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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.
A big part of the way an object looks on the Zbrush canvas is determined by its material. Materials are also found here down in the Material Library. I'm going to talk about these materials a little bit and show you how to use the Material Library. For demonstration, I'm going to use the greenMan_v01 model, and this of course is available to premium subscribers. Once it's loaded in the Tool palette, I'm going to draw it on the canvas. Switch to Edit mode and press F to center the object.
Now you notice that a lot of the objects that we have been working with throughout the course have the default Red Wax material applied to them. I can change the material by clicking on the Material Library, and choosing a different material. Here you see how completely different the object looks depending on the Material that I have applied. These materials up here at the top are called the MatCap materials, as they are a special version of materials. The standard materials also have a lot of very interesting qualities to them. You can make your object look Metallic, like textured metal, something maybe more wooden, using gradients and of course the Basic material.
Another extremely useful material is this Flat Color which just gives you a silhouette. Now how is this useful? Well, if you are working on an object sometimes it's nice to have just the silhouette available so that when you start sculpting it, you can focus on just the forms. So if I switch to the Move Brush here and start making changes, look at how much I can quickly change the character of an object and all I'm focusing it is on, is on the primary forms, let's see how much personality I can get, when I'm just focusing on the silhouette. This might work a bit better for a character than this particular model. I'm almost a little bit afraid to see what happens when I switch back here.
That's all right, because this has got a different personality now. But some Materials are great for working when you are sculpting. They reveal lot about the details in the sculpture and how it reacts to Shadowing on the ZBrush canvas, and some materials are great when you are actually ready to make an illustration and you want to add objects that have different material qualities under the canvas, such as Reflected Map. This might not the as useful for sculpting but when you are working on an illustration this is a really interesting one to use. Now when I choose the different material I'm getting a preview of the material. When I actually render the ZBrush canvas you will start to see more of the qualities the material come through.
Now I'm not going to get into too much detail about Rendering right now. But it's important to understand when you are just playing with materials to every once and a while go to the Rendering menu and click on Best. And when I do that you will see that the canvas starts to render it smooths out the detail and lot of the shadowing becomes more subtle. And as I change materials let's try the Gradient Map here. I still have Best Quality chosen as my Renderer. So every time I make a change it's going to update. So it's going to render.
When I switch back to Preview I get a faster interaction. But let's take a quick look again this is Preview and then when I choose Best, you can see the differences. Slightly higher quality to the shading and the shadowing. So this is how you change materials and there are a few extra special materials in here. Spend a few minutes with your 3D objects and see how they look when you apply different materials and then when you render. Once you get comfortable using materials and changing materials then you are ready to actually edit the materials themselves and come up with your own special materials.
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