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In ZBrush 4 Essential Training, Ryan Kittleson introduces ZBrush to artists making a transition from another sculpting program or who may just need some help with the finer points of this powerful digital arts package. The course covers the most popular tools and techniques for digital painting and sculpting in ZBrush, and explains how to export the models and texture maps to other programs for use in games, film, fine art, or 3D printing. The course also highlights the new features in ZBrush 4, such as ShadowBox, clip brushes, and LightBox. Exercise files are included with the course.
One of the most common brushes that you'll use is the Smooth brush. Because of that, ZBrush has been optimized to make Smooth one of the easiest brushes to access. Let's open up the exercise file for this movie. Go up to File > Open, in Ch03, the smooth.ZPR file. I just want to hide the Light Box so it's out of the way. So it never fails; you've sculpted some beautiful forms on your model. But it's just too rough looking. Not too worry, the Smooth brush is there for you. The Smooth brush behaves a little differently from other brushes because you can't just pick it from the list and start stroking with it.
Click on the Brush button or hit B on the keyboard to bring up the Brush palette and I'll show you what I mean. Now find the Smooth brush and click on it. I'm going to hit S to narrow the selection. It's right here Smooth B. Now when I click on it I get this message, "The brush will be selected as the sculpting smooth-brush. Press the Shift key and then click to use it." What is that mean? Well, this brush behaves differently, because you have to hold down Shift to use it. So now that I've selected that Smooth brush, I'm just going to hit Shift, and you can see that the interface changes now to the Smooth brush. We see that there is the Smooth button active up here, and then there is also these settings have changed to reflect the settings of the smooth brush.
If I release Shift, it goes back to the standard brush. Now hold down Shift as you brush on the model and see what happens. It just smoothes out any rough areas. Now there are several different types of smooth brushes to choose from, but to be honest, I rarely find a use for them, as the basic smooth brush works great for me. The only one that I might use on a regular basis is SmoothDirectional, which will preserve detail that runs in the same direction as the stroke, and it will smooth out other details.
So let me just demonstrate how that works. I'm going to hit B to bring up the Brush palette and hit S, and we see down here E is SmoothDirectional. Okay, so it's telling me I have to hold down Shift to use it. So if I go around to the back side of this model and try to smooth out some of this detail in the back side of the head, you can see that as I hold down Shift and I stroke, it's smoothing out a lot of the stuff that's in the same direction as the stroke. Now let me just undo that and smooth across the grain of the detail.
You see it's smoothing out of lot more of that. So it preserves detail in the direction of the stroke while smoothing out other detail. Smooth is one of the most-used brushes in ZBrush, because it cleans up rough spots left behind by many of the other brushes. Use it regularly any time you want to remove detail from a part of your model.
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