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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.
In addition to creating new geometry in ZBrush from scratch, you can also import polygonal models into ZBrush from other programs. This allows you to add detail and textures to models that have already been created. ZBrush can import two formats of models: OBJ and MA. First, I'll talk about OBJs, or object files. Almost all 3D programs can export OBJ files, as it's a very common format. MA file stands for Maya ASCII. It's simply a 3D format that Autodesk Maya can export.
There's not usually a reason to use it over OBJs. When making models to import to ZBrush, you should make sure that they're made up of four-sided polygons whenever possible. ZBrush can import three- and five-sided polygons, but it may result in problems later on, so try to import models that are made entirely, or mostly, four-sided polygons. So let's just import a model that I have already made. Click on the Import button under the Tool palette and find the hank.obj and click Open.
Let's click and drag this into our canvas and click Edit. Now that the model is imported, we can work on it just like any other. You can sculpt on it, make changes to it, just like any mesh that you've made in ZBrush. Oftentimes, you'll want to model a mesh in one program and then just use ZBrush for detailing or texturing. Importing an OBJ or MA file is a simple way to do that.
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