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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.
Spotlight is a new feature in the latest version of ZBrush that makes it easier to use pictures to add color and texture to your models. Spotlight has two main uses: One is a 2D image manipulation tool similar to Photoshop where you can paint clone, smudge, and otherwise edit images. The other use, which I'll cover in the next movie, is transferring that color and texture information directly onto your 3D models. Let's get acquainted with Spotlight without any models first, just using it as a 2D image editor.
We want to load in a picture, so let's go into the Texture palette and let's click on Import to bring in an image. I am going to look for an image that comes with ZBrush. So in the ZBrush folder, there is ZTextures folder, and let's just click on bark17 and click Open. So you see, it brings in bark into ZBrush, but it's not quite usable in Light Box yet. Click on the texture here, and there's this button down here that says Add to Spotlights, so if you just click on that, it'll bring up Spotlight.
The Light Box is just in the way, so I am just going to close that. So, now we see the image in full size. There is also this weird ring thing. That's the Spotlight widget. It controls everything you do with 2D images. And like many things in ZBrush, it's completely confusing at first. Lucky for you, I am going to make it very simple. This outer ring contains buttons that change the image in various ways. You can click on any of them to see what they do. Just a single click won't change anything, except this one with the X. If you click that, it'll close the image, and that's not what we want to do right now.
Clicking and dragging on any of these buttons will change the image in some way. So, for example, if we click and drag on the Scale button, you can see it will shrink or enlarge the image. The Hue button is fun. If you click and drag on this one, it'll shift the colors in the entire image. Saturation will increase or decrease the saturation of the colors. Take a moment to experiment with the effect you get from clicking and dragging on all these buttons.
Most of them can also be used to edit specific parts of the image. So, for example, let's click on Hue. Now, if we click and drag in the image, it'll actually paint localized areas with a single color, instead of changing the entire image. Clone is a fun brush. Clone will paint any area of the image with detail from another. So the source of the clone is wherever the center of the widget is. You can move the widget around by clicking anywhere on the image from the center of the widget.
So let's say we want to clone from this area right here. Notice we get a little preview of what it's going to paint, and you can see it's the same image that's up here. So if you just paint it anywhere, you will see that the result looks like the source of the clone up here. This can be useful to remove unwanted details and replace them with other parts of the image. You can move the entire image around to a different part of the screen by clicking and dragging in the space between the two circles.
Moving the image will be more useful in the next movie, so take a few minutes to experiment with the Spotlight and try all of the buttons and brushes. I personally prefer to use a dedicated image program like Photoshop to make these kinds of adjustments. Either way, the real purpose of Spotlight is to transfer images like this directly onto your models, which I'll cover in the next movie.
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