (C3dC)
None (default)
Split To Parts Splits the mesh shells into new subtools
C3dC Mesh > Sub Tool > Split To Parts
or
Tool > Subtool > Split > Split To Parts
alt e (C3dC)
None (default)
Delete Subtool Deletes the current subtool
C3dC Mesh > Sub Tool > Delete
or
Tool > Subtool > Delete (default)
alt ctrl shift d (C3dC)
None (default)
Floor Grid Toggles the floor grid on and off
Draw > Floor
alt g (C3dC)
shift p (default)
4. Blocking With Primitives Workflow (10 mins)

The first blocking workflow is “Primitive Blocking.” The ZBrush method here is much like Maya’s.

You’ll discover how to use IMM primitives to insert shapes into the current Subtool (object) and see how masks can be useful for managing different mesh elements.

The new 4r8 deformers under the Gizmo tool can be compared to Maya’s deformers so you should feel comfortable here.

The Move brush is the first brush to learn, and it’s identical to Maya’s grab brush.

Mirroring is robust in ZBrush too, so no need to worry about center lines or merging, the program will handle all the hard stuff for you.

VIDEO 4.1 : IMM PRIMITIVES (1:56 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Perspective Mode (0:00)
2. Duplicate object (0:20)
3. Center Pivot (0:30)
4. IMM Primitives (0:50)
5. Position Neck (1:22)
6. Show Wire Polygroups (1:35)
Information
IMM Primitives is a brush that inserts primitives into the current subtool. It will mask the other mesh elements so if you’d like a new object just use Split Unmasked Points (alt ctrl shift e) after inserting the object.

The brush is easy to use, click and drag out your object. Remember you can click and drag through all the primitive options at the top of the window.

To exit the tool select any regular brush.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Perspective Orthographic Toggle Toggles between orthographic and the perspective camera
Draw > Perspective
p (C3dC)
p (default)
IMM Primitive Brush Enter the IMM Primitive Brush
C3dC Mesh > Brushes – Sculpt – Geo > IMM Primitive
shift 1 (C3dC)
None (default)
Draw Polyframe Toggles Polyframes on and off to show wires and Polygroups
Transform > Draw Pointer
shift f (C3dC)
shift f (default)
VIDEO 4.2 : DEFORMERS: TAPER, BEND CURVE (1:40 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Deformers (0:00)
2. Taper (0:18)
3. Bend Curve (0:45)
4. Switch To Gizmo (1:20)
Information
ZBrush now has Maya like deformers under the settings (cog) options of the Gizmo.

In this video, you can see the basics of Taper and Bend Curve. It’s a good idea to get to know the deformers, and we’ll cover them on a page after the Simple Dragon series.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Gizmo Can be entered through any of the transform tools, the ZBrush manipulator and various deformers and options
Transform > Gizmo 3d
w (C3dC)
w (default)
Taper (Gizmo) Deformer To Taper and Object
Gizmo > Settings > Taper
w (C3dC)
w (default)
Taper (Gizmo) Deformer that acts like a spline deformers using a curve
Gizmo > Settings > Bend Curve
w (C3dC)
w (default)
VIDEO 4.3 : MASKING AND MOVE BRUSH (1:23 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Invert Mask (0:10)
2. Move Brush (0:20)
3. Smooth Brush (1:10)
Information
See how ZBrush uses simple masks and how to use them effectively here. You can invert the mask selection with

Mask Inverse (ctrl click background)

Masks can also be painted with the Mask Pen (hold ctrl), but beware if you deselect a mask Deselect Mask (ctrl drag background) the mask can only be recovered with undo. You can save masks as maps, and in most cases, it’s just better to use Polygroups which you’ll see later.

The Move Brush (2) is almost identical to Maya’s Grab brush. It’s easy to click move the mesh planar to the camera. You can also use alt to pull or push from the surface normal.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Draw Pointer Enters draw mode, deselects Gizmo modes
Transform > Draw Pointer
q (C3dC)
q (default)
Mask Inverse Inverts the current mask
C3dC Mesh > Masking > Inverse
or
Tool > Masking > Inverse (default)
ctrl click background (C3dC)
ctrl click background (default)
Move Brush The Move Brush can move the mesh around like Maya’s Grab brush, hold alt to pull or push in the normal direction of the selection.
C3dC Mesh > Brushes – Sculpt – Geo > Move
2 (C3dC)
None (default)
Draw (Brush) Size Sets the brush size, larger smaller
Draw > Draw Size
s (C3dC)
s (default)
Smooth Brush Smooths the mesh, release shift for relax mode, hold alt for roughen
hold shift (any brush) (C3dC)
hold shift (any brush) (default)
VIDEO 4.4 : CLIP CURVE: CUTTING (1:39 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Clip Curve (0:00)
2. Using Clip Curve(0:40)
3. Resulting Mesh (1:00)
4. Reverse Clip (1:20)
Information
Clip Curve is a great hidden brush in ZBrush that allows you to cut through geometry. It has its kinks but works pretty well. It also has secondary functionality and can turn corners by tapping alt.

In this case, we’ll use it to make a simple cut. It uses a form of Dynamesh to add lots of detail to the underside of the cut.

Clip Curve Brush (9)

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Clip Curve Brush Cuts the mesh, can turn corners, tap alt for rounded corner or double tap alt for corners. Hold ctrl shift to use.
>C3dC Mesh > Brushes – Active Select – Clip > Clip Curve
9 (C3dC)
None (default)
Floor Grid Toggles the floor grid on and off
Draw > Floor
alt g (C3dC)
shift p (default)
VIDEO 4.5 : IMM CONE: HORNS (2:13 mins)

No. Video Points
1. IMM Primitive Brush (0:00)
2. Move Mode (0:30)
3. Replace Cone (0:40)
4. Symmetrical Scale Issue (1:10)
5. Symmetry Mode Toggle (1:20)
6. Mask Box Select (1:30)
7. Position Left Horn (1:40)
Information
The IMM Brush is used here again for the horns. Since there’s no cone primitive in the brush you can just replace it using the gizmo after creating any object. The gizmo will replace the unmasked subtool and works well with the IMM brush.

The Gizmo has an unfortunate problem with symmetrical scale, so we’ll just turn off the symmetry and mirror it in the next video.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
IMM Primitive Brush Enter the IMM Primitive Brush
C3dC Mesh > Brushes – Sculpt – Geo > IMM Primitive
shift 1 (C3dC)
None (default)
Move Enters The Gizmo, hit it twice to go into transpose move mode
Transform > Move
w (C3dC)
w (default)
Activate Symmetry Toggles symmetry mode on and off
Transform > ActivateSymmetry
x (C3dC)
x (default)
Mask Pen Enters the mask mode, click on the mesh to paint the mask, click and drag on the background to draw a rectangle mask.
C3dC Mesh > Masking > Mask Pen
hold ctrl (C3dC)
hold ctrl (default)
VIDEO 4.6 : CUSTOM CONFIG BUG FIX (54 sec)

No. Video Points
1. Missing Button Bug (0:00)
2. Reload UI (0:30)
3. Color Note (0:40)
Information
This video shows a potential bug with the Custom UI. We believe this is a bug. If the issue happens to you, you can reload the UI from the file. You may wish to store the UI too for the next startup.

Hopefully, Pixologic will fix this bug in the future.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Load UI Config Loads a custom UI config from a .cfg file on disk
Preferences > Config > Load Ui
None (C3dC)
None (default)
Store UI Config Stores the currently loaded UI Config for restart
Preferences > Config > Store Config
ctrl shift i (C3dC)
ctrl shift i (default)
VIDEO 4.7 : FLIP AND MIRROR GEOMETRY (42 sec)

No. Video Points
1. Mirror Conventions (0:00)
2. Flip Mirror (0:17)
3. Mirror And Weld (0:25)
Information
There are a few ways to mirror in ZBrush, here you’ll see two methods.

Mirror Flip Object (ctrl shift m)

Will flip the object like a negative scale on x.

Mirror And Weld (shift m)

Will mirror from +x to -x which is the reverse direction from most Maya defaults. ZBrush handles mirroring very well and will add extra mesh lines if none exist.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Mirror Flip Object Flip Mirrors the current subtool with inverted scale
C3dC Mesh > Geo Misc And Mirror > Mirror
or
Tool > Geometry > Mirror (default)
Tool > Geometry > Mirror (default)
ctrl shift m (C3dC)
None (default)
Mirror And Weld Mirrors an object -x to +x
C3dC Mesh > Geo Misc And Mirror > Mirror And Weld
or
Tool > Geometry > Mirror And Weld (default)
shift m (C3dC)
None (default)
5. Shaping And Joining Primitives (10 mins)

This is the second part of the first workflow “Primitive Block”. The section will show you how to sculpt a rough pass on the forms and use Dynamesh to join your meshes together.

Dynamesh is one of the most impressive ZBrush tools that allows you to combine multiple shells instantly. Although the resulting mesh is dense it’s fine for sculpting.

Dynamesh allows you to invent workflows without needing to worry about topology. It’s a destructive tool which can erode previously sculpted details, when it’s used correctly it’s indispensable.

VIDEO 5.1 : POLYGROUPS (1:09 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Difficulties Separating (0:00)
2. Mask By Polygroups (0:20)
3. Result (0:40)
Information
Polygroups are a good way of organising your current subtool without having to have multiple subtools for each object. They are a lot like Maya’s sets and when you export with GoZ to Maya they will become sets.

Here you’ll see how Mask By Polygroups help use to work on indiyidual pieces of this subtool.

Mask By Polygroups (shift p)

To see Polygroups be sure to have PolyFrames on

Draw Polyframe (shift f)

Unlike sets you can only have one polygroup per face.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Mask By Polygroups Masks between each polygroup so that you can only sculpt on one group at a time.
C3dC Mesh > Masking – Mask By Polygroups
or
Brush > Auto Masking > Mask By Polygroups
shift p (C3dC)
None (default)
Draw Polyframe Toggles Polyframes on and off to show wires and Polygroups
Transform > Draw Pointer
shift f (C3dC)
shift f (default)
VIDEO 5.2 : ROUGHING OUT SHAPES WITH MOVE (3:22 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Shaping The Face (0:00)
2. Brush Maximum Size (0:15)
3. Adjust Image Plane (1:25)
4. Rotate Around Z (2:00)
5. Move Normal Direction (2:30)
Information
This video shows how you can roughly shape the form of the dragons head to match the references using,

Draw Polyframe (shift f)30
Draw (Brush) Size (s)30
Smooth Brush (hold shift (any brush))30

The image plane transparency can be adjusted with,

Enhance Opacity Image Plane (alt n)
and
Enhance Factor Image Plane (shift n)

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Move Brush The Move Brush can move the mesh around like Maya’s Grab brush, hold alt to pull or push in the normal direction of the selection.
C3dC Mesh > Brushes – Sculpt – Geo > Move
2 (C3dC)
None (default)
Draw (Brush) Size Sets the brush size, larger smaller
Draw > Draw Size
s (C3dC)
s (default)
Enhance Opacity Image Plane Slider for setting the transparency of the grid image plane
C3dC Mesh > Image Planes > Enhance Opacity
or
Draw > Enhance Opacity
alt n (C3dC)
None (default)
Enhance Factor Image Plane Slide for the XRay Transparency of the object while over an image plane
C3dC Mesh > Image Planes > Enhance Factor
or
Draw > Enhance Factor (default)
shift n (C3dC)
None (default)
Navigation Rot Around Z Spins the camera on the z axis, tilting it
Shift, Click, release Shift, drag (C3dC)
Shift, Click, release Shift, drag (default)
Smooth Brush Smooths the mesh, release shift for relax mode, hold alt for roughen
hold shift (any brush) (C3dC)
hold shift (any brush) (default)
VIDEO 5.3 : PREPARING FOR DYNAMESH (1:38 mins)

No. Video Points
1. ZBrush Thinking (0:00)
2. Adding Divisions (0:40)
3. Active Points (0:46)
4. A Million Polys (1:05)
5. Fix Errors (1:15)
Information
Dynamesh is the process of joining the objects together in one dense mesh. This video shows you how to prepare for the join by adding divisions to the faceted mesh.

Divide Mesh is the way you can add more detail; it’s the same as Poly Smooth in Maya. ZBrush’s has added functionality where it keeps each level, and you can navigate up and down the levels, similar to Mudbox.

Higher Res Division (shift d)
and
Lower Res Division (shift d)

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Floor Grid Toggles the floor grid on and off
Draw > Floor
alt g (C3dC)
shift p (default)
Draw Polyframe Toggles Polyframes on and off to show wires and Polygroups
Transform > Draw Pointer
shift f (C3dC)
shift f (default)
Divide Mesh Adds a division into the mesh, similar to polysmooth, Mesh will have 4 times as many polys with each division.
C3dC Mesh > SubD – Division > Divide
or
Tool > Geometry > Divide (default)
ctrl d (C3dC)
ctrl d (default)
Mask By Polygroups Masks between each polygroup so that you can only sculpt on one group at a time.
C3dC Mesh > Masking – Mask By Polygroups
or
Brush > Auto Masking > Mask By Polygroups
shift p (C3dC)
None (default)
Move Brush The Move Brush can move the mesh around like Maya’s Grab brush, hold alt to pull or push in the normal direction of the selection.
C3dC Mesh > Brushes – Sculpt – Geo > Move
2 (C3dC)
None (default)
VIDEO 5.4 : DYNAMESH (2:20 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Dynamesh Intro (0:00)
2. Dynamesh (0:25)
3. What Is Dynamesh (0:50)
4. Mask By Polygroups Off (1:30)
5. Smooth The Join (1:40)
Information
Dynamesh (alt ctrl shift r) is the process of joining the objects together in one dense mesh. This video shows you how it works. Dynamesh is one of the most impressive tools found inside of ZBrush and it forms the base for most concepting workflows.

To Dynamesh, the button must be on, then ctrl drag the background with no mask.

We like to think of Dynamesh like a giant sieve which cuts from each grid angle. Where the quads from each plane meet the mesh will have triangles. Because of the density of the Dynamesh objects, the triangles aren’t much of a problem while sculpting, particularly in the blocking phase.

Be sure to exit Mask By Polygroups (shift p) after the Dynamesh so you can smooth the joins.

You’ll use ZRemesher (ZBrush’s Auto-Retopology tool) to create the final sculpt base mesh. But Dynamesh is handy in the block stages while the form is constantly changing.

Relax (alt r) and Polish (alt p) are handy tools for global smoothing, you’ll see those later in the video.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Dynamesh With this on, use ctrl click drag background with no mask. Dynamesh will brute force add polygons and is great for adding new areas to your mesh wehre there isn’t enough geometry.
C3dC Mesh > DynamMesh – ZRemesher > Dynamesh
or
Tool > Geometry > Dynamesh (default)
alt ctrl shift r (C3dC)
None (default)
Draw Polyframe Toggles Polyframes on and off to show wires and Polygroups
Transform > Draw Pointer
shift f (C3dC)
shift f (default)
Smooth Brush Smooths the mesh, release shift for relax mode, hold alt for roughen
hold shift (any brush) (C3dC)
hold shift (any brush) (default)
Mask By Polygroups Masks between each polygroup so that you can only sculpt on one group at a time.
C3dC Mesh > Masking – Mask By Polygroups
or
Brush > Auto Masking > Mask By Polygroups
shift p (C3dC)
None (default)
Relax Relaxes the unmasked mesh using the relax smooth type
C3dC Mesh > Geo Misc And Mirror > Relax
or
Tool > Deformation > Relax (default)
alt r (C3dC)
None (default)
Polish Smooths the unmasked mesh using the polish smooth type
C3dC Mesh > Geo Misc And Mirror > Polish
or
Tool > Deformation > Polish (default)
alt p (C3dC)
None (default)
VIDEO 5.5 : PRIMITIVE BLOCK CONCLUSION (1:49 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Primitive Block Conclusion (0:00)
2. Maya Block Note (0:20)
3. ZBrush Poly Model Note (0:40)
4. Fast Block Introduction (0:55)
5. Save File (1:05)
Information
This video concludes the Primitive Block Workflow. You’ll also see how to save the file as a ZBrush project file or .zpr.

There are 3 ways of saving files in ZBrush. While starting it’s best to use Save Project…

Save Project .zpr (ctrl s)

as the other modes, document and tool can potentially lose data.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Save Project .zpr Saves the ZBrush Project File
File > Save As
ctrl s (C3dC)
ctrl s (default)
Draw Polyframe Toggles Polyframes on and off to show wires and Polygroups
Transform > Draw Pointer
shift f (C3dC)
shift f (default)
6. Send Between ZBrush/Maya (3:17 mins)

GoZ is ZBrush’s send feature, its well tailored for Maya users.

In this section, you’ll see how you can transfer and update objects between the two programs efficiently.

It’s ideal to use both programs for their strengths, and being able to move between applications effortlessly is crucial.

This section shows how to send and join a block mesh from Maya into ZBrush and then back again.

Maya has strengths in poly blocking, it’s hierarchies, and pivot tools are superior to ZBrush’s, but ZBrush is the king of sculpting and high poly counts, so it can be useful to use both programs in tandem for different tasks.

VIDEO 6.1 : SENDING BETWEEN MAYA AND BRUSH WITH GOZ (3:17 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Send Obj From Maya (0:20)
2. Merge Down (1:15)
3. Add Divisions (1:30)
4. Dynamesh (1:38)
5. ZRemesher (2:00)
6. Retopology Result (2:30)
7. Send To Maya (2:54)
Information
GoZ is the method that ZBrush uses to send between programs. To install GoZ use…

1. Close Maya
2. Install GoZ from inside ZBrush
Preferences > GoZ > Path To Maya
and then
Preferences > GoZ > Force Reinstall
3. Load Maya, a new ZBrush Shelf should appear

GoZ is new and improved in 4r8, it’s 4 to 10 times faster and supports polyframes as sets.

We’ll leave the details for another more comprehensive video, but you can see a quick workflow here.

Also shown at the end of this video is ZRemesher (alt ctrl shift z), this is ZBrush’s fantastic auto-retopology tool.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
MAYA
GoZbrush
Sends Selected Objects To ZBrush
GoZBrush (shelf) > GoZ
None (C3dC)
None (default)
ZBRUSH
GoZ
Sends the current subtool to an external program such as Maya
C3dC Mesh > File Import – Export > GoZ
or
Tool > GoZ (default)
None (C3dC)
None (default)
ZBRUSH
Merge Down
Merges the current subtool with the one below in the list. Like combine.
C3dC Mesh > Sub Tool > Merge Down
or
Tool > Subtool > Merge > Merge Down (default)
alt d (C3dC)
None (default)
ZBRUSH
Divide Mesh
Adds a division into the mesh, similar to polysmooth, Mesh will have 4 times as many polys with each division.
C3dC Mesh > SubD – Division > Divide
or
Tool > Geometry > Divide (default)
ctrl d (C3dC)
ctrl d (default)
ZBRUSH
Dynamesh
With this on, use ctrl click drag background with no mask. Dynamesh will brute force add polygons and is great for adding new areas to your mesh wehre there isn’t enough geometry.
C3dC Mesh > DynamMesh – ZRemesher > Dynamesh
or
Tool > Geometry > Dynamesh (default)
alt ctrl shift r (C3dC)
None (default)
ZBRUSH
Smooth Brush
Smooths the mesh, release shift for relax mode, hold alt for roughen
hold shift (any brush) (C3dC)
hold shift (any brush) (default)
ZBRUSH
ZRemesher
ZBrushes auto-retopology tool, will automatically retopologise the quads as per the density settings
C3dC Mesh > DynaMesh – ZRemesher > ZRemesher
or
Tool > Geometry > ZRemesher (default)
alt ctrl shift z (C3dC)
None (default)
ZBRUSH
Activate Symmetry
Toggles symmetry mode on and off
Transform > ActivateSymmetry
x (C3dC)
x (default)
7. Fast Sculpt Block Workflow (19 mins)

This last section on the blocking page shows an alternative fast and dirty way of working inside of Zbrush.

This workflow is prone to creating more lumps and bumps, but the accomplished sculptor who can fix these issues will find that it can be one of the fastest and most powerful ways of working.

The Fast-Sculpt Blocking Method uses Masks, Move, and Dynamesh to quickly extrude forms. Multiple shell meshes can be combined and joined to create block shapes quickly. And then you can add ZRemesher (Auto-Retopology) into the mix which produces perfect sculpt base meshes.

The goal of the block is to build base forms that can be easily detailed. With practice, this seemingly rough workflow has the potential to produce impressively fast results.

VIDEO 7.1 : FAST SCULPT: BLOCKING NECK (3:48 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Split To Parts (0:00)
2. Mask Head Section (1:05)
3. Invert Mask (1:20)
4. Move Create Neck (2:00)
5. Gizmo Create Neck (2:10)
6. Bad Mesh (3:05)
7. Dynamesh (3:15)
Information
Dynamesh workflows make ZBrush versatile, one example of this is in Fast Block Workflows which use masking and the move Gizmo to extrude shapes. These extruded shapes have terrible geometry, but Dynamesh can quickly turn terrible topology into sculpt worthy meshes.

Because of ZBrushes Dynamesh ability, many artists use fast block workflows to concept models with great speed. This video shows the fundamentals of this workflow.

The downside of a Mask/Move/Dynamesh workflow is that it can create lumpy models that are difficult to cure without a lot of experience sculpting. But it’s certainly one of the fastest ways of working once you’ve some experience.

We find Fast Block Workflows are ideal for busts and experimentation. However while blocking more complex shapes like whole characters and arms, we’d suggest using Maya to block out the forms before coming to ZBrush for the joining processes.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Dynamesh With this on, use ctrl click drag background with no mask. Dynamesh will brute force add polygons and is great for adding new areas to your mesh wehre there isn’t enough geometry.
C3dC Mesh > DynamMesh – ZRemesher > Dynamesh
or
Tool > Geometry > Dynamesh (default)
alt ctrl shift r (C3dC)
None (default)
Split To Parts Splits the mesh shells into new subtools
C3dC Mesh > Sub Tool > Split To Parts
or
Tool > Subtool > Split > Split To Parts
alt e (C3dC)
None (default)
Change Subtool Switches the focus of the current subtool
Tool > Subtool > click
alt click on subtool (C3dC)
alt click on subtool (default)
Floor Grid Toggles the floor grid on and off
Draw > Floor
alt g (C3dC)
shift p (default)
Mask Pen Enters the mask mode, click on the mesh to paint the mask, click and drag on the background to draw a rectangle mask.
C3dC Mesh > Masking > Mask Pen
hold ctrl (C3dC)
hold ctrl (default)
Mask Inverse Inverts the current mask
C3dC Mesh > Masking > Inverse
or
Tool > Masking > Inverse (default)
ctrl click background (C3dC)
ctrl click background (default)
Draw (Brush) Size Sets the brush size, larger smaller
Draw > Draw Size
s (C3dC)
s (default)
Move Enters The Gizmo, hit it twice to go into transpose move mode
Transform > Move
w (C3dC)
w (default)
Deselect Mask Deselects the mask if a mask exists on the current subtool
ctrl drag background (C3dC)
ctrl drag background (default)
Draw Polyframe Toggles Polyframes on and off to show wires and Polygroups
Transform > Draw Pointer
shift f (C3dC)
shift f (default)
Draw Pointer Enters draw mode, deselects Gizmo modes
Transform > Draw Pointer
q (C3dC)
q (default)
Smooth Brush Smooths the mesh, release shift for relax mode, hold alt for roughen
hold shift (any brush) (C3dC)
hold shift (any brush) (default)
VIDEO 7.2 : FAST SCULPT: DYNAMESH BODY (3:38 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Rough Neck (0:00)
2. Match Top (0:40)
3. Clay Buildup (1:25)
4. Smooth Accelerator (2:00)
5. Merge Down (2:25)
6. Dynamesh (2:33)
7. Dynamesh Resolution (2:52)
Information
This video shows how to rough out the neck to match the reference, then joining the body using Dynamesh.

The resolution of Dynamesh can matter, and it’s relative to the Grid Size, here we’re using the whole gird so you can lower the resolution to 64 which will make it easier to smooth.

Smooth Note Correction
There are ways of accelerating Smooth in ZBrush, but it can be a little clunky to use. We’ve added these to the C3dC UI under…

C3dc Mesh > Brushes

The tool functions include…

Weighted Smooth Mode
Weight Strength
Min Connected Points
Polish Strength

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Floor Grid Toggles the floor grid on and off
Draw > Floor
alt g (C3dC)
shift p (default)
Move Brush The Move Brush can move the mesh around like Maya’s Grab brush, hold alt to pull or push in the normal direction of the selection.
C3dC Mesh > Brushes – Sculpt – Geo > Move
2 (C3dC)
None (default)
Navigation Constrain 90 Degrees Snaps the navigation camera to the front top side views etc
Alt Click+drag, press Shift (C3dC)
Click+drag, press Shift (default)
Perspective Orthographic Toggle Toggles between orthographic and the perspective camera
Draw > Perspective
p (C3dC)
p (default)
Clay Buildup Brush Clay Buildup brush is one of the most popular brushes, it builds geometry from the lowest cavities making it ideal for layering geometry.
C3dC Mesh > Brushes – Sculpt – Geo > Clay Buildup
4 (C3dC)
None (default)
Focal Shift Affects the strngth of falloff for the current brush
Draw > Focal Shift
alt f (C3dC)
None (default)
Merge Down Merges the current subtool with the one below in the list. Like combine.
C3dC Mesh > Sub Tool > Merge Down
or
Tool > Subtool > Merge > Merge Down (default)
alt d (C3dC)
None (default)
Dynamesh With this on, use ctrl click drag background with no mask. Dynamesh will brute force add polygons and is great for adding new areas to your mesh wehre there isn’t enough geometry.
C3dC Mesh > DynamMesh – ZRemesher > Dynamesh
or
Tool > Geometry > Dynamesh (default)
alt ctrl shift r (C3dC)
None (default)
VIDEO 7.3 : FAST SCULPT: HPOLISH FLATTEN (1:24 mins)

No. Video Points
1. HPolish (0:00)
2. HPolish Use (0:20)
3. Result (0:50)
4. Clean Up Shape (1:00)
Information
The H Polish Brush (5) is one of ZBrush’s two main flatten brushes. In this video, you’ll see a different technique for cutting the bottom of the dragon bust. HPolish pushes this part of the mesh to make it flat.
Command Menu/Description Hotkey
H Polish Brush The HPolish brush is similar to a flatten brush, it can also be used to polish bumps on a dense model. Similar to Trim Dynamic with a slightly different algorithm for corners
C3dC Mesh > Brushes – Sculpt – Geo > H Polish
5 (C3dC)
None (default)
Smooth Brush Smooths the mesh, release shift for relax mode, hold alt for roughen
hold shift (any brush) (C3dC)
hold shift (any brush) (default)
Move Brush The Move Brush can move the mesh around like Maya’s Grab brush, hold alt to pull or push in the normal direction of the selection.
C3dC Mesh > Brushes – Sculpt – Geo > Move
2 (C3dC)
None (default)
Draw Polyframe Toggles Polyframes on and off to show wires and Polygroups
Transform > Draw Pointer
shift f (C3dC)
shift f (default)
Floor Grid Toggles the floor grid on and off
Draw > Floor
alt g (C3dC)
shift p (default)
VIDEO 7.4 : FAST SCULPT: HORNS (2:44 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Dynamesh (0:00)
2. Mask Horn Base (0:20)
3. Move Up Smooth (0:40)
4. snakehookBrush (1:25)
Information
In the Primitive Block workflow you saw how to use cones to create the horns for the Dragon, but here you’ll see other ways of creating them. One effective method is to mask the mesh and move the horns out with the Move Brush (2).

You’ll also see how Snakehook Brush (ctrl 2) can extrude points with curved lines, Snakehook is great horns, hair, and branches.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Dynamesh With this on, use ctrl click drag background with no mask. Dynamesh will brute force add polygons and is great for adding new areas to your mesh wehre there isn’t enough geometry.
C3dC Mesh > DynamMesh – ZRemesher > Dynamesh
or
Tool > Geometry > Dynamesh (default)
alt ctrl shift r (C3dC)
None (default)
Mask Pen Enters the mask mode, click on the mesh to paint the mask, click and drag on the background to draw a rectangle mask.
C3dC Mesh > Masking > Mask Pen
hold ctrl (C3dC)
hold ctrl (default)
Mask Inverse Inverts the current mask
C3dC Mesh > Masking > Inverse
or
Tool > Masking > Inverse (default)
ctrl click background (C3dC)
ctrl click background (default)
Perspective Orthographic Toggle Toggles between orthographic and the perspective camera
Draw > Perspective
p (C3dC)
p (default)
Draw Polyframe Toggles Polyframes on and off to show wires and Polygroups
Transform > Draw Pointer
shift f (C3dC)
shift f (default)
Move Brush The Move Brush can move the mesh around like Maya’s Grab brush, hold alt to pull or push in the normal direction of the selection.
C3dC Mesh > Brushes – Sculpt – Geo > Move
2 (C3dC)
None (default)
Smooth Brush Smooths the mesh, release shift for relax mode, hold alt for roughen
hold shift (any brush) (C3dC)
hold shift (any brush) (default)
Snakehook Brush An extrude brush that pulls out pointy peaks that can turn corners, useful for hair and horns, branches etc.
C3dC Mesh > Brushes – Sculpt – Geo > Snakehook
ctrl 2 (C3dC)
None (default)
VIDEO 7.5 : FAST SCULPT: EYE SOCKETS, CLAY BUILDUP (2:22 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Mask Eye (0:00)
2. Inverted Clay Buildup (0:24)
3. Clay Buildup Brow (0:40)
4. HPolish Lump Remove (1:04)
5. Brow HPolish (1:55)
Information
Clay Buildup Brush (4) is one of the most used Brushes in ZBrush. The brush works by first filling crevices (low-lying areas) and building upwards, it’s a lot like how clay works, and it’s fabulous for laying form.

You’ll see how Clay Buildup used in tandem with H Polish Brush (5) can be very useful.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Mask Pen Enters the mask mode, click on the mesh to paint the mask, click and drag on the background to draw a rectangle mask.
C3dC Mesh > Masking > Mask Pen
hold ctrl (C3dC)
hold ctrl (default)
Clay Buildup Brush Clay Buildup brush is one of the most popular brushes, it builds geometry from the lowest cavities making it ideal for layering geometry.
C3dC Mesh > Brushes – Sculpt – Geo > Clay Buildup
4 (C3dC)
None (default)
Perspective Orthographic Toggle Toggles between orthographic and the perspective camera
Draw > Perspective
p (C3dC)
p (default)
Floor Grid Toggles the floor grid on and off
Draw > Floor
alt g (C3dC)
shift p (default)
H Polish Brush The HPolish brush is similar to a flatten brush, it can also be used to polish bumps on a dense model. Similar to Trim Dynamic with a slightly different algorithm for corners
C3dC Mesh > Brushes – Sculpt – Geo > H Polish
5 (C3dC)
None (default)
Draw (Brush) Size Sets the brush size, larger smaller
Draw > Draw Size
s (C3dC)
s (default)
VIDEO 7.6 : ZREMESHER (2:29 mins)

No. Video Points
1. ZRemesher Intro (0:00)
2. ZRemesher Result (0:45)
3. Smooth Move Forms (1:00)
4. Low Topology Note (2:05)
Information
ZRemesher (alt ctrl shift z) is ZBrush’s auto-retopology tool. It can create beautifully quaded sculpt meshes in a short amount of time.

Some people confuse zRemesher for creating regular base meshes, and while in some cases it may be handy for generating animation base meshes quickly, in most circumstances manual quad draw will achieve superior results in Maya. But for simple prop objects, or for sculpt base meshes that will have more density, ZRemesher is a massively powerful tool.

It is possible to sculpt Dynamesh types of topology right through until the final stages but having a clean grided mesh is superior in most cases.

Over the next few pages you’ll see how having a solid Sculpt Base Mesh gives you a command over your mesh as you can surf up and down the division levels too. Smoothing issues are less problematic than with Dynamesh which will have tris all over the 45-degree sections of the mesh. In the block this is not such an issue, but later those areas of the mesh can get frustrating.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
ZRemesher ZBrushes auto-retopology tool, will automatically retopologise the quads as per the density settings
C3dC Mesh > DynaMesh – ZRemesher > ZRemesher
or
Tool > Geometry > ZRemesher (default)
alt ctrl shift z (C3dC)
None (default)
Smooth Brush Smooths the mesh, release shift for relax mode, hold alt for roughen
hold shift (any brush) (C3dC)
hold shift (any brush) (default)
Move Brush The Move Brush can move the mesh around like Maya’s Grab brush, hold alt to pull or push in the normal direction of the selection.
C3dC Mesh > Brushes – Sculpt – Geo > Move
2 (C3dC)
None (default)
VIDEO 7.7 : DIVIDING THE MESH (SUBD DIVIDE) (1:22 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Divide (0:00)
2. SubD – Division Menu (0:30)
3. SDiv Slider (0:40)
4. Delete Higher (1:15)
Information
There are two methods for adding smoothness to the mesh in ZBrush. Divide Mesh (ctrl d) and Dynamic SubDs (ctrl alt 3).

In this video, you’ll see how to divide the mesh and switch levels. You’ll be using this principle a lot in the next class.

Dividing the object will add four times the detail with each division. And the divisions are always quads. The extra detail will be handy while adding the more subtle details.

To add a new division use Divide Mesh (ctrl d)
To navigate down the levels use Lower Res Division (shift d)
To navigate up the levels use Higher Res Division (shift d)

You can also delete lower and higher levels, removing higher levels will erase the detail stored there.

Delete Higher Division (ctrl alt shift (up arrow))
Delete Lower Division (ctrl alt shift (up arrow))

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Divide Mesh Adds a division into the mesh, similar to polysmooth, Mesh will have 4 times as many polys with each division.
C3dC Mesh > SubD – Division > Divide
or
Tool > Geometry > Divide (default)
ctrl d (C3dC)
ctrl d (default)
Higher Res Division Step up a division level for the current subtool if one exists
C3dC Mesh > SubD – Divisions > Higher Res
or
Tool > Geometry > Higher Res (default)
shift d (C3dC)
shift d (default)
Lower Res Division Step down a division level for the current subtool if one exists
C3dC Mesh > SubD – Divisions > Lower Res
or
Tool > Geometry > Lower Res (default)
shift d (C3dC)
shift d (default)
Delete Higher Division Delete all higher division levels if they exist
C3dC Mesh > SubD – Divisions > Del Higher
or
Tool > Geometry > Del Higher (default)
ctrl alt shift (up arrow) (C3dC)
None (default)
Delete Lower Division Delete all lower division levels if they exist
C3dC Mesh > SubD – Divisions > Del Lower
or
Tool > Geometry > Del Lower (default)
ctrl alt shift (down arrow) (C3dC)
None (default)
VIDEO 7.8 : DYNAMIC SUBDS (1:30 mins)

No. Video Points
1. Dynamic SubDs (0:00)
2. Reason For Dynamic (0:32)
3. File Size Note (0:45)
4. Conclusion (1:00)
Information
Dynamic SubDs (ctrl alt 3) will display the divisions of a SubD mesh but it won’t actually add more detail to the base mesh. It’s the same as the SubD type in Maya you’ll know from the 3 (or C3dC ctrl alt 3) keys.

Dynamic SubDs are useful when you don’t want to add detail but would like to see the mesh smoothed correctly. Say you’re coming from Maya and have a few objects to sculpt, but you’d also have various subtools that you’d like smoothed, but you won’t need to work on them.

They can also be handy because they won’t have to calculate extra points on the mesh, so it’s keeps the project file size down.

This video concludes the Blocking Stage; the next class will take have you detail the character with various sculpting workflows.

Command Menu/Description Hotkey
Dynamic SubDs Temporary SubD mode, won’t add divisions, just a display mode. Similar to the 3 key (ctrl alt 3 ) key in Maya.
C3dC Mesh > SubD – Divisions > Dynamic
or
Tool > Geometry > Dynamic SubDiv > Dynamic (default)
ctrl alt 3 (C3dC)
None (default)