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Organizing geometry using polygroups

From: ZBrush 3 for Windows Essential Training

Video: Organizing geometry using polygroups

When you are working on a model such as a character, you may find that you are repeatedly masking or isolating parts of that model, so that you can go in and make changes to it. This can get a little bit tedious after a while. For instance, if I decide that I want to isolate the lower lip from the upper lip, I can do this using my Selection tools. I'm using the femaleHead_v01 model. Premium users can load this model from the downloaded example file. So you can also use some of the example models that come with ZBrush.

Organizing geometry using polygroups

When you are working on a model such as a character, you may find that you are repeatedly masking or isolating parts of that model, so that you can go in and make changes to it. This can get a little bit tedious after a while. For instance, if I decide that I want to isolate the lower lip from the upper lip, I can do this using my Selection tools. I'm using the femaleHead_v01 model. Premium users can load this model from the downloaded example file. So you can also use some of the example models that come with ZBrush.

I'm going to have the model here and I want to isolate the lower lip from the upper lip. To start with, it's a little bit easier to do if I lower my Geometry Resolution. I'm going to bring this down to Level 1, that makes the polygons a little bit more obvious. I'm going to turn on the Frame button so I can actually see the wire frame of the polygons. Now I can see how the model is actually organized. I'm going to zoom in by dragging on the Scale button, and I'm going to rotate to the side, press the Shift key so that it snaps into place, move the model over by dragging with the Alt key depressed. I'm going to turn on the Lasso Selection.

I'm going to hold Ctrl+Shift and drag a selection around the mouth area right here, and then release the pressure from the tablet. Now, I just have the mouth right here. I'm going to zoom in. In the Transform menu here, I have Point activated. This makes the selection a little bit easier, so I can just select a corner of a polygon and it will become selected. So I'm going to hold Ctrl+Shift, drag a selection here, let go of the Shift key, this polygon will disappear.

You can see why it's a good idea to practice using the Ctrl and Shift selection technique, because it is something that you will do fairly frequently. Just this little part of the upper lip is still visible. So Ctrl+Shift, release the Shift key. There we go. Once again, Ctrl+Shift, drag around selection, release the Shift key, and let go. One more time right there. Then these polygons over here; Ctrl+Shift, drag around, release the Shift key. These, Ctrl+Shift release the Shift key, and there we go, we have our lower lip area.

I'm just going to do a couple more over here, and then again down here, Ctrl+Shift, release the Shift key, and let go. So now what I can do is I can go to my Masking palette right here, its part of the Tool palette, to load it right here. Masking is available right here. Do Mask All; I'm going to Ctrl+Shift+Click so I can see the rest of the model. Press the F key so I can zoom out, and do Invert.

Now I have this area available for working, it's been isolated, and I have the rest of the model is masked, so it won't be changed. For example, if I make my changes to my lower lip and then I clear the mask, and then I suddenly realize, oh, I would like to make some more changes to that lower lip. Well, now I have to repeat that entire process again, what I just went through, to make that selection, and that can get very, very tedious. The solution to this problem is to use Polygroups. When you create a Polygroup, you organize part of the model, and that organized group is always there for you, available to isolate or to hide as needed.

To create the Polygroup you start by using the same technique. I'm going to zoom in again, and let's create a Polygroup just for the mouth area. So I'm going to hold Ctrl+Shift and drag my selection just around the mouth area here, let go of the pen from the tablet. Now I have the mouth isolated. I just go to the Polygroups subpalette, which is right here, beneath Masking. I will hide some of these so it's a little bit easier to see. So I will go into Polygroups, and I just do Group Visible, and you will see the color is changed. This doesn't actually change the color on the model; if I unhide the rest of the model you will see what's going on here. I will press Ctrl+Shift+Click on the canvas, and there we go.

If I turn Frame off, you see the color is still all the same. When I turn Frame on, the color coding lets me know which parts of the model are in which groups. So if I want to isolate the mouth again, I don't have to repeat that entire process, all I have to do is Ctrl+ Shift and Click, and now the mouth is isolated. If I Ctrl+Shift and Click on it again, now I have everything that's not in the group visible and the group is invisible. If I Ctrl+Shift, Click on the canvas, back to having both of my groups visible.

I'm going to go through the process one more time, maybe we will do the eye area here. So Ctrl+Shift, start to make my selection on the canvas, and let go. Now I just have my eyes visible here. That flipping is just a quirk of ZBrush. It happens on pretty much all computers. I'm going to press Group Visible. Now, I Ctrl+Shift, Click on the canvas, now I have three groups. I have the mouth area and I have the eye area.

If I want this to be isolated, I just Ctrl+Shift, and there we go. Ctrl+Shift+Click again, it's inverted. Ctrl+Shift+Click on the canvas, I have everything available. Now, any polygon that's part of the model can only be in one group at one time. In other words, if I decide to make a group for the nose; Ctrl+Shift drag this area here, and I will get some of this group too, and then I'm going to let go, so just have the nose area. So I have this area and these two areas, which are in three different groups. If I do Group Visible, a new color is applied. I Ctrl+Shift, you can see I have three groups. It's a little bit more obvious to change the color. So I Ctrl+Shift +Click there, do Group Visible.

So what I'm showing you right now is every time I press Group Visible you see the nose changing colors. This is a good technique if you decide that you don't like the color that's been assigned to your group. One reason why you might not like the color assigned to the group is that it's too similar to the other Polygroups. But now it's a little bit more obvious. I have this fuschia group, this purple group, and this green group, and sort of the orangish golden group, but you will notice what has happened is, these polygons that were part of the green group have now been overwritten with the fuschia group. So polygons can only be part of one polygroup at a time.

When I'm working on the face and something that I'm going to be creating, facial expressions for instance, if I'm making morphed targets for an animation program, such as Maya from a face model, I will usually start by organizing the entire model into polygroups based on what I know I'm going to be working with a lot. So I will isolate the upper lip from the lower lip, I will isolate each eye into its own polygroup, parts of the cheek, the chin, the eyebrows, and so on and so forth. Then I will save the model, because the polygroups are saved with the model.

Every time I load this model I will see the same polygroups. Then I can quickly go in and isolate those sections. So if I want to work on the eyebrows, I can just click on that. I just Ctrl+Shift+ Click on part of the polygroup. Maybe I will do Mask All. Ctrl+Shift+Click on the canvas, invert the mask. Now, I can just work on this area without worrying about changing any of the other parts of the model. It's just this part that's been isolated.

Polygroups persist on different Subdivision Levels. So I'm going to clear the mask here and just increase the Subdivision Level by going to the Geometry palette and moving the slider up. You can see, Polygroups are still there. A lot of power and a lot of options there for working with the models. The main purpose of Polygroups is just to organize your model so that you can reduce the amount of selecting and masking on the same parts of the model. I would recommend taking some time to practice with the Selection tools and practice organizing a model into Polygroups, you will find it in the long run, it's a huge time saver.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for ZBrush 3 for Windows Essential Training
ZBrush 3 for Windows Essential Training

80 video lessons · 10396 viewers

Eric Keller
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 27s
    1. Welcome
      30s
    2. Using the example files
      46s
    3. Overview
      1m 11s
  2. 26m 18s
    1. Understanding pixols
      1m 58s
    2. Establishing canvas size and color
      2m 30s
    3. Positioning 3D objects
      4m 33s
    4. Working with trays and palettes
      2m 52s
    5. Sculpting models in Edit mode
      3m 12s
    6. Discovering sculpting brushes
      5m 29s
    7. Saving models
      1m 27s
    8. Managing memory in ZBrush
      1m 44s
    9. Setting interface preferences
      2m 33s
  3. 1h 52m
    1. Customizing the startup 3D meshes
      5m 44s
    2. Deforming 3D models
      5m 11s
    3. Activating symmetry
      4m 35s
    4. Creating armatures with ZSphere
      8m 28s
    5. Posing armatures with ZSphere
      8m 54s
    6. Working with levels of detail
      7m 33s
    7. Masking geometry
      5m 43s
    8. Hiding and showing polygons
      6m 29s
    9. Organizing geometry using polygroups
      8m 57s
    10. Extruding geometry with edge loops to make necks and ears
      10m 11s
    11. Creating sharp edges with the Crease tool
      4m 19s
    12. Adding parts to your model with subtools
      5m 18s
    13. Posing models with Transpose pt. 1
      7m 35s
    14. Installing the Subtool Master plugin
      4m 29s
    15. Posing models with Transpose pt. 2
      13m 52s
    16. Installing the Transpose Master plugin
      5m 7s
  4. 58m 51s
    1. Sculpting with brushes
      11m 22s
    2. Choosing stroke types
      2m 20s
    3. Using Lazy Mouse
      4m 28s
    4. Sculpting fine details with alphas
      5m 9s
    5. Creating alphas
      6m 46s
    6. Creating stencils from alphas
      9m 28s
    7. Storing morph targets
      6m 4s
    8. Isolating details with 3D layers
      6m 23s
    9. Building surfaces by extracting meshes
      6m 51s
  5. 1h 13m
    1. Picking colors
      3m 2s
    2. Applying textures
      4m 15s
    3. Creating seamless textures
      3m 8s
    4. Painting models
      7m 51s
    5. Mapping 3D model texture coordinates
      5m 32s
    6. Adding sculpture reference planes
      11m 21s
    7. Applying materials
      4m 10s
    8. Modifying standard materials
      10m 17s
    9. Applying MatCap materials
      2m 22s
    10. Creating MatCap materials
      9m 9s
    11. Creating bump maps
      5m 55s
    12. Painting with photos
      6m 31s
  6. 6m 7s
    1. Exporting models
      2m 30s
    2. Importing models
      3m 37s
  7. 1h 1m
    1. Getting started with 2.5D tools
      5m 10s
    2. Modifying paintbrushes with stroke types
      3m 42s
    3. Positioning strokes and models on the canvas
      5m 14s
    4. Using snapshots
      7m 32s
    5. Understanding ZSub and ZCut
      4m 2s
    6. Creating document layers
      7m 47s
    7. Applying transparency
      3m 23s
    8. Lighting the canvas
      9m 3s
    9. Rendering in ZBrush
      6m 10s
    10. Tuning shadows
      4m 53s
    11. Baking lighting into the graphic
      2m 15s
    12. Creating a sense of depth using fog
      2m 37s
  8. 7m 12s
    1. Recording ZBrush movies
      3m 23s
    2. Using macros and ZScripts
      3m 49s
  9. 20m 50s
    1. Can't rotate or move the model
      1m 0s
    2. Can't sculpt on the model
      59s
    3. Can't adjust the lighting
      47s
    4. Can't control disappearing strokes
      52s
    5. Can't move objects smoothly with the Gyro
      2m 2s
    6. Can't move the model on the canvas
      1m 40s
    7. Can't see some parts of the model
      38s
    8. Can't subdivide the model
      2m 27s
    9. Can't control the pivot of the model
      2m 2s
    10. Can't maintain symmetry
      1m 37s
    11. Can't control subtools
      2m 28s
    12. Can't rotate with Transpose without distorting the model
      1m 51s
    13. Can't activate the Transpose tool
      1m 0s
    14. Can't get rid of blurriness on the mask
      1m 27s
  10. 26s
    1. Goodbye
      26s

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