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Installing custom brushes

From: Digital Creature Creation in ZBrush, Photoshop, and Maya

Video: Installing custom brushes

ZBrush allows you to customize many of its features to fit the way that you like to work. Over the years, I've used that customizability to create a few special brushes that have really sped up my workflow. I'm including these brushes as part of this course to help you get some of the same results that I will be showing you. First of all, if ZBrush is open, go ahead and close it down. Then, you'll want to find your ZBrush program files. On a Mac, you'll navigate to your Applications folder, and then open up the ZBrush folder.

Installing custom brushes

ZBrush allows you to customize many of its features to fit the way that you like to work. Over the years, I've used that customizability to create a few special brushes that have really sped up my workflow. I'm including these brushes as part of this course to help you get some of the same results that I will be showing you. First of all, if ZBrush is open, go ahead and close it down. Then, you'll want to find your ZBrush program files. On a Mac, you'll navigate to your Applications folder, and then open up the ZBrush folder.

On a PC, you will go to the Program Files (x86), and then open up the Pixologic folder, ZBrush 4R2, ZStartup, and BrushPresets folder. The customer brushes are located in the Ch_01, Exercise Files, folder 01_01, and you will just want to select all of these and copy them, and then paste them over in the BrushPresets folder. Now, you can restart ZBrush.

And just to have a model to work on, let's open up the default DynaWax. Double-click on that and let's open up the Brush Palette by clicking on the standard brush over here. So you can see there is these last three brushes here which are the custom brushes that we just installed. So we've got the crease brush, the customclay brush and the shorthair brush. Let's try them out really quick. Go ahead and click on crease and let's just see how this works. Okay, so you can see that the brush just creates a nice crease on the surface of the model.

To rotate around as a quick reminder, you can just click-and-drag on any open part of the canvas. Let's subdivide this surface a few times so that we get a smoother result. I am going to hit Ctrl+D, and just do that three times. Now, let's zoom in here by clicking-and -dragging on the scale, and let's try that brush one more time. There you get a nice very smooth result. Let's hit B again to open up the Brush Palette and try the customclay brush. There's nothing too fancy about this brush.

It basically just builds up the surface, but in a way that I've customized a little bit to just make things a little smoother. This brush is based on the clay build-up brush that comes with ZBrush. I will show you how you can customize this brush just in case you don't want to install it separately. Go ahead and hit B to open up your Brush Palette, and click ClayBuildup. Now this brush is kind of chunky, kind of rough, kind of blocky. So the way I've customized it is I will go here and turn off the Alpha, and I will also go up to Focal Shift, and just slide this to the center.

Then one last adjustment I made was by going to the Brush menu, going down to Auto Masking and turning on BackFaceMask. This makes it so that if you're sculpting on a very thin object, the sculpting won't pass through from the front to the back of the object. So now you can see you get some nice smooth sculpting with this brush. If you want to save a brush with any customizations that you've made, go up to the Brush menu and click Save As. You can just give it any name you want, and save it into the Brush Presets where we save the other brushes.

And one last brush to check out, hit B, and select the short hairbrush. I am just going to go around to clean part of the model here. Let's shrink the size of the brush a little bit. This brush is good for making short hair like stubble or eyebrows. We're not going to be using it in this course, but I'm giving it away as a nice little bonus. To download these brushes, just go to the free Exercise Files folder on lynda.com. These custom brushes are not necessary for creating great work in ZBrush, but they do help me work faster, and more efficiently.

Feel free to modify them in any way that helps you work better.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Digital Creature Creation in ZBrush, Photoshop, and Maya
 
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  1. 2m 34s
    1. Introduction
      59s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      34s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 1s
  2. 10m 45s
    1. Installing custom brushes
      3m 54s
    2. Preparing GoZ
      5m 6s
    3. Optimizing tablet settings
      1m 45s
  3. 8m 36s
    1. Brainstorming
      2m 47s
    2. Refining a concept
      3m 22s
    3. Gathering reference images
      2m 27s
  4. 42m 12s
    1. Starting with ZSpheres
      6m 45s
    2. Posing the ZSpheres
      3m 39s
    3. Sculpting the basic forms
      5m 34s
    4. Using DynaMesh
      3m 8s
    5. Sculpting muscles and mid-size shapes
      6m 20s
    6. Defining joints
      3m 42s
    7. Sculpting bony plates
      5m 0s
    8. Sculpting leathery skin
      8m 4s
  5. 22m 8s
    1. Using GoZ between ZBrush and Maya
      2m 15s
    2. Making an eyeball
      3m 45s
    3. Creating tail spikes
      2m 44s
    4. Modeling a tooth
      4m 27s
    5. Duplicating the teeth
      4m 8s
    6. Finishing the teeth
      4m 49s
  6. 51m 27s
    1. Drawing guidelines for retopology
      4m 56s
    2. Fleshing out the retopology guides
      4m 29s
    3. Creating new topology
      5m 32s
    4. Generating the new mesh
      4m 58s
    5. Cleaning up the mesh in Maya
      5m 5s
    6. Modeling the tail in Maya
      4m 5s
    7. Modeling the claws
      6m 4s
    8. Preparing to project detail
      6m 5s
    9. Projecting detail to new topology
      4m 46s
    10. Cleaning up projection problems
      5m 27s
  7. 21m 0s
    1. Cutting UV seams
      5m 55s
    2. Prepping UV shells for UV Master
      4m 38s
    3. Using UV Master to unfold UVs
      4m 17s
    4. Arranging UVs in Maya
      6m 10s
  8. 13m 25s
    1. Creating a pedestal with Spotlight
      4m 53s
    2. Decimating the geometry
      4m 53s
    3. Finishing the pedestal
      3m 39s
  9. 38m 21s
    1. Setting up the scene for rendering
      5m 14s
    2. Making a key light
      6m 7s
    3. Making a soft sky light
      3m 0s
    4. Making a rim light
      4m 53s
    5. Setting up a simple SSS skin shader
      5m 21s
    6. Adjusting the skin shader
      7m 2s
    7. Adding ambient occlusion to the shaders
      6m 44s
  10. 55m 37s
    1. Polypainting colors in ZBrush
      8m 1s
    2. Extracting texture maps
      6m 54s
    3. Organizing the maps into Photoshop layers
      8m 9s
    4. Compositing the color maps in Photoshop
      4m 33s
    5. Compositing the specular maps in Photoshop
      7m 20s
    6. Importing the maps into Maya
      5m 7s
    7. Connecting the maps to the shaders
      5m 13s
    8. Setting up remap value nodes
      5m 51s
    9. Editing remap value nodes
      4m 29s
  11. 26m 32s
    1. Designing the pose
      4m 35s
    2. Linking subtools to the main body
      4m 12s
    3. Posing with transpose tools
      6m 4s
    4. Polishing the pose
      2m 4s
    5. Finishing touches in ZBrush
      4m 50s
    6. Finishing touches in Maya
      4m 47s
  12. 18m 7s
    1. Fine-tuning lights and render settings
      7m 0s
    2. Batch rendering a turnable animation
      5m 48s
    3. Polishing the renders in Photoshop
      5m 19s
  13. 52s
    1. What's next?
      52s

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