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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.
ZBrush has a few tricks up its sleeve that let you view things in different ways. From isolating a single subtool to viewing at right angles, or spreading out all your subtools, ZBrush can help you visualize your models in ways that help you work better. Let's open up the exercise file. I am going to go to File > Open and choose the hank.ZPR. Let's close the Light Box down to get that out of the way. Now let's say you want to pull this character's nose out to make it longer, so you might zoom in on the face here.
And let's see, let's turn it to the side a little bit, and let's grab a Move brush so we can just pull that nose out. Let's say I'm going to zoom in closer, and let's make this brush just a little bit smaller. I'm also going to turn on symmetry by hitting X, so that we can work on both sides of the model at the same time. Now let's say I grab this nose and I want to pull it out. It might look good from the side, but I want you to start looking at it from other angles, you can see that the nose wasn't pulled straight out; the two halves kind of intersected each other.
This is because I wasn't looking at the model directly from a straight-on view. So let's undo that. View snapping will make sure that you are viewing the model at straight-on 90-degree angles. Using it is very simple. As you rotate around the model, you hold down the Shift key and the view will snap to whichever front, side, or bottom view is the closest. You can simply release the Shift key and you go back to normal rotation mode. Now let's use that to get a straight-on side view. All right! We're locked into a side view.
I'm just going to release the mouse and the Shift key, and let's try that again. Now you can see we've got a straight-out movement on that nose. The ZBrush's Solo mode is handy when working on models with several subtools. Sometimes you just want to see the active subtool and make the others go away temporarily. You can turn on a mode called Click to Solo. This will make it so that when you click once on the canvas, all subtools except the active one will be hidden.
So you activate it by going up to the Preferences menu and clicking Edit. Now, you just turn on Allow Click to Solo. What this means is that anytime you click once in an open area of the canvas, the active subtool will remain visible and all the others will disappear. Just click again to bring everything else back. This would be useful if I wanted to sculpt on his body with the clothes out of the way. Solo mode can also be turned on with a button down here on the right side. Because of the screen resolution I'm using, I can't see that button. It's hidden.
But down below Rotate, there is a button called Solo. If you just click that, that also hides all the inactive subtools. Another feature is called Expose. It makes all your subtools separate from each other, kind of like those exploded schematic diagrams of machinery you may have seen. You turn on Expose by hitting Shift+X, and you turn it off the same way, Shift+X. This is useful to get a quick sense of what all the subtools are, especially if some of them are hard to see and hidden underneath other subtools.
Although these functions may not be critical to getting work done, they can be very helpful while you work. When your models get complicated, every trick you can use to keep things simple is a big help.
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