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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 with a model that has a lot of subtools, sometimes you are going to want to quickly be able to mirror a subtool from one side of the object to another, or you want to quickly duplicate a subtool, or you want to export the object and all its subtools as a single 3D object, which you can open in another 3D program, such as Maya. None of this functionality is built into subtools in ZBrush as it stands. To be able to do this, you need to install the Pre Subtool Master Plug-in. I'm going to show you where you can find this Plug-in and how to install it, and then quickly how you can use it.
To find the Plug-in, you want to open an Internet browser and start with any search engine and type in Subtool Master Plug-in in the search field. When you do a search on this term, the first link will be to ZBrushCentral; ZBrushCentral is the main website for forums and posting of other artwork for ZBrush artists. It's basically the center of the ZBrush community. When you go to this website, you will find a thread on subtool, started by Ryan Kingslien, and right here is a link, where if you click on this you can download the Plug-in. We also have the Installation Instructions right here.
But I'm going to show you how to do this, it's very simple. Once it's downloaded to the desktop, it will be a Zip file, and you can choose Extract All and then select a Directory. Now, you want to select a very specific directory. So go to your computer. You want to go to the Program Files/Pixologic/ZStartup/ZPlugs folder. So that's Program Files/Pixologic/ ZBrush3/ZStartup/ZPlugs, and then extract the files.
Once the file extracts, take a look in the ZPlugs folder, and you will see that there is a ZScript file, a Readme, and a folder called SubtoolMasterData. These are the three files that you need in the ZStartup, ZPlugs folder. You don't need to do anything else to these files. You want to make sure that they go to the right place though. If Plug-in is not installed correctly in ZBrush, it can cause problems when you running ZBrush. So you want to make sure that you have that all correct. Now, I'm going to start ZBrush. Load up the Demo Soldier from the startup page, and this demonstration model has subtools already.
Now, once installed, you can find the SubtoolMaster Plug-in under ZPlugs, SubtoolMaster, and here is the button that I activated. What I want to do is I want to mirror this glove from this hand over to this hand using the Plug-in. So first I'm going to select the glove, so it's highlighted, and I'm going to go to ZPlugs and click SubtoolMaster, and I'm going to choose Mirror. It's going to give me a few options when I choose this. It's going to ask me if I want to merge into one subtool or I want to append as a new subtool. In other words, do I want one subtool that contains both gloves or do I want a separate subtool. I'm going to choose separate subtool, and I'm going to leave it on the X axis, and I'm going to press OK. After a couple of seconds, now I have a second glove on the other hand, a mirror copy.
You could do this manually in ZBrush but it takes many more steps, it's much easier to do it with the Plug-in, and since its a very easy Plug-in to install and is free, it's worth the time to download and install it. A few other things you can do using the Plug-in. You can simply duplicate a subtool; you can merge subtools into a single subtool. So we could take his glove, his goggles, and his wristband, and make that all one subtool. You can also instantly increase the Subdivision Level of all the subtools at once with one button click, as opposed to going through and doing each one individually.
Then you can export all of the object and all its subtools as a single object and bring this into a program such as Maya or 3ds Max; that's an OBJ format file, and you will see all the subtools. Otherwise, you are forced to export each individual subtool by itself, which can take a lot of time. So the Subtool Master Plug-in extends the functionality of subtools. It's worth the time to download and install this; you will find that it makes working with subtools much easier.
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