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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.
Once the new topology has been built around the original model, we can convert it to a polygon mesh. Then we can shrink-wrap the new model around the old to pick up its details. Let's open the head_retopo.ztl file. I am just going to click and drag this out into the canvas and go into Edit mode. Let's also make Light Box go away. I am going to hit F so we can see the full head on screen. Now let's open up the Subtool sub-palette and make sure we've got the ZSphere as the active subtool. Okay it is; that's good.
Now let's go down to Topology and let's click Edit Topology. So anytime you save your retopology in progress, you can always go back to where you were working by clicking Edit Topology with the ZSphere subtool active, and then you can pick it up and continue to retopologize from wherever you left off. I have got enough of it done now to demonstrate however, so we are just going to continue from this point. Open up the Adaptive Skin sub-palette. This section controls how the retopology will be converted into a standard polygon model.
There is really no need to change any of the settings as it works pretty well by default. All we need to do is click the Make Adaptive Skin button. It doesn't seem like anything changed, but if you look up in the toolbox, you see that there's a new model called Skin ZSphere. Before we deal with that, however, let's make the original head the active subtool and hide the retopology. So I am going to go back into the original head, and let's make this active and hide the retopology.
Now we need to append the newly created face to the current Ztool as a subtool in order to protect the detail on to it. So I am going to go down here in the subtool and click Append. We will grab that new mesh and look up here, and yep, brought it in as a subtool. So we want to make sure that this subtool is active because this is the one that is going to be wrapped onto the old head. In the Subtool sub-palette, there is a button called Project All.
It takes the active subtool and shrink-wraps it to conform to any other visible subtools. So let's see what happens. Now it asks us if we want to project any polypaint data as well, any coloring, any painting. In this case no, I don't want to, because it would just project all those lines and I don't really need the painted lines anymore. Cool so I just projected the new model on to the old, so I picked up some more of that detail. Let's just hide the old model really quick and take a look at this.
Okay, so that's looking pretty good. We want to capture even more data, so let's add another subdivision to this head. So I am going to hit Ctrl+D to subdivide it one more time. Let's make sure we have got the old head visible so that when we project it we can get even more information. And it asks me the same thing. No, I don't want to project the polypainting. All right, that's cool. So we could continue to subdivide this new mesh and project to keep picking up more and more detail.
Now every once in a while when your projecting you will have a problem. Luckily we didn't have it this time, but sometimes what happens is in really tight areas what you will see is that sometimes the mesh will get confused and ZBrush will have some vertices like shooting over across to the other side, and sometimes weird things will happen. So if that happens, just undo the Project All, and then you will just want to paint a mask, just hold down Ctrl and paint a mask over any areas that were giving you problems. That way when you hit Project All again, those areas will be ignored and only the unmasked area will be projected.
That means that you will lose a little bit of detail, but it's better than having something that's completely useless. In addition to retopologizing a model, the Project All feature in ZBrush can be used in all kinds of situations to get one model to pick up detail and form from another. It could be used to form clothing to a figure or transfer color information from one object to another. It's really only limited by your imagination.
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