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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.
You notice that the 3D objects in ZBrush, when they are drawn on the canvas, have this default red wax material applied. This is a special material called a MatCap material, and all the MatCap materials are found here at the top of the Material Library. Gorilla is always a good one, looks kind of ominous. So what is a MatCap material? Well, let's first compare it to a regular material, one of the standard materials here at the bottom of the Material Library. I'm just going to choose Basic Material. You will notice when I go to the Light palette and I start to reposition the light by dragging on the Sphere icon; now it's just positioning the light on the canvas, the light updates on the model.
When I choose a MatCap material, such as the Red Wax material, and I start to change the light, there is no update; it's as if the light is not working. The reason for this is the lighting on the object is actually baked in as part of the material, its part of the MatCap material. So as much as I want to change the lighting in the scene, it's not going to change what you see on the object drawn on the canvas. MatCap stands for Material Capture, so it's Material Capture material. These materials are actually sampled from photographs. They are custom designed to represent different materials. Color is part of the material, but you will notice as I turn on MatCap, and then I change the color to green, I'm going to see a combination of the material in green color. It's actually going to combine this pinkish color of the material with the green color that I have chosen here in the palette.
So color is part of what a material is, especially if it has been sampled from photograph, but it also works in combination with the colors that you have chosen in the Color Picker. I'm going to choose the Light Brown Clay material and then do a Render by switching to Best, in the Render menu. After a couple of seconds you will see what this material looks like when I Render Best Quality. So there's some really shadows there, looks nice and realistic. Once you become comfortable applying MatCap materials to an object, then you are ready to try making your own special MatCap material.
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