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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.
Digital sculpting is done with the Sculpting Brushes and these are only enabled when your model is in Edit mode. So I'm going to start by drawing my model on the canvas. I'm going to switch to Edit mode by hitting the T button and also hit this button right here. When I do that, you will notice that this icon is now available. Pressing this icon opens the library of Sculpting Brushes and these are all the brushes that I used to create the details on this model. I'm going to press the F key to focus on the model and I'm just going to show you, if I turn Edit mode off, you will notice this is great app. Turn Edit mode back on, now they are available.
To change the size of your Sculpting Brush, you want to use these controls up here, the Draw Size control. If you notice if I start drawing on top of the model by clicking and dragging on the model, I have a nice big wide sculpting brush stroke, not terribly elegant. I'm going to hit Ctrl+Z to undo that and I'm going to change the size of my brush by dragging on the Draw Size slider, make it nice and small. Now I get a nice elegant stroke. I'm going to press Ctrl+Z to undo that.
I would like to show you something about the Draw Size and we could pay attention to the size of the circle that may become a little bit bigger here. Notice the size of the circle that represents the Draw Size. If I zoom in by dragging on the Scale button, the brush size is the same regardless of how close you are zoomed in to the model. That's an important thing to keep in mind, because if I make a mark with the brush size, set to 27, going to look like this. If I zoom out by dragging on the Scale button and draw on the model, look at how wide the brush size is, even though I haven't changed the slider at all. This might seem a little bit strange at first, but it's actually very useful feature. Once you get accustomed to it, it means that when you are zoomed in very closely, you don't have to make your Draw Size amazingly small.
So I'm just sculpting some details here. Now I would like to talk a little bit about some of these other sliders. I'm going to increase the Draw Size by dragging on this slider here. The Focal Shift controls the fall off of the brush. In other words, if I have a negative value here, I have a very hard edge to my brush. You can think of the center circle as being the tip of the brush, if I make this Focal Shift very large and draw, I have a large fall off.
So if I press lightly as I drag in my digital tablet I have a narrow brush. As I press harder on my digital tablet, you start to get into that fall off range and the brush becomes thicker. You can change this by using the Focal Shift slider. Let me zoom out a little bit. I'm going to press Ctrl+Z to undo some of those brush strokes, so we have a nice clear area to work with. I would like to talk about the Z Intensity slider. The Z Intensity slider is the strength of Sculpting Brush; in this case, I'm using the Standard Brush.
But if I make this value very low and draw by dragging on top of the model, you'll notice that the change is very slight. If I increase this, the change is very dramatic. The Z Intensity slider is something that you are going to be changing a lot while you are working in Zbrush. You will find that some brushes work better with a high value and some brushes work better with a low value and it's going to be something that you determine by preference in your way of working. The two other buttons up here control how the stroke is applied to the model.
I have Z Add on, I'm basically building on top of the model, it's pushing out. If I put Z Subtract on, it digs into the model. I'm pushing in. When you have Z Add activated and you hold the Alt key, it switches temporarily to Z Subtract mode. When I release the Alt key in paint I'm back in Z Add. I like to work with Z Add on and then while I'm painting on my model, I'm making changes, I just hold the Alt key to do the reverse of the brush. There are a few sculpting brushes that are in the library that actually have reverse on by default, such as the Ram Sculpting Brush, this uses Z Subtract on by default. So you should be aware of that as you work with your different sculpting brushes.
Now you will notice the sculpting brushes, they don't actually add geometry to the model; all the sculpting brushes do is push the existing geometry around. So, if I select one of these brushes such as the Inflate brush and I drag on the model. I'm not actually adding polygons to the model; I'm just pushing the existing polygons out. So that's an important aspect of the Sculpting Brushes that you should understand when working in ZBrush. It's just a lump of clay, but you have the same amount of clay, and all you are doing with the Sculpting Brushes is pushing that clay around, one way or another.
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