Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Texturing a head: A practical approach

Texturing a head: A practical approach provides you with in-depth training on 3D + Animation. Taught… Show More

ZBrush 4 Essential Training

with Ryan Kittleson

Video: Texturing a head: A practical approach

Texturing a head: A practical approach provides you with in-depth training on 3D + Animation. Taught by Ryan Kittleson as part of the ZBrush 4 Essential Training
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 6m 7s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
    3. What is ZBrush?
      1m 47s
    4. A note on screen resolution
      1m 32s
    5. Update for ZBrush 4R7
  2. 19m 17s
    1. Making sense of ZBrush
      2m 39s
    2. Understanding the interface
      2m 29s
    3. Using Light Box
      1m 23s
    4. Navigating the canvas
      2m 2s
    5. Using Perspective and Floor
      1m 51s
    6. Understanding local centering
      1m 9s
    7. Trying different materials
      2m 7s
    8. Activating symmetry
      2m 15s
    9. Viewing your work in various ways
      3m 22s
  3. 19m 59s
    1. Understanding polygon-based models
      1m 45s
    2. Creating ZSpheres
      4m 21s
    3. Using ShadowBox
      2m 15s
    4. Making a ZSketch
      2m 47s
    5. Extracting from an existing mesh
      4m 0s
    6. Using primitive 3D meshes
      3m 24s
    7. Importing from other programs
      1m 27s
  4. 23m 43s
    1. Understanding brush settings
      2m 45s
    2. Inverting brush effects
      1m 9s
    3. Switching to Smooth mode
      2m 35s
    4. Setting the stroke properties
      4m 14s
    5. Working with alphas
      2m 34s
    6. Using the Move brush
      2m 51s
    7. Using the Clip brush
      2m 58s
    8. Learning a few more common brushes (Polish, Clay, Flatten, Inflate, Tracks)
      2m 14s
    9. Saving and using brush presets
      2m 23s
  5. 26m 53s
    1. Working with tools and projects
      1m 52s
    2. Working with subdivision levels
      3m 4s
    3. Masking off parts of your model
      2m 28s
    4. Masking based on cavity and occlusion
      4m 23s
    5. Selecting and hiding parts of a tool
      2m 51s
    6. Working with polygroups
      2m 0s
    7. Using deformation
      1m 59s
    8. Mirroring geometry across an axis
      1m 49s
    9. Restoring symmetry
      1m 45s
    10. Creating morph targets
      2m 31s
    11. Understanding surface normal direction
      2m 11s
  6. 8m 57s
    1. Learning the basics of subtools
      2m 37s
    2. Making new subtools
      3m 12s
    3. Combining subtools
      3m 8s
  7. 7m 20s
    1. Masking with Transpose
      1m 49s
    2. Adjusting the Transpose Manipulator
      1m 46s
    3. Moving, scaling, and rotating with Transpose
      3m 45s
  8. 20m 25s
    1. Understanding how ZBrush uses color
      2m 36s
    2. Learning the basics of Spotlight
      3m 37s
    3. Painting and texturing with Spotlight
      2m 56s
    4. Texturing a head: A practical approach
      11m 16s
  9. 21m 14s
    1. Drawing new edge flow for retopology
      7m 52s
    2. Tips for making good edge flow
      5m 14s
    3. Creating new topology
      3m 55s
    4. Transferring detail from the old model to the new
      4m 13s
  10. 13m 28s
    1. Understanding the UV maps
      2m 47s
    2. Installing the UV Master plug-in
      1m 47s
    3. Using UV Master
      3m 46s
    4. Creating texture maps
      5m 8s
  11. 6m 36s
    1. Preventing problems
      1m 42s
    2. Recovering a corrupted model
      2m 28s
    3. Recognizing and fixing common problems
      2m 26s
  12. 4m 21s
    1. Examples of ZBrush work
      3m 16s
    2. Goodbye
      1m 5s

please wait ...
Texturing a head: A practical approach
Video Duration: 11m 16s 2h 58m Beginner Updated May 07, 2015


Texturing a head: A practical approach provides you with in-depth training on 3D + Animation. Taught by Ryan Kittleson as part of the ZBrush 4 Essential Training

View Course Description

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.

Topics include:
  • Navigating the canvas
  • Using perspective and floor
  • Creating a mesh with a ZSketch
  • Extracting from an existing mesh
  • Managing subdivision levels
  • Working with alphas
  • Masking off parts of a model
  • Using deformation
  • Using subtools
  • Deforming with Transpose
  • Painting and texturing
  • Creating UV maps
3D + Animation

Texturing a head: A practical approach

Now that we've got a basic understanding of how Spotlight works, let's put it to the test with a real-world example. Texturing a model from photographs is a very common task in 3D art. I will show you how to get great results within ZBrush and Spotlight. For this we're going to texture a head, so let's open up the tool menu here and grab the demo head. I need to drag in into the canvas and go into Edit mode. I also want to change this material from this red wax to something that's white, something that doesn't have a color that comes along with the material, because I just want to see the poly painting that I'm going to be doing.

Also, you can see the total number of polygons that are in this model right now; it's only 69,000. We want to have a lot more polygons to work with, so that we can pick up as much detail as possible. Let's divide the geometry a few times. I am going to go up to about 3 million. Your computer might be able to handle one more subdivision, but it will good enough for now. Okay, let's position this head. We want it to be looking straightforward. So let's hold down Shift to make sure it's locked into a front view, and we will just scale it up so we are seeing more of the face on screen.

Now it's time to bring in our textures. Let's go into Texture and we will go to Import and bring in the head_front exercise image. Now that we've got that in, let's click the Texture palette again and go into Spotlight mode. I just want to close Light Box to get that out of the way. Now we can reposition this photograph so it's more directly over the head. So I might want to rotate and scale a little bit to get this lined up.

Let's see, this wheel is just getting in the way right now, so I am going to move that off to the side. And let's see, the mouth is pretty close, nose is pretty close, eyes are pretty close. I just want to use the Nudge tool. It's this one right here, and we can use this to push around the different pixels in the image so they match up closer to the model. So here we got the draw size.

I am going to make that a little bit bigger, so we can make more dramatic changes. And so with the Nudge tool active, we can just push around parts of this image to get it lined up. It looks like the jaw could come out a little bit wider. It doesn't have to be perfectly accurate. There are always opportunities to fix things up and correct mistakes. Something else I might want to do is get the draw size a little bit smaller, so I have finer control over this.

I also want to tweak the nose. It looks like the corners of the nose are a little bit wider in the photograph than they are in the model. I will just push those in, and I will also try to bring the hair up a little bit more; it looks like model has got a lot bigger of a mass of hair. Now every once in a while you might be noticing the white pixels in the image. That's a little bug with Spotlight and it makes things difficult because we have to repaint those areas.

It's not going to make for a very clean transfer, so I will have to repaint those areas to cover up that area, but otherwise it should work fine. Okay, so once you've got the image situated, we're ready to start transferring this to the model. So one thing I want to do is make sure we're seeing a nice preview of what we are going to be painting, so you can just click and drag on this little icon and scale up your preview. That's about good. Now you just hit Z to go into Polypainting mode. So you see you have got a nice little preview of what's going to be painted on the model.

I have got symmetry on right now, but actually I don't want that on because the photograph is not symmetrical and I don't want the textures to be symmetrical either. Now you can just simply click and drag and it's going to brush all in the model. Now you will notice I forgot to put it into Polypaint mode, so I am just going to hit Ctrl+Z to undo that. Make sure you turn on Rgb and turn off Zadd. Very common mistake. I do it all the time. So one thing you might be noticing is the eyeballs are not being textured. That's because the eyeballs are a separate subtool.

Any kind of polypainting affects only the active subtool. Now the hair isn't totally covering the model, but that's okay. We can fix that up from other views, and we are also getting that--like I was talking about before--those weird white pixels. We can deal with those later. Right now, I just want to get something covering up everything that we can see right now, just to have a base to start working with. Okay, let's take a look around the model and see what's happened. Most of the front of the face looks pretty good, but we do have some weird things happening. For example, the sides of the face are really only picking up any texture information from a very glancing, shallow angle and so it's resulting in a lot of stretch, and things aren't quite accurate. That's okay.

We can pick up a lot of this detail from side photographs. Something else to look at is in the photograph the nostrils weren't quite positioned where the nostrils of the photograph were, so we can clean that up easily. I just want to position the model, so we can see those spots nice and clearly, and then I am going to turn on Z, so that we can turn on the Spotlight again. And I just want to position this photograph so that there is some neutral skin tones are right here where those spots are showing up.

Now I can hit Z again, and what I want to do is just drop my brush size down so we can come in and just paint out those areas. Something I also might want to do actually is turn down the Rgb Intensity. You can see that that painting is kind of painting a harsh line around it. I just want to bring down the intensity so that we can paint more gradual falloff, so I am just going to undo that painting that I did and just paint with a lower intensity so that we don't see that brushstroke quite so obviously.

All right, well I think we are ready to start projecting from the side. So I just want to move them all around. I am going to hold down Shift, so we can lock in a side view. Okay, it's locked in. Move the image roughly to the center and hit Z to bring back the Spotlight. Now we want to bring in a different photograph right now, so I am just going to hit X to close out of this. I am going to go into Texture and import the other exercise file. And we just want to load that up in Spotlight now. And just like we did before, we are going to try to position this over the model.

Rotate is going to come in handy here. I am going to move this off to the side because it's just getting in the way. So I am going to scale. It's looking pretty good. The only issue, it looks like there are just some parts of the face that aren't quite lining up, so as before, we can go into Nudge mode, and see my Draw Size needs to be much bigger. I am just going to work this into position.

Something else I might want to tweak is the brow, make sure that my photograph is lining up nicely with that. It actually helps if the photograph is slightly larger than the model, just to make sure that you are going to get full coverage. And looks like my lips might need to come out a little bit farther just to meet up with the model. I am also going to pull the hair out a little bit so make sure we get full coverage on that.

Whoops, that is not what we wanted. I am going to hit Ctrl+Z to undo that. Actually, Ctrl+Z does not work on the positioning of the image over the model, so I am going to have to reposition that manually actually. It's looks like we have got some of those stray white pixels again. We will just have to deal with those manually. All right, well that's pretty close. Let's take this into Polypainting mode. I'm just going to Z. And one thing you might notice is--I will just rotate here.

We want to turn on Symmetry now, so that we are painting on both sides of the head at the same time. I am just going to rotate that back holding down Shift to lock it back into place. Now you notice it's really faint. I forgot to bring Rgb Intensity back up to 100, so now we are going to get the full effect. Now one thing you want to be careful about is not brushing the side view too close to the front of the face. The reason for that is if I start brushing over here on the front of the face, we are going to get that same texture stretching that we were doing before on the side, but it will be on the front where we have already got a nice result and we don't want to mess with it.

I am going to shrink the brush size down a little bit so we can have a more fine- tuned edit right here. All right! Let's see what this looks like. So it's pretty close. There is a little bit of tweaking and fixing up we can do. Let's fix some of these things up on the head, especially in the back of the head. One little trick here is to position some of this hair so that we can paint hair from the side of the head sort of on to the back, and hair is just kind of messy organic thing anyway so nobody is really going to notice that we are pulling hair from the wrong place and putting it on a different place.

You also might want to turn off symmetry when you are working on a place that's right next to the center line of your model because it will be really obvious if the hairs are exactly the same to halves that are close to each other. It might take some back and forth until you can find just the right part of the photograph to paint on just the right part of the model. I also want to rotate the model in a few different angles just so that I can get a different view on it. So I want to clean up this little bald spot here on the back, so I am just going to bring in this photograph over this area too and just as always, just paint out those bald spots and those errors and those little weird things that happen.

So I could continue doing this all day, but you get the idea. Let's get a view of the model from the front side. So now that we have got lots of nice polypainting in this model, we could export this as texture map, for example, and use it in games. When you are all done, you can hit Z to go back into the Spotlight and just click the X here to make sure you are closed out of it. This method of texturing models is used all the time in the film and the video game industries. It's fast and can result in really high-quality textures.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about ZBrush 4 Essential Training .

Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
Q: This course was updated on 05/07/2015. What changed?
A: There is one new movie covering the update for ZBrush 4R7, and a new conclusion.





Don't show this message again
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed ZBrush 4 Essential Training.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


Upgrade to View Courses Offline


With our new Desktop App, Annual Premium Members can download courses for Internet-free viewing.

Upgrade Now

After upgrading, download Desktop App Here.

Become a Member and Create Custom Playlists

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of online learning video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Log in

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

You started this assessment previously and didn’t complete it.

You can pick up where you left off, or start over.

Resume Start over

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.