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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 starting to add detail to a model, there are going to be times when you want to apply a mask to the model to restrict changes to certain areas on the surface. Masking in ZBrush is kind of like masking in a digital paint program such as Photoshop. You're basically creating a selection and saying anything within that selection cannot be changed. The great thing about ZBrush is you are actually doing this in 3D to a 3D model. Applying mask is pretty straight forward. I'm going to start of with the most basic way to apply mask and that is to use a rectangular selection.
So to do this, I have my model here, and I have the greenMan_v01 model loaded on the canvas, and it's in Edit mode, and I'm going to hold the Ctrl key and I'm going to drag from an area on the canvas, a blank part of the canvas and you can see this rectangular selection appears. Now as I drag over the model, you can see the mask portions in the semi-transparent part of the marquee. I'm just going to let it go. Now I have my mask. The mask is the dark area on the model. As I rotate the model, you can see that it went all the way through. I'm going to zoom in to the model by dragging on the Scale button here, and I have my standard sculpting brush chosen; that's the default settings and that's chosen from the Startup Sculpting Brushes here on the left shelf.
And I'm going to start painting on the surface of the model and you can see if I paint over here, nothing changes. If I paint over here, I'm making sculpting changes. You can actually see this area is pushed out and right there along the border of the mask, we have a hard edge to it. The Masking controls themselves are found in the Tool palette, so I have the Tool palette here loaded in the tray and to get to the Masking controls, I'm just going to click on the word Masking and that reveals the controls.
We are just going to talk about some of the basic controls in this movie and get a little bit more advanced in some of the other movies later on. To get rid of the mask, I can just press the Clear button and the mask is gone. And I can clearly see the changes I made to the model. So to create a mask once again using rectangular selection, you just hold the Ctrl key, drag across the model, now you have your mask. If I want to raise parts of that mask or unmask, I hold Ctrl+Alt and drag and I have this white selection. Now I have this different shaped mask. I'm going to zoom out here, hold Ctrl+Alt and drag across the surface.
Another way to apply a mask is to use the Lasso selection, and the Lasso button is found here on the very bottom part of the right shelf. Once I click it, it's activated, and when I hold Ctrl and start dragging, I get a free form selection. So I can add to this mask by just dragging over this free form selection. You notice that the edges of the mask are blurred when I let go. You can blur a mask anytime by clicking on the Blur button. You can also sharpen the edges of a mask by clicking on the Sharpen button. So now, I'm bringing some sharpness to that selection that I made.
Once again as I paint with my sculpting brush, only the areas that are unmasked get changed, so the poor guy has lost his mouth now. I can also invert the mask by clicking on the Inverse button and this just swaps the masked areas with the unmasked areas. And I can unmask the entire object by clicking on MaskAll. I'm going to clear the mask now. One other way to apply a mask to a model is to just paint directly on the model. So if I press the Ctrl key and drag on the surface of the model, now you can see, I'm actually painting on the surface of the model.
I can change my brush size by dragging on the Draw Size button and I can create a very detailed mask. If I hold Ctrl+ Alt, I can erase spread of the mask. So you could really send a fair amount of time here creating a very custom detailed mask. Let's say I'm creating some kind of fine, or something crawling on the surface of this object. I'm holding Ctrl+Alt, raising, I'm going to zoom in here a little bit. I'm just drawing out my mask.
Now I will invert the mask by clicking on the Inverse button, paint on the surface. I can even be fairly slopping my painting because the mask is making sure that only the right parts of the surface are receiving the change. And when I clear the mask, I have this nice detail on the surface here; all created very easily using the mask.
That's the basics of applying a mask to a 3D object. You are going to find there are great way to control detail, so you can really get in there and push the limits of your creativity by applying mask to your object.
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