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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.
Sometimes you may want to use part of an existing mesh to create new models or accessories. ZBrush's Extract function can take any part of your mesh and make new polymeshes out of them. Let's open up one of the heads that comes with ZBrush and click on the tool here and then double-click DemoHead. I am just going to click and drag to create a copy of this and hit Edit to go into Edit mode. Now Extract works on a masked-off selection. So what we need to do is draw a selection on the head, and that's going to be what ZBrush extracts into a separate piece of geometry.
So, I just want to shrink my brush a little bit to make a finer detailed drawing here. And if you hold down Ctrl and click and drag, what you get is a mask or a selection. Whatever you are painting, this is what ZBrush is going to extract. So, you can really make anything you want here. I am going to make a Mexican wrestler, luchador. When you are happy with the selection you have made, you can go into the Subtool sub-palette and look at the Extract options. There all the way down here at the bottom. We've got the Extract button that actually creates the extraction, and then there are some settings here that don't make a lot of sense, but let me go over how they work.
E Smt stands for Edge Smoothing. This is the amount of smoothing that will help round out the border of the mask. Sometimes it gets a little bit rough and ZBrush can smooth that up for you. The second is S Smt, which stands for Surface Smoothing. This will basically apply a smooth to the entire surface. I like to turn this one off so that I can manually smooth anything that needs it, rather that letting ZBrush do it for me. So I am going to drag this one down to zero, so it doesn't do anything. The last setting is Thickness.
This will take the extracted geometry and puff it out. If you set it to zero, there will be no thickness at all. If you set it to a negative number, thickness will be added to the backside of the mask. All right, let's see how it works with these settings. I am just going to click Extract here. Now, what it's done is created a new model based off the shape that would be painted on the face, and you can see it has created a new subtool here. I will talk about subtools in different video, but for now, I just want to click on the mask that was created, and we will take a look at this. So, it made a little bit of thickness but not much that we can really see, so we can delete this and start over with some different settings until we get a result that we are happy with.
So, I am just going to hit Delete here in the Subtool sub-palette and then just say Yes, or OK. Now, let's make sure we have got our head selected again, and let's go back down to the bottom. I just want to make it a little bit thicker, make it a little bit more obvious what's happened. So, let's raise this Thickness up to about 0.1 and then click Extract again. All right, so yeah, we can see the effects a little bit more clearly now. There is actually some thickness. It looks more like a believable mask that you would actually see in real life. Now let me go up and make sure we have got the mask selected.
I am going to click on it here. Now, there is one bug with extracting. The extracted piece keeps the selection that was originally painted and locks it in place. The problem is that ZBrush doesn't show you that anything is selected, so if you try to move the mask, only a part of it will move. So, let's see how that works. I am going to go over how to use these Move controls in a later video, but for now just notice how it's not grabbing the entire mask when I try to move it. So, what we need to do is clear any selection that we have made to this mask, so I am just going to hit Ctrl+Z key to undo that movement.
And the way to clear the selection is Ctrl+Shift+A. And you don't see any change, but it got rid of the invisible mask that was on this. So now that we go to move it, you can see that it's actually moving the entire mask. And if you go back into Draw mode, you can edit this mask just like any other piece of geometry now. You will find yourself Extract as a quick way to make clothing, armor, and other objects that that can be based on the shape of an existing model.
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