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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.
ZBrush is well-known for making nice, smooth, organic models, but it's certainly not limited to that. You can also create more manufactured looking or hard edge surfaces by adding creasing to your models. So I'm going to start with a very simple model to demonstrate this. I'm going to load up the Poly Sphere which is my favorite starting model. To do this I'm going to press on the Default ZScript button and this is just a shortcut technique to bring up that Poly Sphere. So I get the startup screen, click on Poly Sphere. Immediately it's on the canvas and I'm in Edit mode and here it is. See Edit mode is activated and I can rotate the model. I'm going to go to the Tool palette and click on Geometry and reduce the number of Subdivisions by moving that slider down to one.
I'm going to add a couple of lower levels of Subdivision by clicking on Reconstruct Subdivision. So this is like the opposite of dividing the model. It's adding lower levels of Subdivisions. So I'm down to about that level, which is good. Now I turn on Frame mode here, we can see the wire frame drawn on the object and I'm going to make a couple Polygroups. So let's go to Transform, turn on Point Selection, so the selection is a bit more accurate and I'm just going to press Ctrl+Shift, drag, release the panel from the tablet, there we go. This is what we have now.
Now I go to Polygroups and do Group, there is a -- that changes color. I press Ctrl+Shift, click on the canvas. See I have two Polygroups now. When I make a crease it's going to crease the outside edge of whatever is visible on the canvas. So to hide this part of the model, I just Ctrl+Shift+Click on my Polygroup. There we go. I'm going to zoom-in here and I'm going to click on the Crease button. When I do that, you see a slight change to the shape or more importantly you also see a little dotted line here, you have to zoom-in very closely to see this.
This dotted line indicates that there is a crease now on this edge. So when I press F to center the model, Ctrl+Shift, so I can see the whole model and this is little bit more obvious with Frame mode off. So I'm going to turn Frame mode off and increase the Subdivisions on the model and there we see a nice hard edge has been created on that Polygroup. Thanks to the creasing. I'm going to go through the process one more time. So let's turn Frame mode back on. Let's make another Polygroup. Let's say we are going to do this area right area. So Ctrl+Shift+Drag then release. I have this area right here. Just to make it slightly more interesting, let's remove this middle section here too.
So Ctrl+Shift+Drag over here, release the Shift key and let go. Now I'm going to make a Polygroup. To make a crease on a model you don't need to make polygroups, but I find it's a good idea. Makes it a little bit more easy to work with, especially if you had to go back and change something about the model. Press that Crease button and our crease is now applied to this polygroup. Ctrl+Shift+Click, you can see that the model has been slightly changed in its shape but it's much more obvious, once I increase that Subdivision level. Turn off Frame button. You can really see it there.
I bring this down again. I'm going to turn on Frame mode and isolate this group again by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Click on it. Now it's isolated and to remove that crease, I just press Uncrease. Ctrl+ Shift+Click, increase the Subdivisions. Turn off Frame mode and we are back to where we were before. There is a little bit of residual crease there. We can get rid of this by choosing the Smooth brush from the Brush library. Reduce the intensity and just paint over to smooth out that area.
So it doesn't perfectly remove that crease but it does a pretty good job. But that's a good way to get started. If you want to make some kind of hard surface model like a piece of armor or some kind of product or something like that, this is a really good technique for making more of a manufactured look and less of an organic look.
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