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Pixologic's ZBrush 3 stands at the forefront of digital 3D sculpting and 2.5D painting, a new medium that is taking the art and entertainment worlds by storm. Visual effects artist Eric Keller shares his expertise and talents in ZBrush 3 for Windows Essential Training. He presents the concepts behind digital sculpting, shows how to produce fantastic images using the unique ZBrush toolset and interface, and demonstrates the power of the Digital Clay and Sculpting brushes. To offer a richer understanding of the application, Eric gives a guided tour of the interface and addresses the most common problems experienced by new users. Exercise files accompany the course.
One distinct advantage ZBrush has over working with clay in the real world is that you can use the Symmetry tools to work on both sides of the model at the same time. This is a huge timesaver and it also -- it's part of the reason it's so easy to sculpt in ZBrush. I'm actually going to use my own file, but Premium Users can open this file from the ZBrush files folder or you could also use one of the models that come with ZBrush, they are found on the startup screen. I'm going to load this model using the Tool palette and the model is called oldMan_v01. Now that I have him loaded, I'm going to draw the screen to drag him out and I'm going to switch to Edit mode.
The Symmetry Controls are found in the Transform palette so I'm going to click on this to move it over to the tray, and you can see -- you can activate Symmetry by clicking on this button right here. I'm going turn Symmetry off and as you notice as I move over the model, I have one brush. I'm going to change the brush size, bring it down a little bit by dragging on the Draw Size slider. As you can see, I'm just dragging over one side of the model. When I activate the Symmetry and I drag over the model, as you can see now I have two brush shapes on the model and if I click and drag suddenly he has got two horns.
In the Symmetry sub-palette of the Transform palette I can change which axis the Symmetry is on. So if change over to Y, you will notice, when I click and drag, oh let's make it a little bit more obvious here, there we go. Because this model is not symmetrical along the Y axis, ZBrush is going to have a slightly harder time figuring out where that Y symmetry is, but when I click on the right spot you can see now he has got some kind of unfortunate disease. I'm going to press Undo a few times just to get rid of those bumps. If I click on Z, I get the Z axis going; I'm going to find a good spot here. There we go, now you can, sort of, see but this model is symmetrical across the X axis, so I'm going to have much more success when I turn on X.
Now when I click on it, I get changes on both sides of the model. This M button here means that the symmetry is mirrored; in other words, it is as if there is a mirror down the middle of the object. So any change I made on one side is mirrored to the other. If I turn this off, it may not be obvious when I use the standard brush, but if I switch to another brush such as the Move brush and start to drag on him you can see what I'm saying here. If I drag this way with mirroring off, it's following the brush. I'm going to press Undo by Ctrl+Z and I'm going to turn mirroring back on and now when I drag you could see the change are mirrored.
So that's what the M button or mirroring does and most of the time, especially when working on heads, you are going to want to leave mirroring on. A couple of other interesting controls here is Radial Symmetry. So now if you notice when I turn Radial on, I don't have just two, I have a whole bunch of brush strokes. Let me see if I can get -- this is a little bit extreme. Let me try this, I'm going to switch to the Standard brush by opening the brush library and select the Standard brush.
Maybe let's bring this count down to a more reasonable level. As you can see, Radial Symmetry causes a very interesting type of change because what's happening is I have four brushes on X, four brushes in Y, and four brushes in Z. So I get some really interesting changes that way. Obviously, not terribly practical when working on a model such as a head but if you are working on a tree or some kind of multi-limbed creature that kind of thing could be a really great way to add a lot of changes all over the model.
So that's the basics of Symmetry and you can see how very useful it is when working on a model or any other type of symmetrical creature. Always remember, as an artist though, that at a certain point you want to start to remove the Symmetry from your characters because people in real life are actually fairly asymmetrical, but it's a great way to get started.
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