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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.
Another way you can apply color directly to a 3D model in ZBrush is to use a Texture. The Textures are found here in the Texture palette. These are all the textures that load up when you first start Zbrush, so this is your Texture library. As you hover over these, you can find the information as well as a nice view of each texture. I'm going to load a model here and I'm going to choose the femaleHead_v01.ztl file. This is available for our Premium Users.
I'm going to draw it on to the canvas, press T to switch into Edit mode. You can see Edit mode is now activated. I go to the Geometry, increase the number of subdivisions, the SDiv slider. When I choose a texture from the palette, you can see, it suddenly becomes wrapped around her face. It looks a little bit odd, I mean for one thing, it is an image of a desert wrapped around a woman's face which is kind of unusual and you can also see that the color of the texture is being affected by the color of the material. So I'm going to switch from the Default Red Wax material to the Basic material and this one has no extra color to it. As I choose different textures from the Texture palette, you can see they are instantly applied to the model. If I choose the Checkerboard texture, you can see how the texture is actually wrapped on the surface of the model. The textures are wrapped according to the UV coordinates of the model.
UV coordinates tell 3D programs such as ZBrush or a 3ds Max how to wrap a two-dimensional image around a three- dimensional object. Some of these textures such as the Star, actually have an Alpha channel, so you can see transparency when they are applied to a 3D model. As I hover over this image, you can see that this texture has 32 bits so it has an Alpha channel. Now it's important to understand when you are using Textures, is that Textures will override the color that's applied to a model. So if I turn the Texture off and I change the color of the model to red, and reapply the Texture, the red color of the model can't be seen through the texture.
It's still there, I can turn all the Texture off, and see the red color, but as long as I have a texture applied, that color is not visible. Think of the texture as like a wrapping around the surface of the model that's obscuring the color. If I change the color here, while the texture is applied, you won't see any update. I'm going to change this to a purple. But if I turn Texture off, by choosing this, now you see the nice purple there. This is really important to understand when we get into Poly Painting which is painting on the model and then converting that painting into a texture. You can create textures directly in ZBrush by painting on the canvas. So to do this, I'm going to switch out of Edit mode, I want to press Ctrl+N to clear the canvas, turn my Texture off, and I'm going to use the Paintbrush and just paint some lines on the canvas.
I want to convert this into a texture. I go to the Texture palette. I'm going to stick this into the tray just by clicking this. I'm going to set the size of my Texture here, let's make it 1024x1024 and then I'm going to press GrabDoc. When I do that, I have my new texture here. Well, some of the paintbrushes make the Texture Library unavailable. If that happens, just switch to a different brush and then you can open up the library. So here we have our new texture and of course, you can also import images. So for instance, I can Import my stuccoAlpha. It is a two-dimensional image so it works. Import this into the Texture palette and use that as well, just like you can import it into the Alpha library. It is the same thing.
Textures are a very important part of the workflow. If you decide that you want to paint colors on 3D models and use those colors in other programs such as Maya, when you are rendering a 3D object, you will find that ZBrush is also fully functional as a texturing program for 3D objects.
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