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The ZBrush Mess

Blog: #89 of 108 by Dave Luebbert

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May 27th, 2013 - 06:40 AM

ZBrush, a wonderful program for making figurative/organic/mechanical 3D models intuitively and artistically. I bought it over a decade ago in its infancy, and the deal was that I would never have to pay for an update ever again. That was a great selling point. Especially when you figure it's now in its fourth and a half version. Each improvement brought new concepts, speed and efficiency. I couldn't really sink my teeth into it until about 3.5 when I had time to continually spend with it.

At first it was a victory to get anything out of the program. Thank God for all the great instructive videos and training pages on the Internet, which is where the education for ZBrush is obviously meant to be. Good thing, because wherever a computer is, is normally where the Internet is, and instruction. In the beginning it was obvious that the ZBrush interface seemed like a big mess. I was used to Windows and thought like Windows. The methods of placing the menus around were so different and they operated differently. It wasn't until I had time that I noticed that they were as unique to ZBrush as ZBrush is as unique in itself as a creative program. There are many ways to do things in the program. Some work similarly and do similar things and get similar outcomes. Some come in the form of plug-ins that one needs to go to. Each has to be learned one at a time. It isn't until much later, at least for me, that in perspective they all come together to create a workflow that makes sense for the creative process. When I have a concept in mind, I start putting it together in my mind first, imagining all the different things in ZBrush I can use to do it, and there are many.

ZBrush not only is a polygon modeling system, but a 2D painting program if one wishes it to be. I stick to the 3D with it, but even with the 3D aspect, there are great ways to color, texture and paint the models made with it. It's sort of like holding a paint brush with a color well to the side that is very easy to change into any color and lightness. There are great masking options that then make adding paint to the model in very interesting ways very easy and worthwhile. This image is a painted ZBrush model of a volcanic moon done in such a way. It will be part of a science fiction scene.

ZBrush, that can seem a mess, like many things in life, can eventually be reasoned out and be made sense of. It can then be very satisfying.

The ZBrush Mess

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