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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.
Now that we have planned out our new topology, it's time to actually create the polygons that will conform to the proper edge flow. Pay close attention here; the way to do this involves some strange steps. It's one of those processes that Pixologic has cobbled together from various leftovers of other features. But if you memorize these steps, you will be able to take advantage of this very powerful way to turn a sculpted model into something that can be animated. All right, now let's go through the steps.
The first thing you do is go into the Subtool sub-palette and click Append. We are going to bring in a ZSphere. I know it doesn't make much sense, but just stick with me here. Let's make sure we have got this ZSphere selected in our subtool, and let's see the head disappear. Let's just make sure that's visible again. What we want to do is shrink this down. So I am going to go into Scale mode and just click and drag on the ZSphere until we can't see it anymore. Good. And just go back into Draw mode.
Now we open up the Topology sub-palette and click Edit Topology. ZBrush automatically switches into Orthographic mode, or turns off Perspective mode. Now we just need to click on the model to place new vertices, edges, and polygons. Let me zoom in here. So just clicking on the model, it's going to create vertices and connect them with edges, and then when you close them off, it creates a polygon. Now there are a few things to remember as you do this.
New edges will be connected to the vertex that has a red circle around it. That's usually the last vertex that was created. So you can see there is one vertex here. It has a red circle around it. Wherever I click, the new vertex is going to be connected to the red one. Now, let's say you don't want to continue making new edges from this red vertex; you want to start from somewhere else. The way you do that is you just click once out into the open area.
Now you can start making a vertex anywhere you want. If you don't like where a vertex is, you can delete it by holding down Alt as you click on it. Sometimes deleting a vertex will delete a vertex or two next to it. It's kind of annoying because it might delete vertices that you don't want to delete, but you just have to redraw them. It's annoying. If you click on a line segment, you will insert a new vertex that cuts the segment in two.
So you see right here, if we hover the mouse over this edge right here, it's showing us a preview of where a new vertex will be inserted. Just click on it, and then you can click again on another edge, and it's going to split those in two. You can get a preview of what the new model will look like by hitting the A key. It can be hard to see right now what's going on, so I am just going to go up into the Subtool sub-palette and let's hide the head. So there is not a lot to see right now, but if you had fleshed out more of the face, you would see the new topology and the new model. Hopefully, everything is looking good.
This can show you if there is any problems. Sometimes ZBrush doesn't quite interpret how you created the new polygons in an accurate way. So this will show you if there is a problem. Then you can go in and delete some edges or some vertices and then try drawing it again. Let me just hit A to go back into Topology mode. Make sure you've got your head subtool visible, and then you can continue working. So go ahead and take some time to flesh out this entire face with new topology. Even though it's cumbersome, it can be a powerful way to turn a model with bad topology into one that can be rigged and animated.
Even if a model will never be animated, this process can make a model have a much more efficient and clean topology.
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