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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.
Subtools separate pieces of geometry that make up a single tool or model. Take the example of a hat on a head. You would want to work with them together because you'd want to make sure that the hat fits nicely on the head. But if the hat was the same polygonal mesh as the head, it would be cumbersome to move it around relative to the head, or swap it for another hat. Subtools fix this problem by storing separate pieces of geometry, kind of like layers that you can hide, select, and manipulate independently.
Let's open up the DemoSoldier project from the Light Box and then open up the Subtool palette. Tools can contain any number of pieces of geometry as subtools. It's often useful to have different accessories and bits of clothing as subtools, because you can work with them separately. You can click on any of the subtools in this palette to make them the active subtool. Only the active subtool can be sculpted or worked with. Notice that whatever subtool you select, it gets lighter and the others get darker.
This helps you see which subtool you have active at a glance. You can scroll through the subtools with this orange slider. There's lots of buttons and settings, so let's just see what they do. List All simply shows all your subtools in one menu that you can choose from. That's basically the same thing as this list, except you don't have to scroll through anything to see all of your subtools at once. The Up and Down arrows just select the next subtool up or down from the active one.
These arrows just below will rearrange the subtools in the list, moving them up or down in the stack. This doesn't really change anything; it's just for organizing things for your own preference. Rename simply gives you a textbox so you can change the name of the subtool. All Low will lower all the subtools to their lowest subdivision level. Conversely, All High will set them all to their highest. That's convenient so that you don't have to go through every single subtool and go up subdivision levels individually.
You can just do it all together in one. And Delete is easy enough. It just makes unwanted subtools go bye-bye. It's not undoable, so make sure you know what you're doing before you delete any subtools. With these basic subtool functions, you'll be able to keep even complex models more organized. Any time your model involves separate parts that can move independently, it's usually a good idea to keep them as subtools.
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