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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.
Using UV Texture Coordinates in ZBrush is something you are going to be concerned about if you are interested in using models created in ZBrush and other programs such as Maya or 3DS Max. If you are only using ZBrush itself and you are not worried about these other programs, then you might not care about UV Texture Coordinates that much, you might not ever actually use them. But I'd like to talk a little bit about working with UVs for those of you who want to incorporate ZBrush into your Maya or 3DS Max or your other 3D packaged pipeline.
If you are going to create a 3D model in ZBrush that you want to use in another 3D program such as Maya and you are painting textures to render in Maya, you are going to want to create UV Coordinates for your 3D models. You can do this in ZBrush and I will show you how to work with UV Texture Coordinates. I'm going to use the femaleHead_v01 model and this is a model that Premium Users can use. I'm going to draw this on the canvas and switch to Edit mode, press F to focus my model. Now I can see the model, it already has several levels of subdivision, but I'm going to keep it down here to 1.
I'm going to switch the material to the FastShader, which gives me a good idea of what's going on here. This model actually already has UV Texture Coordinates, meaning it has texture coordinates built into the geometry itself that can tell Maya or 3DS Max or whatever other program how to actually apply the texture to the model. If I want to see these texture coordinates in ZBrush a good way to check them is to go to the Tool palette, I'm going to collapse Geometry for the moment and expand Texture and I'm going to press UV to Texture. And what this will do is this will create a texture that displays how the UVs are laid out on my object.
So you can see, if I hover over here there is an image of the UV Texture Coordinates. If I want to remove this I can just choose Texture Off. When you are working with UVs you want to check and make sure that there are no problems with the UVs like overlapping or just badly positioned UVs. There is a great way to check this in ZBrush and that's to press UV Check. So if I click on this button, I can see that I have a little red space right here. This red mark is indicating a problem with the UVs.
If I hover over here you can see it right there as well. Whenever I'm working with a 3D model and I'm working with UV textures I always do a UV Check just to make sure that there are no problems like this. Now you may be wondering, her eyes are looking a little bit off there and that's because when you apply a texture to a model that has sub- tools like the eyes here, the texture is applied to the model and all of its sub -tools. So a copy of this image, right now, is being applied to the eyes, which make it a little bit strange. I tend to forget of it sometimes. But I will turn the eyes off there, so that's not as distracting. So how do we fix this problem with our UVs. There are a couple of ways to go about it. One way is to simply export this model as an OBJ, bring it back into Maya, fix the problem with the coordinates and re-import it back into ZBrush.
And we will talk about that workflow a little bit more in another movie, but if I want to fix this UV problem, here, in ZBrush I can actually create new textures coordinates automatically. The way you do that is in the Texture palette. There's a bunch of different ways to apply UVs to an object here. If I hold the Ctrl key down I get a description for how to apply each one. But I will tell you that 99.999% of the time I use Adaptive UVTiles. This basically creates a UV Texture Coordinate based on the topology of the model. So where there is more resolution in the model, it actually adapts the UVTiles to compensate for that.
To create UVTiles, I'm going to turn the Texture Off here, and press AUVTiles. You won't see any immediate change in the model, but if I choose UV to Texture, now, I can see the new UV Texture Coordinates. Right here, it just looks like a big square that's because it's computer generated UVs, they are not the same as if I went into Maya and created the UVs by hand, it's just a computerized way to map the coordinates on the model.
Sometimes that's good enough, if you are really working on a high-end project it's usually a good idea to create the UVs yourself, so that when you look at the UV coordinates you can actually see the shape of the face and having them it makes it easier for doing additional texturing in programs like Photoshop, but that's just basically a little bit of 3D animation workflow for you. If I do UV Check, now I don't have any problems in my UV, everything is gray, so I know that these UVs are safe. And that's the basics of working with UVs in ZBrush. Personally, I prefer to do most of my UV Mapping in a program such as Maya and then re-import those UVs into ZBrush. When you use the OBJ format, which is the standard 3D model format, UV are stored with the model.
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