ZBrush sets the industry standard for digital sculpting and painting. Its features enable you to use customizable brushes to shape, texture and paint virtual clay in a real-time environment that provides instant feedback.
ZBrush Artist Michael Pavlovich provides an overview of this year's Pixologic software releases, including what's new in ZBrush 2021.5
When you use ZBrush you'll be empowered by the same tools employed by film studios, game developers, toy/collectible makers, jewellery designers, automotive/aviation designers, illustrators, advertisers, scientists and other artists the world over. In short, ZBrush is an art tool created by artists, for artists. It allows you to create models and illustrations limited only by your imagination, at a speed that allows you to stand out in today's fast paced industry.
As with anything else in life, where you can go is usually determined by where you begin. Having a great finished model requires a quality base mesh. ZBrush provides an arsenal of tools to assist with this task, ensuring that no matter what you have in mind, there is a way to get the perfect base to then take to the next level. The best known of these systems are explained here.
Ignore the constraints of polygon distribution and simply – sculpt! Sculptris Pro will dynamically add (tesselate) and remove (decimate) polygons wherever and whenever needed. It does this during your brush stroke in a real-time process called Tessimation. This frees you to focus entirely on the look you’re trying to achieve.
DynaMesh is a perfect solution for free-form sculpting because it removes all need for focusing on topological constraints. Change the overall shape of the model by pushing or pulling, adding various pieces of geometry to combine into one, or even remove geometry in a manner similar to what can be done with Boolean operations. Where Sculptris Pro dynamically adjusts the triangles in your mesh as you sculpt, DynaMesh redistributes the model’s polygons as quads on command.
While ZBrush is best known for organic sculpting, its hard surface capabilities should not be underestimated. The ZModeler system is designed specifically for low poly modeling with easily accessed and highly intuitive controls for creating holes, adding edge loops, extruding polygons and much more.
Many models are really nothing more than a set of shapes that combine to form a more detailed shape. Live Boolean takes this concept and runs with it, providing a way to easily add models together, subtract one from another and more. What makes the system in ZBrush unique is that this operation happens in real-time, letting you see exactly what you’re going to get before committing to the actual merger. This provides both exceptional ease of use and unprecedented control.
If you’ve ever added clay to a wire armature then you know exactly how ZSpheres work. Draw a simple skeleton/stick figure and ZBrush will then flesh it out with actual topology.
An evolution to ZSpheres is the Mannequin system. With a wide variety of both humanoid and animal figures in the library, Mannequins are an easy starting point as you explore the scene that you wish to create, before even beginning modeling.
As you have read through the features listed above you may have found yourself wondering about the kind of topology that is created. The beauty of ZBrush is that you don’t need to worry about that! Feel free to explore and just let your imagination take you where it wants with the knowledge that once you have your design ZBrush can nearly instantly convert its polygons into a usable base mesh with clean edge loops and polygon flow.
Whether created in ZBrush or imported from elsewhere, once you have your base mesh it is time to start detailing. ZBrush features a robust suite of tools to accomplish this.
Whether you are using ZBrush by itself as an illustration tool or as part of a production pipeline for animation, you will at some point want to show your work to others. ZBrush makes this possible through a powerful rendering system called BPR (Best Preview Render).
ZBrush is available for both Windows and MacOS platforms, and the licensing is dual platform so you can run on both or change between them at any time.
Thanks to its processor-based engine, ZBrush runs well on most modern computers regardless of their graphics cards.
A graphics tablet (such as from Wacom) is strongly recommended. It will give you more control and easier interaction.
Full system requirements can be found here. Be sure to read the entire page, as there is information at the bottom which is meant to help you better understand the reasons for the requirements as written.