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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.
ZBrush comes with it's own scripting language called ZScript and this scripting language is used to create some of the plug-ins that you use with ZBrush. Some of these include things like Subtool Master and Transpose Master. But there is also an interactive way to create these scripts that does not involved any kind of coding. And that's to use macros. Macros just record everything you do in a ZBrush session to a text file. And that text file can be loaded as a ZScript. You can see that there are some that have come with ZBrush already. These are right here.
To create your own macro you can start just play pressing the New Macro button, right here. And now I'm recording a macro, everything that I do in ZBrush is now recorded to a text file. So, let's create our own parametric tool in ZBrush using this macro. So I'm going to select the Helix 3D tool, go down to Initialize, let's draw it on the canvas, of course, and switch to Edit mode, I will switch to a side view here and lets play with some of these controls just to make our own special spring, we will thicken the center, here we go, that is already looking pretty interesting. Fantastic! Its beginning as it's a sea monster or perhaps some kind of hair style. I actually liked it the way it was before, here we go. That is perfect, good enough.
Now we are going to the Macro palette and I'm going to choose End Macro. It's going to ask me if I want to save this, I will save this in the Essential ZBrush files and will call this twister. So it is going to save it just as a text file and you can open up in the text editor, take a look at the actual script itself. Now that I have done, let's try playing back the macro. Before I play back a macro I like to initialize ZBrush just to set everything back to the starting point because what it is going to happen is when it plays back the Zscript, it's going to playback all my actions starting from where I'm now and sometimes that can cause some really strange behavior. Sometimes it's what you want to do but for this demonstration, I'm going to initialize ZBrush and we are back to the beginning of ZBrush and all of our tools are back to our initial state.
Now I'm ready to actually load that macro. So I'm actually load it using the ZScript palette, seems a be little bit strange for but if you notice there is no load button in here, this reloads all of these macros right here. It doesn't necessarily load a new macro. You have to go to the ZScript palette,, choose Load now I can choose twister and I can open it and nothing happens. Well, we have added a button down here, it says ???. This is actually my Zscript. I'm going to press it and will see, it is going to repeat all the actions; this Is not a movie, this is actually a ZBrush session. So, once it's done I will be able to play with this tool. See, there it is completely finished.
So it is a great way to record actions that you repeat a lot. If you want to change this title you can actually go into the text file by opening up something like notepad and replace ??? at the top of the file with your own title. And then when you reload it using the ZScript menu, you see a descriptive titles such as twister or something like that. That's the basics of working with Zscripts and if you are interested in scripting it's worth taking the time to go through the Help files to learn how the ZScript Language works.
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