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In ZBrush 4 Essential Training, Ryan Kittleson introduces ZBrush to artists making a transition from another sculpting program or who may just need some help with the finer points of this powerful digital arts package. The course covers the most popular tools and techniques for digital painting and sculpting in ZBrush, and explains how to export the models and texture maps to other programs for use in games, film, fine art, or 3D printing. The course also highlights the new features in ZBrush 4, such as ShadowBox, clip brushes, and LightBox. Exercise files are included with the course.
ZSpheres offer a quick way to construct simple shapes. You can then convert these shapes into polygons in order to sculpt and edit them further. I just want to get Light Box out of the way first. I'm just going to click on this button and close it. So the way you can make a ZSphere is go over here in the toolbox and just click on ZSphere, and nothing happens at first. It's just like loading up a Ztool. You actually have to click and drag in here to open it up. So what is this strange ball floating in space? Well, it's really nothing all by itself. In order to really use it, you have to make other ZSpheres attached to it and form them into shapes.
So to add more ZSpheres to this ZSphere, we want to go into Edit mode. Now you can see if you move the cursor over the ZSphere, it kind of makes a little spot where a new ZSphere is going to be created. So if you click and drag on here, you're going to make a new sphere. We can also move this ZSphere around and reposition it by clicking on the Move button. Now that we're in Move mode, you just click and drag, and the new ZSphere gets moved around. Going back into Draw mode, we can either add new ZSpheres or we can delete ones that we don't want.
So if you hold down Alt and click on a ZSphere, it'll go away. So let's use symmetry to make a crude stick-figure man. So I'm going to turn on symmetry by hitting X. So now you see wherever you move the mouse, you get two points. We'll move it just a little bit so we can see that easier. So there is symmetry turned on, and we're going to grow two new ZSpheres out of here, instead of just one. So if you click and drag, you see two are created. If you go into Move mode now and move some down for legs, and let's go back into Draw mode and we'll make the lower half of the legs. And we can go into Move mode again and grab these and pull them down.
Now what happens sometimes is that moving one ZSphere will also move others that are connected to it, so you might have to do a little bit of adjusting back and forth to get them where you want them to be. Switching back into Draw mode, we can make another ZSphere at the top of the pelvis that will go up and be the chest. And also what you can see is when you move the cursor close to the center line, those two points snap into one. So instead of creating two new ZSpheres, it's just going to make one right in the center. So let's just click and grow one new one out and sort of move this up to the chest.
Now, let's make some arms. Going back into Draw mode, let's make two shoulders here, and we'll just go into Move mode again and pull out the arms. When you're in Draw mode, you can also insert new ZSpheres in between two existing ones. So if you just click anywhere in between, you'll make a new ZSphere, and going back into Move mode, you can reposition it independently just like you could any other ZSphere. Now let's make a neck just like we made the torso. So clicking in this middle ZSphere right here, we can grow out a neck, and let's just move it up a little bit.
And to top it off, I'm going to make a head. So growing one more here, and in the Move mode, let's move it up a little bit, and let's say I want to make it a little bit bigger, too. So if you go into Scale mode, you can shrink them or grow them a little bit bigger. If you want to practice some more, you can go ahead and make some feet and fingers and toes in exact same way we've made everything else so far. When you are happy with your crude figure, you can convert it to polygons. I'm going to hit F here just so we can zoom out and see the entire figure. If you hit the A key, what it's going to do is show a quick preview of what the polygon mesh would look like when it's converted from the ZSpheres.
In order to actually use this as a polygonal model now, we need to use something that's called adaptive skin, and simply this is just going to wrap a polygon mesh around the ZSpheres that we've made. So I'll go down into Adaptive Skin here in your sub-palette and let's open this up. You don't have to worry about any of these settings; they actually work very good just the way they are. I'm just going to click Adaptive Skin here. Now it doesn't look like anything really happened, but what it's done is it's created a new model up here at the top of the Tool palette right here in our toolbox. It's called Skin_ZSphere_1.
So if you just click on this, now we have this new model here. It's a polygon model and we can sculpt on it and treat it just like we would any other model in ZBrush. You'll use ZSpheres when you want to start a new model from scratch. Since it's a fast way to build a simple structure, it can then be converted to polygons and edited further.
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