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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.
While working on a complex illustration in ZBrush you can improve the efficiency of your render times by baking the lighting of the objects that are already on the canvas. So for instance I'm going to switch to the MatCap_Skeleton shader just as an example, and I'm going to choose Best Render quality, you will see it will take a few seconds to render, the shadows. If the illustration is getting complex because I'm adding more-and-more objects with more complex materials to it, you will see the render time start to increase. I'm happy with the way this particular object looks on the cameras, I can go to the Layer palette, and I can choose Bake, and this will bake the lighting in, so now that's permanently a part of the pixels on the canvas, and I can continue to work, let's say change to a different material, and draw a new object on the canvas and try to work with this. Let's bring it forward here, let's change to light-brown, switch to Rotate and if I decide that I want to see what this looks like, when I choose Best Render it only has to worry about this area of the canvas, no longer has to worry about this part.
I can also separate the baked parts of the illustration into different layers. So I can bake all of the object on this layer, create a new layer and draw a new object on this new layer. I can see it's there right there and work on this layer and not worry about the calculations required when I'm working on the layers in the background. So when I choose to render it only has to render this area, it doesn't have to worry about these.
The downside of this of course is that if I'm working in a material that reacts to lighting such as these materials here, the standard materials, I can remember to keep my lighting consistent or I'm going to end up with a situation were some layers have the light coming from this direction, some layers have the light coming this direction, and if that's not what I want it can lead to a problem. So be careful when you are baking the layer in the terms of your artistic choices.
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