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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 created a sculpture of a figure or something like this hand here and you are ready to start posing the model, you want to use the Transpose tool. The Transpose tool as the name implies is designed to help you pose your models. I'm using the handposes model and this is available for premium users, and when I load this model, if you take a look in the sub Tool palette, I actually have duplicates of this model. Each one of these duplicates has been posed and I have made these poses by using the Transpose tool. So this a really good practice exercise because posing hands can be tricky.
So I just got my default pose here, and I have got it drawn on the canvas and I'm in Edit mode. And right now I have the Draw button activated. When I have the Draw button activated, remember that means that if I draw on top of the model, I'm actually going to change the model, using the Sculpting Brush. To activate the Transpose tool, I want to switch to Move. So I have Edit and I have Move activated. I also want to turn off Activate Symmetry, so there is no symmetry on the model. We have the Transpose tool. These are familiar three circles with the Action Line in the center. Remember that I can change the position of the tool itself by dragging on these circles. So these outer circles are there to reposition the tool and the inner circles actually change the model itself based on the position of the tool.
So I have Move mode activated and I can just click on the model and draw out the Transpose tool, and then when I click on the center circle here, I'm moving the object. Now what's the difference between this and this? Well, it's a little bit easy to tell if I make some of the sub tools visible. If I just drag like this, I'm just moving the view of the whole object, but if I drag in the center here with Move activated, I'm actually moving the object. So I have changed to this object in relation to the sub tool, by dragging in the center. I'm going to hide this, so we could focus on this.
Now if I drag on the end with Move activated, I actually start to stretch the model around. The way you can think of it is, I'm moving these parts of the model that are closest to this end of the tool and this end of the tool is the pivot. So if I drag over here, I get the opposite. The elbow of the upper forearm moves more than the area around the knuckle here, I can see that the knuckle is not moving at all. When I switch to Rotate mode and I have the subtool visible as well, so you can see, but if I start to rotate, I'm rotating the object in relation to the subtool.
And when it comes to posing, Rotate is probably what you are going to be using the most, and I will show you why. Well, when you think about it, think about your hands. The tip of your finger rotates on the pivot of that rotation is your knuckle. So in other words if I were to use the Transpose tool, this would be the pivot and this would be where it rotates. Now of course if I drag on this, I'm rotating the entire object. So how do I rotate just the finger? Let's hide this for a second. The key to that is Masking. If I mask the entire object, let's mass that, and mass the other fingers, let's zoom in a little bit. Here's the Scale button and mask right here, switch to the Side View, start rotating, now I'm rotating just that finger.
The problem with that of course is that mask was very tricky to create; I had the mask once, and then these fingers and then this part of the finger. The Transpose tool has its own masking feature. We can also create a mask using the Transpose tool itself. So I'm going to expand the Masking palette, press Clear. Normally when I have the Transpose tool activated, and I drag on the surface, I'm drawing out a new version of the tool. But I'm going to hold the Ctrl key and drag on the surface, and now I'm getting a very special type of mask that follows the topology of the model. The topology is just basically the arrangement of polygons on the model.
So if you watch as I drag it out here, you can mask everything but thumb very, very quickly. You will also notice that when I let go, the mask that has been created is automatically blurred. So topology masks are always blurred when you draw them. If you decide that you want to sharp edge to it, you can always go and press Sharpen Mask. When I'm doing a finger, it might actually be easier to start by holding the Ctrl key, dragging on the finger I'm masking the part that I want to change.
I'm going to let go and then I'm going to invert the mask. That's a lot easier to masking the entire arm, everything but the finger. Now that I have the tip of the finger unmasked, when I have Rotate activated, I'm going to click on here and drag out to the tip of the finger, and now let's reposition this, so it's little bit closer to the knuckle here, and now when I drag on here, I get a fairly decent finger bend.
Let's do that again. I'm going to clear the mask and I'm going to click over here just to get rid of the tool, and I'm going to hold the Ctrl key and drag very carefully, along the surface to just the finger. Reselect it, and let go and I'm going to invert the mask. Now I'm going to drag from the knuckle towards the tip of the finger, I have Rotate on, and now I'm just going to drag on this circle to rotate the finger.
I just had to remember that the opposite end of the tools, the pivot, so I could drag right here if I wanted to break the finger, and then this becomes the pivot. In this case this might be a good place to sharpen the mask a little bit. There we go, now we get a nicer bend there in the finger. I can switch to this view, drag out another version of the tool, and rotate like this. If I wanted to twist the finger, I can drag in the middle, and then rotate through the Action Line.
Let's try another finger. Hold Ctrl, drag with the Transpose tool activated, and then let go. Invert the mask, sharpen the mask, rotate to the side here and I'm going to drag out the tool. So I'm going to have this as my pivot, let's reposition that a little bit better, and then bend.
You can see this finger bent from the side, it's in a slightly strange position, so I can fix that. Drag out from the knuckle here, maybe even drag in the center to twist it. If I want to fix this bend here, I can switch over to Move mode, then drag on the center, and reposition it that way.
Now when you use the Transpose tool, it's a great way to pose your figures, but remember that ZBrush just considers this like a lump of clay, it doesn't know that this is a finger anymore than that this is a thumb, or that this is anything else. So what that means is, after you have posed the model, using the Transpose tool you are going to have to do some touch -up using the sculpting brushes. So I will clear the mask, switch back to Draw, and then zoom in using the Scale key, remember to have your Local button, that way. Centers the area that you are working on. I can switch over to the Smooth Brush, maybe reduce the size and then just start smoothing this out, and then I will just use my sculpting brushes to fix any strange parts of this model. Let's move that out a little bit.
So Transpose is a great way to get an initial pose into your model. Transpose also works with Symmetry. So let's take a look at a symmetrical model, and I'm going to click on the DefaultZScript button here, bring up the startup screen and let's take a look at Super AverageMan. If I have him in Edit mode here and I switch over to Move, I can drag out the Transpose tool. I'm going to mask off the body, and now I'm actually moving his arm and stretching it like that.
But if I want to do both sides at the same time, I can do this by activating Symmetry. So let me expand the Masking palette, clear the mask by pressing Clear, go to Transform > Activate Symmetry. When I do this, I actually get two copies of the Transpose tool on either side of the model. I can mask off the center of the model. I'm going to just quickly draw a marquee on here to mask it out, and I'm going to blur the mask. I'm going to move this right here to about his shoulder, put this on his hand, and switch to Rotate mode. Now when I rotate one arm, the other arm rotates as well. Usually it takes a little bit of tweaking here to get it right, so I'll use Move to bring this down a bit.
Switch to Rotate, move his arms forward, and drag this out. I'm still in the Rotate mode, drag in the center and rotate these arms like this. Now I'm moving very slowly, but when you get accustomed to using the Transpose tool, you are going to find that you actually can start moving fairly quickly once you get the hang of it. There is one thing that I want to show you that you should be very careful of when you are working with Transpose and Symmetry.
So let's clear the mask and I'm going to move in closely to the head. Now if I move to a Front View, I'm dragging his head to pull out transpose, you'll notice I have Symmetry on, so I have symmetry on the axis. So any changes made to this side is going to be mirrored to this side. If I switch to a side view, let's say I want to make his head bend forwards. If I drag up here, you are going to notice that the tool snaps to the points of the model. Mask his head, invert the Mask Blur, and move it forward. It looks pretty good! The problem is, is that sometimes if you are not careful from the side view, and let's say I draw out a new tool here, click on his nose and rotate. It looks okay from there, but when I switch to the Front View, his head has been collapsed in on itself. So I have this nasty problem right here.
The reason is, is that it's hard to tell from the Side View but this is actually at an angle. It is easy to see from the Front View, this isn't an angle. So when I rotate it from the Side View, I actually collapse the head in on itself. So to fix this, there are a couple of precautions you can take when drawing out the tool. I'm going to drag, you could see that it's snapping to the points of the model, it is very useful sometimes, and sometimes it can lead to problems like when you snap on the nose and create an angle to the Transpose tool. To avoid that I'm going to drag all the way off to a blank part of the canvas. When I rotate around, you are going to see now it's straight up and down. So when I rotate from a Side View, and then switch to our Front View his head has not collapsed in on itself and everything looks good.
So once again, just to repeat that, if you are going to rotate from a Side View with Symmetry on, make sure you drag to a blank part of the canvas so that it is no longer snapping to the model. When you do this, you know that the tool is straight up and down. And finally, if I drag and I hold the Shift key, Transpose tool snaps to angles, which sometimes can help make the tool more precise. So spend some time playing with the Transpose tool, work with the hand models, play with the models that came with ZBrush. You will find that after a little bit of practice, you get very fast with it, and it becomes a very intuitive way to pose the model.
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