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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.
Polygroups are a way of organizing a model. It assigns various polygons that you define into groups that can be viewed and controlled independently. Polygroups help make complex models easier to deal with. In a way, polygroups can be thought of as a way of saving selections for future use. Let's start by opening up SuperAverageMan. Let's say that you want to have the arms defined as separate polygroups. First, select one arm so that the rest of the body is hidden. So I'm just going to Ctrl+Shift and drag a box over one arm.
Now open up the Polygroups sub-palette, and then I'm just going to hit Group Visible. It doesn't seem like anything happened, but if you turn on PolyFrame, you'll see the difference. So I'll just hit Shift+F to turn on PolyFrame and Ctrl+Shift to bring back the entire model. When you make a polygroup, the grouped polygons are assigned a random color to distinguish them from other groups. Now let's repeat this process for the other arm and bring everything back with a Ctrl+Shift+Click.
Now it's easy to use the selection functions with polygroup. Instead of manually selecting the arm, you can just Ctrl+Shift+Click on one of them and ZBrush hides everything but the polygroup that you clicked on. Now, Ctrl+Shift+Click the arm again. This inverts the polygroup selection. If you Ctrl+Shift+Click the other arm now, ZBrush will hide it. Now with just one polygroup visible, a Ctrl+Shift+Click on the body will invert the selection.
As always, Ctrl+Shift+Click on the canvas to bring everything back. It's a good idea to organize models into polygroups, especially when a model is complex. It will really help you focus on important parts while getting unnecessary parts of the model out of the way. Take a few minutes to practice with making polygroups and playing with their visibility.
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