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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.
The Clip brush doesn't really behave like a brush at all so much as it cuts holes and shapes into models. It might be better to just demonstrate since this brush is really better experienced than explained. Let's open up a project called SSS Startup here in the Light Box. It's just a sphere. I am going to hit F to zoom in a little closer on this. All right! Let's go up to our Brush palette and let's pick Clip Rectangle. Now when we click on it, we get this little thing. It tells us that we have to use Ctrl and Shift keys to use it. All right! That's fine. So it looks like we are still in the Standard brush, but we hold down Ctrl and Shift and now we are in Clip Rectangle mode.
Now, just draw a box over a part of the sphere and then release the mouse. It chops the sphere down to the shape of the clip rectangle. You can see you get a nice, clean, sharp edge here. What's important to understand here is that it hasn't actually cut off geometry. What it did is it took all of the polygons that were on the outside of the clip rectangle and forced them up against the geometry that was on the inside. Let's just undo this. There are other clip brushes like the ClipCircle brush that do the exact same thing except with a circular cutting shape.
Let's try that out. I am going to click ClipCircle and we get the same thing. We have to use Ctrl and Shift to use this. So we're just holding down Ctrl and Shift. Let's draw out a circle. Now this is a bug with ZBrush. The first time you use a different clipping brush like the ClipCircle it's going to create a rectangle and then nothing happens when you release. It's just a bug. It just happens the first time. Now if we go to do it a second time, we are going to get actually what we wanted to get. So you see we have cut a circular edge out of the sphere.
Let's just undo this. Now there is one more clip brush called ClipCurve, and it behaves a little differently. To use this brush, you start out just like the others. Let's go on the Brush here and select ClipCurve and as always, we have to use Ctrl and Shift to activate this brush. So we get the same bug like before. It creates a rectangle. We have to release Ctrl and Shift and then hold them back down again. Hopefully, Pixologic will fix this soon. So as you click and drag, you get this single line. To make it a curve, you just tap the Alt key and it creates a bend point wherever you tap the Alt key at.
So I am just going to make another bend point over here, and let's do another one here. All right! When you are done, you just release the mouse and it cuts it to a shape of the curve that you made. Now this one takes some practice to get the results you want. You see some weird things have happened, and this is because it's forcing polygons up against the curve that you've made rather than actually cutting them off. Clip brushes can be a quick way to get a hard-edged subtraction from your model. Be careful, however; they may be a little unpredictable and may not be able to give you the results you were hoping for every time.
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