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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 want to start working on your own 3D models in ZBrush you need to load them into the ZBrush session. To do this you go to the Tool palette and press on the Load tool button. I'm going to load my greenMan model and premium users can find this model with their downloaded files. Press Open, it takes a few seconds, once it's loaded you can see it here in the Tool palette, and when I hover over its icon you can see a little preview of the model itself. To start working with this model, I just click-and-drag on the canvas.
Now if I want to start sculpting this model, I have to switch over to Edit mode to enable the digital sculpting brushes. If I don't turn Edit mode on, something very strange happens. As I drag on the canvas, I get copies of my model, rather than rotating the model around. This behavior is very strange especially for new users. So it takes a little bit of understanding of the logic behind ZBrush to figure out what's going on.
The digital sculpture is known as a 3D tool, and that's why it's found in the Tool palette loaded using the Controls in the Tool palette. The reason this is known as a tool is that everything that makes a mark on the canvas in ZBrush is a tool. So in other words, if I switch over to the Sphere Brush and start painting on the canvas, I'm now using the Sphere Brush tool. If I switch over to the Simple Brush and paint on the canvas, I'm using this Simple Brush tool and I'm painting essentially copies of the Simple Brush on the canvas.
And if I switch to a 3D model such as the greenMan, now I'm using the Green Man tool to paint copies of the sculpture, the greenMan sculpture on the canvas. So how do I get out of this so that I can start working on my 3D model? Well, the first thing I need to do is clear the canvas. To do this, press Ctrl+N and that clears the canvas, and now draw the model on the canvas and switch to Edit mode. I'm going to press F to focus, to center my model in the middle of the canvas.
Now when I drag on a blank part, I can rotate the model, and when I drag on top of the model itself, I'm actually making changes to the model, and I'm ready to digital sculpt. I'm just going to hit Ctrl+Z to undo that last change. It's a little bit easier to understand what's going on, if you can think of Draw mode as Paint or Draw or Illustration mode and Edit mode as Sculpt mode. Edit mode is enabled any time this button is on. When it's off, I'm no longer in Edit mode; when it's on, I'm in Edit mode.
When I turn Edit mode off and draw on the canvas, I get a copy of the model; when I turn Edit mode on, I start editing the most recently drawn version of the model on the canvas. While I'm in Edit mode, if I want to get rid of this one that's already been dropped to the canvas, I press Ctrl+N. Press F to focus on the model and now I can begin digital sculpting.
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