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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.
When you want to create a model in ZBrush that's made up of many different parts, you use what's known as subtools. Remember in ZBrush, tool just means anything that makes a mark on the canvas but it also means 3D models. So I'm going to use the word tool interchangeably with the term model or sculpt or object through all the same thing. So therefore a subtool is really just an object that's part of a larger object. I have ZBrush loaded. I take the Tool palette and put it in the tray by clicking on this switch. I'm going to press Load tool and I'm going to load the robot_subtool object here.
This file is available for premium users. You can also use the demo soldier model that comes with ZBrush. Now that I have it loaded in my Tool palette, I'm going to drag on the canvas and he is going to appear. I'm going to switch to Edit mode and then rotate him around so you can get a look at him here. Now if I go to the Tool palette I can expand Subtools and I will see that this guy is actually made up of a bunch of little parts. The SubTool palette is kind of like the Layer palette in Photoshop. So you can sort of see the hierarchy in the model and each of these are the various subtools. As I select them you can see them highlighted on the model. So there is his legs. This is his little pants and here is his feet.
What I would like to show you is how to add an object to the robot by appending it as a subtool. So let's first make another 3D object. We are going to make a whole new part. I'm going to click on this tool icon here and I'm going to select the Gear 3D model and we switch over to this model. The robot disappears but he is still here. Here is his feet. We have just switched from one model to another while we are in Edit mode. I'm going to press F to zoom-in on the model to get a closer look and I'm going to scroll down and I'm going to expand the Initialize sub-palette and I'm going to start playing with some sliders.
I don't have a specific idea what I'm trying to create. I'm just going to play around until I get something that looks kind of neat. Usually that's done pretty quickly by playing with these controls. Let's Skew a little bit, there we go. This robot has a built-in blender of some sort. Let's expand the Outer Profile. It makes it a little bit more intimidating looking and taking that up a little bit. There we go. Nice kind of gear shape going. Not exactly sure what it is but it looks like it will be very useful to robot. This is a parametric 3D objects. I want to convert it to a PolyMesh, just in case I decide that I want to use the sculpting brush as later on to change it. I'm going to click on the Make PolyMesh 3D button here at the top of the tool sub-palette. It makes a copy of the object but this copy is now something that is sculptable with the sculpting brushes and it's given the name PM3D_Gear3D#1, not terribly descriptive.
So let's switch back to our robot here. Just by selecting him in the Tool palette. You can also select him this way. I'm going to press F so that we can see the entire robot and I'm going to go to the SubTool palette and I'm going to click on Append. When I do that I get this toolbox here and I click on this and it's going to have this object and here it is down at the bottom. You don't see it. The reason you don't see it is because it's in the middle of the robot. If I want to see it, I can click on Transparency and there it is, looks like that's what he had for lunch. The Transparency button allows you to actually see through the model. So it makes the objects semitransparent. It's very useful when working with subtools. So you can see it there.
To control the visibility of individual subtools, I can just click on the Eyeball icons here. If I go to the selected subtool, that's the one that's highlighted here and I click on the Eyeball icon, it hides everything except for the one subtool. I click on it again, it restores the visibility. That only happens for the current selected subtool. In other words if I hide the antenna I don't get the same action. It's only when I do it with the currently selected subtool. That allows you to quickly go to that subtool and start working with it.
There is a Delete key to remove the selected subtool and I can also Rename it. So let's Rename this subtool. We will call it gear, easy to remember. Now that I have created my extra object, converted it to a PolyMesh and appended it to the main robot model using the SubTool palette, I'm ready to reposition it using the Transpose tool.
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