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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.
When you are working on a model, you may want to isolate parts of the model just so you can work on a few details of one section. Let's say you are working on just the eye area of a model, you can actually isolate the eye area of the model by hiding everything else except the eye. To do this in ZBrush, there are few simple controls. I have my greenMan_v01 model loaded on the canvas and this is available to premium users. You can also use the example models that come with ZBrush. I have it loaded on the canvas and I'm in Edit mode. I'm going to rotate to a side view here, just start dragging a blank part of the canvas and I'm going to hold the Shift key and that will snap it into a side view. And I'm going to zoom in to the model. I'm going to press the Alt button, drag on the canvas, let go the Alt button and zoom in.
Don't forget there is another way to do that. That is to use the Scale button on the side shelf here. I'm going to focus on the eye area. I will just hold the Alt key while dragging on the canvas to reposition it. And now I'm going to make a selection and I'm going to hide all the parts of the model that are not in that selection. To do this, I'm going to hold Ctrl+Shift and I'm going to drag a selection marquee on the canvas, from a blank part of the canvas over the eye and you will see this green box appear.
Everything within the green box is going to remain visible; everything outside of the box is going to be hidden. I'm just going to let it go by releasing my pen from the tablet or if you are using a mouse you can release the mouse button, and after a couple of seconds I have my selection. Now I just have the eyes and I can really get in here and work on the eyelids and the shape of the eyes and so on and so forth without worrying about either accidentally changing another part of the model or having that part of the model distracts me. If this particular model had the objects that were in front of the eye, I could hide those and then just get to the eye.
And one of the side benefits is the performance in ZBrush actually improves when you hide parts of the model, that's especially a model is made of a millions and millions of polygons. When these sections of the model are hidden, they haven't been deleted but as far as ZBrush is concerned, they don't exist. So ZBrush can concentrate all of its processing power on just what's in visible on the canvas. And you will actually notice when you hide parts of the model that the performance as you rotate the model and as you sculpt on it, it's a little bit faster, so that's an extra side benefit for hiding parts of the model.
Now if I'm done from working on the eyes and I want to bring back the model, all I need to do is press the Ctrl+ Shift Key+ and tab, and after a couple of seconds, the model reappears. I want to press the F key to center the model again on the canvas, so we can see the whole thing. And I'm going to demonstrate that a couple more times. This time I'm going to hide everything but the top area of the model. I'm going to hold Ctrl+Shift drag a selection marquee, so I have my green box. Then I'm going to let it go.
And after a couple of seconds, everything in the lower part of the model that was not in that green box is hidden. To bring it back, I will just press Ctrl+Shift, tab on the canvas. And now everything is back. To speed things up a little bit, I'm going to lower the resolution on the model, bring it down to Sdiv Level 5. Now if I want to do the reverse, if I want to hide just the selected area of the model, I can do this by holding Ctrl+Shift, drag on the canvas just like we are doing before to get that green box, but now I'm going to let go off the Shift key and then let go off the mouse, and everything that's within the red area will be hidden and the other parts of the model will remain visible.
There we go, this face is gone. To bring it back, just to Ctrl+Shift, click on the canvas. This one takes a little bit of practice to get used to. I'm doing it a couple more times here. I'm going to press Ctrl+Shift, drag my green box, let go the Shift button, so it turns red and then let go off my pen on the tablet or the mouse key. To bring it back, Ctrl+Shift, tab on the canvas. One another way, I can make a custom selection is to actually use masking and this is helpful if I want to hide parts of the model that are not necessarily connected. So I can hold the Ctrl key and start painting a mask on the object.
I'm going to paint a few unconnected areas. Then I'm going to go into the Tool palette to expand the Masking sub-palette and press the HidePt button. And this hides all the areas of the model that have not been masked. To bring everything back, I will just press Ctrl+Shift, click on the canvas. You might find that the mask has left a little bit of an edge there. To get rid of that, you can just press the Clear button.
When making your selections, you can also use Lasso selection if you want to create a free form selection. I'm holding Ctrl+Shift and I'm dragging on the model, but since I have the Lasso button activated on the right shelf, now I have a custom shape rather than just a rectangular area. And this is the same if I want to hide parts of the model, Ctrl+Shift, drag a custom area, let go off the Shift button then let go off the mouse or the digital pen from the tablet and then here we go. I'm going to move to a lower resolution here.
It doesn't matter what resolution you are on when you are making the selections, it's not going to affect the way that you selected, other than of course, in a higher resolution model you are going to either select or de-select more polygons than the lower resolution model. You may find that as you are making your selections activating the Pt Sel button in the Transform menu; this is the Transform menu right here. I have this activated and when I'm working, I have this activated at all times. It's off by default but you will find that by activating this, the selection is a bit more accurate especially when you are going in there to select individual polygons.
So using the Ctrl+Shift key combination to hide parts of the model will allow you to just focus on small sections at a time, so that you can really work on the detailing and at the same time it also improves the performance of ZBrush.
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